Review: Constantine Episode 4 “A Feast of Friends”

Constantine was pitted against a powerful hunger demon in this week’s episode.  As an old friend from Constantine’s past popped up, he dealt with some past feelings.  Along the way, Zed gets clued into the events of Newcastle.

This story itself comes straight from the first issues of Hellblazer, one of John’s first outings.  Some things have been changed from the original, such as Papa Midnite’s original inclusion, but the story manages quite well.  Horror elements are mostly the gross-out variety, but they shock quite effectively.

All in all, this episode was more predominantly focused on emotion than anything else.  We had no interaction with Chas (who did not even appear), no real new magical gadgets, and not a huge amount of new demon information.  This episode was all about guilt, and it handled that theme extremely effectively.

Positives

Horror elements were surprisingly effective this week.  The lack of true scares made the scenes like the possessed back-bend and the pulling out of the eyeball during the drug trip work that much better.

There also a few cool effects sequences.  The psychic vision of the drug addiction was pretty cool, as was the weird drug trip with the shaman (who was also kind of a cool character).

Of all the elements at play here the guilt focus was strongest.  John’s old friend Gary’s struggle with drugs was a strong one, even with his new introduction.  The themes at play with him worked well when compared with how Constantine himself has been dealing with his own post-Newcastle guilt.  Showing how he had lost himself to drug addiction, especially when coupled with his being high during the events of Newcastle, painted Gary as just as much of a loser as John believed him to be.  And when the final choice is made, the reality hurts.  The lead in, with Manny’s visit and more helps to set up the fact that Constantine cares for his friend, even if he knows it is the only way.  And the beauty of it to me came when Zed accused him of tricking him when Constantine claimed it was Gary’s choice.  The beauty was just in how much it felt like both.

The final scene with John by Gary’s bed and Manny appearing to sit with them got me feeling like few shows have recently.

Negatives

The demon itself was a bit underwhelming.  It was frightening when on the loose and when trapped, sure.  But in other situations, it wasn’t causing as much damage or terror as one would expect from such a powerful demon.  What made the situation worse was when Constantine locked it in the meat locker.  Nearly killed the momentum when we were left with nothing working in the background to raise the stakes.

Zed was also a little bit of a pain this week.  Her anger at Constantine just fixed itself a bit too quick there at the finale.

The Verdict

Though we got a demon who was more powerful in word than deed, Constantine had what was easily its best outing this week.  Hopefully, we will see even more of this moving forward.

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  • Caitlin Green

    Yes, that was an intense episode, much closer to the source text than any of the previous three episodes. It was dark, twisted and tragic, what makes JC so compelling. Zed was certainly just window dressing in this episode, and the demon was not so scary on the surface.

    I am not sure how long this show will last, but at least it is delving deeply into the rich world of “Hellblazer.” I was truly surprised that the network allowed it to veer so much into themes of guilt, atonement and sacrifice. It was impressive.