Remember how nice it was to have a Zed-free episode of ‘Constantine’? Sadly, the character (and the charisma void that is actress Angélica Celaya) is back at the forefront of the most recent episode, which is just one aspect that drags this entry down.
From what I understand, the show’s sixth episode was originally intended to air second after the pilot, but was pushed back and had scenes reshot in order to move up the episode that introduced Zed, under the assumption that she’d be a fan favorite character. The seventh episode, therefore, continues on the network mandated track that Zed be a prominent part of the show. That’s quite unfortunate. Celaya is at her most stilted and annoying yet.
‘Blessed Are the Damned’ brings Constantine and Zed to rural Kentucky, after an incompetent snake-handling preacher named Pastor Zachary got bitten by one of his rattlers, had a near-death experience, and inexplicably revived with a genuine ability to heal the sick. He makes rashes clear up, returns vision to the blind, and even causes an amputee’s leg to grow back right before everyone’s eyes. Zed is skeptical and assumes this is all a scam, but Constantine recognizes that Zachary is speaking the secret language of angels during his miracles. He’s playing with a dangerous power no mortal should have. As if to prove John right, the amputee starts behaving like a feral animal and goes on a kill spree, murdering both a doctor and a cop.
John calls for Manny the angel’s help, and has to use a spell to forcibly summon him when he won’t come willingly. Because only John can see angels, Zed thinks he’s acting crazy – as if nothing else she’s experienced with him has ever defied rational explanation before.
Manny insists that he’s not allowed to interfere with the world of man, just to observe, but gives John enough of a clue to point him in the direction of a wounded angel named Imogen (Megan West from ‘How to Get Away with Murder’). She says that Zachary pulled a feather from her wing as she was bringing him to Heaven, which caused her to crash to the mortal world (and allows Zed to see her). She’s very sick and needs her feather back. John leaves her in a barn and casts a protection spell around it to keep anything bad from getting in.
Pastor Zachary believes he’s doing the Lord’s work, and is oblivious to the fact that all of his miracles lead to negative consequences. Fish wash up dead on the lake shore, and other people he’s healed turn into deranged zombies (or “ghouls,” as John calls them). John has to kill the amputee guy when he attacks Zed.
Constantine confronts Zachary and tries to snatch the feather away, but is repelled by a magic forcefield. Zed attempts a more subtle approach, and pretends to be a convert to Zachary’s faith who wants him to baptize her. When he does so, she grabs the feather. This causes his whole congregation to go batshit and start a riot. Constantine and Zachary are forced to barricade themselves in the church while Zed runs to the barn to give Imogen her feather back.
As they’re fending off the ghouls, Zachary admits to John that he once killed a man in a hit-and-run and had sins to atone for. John realizes that when Zachary died, he wasn’t on his way to Heaven at all, but to Hell, and Imogen is not who she claims to be. Unfortunately, by this time, Zed already arrives at the barn and puts the feather back on Imogen’s wing – upon which the angel’s wings and outfit turn from white to black. Manny, who’d been sitting there keeping her company, suddenly comprehends that Imogen is a fallen angel. She gave Zachary the feather on purpose so that she could come to the mortal plane, and now that she has it back, intends to wreak havoc.
Imogen’s plan doesn’t entirely make sense to me. Couldn’t she have just plucked out a feather on her own? Now that she has it back, how is she still in the mortal world, and how can Zed still see her? Shouldn’t she move back to the spiritual plane? The details of this bit of mythology are not well explained.
Anyway, Imogen tries to fly out of the barn, but crashes into an invisible dome. John’s protection spell has a side effect of keeping her inside. John arrives, and Imogen easily overpowers him. He begs for Manny’s help, but the angel insists that he’s still not allowed to interfere. Eventually, however, he breaks that rule and rips Imogen’s heart right out of her chest.
Wrapping things up, Pastor Zachary apologizes to his flock and is quickly forgiven. John returns home with the still-beating angel heart and puts it in a jar on a shelf.
In a side story, Zed flirts with the nude model dude from her art class. He asks her out to dinner, but she winds up bailing due to being exhausted from her other adventures. That’s lucky for her, because the guy is somehow bad and has been spying on her.
In addition to Celaya’s continued inability to act, this episode is particularly dull and has really lame action and fight choreography during the zombie rampage scenes. At no point did I believe that John’s punches actually connected with the people he was swinging at. More distressing is the way the episode brushes off John killing the amputee guy. After Imogen dies, the rest of her victims return to their normal selves, which suggests that the amputee could have been saved as well if John hadn’t dismissively murdered him. This isn’t at all acknowledged in the episode. Failure to think through its plots is a prime reason why ‘Constantine’ continues to frustrate me greatly.