TV Review: Constantine

The latest installment of Constantine was an impressively meaty episode that featured multiple interesting threads as well a surprise plot twist left-field enough to impress that left me with the grim certainty that should that be the last we see of Constantine, a show that has suffered from the beginning from gloomily negative predictions despite generally positive reviews and reasonable ratings given the time slot and other new shows starting at a similar time, we loyal viewers would lose out on some genuinely good TV.

However. As an avid watcher of A) crime dramas, and B) anything involving supernatural shenanigans of various kinds, I’m seen my fair share of series finales, and, in the main, they do at least one of two things. (Sometimes they do both. Sometimes they do neither. I’m talking generally, here). Some shows finish up the season in a haze of adrenaline-induced glory, packing in as much action, violence, and high-stakes drama as they can, secure in the knowledge that the viewer will be stunned enough to remember being stunned, and so will return to watch again in the future. Others take a different tack, leaving the viewer with far more questions than answers, and only one way to solve that problem.

Then there’s Constantine.

Disregarding the last five or ten minutes for the moment, it didn’t feel like a series finale. Despite multiple plot threads, it was bizarrely slowly paced, positively ambling along until it eventually stumbled into the shocking conclusion, and with little to suggest that the stakes had been raised at all. It was supposed to be the climax of the first season, and yet it felt much like the other episodes.

That may have been the case because of the unfortunate circumstances surrounding Constantine’s production. As I understand it, the series was initially intended to be much longer, and so, logically, 1×13 was not intended to be the finale. As I’ll come on to discuss, it’s a good episode in itself, well crafted and interesting, so perhaps it didn’t feel like a series finale simply because it was never intended to be, and was only turned into one on short notice. Regardless, whatever the reason behind it, as a climatic, concluding episode it didn’t quite fit.

Of course, such a conclusion would be to disregard the last ten minutes. To take the ending into account colours the rest of the episode in a markedly more favourable light, as the aforementioned slow pacing succeeded quite masterfully in lulling me into a false sense of security that left me wide open and thoroughly shocked by the concluding senses. Intended or not, it was a clever move, and I honestly cannot remember the last time I was quite so surprised. Bravo and all that.

To take a relatively wider angle on the episode, equally enjoyable was this week’s line-up. It was nice to see Zed interacting with Jim Corrigan, and while I missed Chas’s enlivening presence, he was a more than reasonable replacement. And with John Constantine at the helm, taking his enemies for a merry chase with a nod, a wink, and a barbed comment always at the ready, the combination worked. I preferred the ensemble feel to last week’s episode, but, equally, I enjoyed the way bringing Corrigan back into the group isolated John, highlighting his vulnerabilities, his strengths, and those essential personality traits that the series as a whole has been steadily revealing to us.

To conclude, although there were parts of the episode that didn’t work for me, it finished on an undoubtedly high note, and left me more than a little invested in the possibility of future episodes. Furthermore, Constantine is a show that has provided intriguing storylines, wonderfully entertaining dialogue, excellent acting performances across the board, and enough spells, blood, and general weirdness to keep itself thoroughly immersed in its chosen genre. An admirable performance from all sides, and something I would love to see more of.

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