Constantine Series Premiere Recap: Episode 01.01

Constantine series premierePhoto by: Quantrell Colbert/NBC
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Constantine is more than just a supernatural movie with Keanu Reeves. When fans were asked recently to vote on their favorite DC Comics characters, Batman and Superman were first and second and John Constantine ranked third. Now, Constantine is getting a new chance at life and it is through a new NBC television show. Here is a look at the recap of the Constantine series premiere ‘Non Est Asylum.”

Constantine’s Biggest Demon

When the Constantine series premiere kicked off, John Constantine was in an asylum where he checked himself in after a young girl that he was tasked to protect was slaughtered and dragged to hell. We see him getting shock treatment and then he sees a shrink, who tells him there are no demons. This is when we learn that Constantine is in the institution for one reason – he wants them to make him believe there are no demons.

That doesn’t work, because ironically he finds a possessed woman in the institution. He uses his powers of the dark arts (he’s not a master and more of a petty dabbler) to save her and realizes that he has a job to do, leaving and setting out to fight.

Constantine

It is in these first few scenes that the Constantine series premiere shows us that this is the real John Constantine, and not the character that was portrayed in the Keanu Reeves movie. Constantine is full of British arrogance in the comics, which Matt Ryan pulls off perfectly. He is a jerk and is really concerned with no one but himself. The TV show really paints Constantine as a character who does what he does because he feels he has no other choice, although he wishes he was anywhere else. It is a character that could be hard to like, but Matt Ryan does a great job.

For fans angry that he doesn’t smoke on the TV show, there is one scene where he is flicking a lighter, which is nice homage to something that the show-runners had no control over because of FCC guidelines. By the end, Constantine is a character who does his job but wants no thanks. It is almost a perfect depiction of what fans hoped for.

Liv

The word is that Liv was supposed to be a recurring character on the show, but honestly, she wasn’t that strong. As a result, after the show was picked up, they jettisoned her and picked up someone else to join later. The character itself had a lot of promise, the daughter of an old friend who had the same powers of her father and could see where demons were arriving.

As a result, she was targeted by a demon that could control electricity. The demon came from the “inner circle,” so it was obvious that it was targeting John. The problem is that there was no chemistry between the two, so it might have been better for her to leave. He saved her, she left him the map with the demon locations and then took off. Now, the door is open for Constantine’s comic book girlfriend Zed to show up.

Making a Deal with the Angels

Harold Perrineau stars in the Constantine series premiere as an angel named Manny. He tells John that he was sent to watch over him and is both manipulative and taunts John throughout. He pushes buttons, reminding John that he allowed the girl to end up in Hell and then hints that John could save his soul if he helps them beat the demons that are headed to Earth.

There were a couple of things here that could blend in with the old comic book stories. First of all, there is a good chance that the saving of the soul won’t happen because Manny never said it, and only hinted at it – probably a manipulation without needing to actually lie (which Manny might not be able to do). Second, the girl died (in flashbacks) because John called a powerful demon to beat the demon that was haunting her and the powerful demon betrayed John and took the girl to Hell.

By the end of this episode, Constantine agrees to help Manny in the upcoming war and makes a threat to the inner circle of Hell that he is gunning for them.

What We Can Expect

The best Constantine storyline ever made might be Dangerous Habits. While they can’t really do that here because it was about lung cancer, there was a big deal with the inner circle, which was the three demons that ruled hell. It is clear from the Constantine series premiere that the demon that betrayed John might be one of the trio. This could lead to at least the resolution of that story, maybe with the soul of the young girl.

The end of the Constantine series premiere saw Chaz (John’s best mate and cab driver) bring the map to show where the demon attacks were taking place at in the world and John agrees to set out to help Manny figure out who is coming, and when they are coming, and to maybe help in the battle. The first episode was not great, but there is a ton of room for improvement and this could be a great show if they smooth over some of the rough spots.

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About the Author

Shawn S. Lealos
Shawn is a film critic with over 25 years of experience in print and online media. He is a member of the Oklahoma Film Critics Circle and loves everything from critically acclaimed movies to B-level action flicks.
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