Faith is defined as a complete trust, an unwavering conviction in a person, idea, or deity. When we have nothing, faith can be the port of the storm, a lighthouse in the distance. It is the progenitor of hope and the realization (in religious/spiritual ideology) of something greater. But faith is not always kind to us as it can steer us in a direction we should not take or blind us to circumstances with which we’ve yet to make amends.
Briarwood Church, somewhere on the outskirts of Lexington, Kentucky, Pastor Zachary readies to dance with very lethal rattlesnakes, despite his sister Sarah’s warning. It doesn’t end well for him as he’s bitten and dies on the spot…but then he’s back, a flame-like feather in his hand. He doesn’t waste time considering the resurrection and embraces the spirit, healing an amputee parishioner’s leg. Zed has a vision of the snakes in her nude art class and makes her way to Constantine (after making a date with Eddie, the nude model). Packing up the goodies for the trip—including a scythe Constantine nicked “off the Grim Reaper himself”—the duo visit Briarwood. As they watch Pastor Zachary’s sermon, Constantine shares his bitterness and cynicism towards God for his predicament while Zed believes it’s all a farce until she sees the healing with her own eyes. It gets even more interesting when the pastor chants in Inokian, “the language of the bloody angels.” They need to get on it for, as Constantine says, “nobody wields that kind of power without consequences.” And the first occurs when Nate, the man who had his leg regrown, transforms into something bestial, killing his doctor and heading out the door.Constantine summons Manny–with a “Please” thrown in
In line to meet the pastor, Constantine and Zed speak to a couple from Tennessee that’s experienced good Zachary’s healing. When Zed touches him, she is bombarded with images of Zachary’s passing while Constantine asks straight away about the Inokian. “Who are we to question the gifts we receive from the Lord?” Zachary proposes. As they make their way from the chuch, Zed tells Constantine that Zachary isn’t a charlatan trying to put one over on his people. He has good intentions and, as the optimist, she suggests these people are getting the miracles they deserve. “Miracles are ours to make,” Constantine replies, emphasizing the need to discover Zachary’s power source as something like this will take its toll on the land. When they discover the blight out towards the lake, Constantine calls on Manny to do more than watch. “I cannot sway the outcome of events,” he tells the exorcist but does offer a tip on how to understand Inokian. Zed hums the tune and they get a return ping, one that leads them to a downed angel.
Taking the disoriented seraphim to a barn, they discover her name is Imogen. She recounts taking Zachary to heaven when he pulled a feather from her wing and she fell. Manny arrives, unbidden, to check on his fellow celestial being. “A mortal has never been able to remove an angel’s feather before,” he provides, adding the need to get the feather and return it to Imogen before it’s too late. After setting up a barrier against evil and getting more depth into Constantine’s cynicism, they return to the church. Sarah comes to her brother about Nate Byers—the former amputee—now a murder suspect, killing a police officer and a doctor. The perceptive sister’s able to recognize something different in Zachary, even before his resurrection and, when she harps on this new power being wrong, he dismisses her from the church as a non-believers. That night John confronts Zachary about the feather. When he tries taking it away, the power rebuffs him as it is now in Zachary’s hands.
Minding her own business out in the tent, Zed is attacked by the monstrous Nate. Constantine arrives and uses the scythe to take him out. Nate had become a ghoul, “formed by magic gone wrong.” The need to get the feather is even more important, both for Imogen’s sake and the people Zachary has healed. It’s time for Zed to step up to the plate. She feigns a falling out with Constantine and admits that she wants to believe. She participates in the group baptism, lifting the feather from Zachary and just in time as the healed patrons complete their transformation to ghoul. John, Zed, and the pastor flee to the safety of the church. Constantine orders Zed to get the feather back to Imogen and he’ll hold off the monstrosities. Away from the fracas and in the barn, Manny questions his fallen brethren on the sensations of pain. “It comes in waves,” she tells him. “You feel helpless. You can’t fight it, it becomes about making it to the other side, shrinking your world down to one fine point. And when that wave melts away, you feel relief. Just for a moment; then it comes back to remind you.” As the two talk, Manny opens up to Imogen on his frustrations with humanity, with her egging him on. “I want this world back, Manny,” she admits, “Just for ourselves…” Not the chatter one would expect an angelic host…Deceived by a Fallen
Back at the church, Zachary’s guilt spills over. He believes this is punishment form him and he bares the truth to Constantine. He killed a man during a hunt and told no one. The revelation is enough for Constantine to realize the pastor wasn’t headed upstairs but for the bottom floor of Hell. It changes everything and he knows they need to stop Zed from returning the feather from Imogen but, soon after the ghouls break in, they revert back to their normal selves, which means only one thing: the Fallen Imogen has her feather back. Manny is stunned to have been duped as much and Constantine arrives just as Imogen readies to flee. But she didn’t count on the protection spell sealing her in. She threatens to kill Zed and Constantine pleas for Manny to help; he’s not able to interfere but does so anyway, performing his body swap with Zed in order to rip Imogen’s heart from her body.
“She fooled us all, mate,” Constantine tells Manny back at the millhouse. The angel concedes the barrier between hell and earth is becoming thinner. The Rising Darkness continues to spread, affecting all manner of the supernatural…
Zed gets a call from Eddie; seems like she’s forgotten about their date. Unbeknownst to her though, Eddie is a plant, luring her out for a mysterious man with a silver sword necklace bides his time.
Faith, Hope, and Second Chances
- So much of our success revolves around faith and convictions. To truly be successful we must believe in something; our cause, hope in something better, or belief in a higher power. Though he KNOWS the truth of the Higher Power, Constantine cannot contain his cynicism and bitterness in being judged and, ultimately damned to hell for his sin. Zachary found himself headed in the same direction, a parallel Manny addresses with Constantine, a sentiment the latter isn’t too keen in admitting. While his faith in Heaven is colored by the raw deal he’s facing, John Constantine is still trying to make amends in the event that, one day he’ll be able to save an innocent girl he damned to hell.
- “Recognizing the path you’re on is the first step in changing direction.” A simple yet powerful statement that encompasses the entirety of Constantine’s struggle. As mentioned above, it took Astra’s damnation before Constantine learned this lesson though, sometimes it seems as if his bitterness overshadows his understanding of his life’s redirection. It applies to Zed as well; while her past remains a mystery, she’s heading in the only direction she knows will lead her away from the dark past: forward.