Even without occultic goodness or voodoo, New Orleans is a strange and mysterious place. Filled with the mythical, magical and murderous, the Big Easy houses the biggest fun and, in this week’s ‘Constanine,’ a hotspot for the Rising Darkness’s influence on the supernatural world.

Constantine arrested by the good detective

A drunk cop stumbles into an alley and bears witness to a young musician being cut to ribbons by a masked woman. Despite putting an entire clip in her, the attacker flees. When Zed finally makes a connection to the map of all things bad (thanks to a bit of hypnotizing effect from the Zoetrope), Constantine and the gang are led to NOLA. They pay a visit to the murder scene, using another one of the exorcist’s nifty tools, a gadget that “reveal forces past” to get a read on the killer. It’s definitely a non-human (ex-human at the very least) and are joined by Detective Jim Corrigan. Zed immediately recognizes him…”Slow is smooth, smooth is fast,” she tells him, recognizing the detective as the young boy she saw in her vision back at the millhouse. Constantine gives the detective a bit of a warning on dealing with “a different shade of evil” while, 40 miles from NOLA, a young man hitches a ride from a pervy driver who ends up crashing into a tree and losing his life for his troubles. Coincidentally, after checking into a swanky NOLA-style hotel, Zed catches a vision of the stretch of road our hitchhiking ghost is on, with Constantine remarking “why have one case when you can have two with twice the trouble.”

They find the wreckage the next morning and Constantine is arrested by Corrigan due to calling in the accident before it even happened. Before he’s taken in, Constantine dispenses Zed and Chas to keep up the good fight in their search for the two ghosts. Chas is first up, saving an unsuspecting resident from the musician’s early fate, though he’s carved up by the scissor wielding woman for his trouble. Meanwhile, a perplexed Corrigan takes Constantine’s advice and looks into some of the clues provided by the snarky mage. The woman with the mask seems to be Misaki Ross, a model’s whose face was slashed to pieces by Tammy Frazier, a fellow model. Misaki killed herself five years past while Philip, the ghost of the road, died three years back after a car accident. It’s quite a bit to take in but the detective is game, though he can’t understand how Constantine is able to live with all of it. “It marks you for life,” he tells the detective, “but it doesn’t change who you are.”

Papa Midnite consulting his sister’s skull, his connection to the Lower

With the new information in hand, Constantine visits the two people closest to the ghosts, Tammy and Philip’s grandmother. They talk about the guilt and pain they felt due to their role in the deaths. Come to find out, both called on the spirits of the dead to parlay for forgiveness through Papa Midnite. Constantine pays the voodoo priest a visit just as he finishes calling to a woman’s husband. He tries telling his antagonist the magic is not just bringing the spirits to talk but raising them fully to interact with the world. He KO’s the dark arts mage with some powder but not before Constantine advises him to speak to at least one of his clients. Midnite does just that, visiting Madeline and finding that her husband Clarke is alive and well…sort of. He’s draining his wife’s energy and Midnite realizes “something’s wrong with [his] magic.” He agrees to work with Constantine, wiping away the debt for the Acetate and, if they are successful, answering a single question.

Out by the accident, Zed’s trying to keep everyone clear of the magical tree when the Detective arrives to do the same thing. They ride together for a bit and Corrigan shocks Zed when he mentions her name change. The conversation about her past is put on hold when they run into Philip, picking him up in order to keep other innocents out of the cross fire. While they keep Philip’s ghost at bay, a mysteriously healed Chas continues his trek to find Misaki. Constantine and Papa Midnite take the next steps in putting the ghosts “down at the source” by salting the bodies, taking them to Midnite’s ritual spot then burning them. Of course, things don’t work out this easily. The failure leads to harsh words and violent fists to be thrown between the two men of magic, with the voodoo mage calling his adversary “a magpie of magic; a thief of tradition.” The explosive argument sparks a flare of recognition in Constantine, alighting their mistake. Though Midnite drew the ghosts to this world, it’s the guilt of the survivors that anchor them here. He calls Madeline, Tammy, and Philip’s grandmother to the ritual site, asking them to free themselves of the guilt. It’s what was needed and, shortly after re-starting the ritual, the bodies burn and the ghosts disappear from our world.

Relieved by their success, Zed and Corrigan chat about the missing report filed by her family, one that no longer exists. They speak their goodbyes but Zed is depressed to find only violence and bloody death in the good Detective’s future. For Constantine, he and Midnite share a drink with the voodoo priest fulfilling his promise. He wants Midnite to use his connections to the Lower to find out more on the Rising Darkness. Speaking into his sister’s skull, Midnite passes on the message. “All your efforts are in vain,” he says. “The Darkness is coming. Heralded by someone close to you. Someone who will betray you.”

Of Men, Magic, and Mystery

  • What’s the phrase at how circumstance makes for interesting bedfellows? A few weeks back, Papa Midnite was ready to kill John Constantine but now the two end up working together. Though the results are fine and dandy, the questions raised in this episode are much more interesting. What was Papa Midnite’s role in his sister’s damnation, a sister whose skull he uses to congregate with the Lower? More to the point, her information on someone close to Constantine betraying him as the Rising Darkness comes. And then there’s the unasked question on whether Constantine and Papa Midnite will find themselves fighting on the same side once again. My guess is, sooner or later, they’ll partner up once more.
  • Zed’s slowly but surely coming into her own. Thanks to Detective Corrigan (he of a not so sunny future) we’re privy to a sliver of the heroine’s backstory, running from something. At her leaving home, she only says “it was time” but we know there’s much more to her story. And, of course, we have to wonder if she’s the herald Midnite spoke of that will usher in the Rising Darkness. Other than Chas, she the closest person to Constantine right now…
  • Which brings us to the gruff cabbie. From the time he was impaled by the live wire and returned good as new in the pilot, we’ve known Chas was not just a normal sidekick. We were given a second reminder of that when, after Misaki sliced and diced him, Constantine’s mate healed before our eyes. What is he and where does he get his power from? We’ll probably have to wait a bit longer but I expect us to gain a bit more insight into his origins sometime down the road.