Review: Constantine Episode 1 “Non Est Asylum”

The supernatural side of DC has hit TV screens, and it is quite a piece of work.  John Constantine has checked himself into an asylum to try to quell some of his pain and grief.  But, a spirit comes to him to let him know that his job is not quite done yet.

We then proceed at almost breakneck pace through the plot, as Constantine goes to save the daughter of a former friend of his.  A demon from the inner circle is out to get Liv, and Constantine, in order to be “even” with his friend, goes to protect her.  The electricity controlling demon goes out of his way to hunt the girl down, possessing a corpse of a girl he killed and a security guard to get to Liv.  The demon tries to trick John by preying on his mistakes, but Constantine’s trap wins out the confrontation.

Constantine covers a lot of information in its first outing.  We’ve got a bit of magical explaining to do, have to introduce characters, and get through a single story.  Daunting, yes, but Constantine manages to cover it all and end without making you feel too lost.  Scares are not rampant, but we get just enough jumps to have us tasting the hopefully soon-to-increase horror element at play in the series.

There are several Easter Eggs like the Helmet of Fate and Pandora’s Box popping up here as well.  Probably even more are in the house where Constantine and Liv went to hide.


Matt Ryan was born to play Constantine.  He owned the role right out of the gate in this episode, and his performance alone has me clamoring for more.  Though there was some occasional not so great chemistry, casting was great across the board.  Chaz, Manny, Ritchie, all of these guys did great.

The Pilot also did a good job of acquainting viewers with some of the rules of this dark and magical universe.  It did not, try to cram it all into one episode.  As Constantine himself put it “If you’re not confused, then you’re not paying attention.”  True words.  If they tried to explain every detail about how this worked, the viewers would be bored and they wouldn’t have had much story take place.


Liv being written out was quite obvious.  I’m okay with it though, as her chemistry with Constantine was one of the weaker parts of the pilot itself.  More than that though, I would probably just grow to hate her if she were forced to ask questions and be basically a lost sheep for the whole season.  Replacing her with Zed is a smart move on the writers’ part.  She’s not necessarily a bad character, but Zed offers more opportunities.  Plus, she’s not dead so she could feasibly still be used later, if they really wanted to bring her back.

The story itself was nothing too special.  I know it’s a pilot, but I still would rather see more of a conflict brewing as opposed to just being told the conflict is brewing.  Right now, the simple demon-of-the-week feel was a little disappointing.

The Verdict

Constantine is dripping with potential.  Matt Ryan’s Constantine alone should get many viewers back for more, but there’s still plenty of enjoyment to be had throughout the episode.  Once it has found it’s footing, Constantine will quickly be right up there with the action and story the keeps fans aching for more.