A man who tries to keep the balance in the mystical universe no matter what the price is. His tv show comes across as generic and leaves you with the feeling “that’s been done before,” but it’s actually the other way around. John Constantine’s character has been used in other shows. Most notably, Supernatural. He’s got Sam’s knowledge of the occult, Dean’s attitude and dresses like Castiel. This is my review of the television show Constantine, the Hellblazer as he’s called in the comics.
Let’s begin with a cloudy day shot of the entrance to a mental asylum called Ravenscar in Northern England, where John Constantine (Matt Ryan) is receiving a lobotomy. He does a voice-over explaining who he is and that he went into the asylum, voluntarily. It’s his line of work as an exorcist, some days he would rather forget what he’s seen and the hard choices he makes. He’s put in a chair in a small office facing a doctor at the asylum who thinks that when Constantine mentions demon, it’s a metaphor and not an actual demon. He’s trying to get over the death of a little girl that happened one night in Newcastle. He isn’t sad that she’s died, he’s more worried about her soul being dragged to hell. He just wants to forget, but he can’t.
He’s in therapy with others and he sees a group of strange bugs so he follows that instead of hearing about the lives of the mundane people in the group session. He follows the bugs to an art room where a possessed woman is painting something on the wall with bugs. Dealing with this sort of thing is Constantine’s work, but he doesn’t want to help. He tries walking away, but something inside him compels him to walk back and help. He performs an exorcism on the woman and realizes that he needs to leave and continue to help others. He sees a message on the wall that reads “Liv Die”
In Atlanta, Georgia, Liv, played by Season 1 Preacher actress Lucy Griffiths, is working late at a car rental place. She’s in her car, but it won’t back up because there’s an object behind the car so she goes to investigate. The car starts revving for no reason and stops. She’s walking now and streetlights flicker with the ground below her, starting to crack. A massive sinkhole with fire shooting at it, exactly what you want to see after walking home from work. She’s running away and a yellow taxi pulls up with Constantine popping out, throwing her a wisecrack about her pepper spray.He’s dressed in a suit with a long brown coat and gives her his business card. He’s in the sinkhole investigating what happened as a whooshing sound is heard. He turns to see an angel with dark wings, Manny. He was asked to watch over John but he doesn’t like working with angels.
Liv gets home to relax and unwind, but a strange figure draws something on her door. Later on, one of her neighbors is killed and she sees the body and the marking on her front door.
Her neighbor is taken away in a body bag by a paramedic, but it’s possessed. He stops his van to check on her and she kills him.Liv meets up with John who introduces her to his oldest friend, Chas. He put the markings on her door to protect her. John talks to her about her father, Jasper Winters, and gives her a bag. Before she can check, the paramedic van drives behind them and into the car rental place. John and Liv go to investigate as Liv sees her neighbour, possessed and sticking out of the windscreen.
Liv escapes and goes to see her mom about the pendant in the small bag that John gave her. As she holds it, she sees her nana with black eyes, bleeding black from her mouth. She drives off, but stops because John is in the road. He grabs her arms and sees the world for what it really is, dark, bleak and full of dark souls roaming around in the skies. He can’t see it, but she can. All the souls are trapped on the earthly realm, looking to leave and move on. She sees that they’re both on train tracks and a speeding train is heading towards them. John won’t let go of her as the train passes through them. He explains that her father’s gift was passed onto her and the pendant helps her focus her energy. Chas turns up in his taxi and the three of them drive off, but the entity that’s chasing them is relentless and causes the taxi to crash into a truck.
After a quick flashback to the night in Newcastle, John wakes up to Liv shouting that she’s trapped in the taxi wreckage. An electric wire is possessed and moves like a snake, but with electricity sparking out of it. John tries performing an exorcism on it as Liv escapes with him, but Chas is stabbed through the chest by it and dies. John and Liv make it to a small country house, even though she has a lot of concerns about what happened.
The inside of the country house is huge, but outside it’s no bigger than a barn. It was owned by Liv’s dad and in the event of his death, it’s hers. It’s the mystical equivalent of a Tardis, the blue police box from Doctor Who. John searches the books and finds the demon’s name, Furcifer, which does sound like a cat owned by Lucifer. Furcifer can manifest lightning in tempests, which explains the lights flickering earlier and the electrical wire with a mind of its own.
Liv holds the pendant over a map of Atlanta and blood drips from her hand, through the pendant and onto the map. The blood flows to where Furcifer will be attacking next. John is in an old pickup truck and Manny shows up. John is angry with the angels and talks about time pressures so Manny freezes time. Manny criticizes John for his work as an exorcist and hints that even though John is damned to hell, he can save his own soul. John goes to see his friend, who works as a college professor, Ritchie. He doesn’t want anything to do with John because he was also there that night in Newcastle. John twists his arm into helping.
John comes back to the Tardis house as Liv shrieks. Chas is also there, alive. John comments on Chas’s survival skills, which I will cover in a future article. They go to a building’s rooftop by bribing the security guard with cash. John uses white paint to draw a demon seal. Furcifer has to enter the circle so John can send it to Hell. They wait as Liv tries to talk to John, she comments on how he deflects emotions with humor a lot. He talks about his horrible childhood. The security guard appears, but he’s possessed by Furcifer. He enters the demon seal and John tries to exorcise him, but he changes form into demon Constantine, who antagonizes John about his actions.
It’s almost over with Furcifer using electricity, but John fires off a flare gun. Ritchie is in a van and uses his laptop to shut down power to the whole city. Furcifer is confused, John throws a lighter, the demon seal is set alight with Furcifer trapped and Astra, the little girl from Newcastle is crying and hugging Furcifer, who continues to taunt John. Furcifer is using Astra to guilt trip John into freeing him. Liv sees that it’s not Astra. This makes John very angry and he angrily exorcises Furcifer to Hell.
Liv is being driven by Ritchie, but she sees where Furcifer was attacking from the location on the map with the blood. She felt guilty that she couldn’t save the person so she leaves.Chas tells John, who is drinking in a bar, that even though she left he needs to keep fighting. She used the map and blood trouble finding thing before she left, now John knows where to find evil. Manny takes over the barman and complains about John’s actions, but John gave Liv a choice so she left. A cocky voice-over at the end and a woman who is drawing exactly what he’s been doing. Who is this woman and how is she drawing someone she’s never met? I guess you’ll find out in my next review.
It is a fantastic show that got cancelled after a season, but I hope it is revived for another network. You can find me on Twitter with the handle @immiebroods to discuss this gem of a show or if you haven’t seen it, I hope this review convinces you to watch it.