Now that’s more like it.
Constantine has spent the past three weeks trying to figure itself out. How procedural should it be when episodes aren’t focusing explicitly on John’s backstory? How much of that history should be teased out? How dark can the show go? And just how big of an ass is John supposed to be? “A Feast of Friends” goes a long way toward answering those questions in a satisfying way.
One caveat before jumping into “Feast”—centering an episode of supernatural television around insects can go wrong. Very, very wrong. Although the swarm of bugs that comprises this week’s demon baddie leads to several disgusting sequences, “Feast” remains intriguing in the face of its more unseemly aspects.
“Feast” most succeeds in how it evolves viewers’ understanding of John. There’s been some lip service paid to his past, but by involving someone who actually participated in what happened at Newcastle, some fascinating dynamics rise to the surface. The good and heinous sides of John come out during “Feast,” but every emotional beat feels earned by what happens, not just what characters say.
Much of that success is due to the arrival of Gary Lester, or Gaz (Jonjo O’Neill), as John often refers to him, who flies into Atlanta looking like he’s fighting a months-long cold. Traveling from Sudan, Gary brought along a suspicious vial, which unfortunately houses a swarm of hungry bugs. Once a snooping airport guard cracks open the bottle, a tidal wave of bugs flies out into the room and… directly down the guard’s throat. I’ve had bad dreams about swallowing a fly while I sleep, but this scene will definitely haunt my dreams for the next few weeks.
Before discovering the fate of the nosy guard, let’s check in on John and Zed. Zed is enjoying her time in nature—a nature that doesn’t look like it’s crawling with ghosts and demons—while John looks like he’s nursing a hangover. She surprises him with the revelation that she’s never done drugs, a subject with which John clearly has some history. Their sharing session is interrupted by Manny, however, in a moment that only serves to remind viewers that Manny hasn’t done anything of note yet. He swoops in, hints at something ominous, and flees. If he’s going to be sticking around, Constantine needs to find a more interesting use for him.
At least Zed fits well into the show’s dynamic. The two return home to Jasper’s cabin to find an infestation of khapra beetles and a man—Gary, to be specific—floating in the cabin’s zero gravity trap. Gary and John haven’t spoken since what happened at Newcastle, but John refuses to answer Zed’s questions about what happened there to either them or Astra.
Instead, he’s curious about Gary, who describes how he came to possess a bottle of demonic bugs. He found a man in Sudan with strange carvings on his face. Attempting to exorcise the demon out of him, he hoped to save the poor guy, but unfortunately, only unleashed the demon on another man.
That man, the now possessed guard, is busy wreaking havoc around the airport by eating everything in sight before the bugs slip back out the way they came (the man’s mouth, for clarification) on to possess the next poor fool they can find.
NEXT: What a long, strange trip it’s been