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Constantine recap: "Blessed Are the Damned"

A preacher begins to experience actual healing powers, but is the source of that power good or evil?

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Guy D'Alema/NBC


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Sci-fi, Comic Book Adaptations

When your show involves angels and demons, the god question has to come up at some point. With Manny being an increasingly prominent part of Constantine, the show decided to tackle it in “Blessed Are the Damned.” But there’s a fine line that has to be walked, especially when approaching that question through an evangelizing southern preacher named Zachary.

The minister commands a relatively small flock of followers, and is not afraid to employ theatrics in his sermons. He pulls out a poisonous snake, as his preaching father once did, to prove to his congregation that evil can not harm him. Fine idea in theory, though he probably should have listened to his sister, who told him the churchgoers wouldn’t have a damn darn idea if the snake was actually poisonous. He doesn’t, and the serpent bites him clean on the neck.

Zachary appears to be on the brink of death—until he isn’t. Suddenly he’s as spry and energetic as ever, and apparently even has a nifty new power: he can genuinely heal his people. He gives one guy, Pete, his entire leg back; another man, his sight.

But with great responsibility comes great trouble. In her art class, where she’s being hit on by the day’s model, Zed has a premonition of snakes that leads her and John to Zachary’s church. By the time they arrive, Zachary’s flock has grown to megachurch levels, but what really intrigues John is that Zachary speaks Enochian, the language of the angels.

Meanwhile, we learn that Zachary’s powers perhaps aren’t quite so angelic. During a visit to the doctor following the reappearance of his leg, Pete goes feral, letting loose guttural growls and pummeling him to death. He then continues his spree, tearing out a local cop’s innards before fleeing the scene.

Unaware that Zachary’s followers have begun a homicidal streak, John and Zed return to the pastor’s church, where Zed has a vision. John interrogates Zachary about the Enochian, but the preacher calmly dodges, saying he would never question the Lord’s gift. As Zed comprehends her vision, she realizes that Zachary is close to death. She attempts to defend his people and their faith, but John is too wary of Zachary’s powers. He suspects it’s taking a toll on the land, a suspicion proven correct when they visit a local river full of dead fish.

When John calls on Manny for help, the ever-capricious angel takes over Zed’s body—he appreciates the courtesy “please” John included in his summon spell—to present a clue: he tells John to look toward the sun before relinquishing his hold on Zed. With Zed back in control of her body, John has her hum a few bars of the Enochian that Zachary had spoken, which leads them to an angelic call from a pile of leaves. There they find a flesh-and-blood, yet clearly ailing, angel, who they bring to a barn to convalesce.

Zed is amazed by the angel, who reveals her name to be Imogen (no question more Poots than Heap). She was on her way to bring a dying mortal, Zachary, to heaven, but he ripped off one of her wing’s feathers. Consequently she was thrown into the physical realm and is slowly nearing death.

Imogen’s presence forces Manny to appear for longer than he ever has before, a welcome change from his flighty appearances of the past. Zed still can’t see him, but he’s able to speak to Imogen while revealing that he had no idea she was there–angels are evidently compartmentalized to prevent any tampering with humanity’s free will.

But tamper is what they may well have to do. Zachary wears the relic of Imogen around his neck, worshipping the feather in a manner that has his sister concerned. She’s sick but refuses to ask her brother for help because she can tell he’s changed. Sensing that she’s skeptical, Zachary kicks his sister out, not wanting her to taint his flock. Quite the stand-up guy he’s become.