Chicago, Illinois…

A building rife with animal corpses hanging from ceilings and nailed to walls is most likely home to some ominous crap. It doesn’t stop the mysterious blond woman from navigating the dark rooms and searching the hidden compartment for a most unique record. Wrapped in a Holy Bible, it emits a frigidity which only adds to the bad juju. She takes it Bernie, an old pro at a record company, to verify its authenticity. She reminds him not to listen to it and leaves the room to take a call from her daughter. Putting the record through some tests, the quiet whispers emanating from it grab hold of Bernie and he puts on the headphones. Spoiler alert! It doesn’t end well for Bernie.

JC and Zed partnering up

Despite not having the address, Zed shows up at the millhouse and gets her first introduction to Chas. He invites her in a gives her a tour of the Harry Potter-like house (bigger on the inside than outside). Constantine joins the pair after his blood stained spell test and gives her some pointed advice on not traversing the house grounds by her lonesome and the 411 on the stigmata map. Testing more of her power, Constantine gives her the article on Bernie, an old mate of the exorcist, to see what she gleans from it. She smells Jasmine and cold; it’s enough for Constantine and along with Zed (after some convincing on her part) head to the Windy City, but not before he covertly directs Chas to do a bit more research on her.

In Chicago, they pay a visit to Bernie’s body, using the Hand of Glory (corpse hand after some bourbon type aging) to squeeze more clues from the dead man. They get precious little but, with Zed’s quick mind and smartphone, come up with Marcus Moon, former record producer. He gives them to story of the Acetate. Willie Cole, a Memphis Blues player, sold his soul to the devil for serious blues mojo. The Acetate supposedly captured his final moments and the hellish voice of the Deceiver as he stormed up from Hell and claimed Willie’s soul. He also gives Zed and Constantine a name: Fell. It’s his final offering as he readies for the afterlife when he spies an angel in the background. It’s Manny who plants his fingertips to Moon’s forehead and takes him home. As they leave, Constantine explains to Zed about Lucifer’s love for souls. “The soul,” he says, “is the purest expression of God’s love…the spark of Creation.” As the First Fallen, it’s his way of exacting revenge for being cast out.

They break into Ian Fell’s mansion and find out not only did his wife Jasmine bargain her soul but it was for his health…cancer, one of humanity’s greatest banes. She shows them the contract as well as give them the name of the Soul Broker she made the deal with: Anton. She’s trying to back out of the deal and use the Acetate as leverage. She’s supposed to hand over the Acetate that night and Constantine takes her place and finds out Anton’s nothing more than a fence. The real man behind the curtain in the infamous and powerful Papa Midnite. The two practitioners of the dark arts parlay on their circumstances, with Midnite remarking on the “promises out there waiting for us if we only had the courage to name them and claim them.” Constantine is clubbed by two of Midnite’s thugs and chained to an empty factory grate. Midnite tells the trussed up demonologist that, for him, the Acetate is a ‘Get out of Hell free’ card, if one were ever to need such a freebie. He leaves Constantine tied up and slowly bleeding out while his two thugs arrive to take possession of the Acetate and return it to him. Unfortunately for them, they ignore Jasmine’s warnings, touching the record and being taken over by its malevolent will.

Papa Midnite and Constantine

His life draining from him, Constantine is once again visited by Manny. The angel openly wonders if Constantine had thought to use the Acetate for its “trade value”. He hints that there’s only one way to deal with the Acetate and questions Constantine on whether he has the courage to act on it. He disappears, leaving Constantine to the mercy of a knife wielding bum when Zed arrives and frees him. They follow the trail of the two thugs to a night club where death is all around after the Acetate was played. Chas joins the two with some supplies and confirms Zed isn’t on any law enforcement database. When questioning a survivor, deaf busboy, Zed sees the newest of targets; playing the Acetate on the radio waves.

They arrive at the radio station just as the record starts playing. Constantine’s geared up with headphones and his MP3 to drown out the noise of the Acetate and while Chas is able to cut the on air feed, Constantine is caught up in the studio maelstrom. He and the other employees are saved by the unlikeliest of allies; Papa Midnite. As the Voodoo mage readies to take down his hired thugs, Constantine draws upon the dark magic of the record and returns it to hell.

Now that the Acetate has been removed from the table, Constantine has Anton eat the Fells contract. It will save Jasmine’s soul but Ian’s cancer will return. Not the greatest of deals but much better than the alternative. Though he’s done the right thing, Constantine has made a powerful enemy in Papa Midnite, who invokes his own magic on a voodoo doll in our Dark Arts hero’s likeness. 

“We all negotiate deals with forces bigger than us, but who are we truly negotiating with? The Divine? Well, it’s only natural. Prayer is one bit negotiation with a higher power. But in time of true crisis, we’ll make a pact with whatever forces it takes. And pay whatever price.”

Desperate Deals vs Facing Fate

  • For those of us in tune to the supernatural (or Supernatural) we’ve all heard of those fostering deals for fame and fortune. Such greed is an unfortunate anathema of our species. But then there are those who broker for things greater than themselves no matter the cost. Jasmine, though her motives were not for her own game, was willing to damn her soul to save her husband. Though one can see it as devoted love, it also reminds up just how frail and flawed we are when it comes to love and coming to terms with the inevitable.
  • While she seems to be on the up and up, I have the distinct feeling that Zed has yet to put all her cards on the table. Last episode, Constantine remarked on how she’s running from something and her retort to Chas about her parents not naming her, highlights a secret history she is ready to neither divulge nor deal with. Funny thing about trying to outrun the past; sooner or later, it catches up with you and all too often demands recompense for the inconvenience.