John has to team up with Papa Midnite and a new friend, Jim Corrigan, to stop a trio of spirits terrorizing on New Orleans.
After last week’s big improvement of an episode, Constantine continued down the right path with “Danse Vaudou.” The episode brings back the imposing Papa Midnite, gives John’s trusty pal Chas more of a spotlight, and expands into more of the DC Comics universe by introducing Emmett Scanlan as detective Jim Corrigan.
Splitting the episode’s attention among all these characters leads to what is perhaps the most structurally conventional episode of Constantine so far. That’s not necessarily a knock against the episode, but unsurprisingly, as has been the case in prior weeks, “Vaudou” is at its best when John is bouncing off his friends, or begrudgingly cooperative enemies in the case of Midnite. The plights of John, Zed, and Chas play out to varying degrees of success, but there’s enough promise from the episode’s high points to maintain the show’s promise that “A Feast of Friends” demonstrated.
A location swap was in order for “Vaudou,” however, after a mysterious murder occurs in New Orleans (not that John get out of bed for anything less than a peculiar death). Detective Corrigan, relieving himself in an alleyway next to a bar, drunkenly stumbles into a crime scene. A chatty woman on her phone walking through the same alley encounters another woman wearing a surgical mask. “Do you think I’m pretty,” Mask Girl asks, and the other woman can barely form a syllable before this masked figure stabs her with a pair of sewing shears. Jim unloads a full clip from his gun on Mask Girl, but the bullets disappear as she flees the scene.
Such a bizarre death calls out to John, Zed, and Chas on their magical map of America. The trio makes the trek after Zed has a vision of a small boy being taught to shoot a gun by his mother, which will prove to come in handy.
They arrive on the scene, where John pulls out one of his many supernatural gadgets for detecting otherworldly presences. Jim appears in the alleyway, and he doesn’t take too kindly to occult investigators, or con men, as he sees the group. The detective is even more thrown off when Zed asks him about what his mother taught him about shooting–it seems Jim is the young boy from Zed’s vision, wearing the same scowl on his face 20 years later.
Later that evening, Zed has another vision, this time of a roadway in the woods. A car swerves into view and almost hits Zed, but, indicating a second spirit is wreaking havoc in the area
Who might be in that car? Well, it’s a good chance it’s Phillip, the young man who hitches a ride from a creepy older man. Their trip is short lived, as the lanky boy disappears from the passenger’s seat and pops up, bloodied and bruised, directly in front of the man’s car. The surprise causes the man to lose control of his car, which careens straight into a tree. Looks like Zed is two for two with these visions tonight.
John, Zed, and Chas investigate the crash, but there’s no sign of Phillip and the now-deceased old man. To make matters worse, Jim shows up to arrest John. “Anyone who calls the police about an accident before it happens isn’t a psychic, he’s a murderer,” he says to John.
NEXT: John finds help in the unlikeliest of places
Now tasked with spirit watch, Chas goes to confront Mask Girl. She reveals what exactly lies underneath her mask–a brutally scarred face. Chas tires to ease the situation by telling the spirit she is still pretty, but it doesn’t look like there will be a second date. She stabs Chas until he crumples to the floor. Paramedics arrive to find Chas dead… until he isn’t. He wakes up, telling those tending to him that he simply bumped his head, and requests a fresh, less bloody shirt.
While Chas gives his life, again, for John, Constantine sits chained to Jim’s desk, where the detective has to reconcile with the idea that he’s hunting spirits, not humans. “What did I shoot,” he asks John, providing Scanlan a great chance to showcase the reserved vulnerability integral to his portrayal of Jim. Corrigan is a hard ass, but he is also thrown by this completely ludicrous situation.
Jim and John then seek out what connects these two specters. Mask Girl, once a model, committed suicide after another model slashed her face open. John goes to question the still living model, who speaks of the guilt that still haunts her. But a man by the name of Papa Midnite helped to soothe her spirit. It appears he did the same for Phillip’s grandmother, who Zed discovers blames herself for the death of her grandson.
To make matters worse, Midnite is communicating with another departed soul, the husband of a woman who regrets never saying goodbye to her cancer-stricken spouse. Midnite performs the ritual in front of a traveling circus of voodoo worshipers, but is interrupted mid-seance by John. Constantine chastises Midnite for raising the dead, but the voodoo priest believe he has only spoken with their spirits. Still, he trusts John enough to investigate what the exorcist is telling him, after knocking John unconscious for good measure. He reaches out to one last spirit–his sister–to ask if John speaks the truth. Viewers don’t hear her answer, but Midnite doesn’t seem to like it. So it’s probably a “yes.”
Midnite checks in on the woman who just requested his services, but finds her dead husband in perfect health now sitting on the couch next to her while she now seems to be deathly ill.
Shaken, Midnite leaves and gets into his car, only to find John’s smug face staring back at him from the driver’s seat, though he had previously been locked in the trunk. The two agree to work together after John indicates a “rising darkness” is conflicting with Midnite’s magic.
John and his ever-growing motley crew spread out to put these spirits to rest. Jim and Zed find Phillip after a tense conversation in which Jim intimates he knows Zed and her real name. Dealing with the spirit in their car takes precedence, however. As he poofs out of their car and into the road, Zed decides not to swerve. Instead, she rams right into him, blowing Phillip up into a puff of smoke.
NEXT: You’ve looking a bit green, Jim
John and Midnite’s job is a bit more unseemly. The two become grave robbers, collecting the bodies of the three spirits they know of while hoping there aren’t more strolling through the French Quarter. The mismatched duo transports the wrapped corpses to Midnite’s lair, where they attempt a spell to stop the spirits. Try as they might, though, the spell fails miserably. As John and Midnite argue over what went wrong, John realizes what ties the spirits together–the guilt of those who survived after them.
With this revelation, John calls on Zed and Chas’ help one last time. Zed goes for another drive with Phillip, during which she tells the deceased teen about his grandmother, which calms him. Chas finds the model’s spirit, and fights her question of beauty with more questions. The tactic stuns the spirit, giving John and Midnite a window to attempt the spell again. This time, the spirits and fire do their job thanks to the presence of the survivors.
Jim takes the small moment of victory, which has clearly frightened him, to revisit Zed, who sits at the scene of Phillip’s death. He reveals where he recognizes her from–a missing person case he worked. He promises the case won’t cause trouble for her but Zed has a vision that might mean trouble for him. Zed sees Jim before her, covered in blood and surrounded by a strange green mist. And that green is a familiar color to anyone who knows Jim Corrigan’s alter ego in DC’s comic universe.
The situation isn’t much prettier for John, who hears a foreboding message from Midnite’s sister back at the priest’s makeshift temple. “All your efforts are in vain. A darkness is coming, heralded by someone close to you. Someone who will betray you,” Papa Midnite relays to John. It doesn’t look like the world is going to ease up on John any time soon, does it?
Between Heaven and Hell
– In Zed’s vision, Jim’s mother mentions a man who might approach Jim as a reason for knowing how to shoot. The show excels at hinting at nearly every character’s dark past, but I hope we actually will see all of these build ups pay off later in the season. And the mention of John’s mother at the end of the episode only increased that desire.
– John’s iSpirit smart watch may not be the most practical accessory, but I would definitely buy one of those.
– Constantine continues to lightly hint at some spark between John and Zed, but the show doesn’t push a scene like the one they share at the hotel early in the episode into a forced or overly romantic territory.
– John’s shining moment of the week? Breaks out of Jim’s cuffs and then taking a sip of the detective’s coffee just to add a little more insult may be John at his most devilishly amusing. Though apologizing to Midnite for showing up to the seance empty-handed because he couldn’t find a dessert that went with pig’s blood is a close second.
– I haven’t mentioned it up to this point, but Bear McCreary’s main theme is phenomenal. It’s not unexpected given his impressive body of work, but it lends such an air of cool to the proceedings that it deserves some recognition.
– So for more well-versed fans of the DC universe than I, how did the introduction of Corrigan/The Spectre work out? Was the tease of a green aura too much, or just enough to hope that the character, in both incarnations, returns to the show?