Sunday, January 18, 2015

Constantine, Season 1, Episode 9: The Saint of Last Resorts Part 2

So, last episode John was in a rather unfortunate situation, which is where we join him now, bleeding from a gunshot wound with the terrifying Invuche closing in.

Anne Marie takes the babies to Hugo, pausing only to apologise to Chas waiting at the mouth of the tunnel. The Invuche bites John’s leg and he pushes it away before enchanting an amulet and pushing the red hot metal into his arm. When the Invunche attacks again, John’s eyes glow red and he growls at it. The Invunche runs away.

That’s probably not a good sign.

Manny appears and the angel is not happy – he rants about not being able to be of god and of the devil. As Manny rants, John’s red eyes fade and he comes back to himself. Manny says John invited  a demon into his body  though John points out it worked – the demon healed him. John also points out that god and angels weren’t coming to help him though Manny counters John never asked (but then, how many times has Manny said he can’t intervene?). Manny now says it’s not that he can’t help John, but he won’t – and he turns and walks away

Again, let me remind us all of the many times Manny has claimed to be UNABLE to help.

Chas finds John and helps him out and John is pretty blasé about Anne Marie shooting him (adding that he did kind of deserve it). He also tells Chas that he is possessed by Azuzu – and that he has a couple of days before he’s truly possessed and if John can’t de-possess himself in that time Chas will have to kill him. Chas isn’t thrilled by that plan, or John’s plan for a self-exorcism

At which point John starts drooling, gains glowing red eyes and throws Chas a considerable distance roaring “I will not be cast out” before turning and running

Over to Zed who has been kidnapped and is in the back of a van next to a wrapped body – she has a vision of a nun (Anne-Marie I think). The driver talks about taking her back to the father and she starts hammering on the back doors of the van. He stops to drug her again but Zed isn’t so easily stopped – she injects him with his own syringe. He gasps “your father will never stop” and she kicks him repeatedly, saying she’d rather die than go back.

Chas calls Zed to tell him what John just did and Zed tells Chas she had a vision of Anne Marie. He asks for Zed’s help and, while hiding from a car, she agrees to get on the first flight to Mexico City.

And John wakes up surrounded by mangled bodies with the police moving in in force. He is chained up and taken to a prison. There he has a meeting with Stanley Gibson from the British consulate. The dead people around John were apparently a street gang who attacked him. John rants and raves and demands to be released urgently but Stanley says he can’t – and when John grabs him, he yells for the guards.

John pays an inmate called Julio to help guide him around the prison especially since other members of the Santa Muerte gang practically control the prison and are planning vengeance against John for killing their fellows. Manny drops in for more banter, taunting and some actual pathos from John who is not ready to die along with some reminders about the Rising Darkness being the Brujeria.

Julio leads him to a chapel where John plans to perform the exorcism, but Julio also leads 3 Santa Muerte gang members to him as well. Things get demonic and messy.

John wakes up in the prison yard, a little worse for wear and blood stained – and everyone gives him a very wide berth. He quickly makes it clear he now runs the prison, not the Santa Muerte gang and everyone needs to sod off – which they do very quickly, except for Julio.

Zed arrives in Mexico and after hearing the stakes she suggests that they use Anne Marie to find John as she did before. Chas doesn’t think she’ll want to – but Zed is pretty sure she can convince her.

They go to confront her and Anne tries to claim the moral highground because she’s part of the church and knows right from wrong – and Zed throws back that John talks to an angel. That Anne kneels night after night trying to be heard by god while John has Heaven on speed dial. Ouch, nice one Zed.

Back to Stanley who has a surprise visit from the Brujeria – he assures them that the prison will keep John and then the Burjeria eats him. Nasty. You’ll get indigestion bolting your food like that

Annie does her astral projection thing to appear before John and be snarky and unpleasant. He repeats his intention to kill himself if he can’t banish Azuzu.

She does find out where John is though and Zed and Chas arrive with John’s extensive exorcism kit – including a heart-stabby-demon-banishing blade. Zed sneaks her way in with cunning, Chas gets himself beaten up and dragged in. Zed and John end up in a private room together – with Azuzu threatening to rise. Annie joins them (using the authority of her nun’s habit). She tells Zed both that john things he has every situation under control and he makes others believe it (which is both a blessing and a curse – and kind of awesome) – and that Zed really should leave John; she wishes someone had told her to do the same.

As they tether John on the gym, the Brujeria consulate guy arrives. He turns into a horrible multiple-snake-headed monster and interrupts the exorcism. He dramatically introduces himself – the Temptor, the original serpent from the garden of Eden, working with the Brujeria. John begs Anne Marie to use the heart-stabby knife as the Temptor kills Chas – but at the last instant she turns and stabs the Temptor instead – killing him and destroying the knife. The guards come in, a little late

John wakes again, cuffed to a hospital bed, he’s all demonic and Anne Marie stands over him with a much less impressive blade. He manages to come back to himself before any unfortunate stabbing happens. Chas wakes up in his body bag (everyone calmly accepting his resurrection).

Plan B is to get John to the Mill where the wards may weaken the demon enough for an exorcism to work. This means drugging John with a full prison’s worth of heroin (thanks to Julio) to keep him sedated enough to make the journey without the demon taking over and sneaking out with Anne Marie providing a naked astral projection distraction.

At the Mill it’s exorcism time – and John convinces Anne Marie to do it. Dramatic exorcism time – lots of drama, explosions, darkness and John saying terrible things to the three around him under the influence of Azuzu. Anne Marie despairs that she can’t do it, her faith isn’t strong enough – so Zed gives her a pep talk, drawing on her vision of Anne Marie’s guilt – her guilt over introducing John to magic and creating him.

She returns to the ritual – and banishes Azuzu. John is free – and even Manny drops in for a brief smile.

Anne Marie tells Zed she should tell John about the people following her. Then she and John have a touching and very real goodbye scene before John, Chas and Zed have a happy bonding moment.

Well that was a nicely dramatic, sinister and spooky conclusion to the first part – and really what Constantine should always be about – dark, twisted and full of terrible terrible choices. John called a demon into himself in sheer desperation, John again making a terrible decision because he has so few options left.

Against that backdrop there’s also the wonderful conflict of Manny and Anne Marie both condemning John for being selfish and not taking the righteous path. But equally we have seen that both of these characters have been completely inactive in the fight against the Rising Dark. In fact, both of them have called on John to act on their behalf against the Rising Darkness because he will do what they cannot or will not do. They keep their hands clean by making John do their dirty work – and after asking him to delve into the lion’s den so they don’t have to, they then judge him for doing what he can to not only defeat the monsters but to come out of it alive. It’s easy to be pure and judgemental when you send other people in to do your dirty work.

I hope that Zed will tell John about her family so we can turn the focus that way for a while; Zed has been terribly underused.