I realize that I’m late with this. The season (and likely series) finale episode of ‘Constantine’ aired almost two weeks ago. I let episodes get backlogged on my DVR and failed to recap one, but I pledged to myself to see this thing through, so let’s wrap it up.
As most viewers are no doubt aware, ‘Constantine’ struggled in the ratings throughout its first season. Although NBC has still not officially announced its cancelation yet, the network declined to order the “Back 9” episodes to complete a full season order and has shown no indication of committing to a second season. All signs point to the show being done, at least on NBC. The producers are reportedly trying to shop it around to other networks such as Syfy. We’ll see how that goes.
The finale, called ‘Waiting for the Man’, feels very disjointed, as if it started out as a typical “Freak of the Week” episode but had a bunch of extra storylines shoehorned into it to provide a sense of closure for the series – or, at the very least, to set up a cliffhanger in a desperate bid for renewal.
The main storyline concerns a skeezy Cajun redneck creep who kidnaps and “marries” little girls. He’s known only as “The Man.” As the episode starts, his three creepy child brides lure a new girl named Vesta to join their little family. Vesta does not seem terribly bright, or she would immediately recognize how scary the other girls are and how disgustingly pervy The Man is. He’s not subtle about it at all.
Constantine and Zed travel to New Orleans to investigate this at the behest of their cop friend Jim Corrigan, who was introduced back in Episode 5. The case of the missing girl is also tied to a murdered cop whose body was mummified and marked with something John recognizes as the “Devil’s Branding Iron.” The perpetrator is a Satanist, which is not good news considering that a Blood Moon is coming.
Just as they’re about to get to work, the corpse of the dead cop is suddenly possessed by the spirit of John’s friend Gary Lester, who has apparently died since we last saw him in Episode 4 when John locked a demon in his body and left him to rot. Gary seems to have gotten over that and forgiven Constantine. He pops up to warn John that the dark underworld forces of the Brujeria have placed a bounty on his head.
Eager to collect that bounty is John’s old nemesis Papa Midnite. Yes, it indeed feels like everyone who’s ever appeared on the show has been crammed into this one episode.
As part of some alleged Tibetan ritual, John eats a sample of Vesta’s hair and electrocutes himself in order to enter a trance state and locate her. Meanwhile, Midnite turns one of his underlings into a voodoo zombie and sends him to kill John, but the zombie is unsuccessful.
Realizing that he’s just going to have to do this himself, Midnite finds and shoots John. He explains that his sister is trapped in the underworld and collecting this bounty will free her soul. Then he shoots John in the head. However, the body then turns into the zombie. John cast a spell to trick Midnite into seeing his face on the zombie’s body. Isn’t it convenient the way he always has a spell for any occasion?
On the night of her wedding, Vesta has second thoughts and runs off. The Man chases after her through an old abandoned carnival or something. John finds the corpses of his other child brides, who I guess were dead the whole time. I think? Before The Man can catch Vesta, Zed comes from out of nowhere and hits him on the head with a shovel. Rather than arrest him, Corrigan lets him run and then shoots him. John releases the spirits of the three dead girls while Corrigan and Zed make out.
Manny the angel sets Papa Midnite free and informs him that the contract on John has been canceled. Midnite asks if he works for the Brujeria, to which Manny replies that that Brujeria work for him and then flies off with an evil cackle.
Yeah, I don’t get it. I guess this is supposed to be a plot twist that Manny has been evil and behind the “Rising Darkness” business the whole time, but that doesn’t make a lot of sense and contradicts previous episodes.
This finale episode isn’t bad, per se, but it’s very messy. The main plot with The Man doesn’t amount to anything. I would have preferred to see a whole hour that fleshes out the Rising Darkness storyline a lot more coherently.
Also, I swear that Angélica Celaya has somehow gotten even worse as an actress the more episodes she’s done. She’s really terrible in this one.
‘Constantine’ is largely a case of missed opportunities. Just as the show was starting to find its footing, it’s over. The finale isn’t particularly satisfying, but if this is all we’re going to get, I suppose it will do. Even if it never really lived up to its potential, I don’t regret watching the series. In the unlikely event that it gets another season on this network or another, I will probably watch again.