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Constantine recap: "The Rage of Caliban"

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CONSTANTINE
Daniel McFadden/NBC

Constantine

type:
TV Show
Current Status:
Cancelled
seasons:
1
broadcaster:
NBC
genre:
Scifi, Comic Book Adaptations

A few things feel off about “The Rage of Caliban,” as the episode contends with problems the show had seemingly corrected in the past few episodes. There’s actually a good reason for that: “Caliban” was the second episode shot for the series, but was pushed further into the season so Zed could be introduced to viewers immediately following the pilot. You can thank EP Daniel Cerone for that tidbit.

As a result, there’s both good and bad news about “Caliban.” The good? There’s some genuinely good jump scares, Chas and John have some room to shine, and a few aspects that have confused in previous weeks are explained in full here. The bad news? “Caliban” is rougher around the edges than “Danse Vaudou” and “A Feast of Friends.” The hour has some fun moments, but in the end, it all feels a little trivial.

“Caliban” starts out well enough, with a gruesome double murder. Two parents have been killed while their child survives, but there’s not a suspect in sight. As the cops arrive though, one possible perp becomes apparent—the daughter, whose telekinetic powers and eyes that can turn completely black maybe indicate there’s something supernatural involved. But I’m just going on a hunch here.

John and Chas have the same inclination and travel to the girl’s home in Birmingham, Alabama, to investigate. While exploring the crime scene, Manny appears to John to not only namedrop the season’s big bad, the “rising darkness,” but to also explain that he can’t directly help John on the case.

What’s in the way of Manny the angel actually being angelic? That pesky little thing called free will, which prevents angels from directly affecting events on Earth. It’s an explanation that should have been inserted into an earlier episode. One of my biggest problems with Manny since the show began has been his knack for appearing, offering nothing but cryptic warnings, and leaving as suddenly as he arrives. I thought this had been an aspect of his personality, but knowing he’s actually prevented from being helpful is a great revelation. I just wish it had come sooner.

Even without Manny’s help, John determines that the spirit that possessed the girl is now on the loose. And what is it searching for? Another child host, of course. John learns that there’s actually been a string of parental deaths and child survivors dating back 35 years. John suspects that just saying the name of this spirit will be enough to stop it.

Cut to little Henry, whose parents are attempting to calm his night terrors. Mom and Dad attempt different parenting techniques—Claire, his mother comforts him, while his father, Daryl, is more of a tough love kind of guy. It’s all for naught, though, as the spirit of the week flies through his open window. (What kind of kid afraid of monsters leaves the window open?) Henry screams, but when his parents return, he’s as serene as could be. Henry’s not himself, but his parents don’t realize that quite yet.

John, meanwhile, is off to visit the earliest known, still-living host, Marcello, who happens to live at a mental hospital and is practically catatonic. John discovers from a doctor that Marcello had a nasty set of parents, who he killed with an ax, a tool his father used to reprimand Marcello. How does John verify that? The three missing fingers on Marcello’s hand. Guess a finger for a finger didn’t quite suit the spirit.

And that spirit has moved on to wreaking havoc in Henry’s home. It causes Daryl to shred his feet on a set of exploding lightbulbs in a well-shot sequence. Henry further acts like a modern-day Damien, even forcing a crow to collide with the sliding kitchen door right in front of his mother.

John and Chas, using a series of maps with ley lines (at least Constantine provides a weekly cartography lesson! …It’s cooler than it actually sounds) are able to track the path of the spirit. More importantly, the two demon hunters share a nice heart-to-heart during their research. Chas accidentally picks up a sword that acts like a truth serum, causing him to tell John about his wife, Renee, who has left him.

NEXT: Kids these days, they’re out of control!

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