‘Constantine’ 1.06 Recap: “Have Any of You Seen a Short Zombie?”

As the fate of ‘Constantine’ on NBC remains unclear, the network has committed to airing the rest of the show’s initial 13-episode order before it makes a decision about renewal or cancelation. I suppose I can stick with it that long. Thankfully, a Zed-free episode on Friday didn’t hurt at all.

Constantine’s pal Chas comments that Zed is off attending an art class at the beginning of episode ‘Rage of Caliban’, and that’s the last we hear of her. That works for me.

The plot this time sends Constantine and Chas to Birmingham, AL, where an angry spirit has been possessing children and murdering their parents. Its latest victim is a boy named Henry, who’s afraid of monsters and whose father is kind of a dick. After the ghost takes him over, Henry stops acting like such a whiny crybaby, which at least his mother finds suspicious. She grows more concerned when her son seriously hurts a playground bully he would normally cower in fear from.

The spirit has apparently been jumping from child to child for decades. In tracing its history, John visits what he believes to be the oldest victim, a man named Marcello who is currently catatonic in a mental hospital. He’s not a lot of help. Constantine follows a “psychic railroad,” which leads him to Henry’s house. When he tries to explain to the parents that their son is possessed, the father decks him and calls the police. John spends the night in jail, until the boy’s mother bails him out and asks for help.

Following Constantine’s instructions, the mother gives her son a shot that she claims is a vitamin booster but is really a sedative. They bring him to Marcello’s old house, where John intends to perform a séance and trap the spirit with a binding spell. Henry escapes, however, and John chases him to a carnival funhouse.

In a reasonably interesting twist, it turns out that the spirit is not the ghost of a dead child, as everyone believes. It’s really the still-living Marcello, psychically projecting himself into other bodies. Constantine is able to eject him from Henry’s body by making him mad and naming him.

As you’ve no doubt gathered, I’m no fan of the Zed character, so her absence here is a big plus for me. Even beyond that, this is one of the show’s better episodes so far. It’s well plotted, and has several quite funny moments. I wouldn’t say that this is an exceptional hour of television, but it’s solidly on par with an average episode of NBC’s ‘Grimm’, which is now in its fourth season. Perhaps there’s some hope for this series after all, assuming that the network doesn’t pull the plug.

3 comments

  1. Mark

    I can agree with you that the absence of Zed is a good thing in this episode. However, I don’t think this episode is going to be enough to spark new/continued interest in this show. I will commit to at least watching the end of the seasion, but I doubt I’ll be tuning in if season 2 gets approved.

    • Josh Zyber
      Author

      You’re probably right about that. I read somewhere that this was originally supposed to be the second episode of the season, but it got pushed back (and had some scenes reshot) in order to move up the introduction of Zed. If true, that’s probably not a good sign for the direction the show is heading.

  2. Robert Rogers

    it would be better if Zed was Zed the comic version is very punk and much better but that said I realize they are using dialog meant for a different character the actress in the pilot was not well received so was replaced with the Zed character like all shows even stuff like Agents of SHIELD the first season is only a water tester to find footing networks need to take more risks let a show run at least 2 seasons before the axe look at poor Almost Human

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