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.