For the entirety of its limited run, ‘Constantine’ has provided partial back stories on two of its three main characters. This week, we finally get to see Chas’s accidental origins as he, Constantine and Zed race against time to save our favorite taxi driver’s young daughter.
When bad guys start off summoning ill-favored clouds of smoke, it’s safe to assume bad tidings are on the horizon. In this case, it’s young Geraldine, who just happens to be Chas’s daughter. As if reminding us of coincidental circumstance, Chas has his weekend visit to Brooklyn in order to spend time with her. He arrives to a very unhappy ex-wife—Renee—whose attitude is of one always disappointed by the person once special to her life. Their tiff is forgotten when Chas opens the door to Geraldine’s room and finds her bleeding and comatose, a victim of some unknown attack.The trio search for the cause behind the magical mayhem
On the subject of attacks, Zed finally comes clean with John about her issues with the Resurrection Crusade. Though she doesn’t fully explain their agenda, she does admit to her father being the cult’s shot caller. Her fear is evident but Constantine is not deterred, promising to stand with her. Their conversation ends with her feeling a weight lifted as the secret’s out and, more to the point, she’s got the master of the dark arts in her corner. The scrying map draws her attention and she alerts Constantine. The weeping blood points to—you guessed it—New York, New York. With Chas already there, Zed books their flight.
Two years ago, Chas and John are enjoying themselves at a bar. Before taking off with his companion for the night, a pleasantly intoxicated JC blesses Chas. He leaves moments before the bar is enveloped in chaos and flame from the stage catching on fire. Panic and smoke fills the room and though some people make it out alive, Chas, trying to get a second girl through a window, succumbs to the smoke and falls to the ground, just as the roof collapses on top of him…
John and Zed arrive at the hospital to find Geraldine and a half dozen others in an unexplained coma. Doing a quick test on Geraldine, John discovers that someone or something powerful has snatched the poor girl’s soul from her body. There’s a lot to do but first thing’s first; they need a medium to contact Geraldine with the hope being she can provide clues to her whereabouts. He may be in it to help an innocent, Constantine’s presence is not celebrated by Renee, who seems to be another person on a thoroughly impressive list of individuals who have gripes with the master of the dark arts with more to come in this episode alone.
A disoriented Chas awakens to Geraldine and Renee at his side. But it’s impossible; he should be dead and yet—and yet, he is not.
Fennel’s the medium John taps to touch Geraldine’s captured soul. He’s the second person in as many television breaks to open with hostility towards the wizard. His refusal to assist is denied by the worry-stricken Chas. Fennel has no choice but to offer his services, a decision that costs him dearly. Though he’s able to make contact with Geraldine, a very powerful mage ends up hijacking the séance. It’s someone familiar with John Constantine, though the latter is perplexed at the mysterious individual’s identity. “You have been warned,” the mage tells him before lighting the hapless Fennel up like a candle. Constantine knows the spell used for the séance hack and Zed’s able to pinpoint the location to Haskins Railroad Yard. The trio head there and find Felix Faust waiting for their arrival. Once nothing more than a dutiful lackey to the powerful masters of magic, Faust looks to make his own name now that he’s discovered how to siphon someone’s soul from their body to fuel his magic. John knows this one-time throwaway is dangerous and force won’t get it done. He agrees to be Faust’s errand boy; the task? Hunt down the malignant demon Carabason, whose feeding on Faust’s carefully laid plans. He directs them to the Red Hook district but John orders Chas back to the hospital as he’s too volatile right now to be trusted.
Zed and John arrive at the location and John sets the trap while he gives Zed the rundown on their foe. Carabasin preys on sleeping victims, he tells her, paralyzing them while it feeds on their innards. It’s a horrid way to go, one Zed nearly experiences when she volunteers as bait when they are unable to capture the demon out of hand. John saves her, electrocuting the demon out of existence (at least in this world).
Chas meets his friend Constantine at a bar and they chat about the fire that killed 47 people. John can’t believe the protection spell he cast worked. Thought to be a myth, the spell created by Merlin for King Arthur’s knights of the Round table, it pulls into the dying person’s body the life force of those surrounding him at the moment of death. In Chas’s case, he’s topped off with 47 lives, now dwelling right underneath his hood….After making a Faustian deal, Constantine and Zed look to take down another demon
The demon dealt with, John and Zed swing by the hospital to pick up Chas. They find the sick are getting worse and an incensed Renee demands that she come to face the vile man that hurt Geraldine. Zed volunteers to stay with her while Chas and John meet back up with Faust only to find the mage altering their deal (though his declaration is far from Darth Vadar’s remarks to Lando for the same thing) on a technicality. They leave but end up in an argument outside as John still points out that Faust is holding all the cards. It’s not enough for Chas and he KO’s his friend. “I’m going to do things my way,” he mutters to himself after dropping John’s unconscious form into the back of the cab. “My family’s suffered enough because of you.”
Chas gets home to a disappointed Geraldine. He’s missed her birthday and, though saddened, tries explaining his case and duty to Renee. She admits that what he’s doing is good but that he also “need(s)” to start caring about “[his] own family.”
Chas ends up meeting with Faust on his own and offers up the 32 remaining souls he carries in an effort to have the mage free Geraldine’s soul. Faust sees him as nothing more than a desperate man until he sees death and resurrection with his very own eyes.
In the hospital, Renee and Zed watch over Geraldine. The frightened mother is beside herself and Zed tries soothing her by reaching out to Geraldine. It works for a moment but excruciating pain racks Zed and she collapses. Renee calls the doctors forth and can only watch…until she finds the scrap of paper with Faust’s address on it. She makes her way there just in time to watch Chas pull a fast one on Faust, blowing himself and the mage up with a grenade. Though they are safe outside, Renee still can’t get the taste of “blame John Constantine” from her mind. Somehow, John’s able to get through to her and let her know in no uncertain terms just how many people Chas has saved
Chas wants to have the spell reversed. “I can’t live like this.”
Constantine shakes his head. “Yes you can. You can shoulder this burden, let it consume you from within…or you can wield it as you have; a weapon against evil by my side. Whichever you choose, mate, I’m with you. Every step of the way.”
He may have been blown to pieces but Chas is back now and is greeted by a relieved Renee and, when he goes to see her in her room, a surprised Geraldine. Seems like he’s decided to share a bit more of his life with his little girl.
A foggy Zed wakes up in the hospital and John lets her know how close she came to doing more than just blowing a psychic fuse. The stress has taken its toll and she begins to fall back into a restful slumber but not before delivering one final message. “About your mother,” she tells him, “she says her death wasn’t your fault.” Mind awash with hope, confusion, and other things, Constantine lies next to his sleeping friend and companion.
The Good Fight
- The origins of the enigmatic Chas was a welcome treat this week and answered the most outstanding question I’ve had as it relates to the three good guys. Though his power of resurrection lies behind a spell cast on a whim and some of the mystery has been removed, there is still something intriguing about the incantation’s history (devised by Merlin himself) and the fact that Chas does have limits to his abilities. But his limits to do good are not so constrained. Like the purest of heroes who have power thrust into their arms, Chas knows he owes it to others to fight the good fight, no matter how many of his lives it may cost.
- Each week seems to bring John and Zed that much closer. She’s opened up about her father’s place in her past and his cult’s desire to see her in its future. Any relationship is built on trust and disclosure. With Zed disclosing such intimate details of her life to him demonstrates her willingness to take a chance with her friend and mentor. As to where the two of them go from here is anyone’s guess.
- Demons have been a part of Constantine’s life since his mother died, the biggest of which is the guilt he’s carried (literally beaten into him by papa Constantine, mind you) for killing his mother. Zed’s drowsy message from John’s mother may remove one of the two biggest weights from his shoulders. Underneath the snark, arrogance and rudeness, will always lie the guilt and shame of past mistakes and preset failures—those he could not save—but if our master of the dark arts can let go of some of the detritus pulling him down, maybe he will be able to do the impossible for Astra and reclaim her soul from its hellish prison.