Review: Constantine Episode 3 “The Devil’s Vinyl”

by David Hestand III
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Constantine continues the formula laid out so far with the supernatural item/foe of the week.  Hopefully this method goes away fairly soon and we get some semblance of an ongoing storyline going.  But there are more things to learn and people to meet!

This week we were introduced to some new supernatural gadgets, like the tracker nails and the hand of glory.  At the same time, we got an introduction to soul brokering and got some explanation as to why Constantine can’t just whip out the hand of glory and other more powerful spells whenever, as they all come at a cost.

The evil item this week was “The Acetate,” which is not a menacing name at all.  The Devil’s Vinyl is a far more intimidating name.  But, we got to meet Papa Midnite this week, and that was a very welcome addition.


The cast is great.  Chas is a lot of fun, when we get to see him.  Zed is coming into her own quite well.  Constantine himself is still just as excellent as he was in the premiere.  Papa Midnite was excellent.  His moment of “professional courtesy” was great, and helped sell me on the kind of foe he will be.  I look forward to him coming back.

More magical gadgets and gizmos is a lot of fun, but I hope they start putting in more than are really necessary in episodes moving forward.  Because if we only introduce one or two (the nails and the card) you can rest assured that they will play into the climax.  As his bag of tricks grows we will get more surprises that are completely valid twists.

I still do love the show’s use of humor.  John Constantine is a fairly humorous character, using it as a defense mechanism as Liv noted back in the pilot, but other elements get laughs as well.  The best was when the soul broker had to literally eat the contract.  Humorous sight indeed that really ended the episode on a fairly positive note.


Deus Ex Psychic risks getting old really fast.  Not a fair negative right now probably, as the tiger was kind of a neat way to do it.  But plot visions like this will gum up the pacing if we aren’t careful.  That nitpick aside, this episode was a bit split tonally.  The first half flowed like a mystery, but the second felt more like an action movie as the body count rose quickly.  Sadly, the horror elements were almost completely missing this week.  They were sparse the first two episodes so it was odd to see them so lacking this go round.

Overall, the story managed fairly well, especially given our danger here was a record.  It was creepy enough for the first fifteen minutes or so, and then started to lose its luster.  Papa Midnite did an effective job of saving that storyline, but overall Constantine needs to start really amping up its storylines.  We will probably be stuck with episodic for a few more episodes, but pretty soon they’re going to have to stop trying to sell us on the cast.  We like them, now give us great story to go with them.

The Verdict

A not overly exciting trip to Chicago is saved by Constantine’s great cast and newcomer Papa Midnite.  Things still haven’t taken off yet, but Constantine is still an enjoyable watch each week.


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