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Constantine: More Monsters Than You Can Shake A Stolen Baby At

Marshall Lemon | 13 Dec 2014 11:00
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"The Saint of Last Resorts" jumps back and forth between the two plots, and speaking personally, I was far more interested in Zed's backstory for a change. That's partly because she's been way too mysterious with no justification until now, and second because there's just more twists happening there. Case in point: Do you think it's easy to trick a freaking psychic into thinking you just want to have drinks?

So of course Zed quickly sees through the ruse and decides the safest bet is to take Eddie back to the safe house, where she'll have the advantage. Once it's clear which one is the prisoner, Zed and Eddie can talk more openly about the organization she's running from, which sounds like some kind of cult, and even catch her real name. Then the people who were following Eddie show up, but Zed still knows enough about the safe house's secrets that she can throw them for an appropriate reality breaking loop. Sadly, Zed quickly runs out of tricks after that and ends up getting captured with little effort. But as long as that's setting up further developments for part 2, and not just making her a distressed damsel after that solid performance, I'll roll with it.

Constantine, meanwhile, is going through some pretty tiresome arguments with Anne-Marie about his moral state. And I'm not talking about the Catholic kind; after Newcastle Anne-Marie sees right through John's charade persona and has no problem calling him out on it. Which would be fine, if (a) she hadn't called him there in the first place and (b) she wouldn't keep chastising him every two minutes. Thankfully, Constantine gets fed up and snaps back at her, prompting some reflection that helps them understand each other better than before.

When they're not at each other's throats, Anne-Marie is actually a good foil for Constantine. Her understanding of magic is more advanced than Zed's, so she can contribute a little more to the conversation. Even better is their shared history, revealing that Constantine was once an abused young boy who needed something bigger in his life. It's just unfortunate that it took half of the episode to get there.

Moving to the monsters and mythology, there are some top-notch spells and creatures happening here. Especially creepy is a tree with fruit covered in human flesh and filled with blood, a simple effect that bears the desired squeamish results. The monster itself, one of Eve's many sisters, shows Constantine is having fun with monster designs once we actually start getting a look at her. Then that chicken-crawling-cliffhanger creature shows up, and while it looks ridiculous, it does have an impressive backstory.

But the Eve's sister biblical background is important detail because it gives Constantine just enough puzzle pieces to uncover who's causing the rising darkness: a pre-historical magic society that was thought long-dead. Constantine even goes a step farther and reveals why the darkness is rising: To fuse Earth and Hell into one single reality. That's epic, exciting, appropriately apocalyptic... and a little jarring.

Constantine hadn't developed the rising darkness enough to even hint this was a possibility, so it just gets dropped in our laps instead of being a big reveal. There's no build-up from "rising darkness" to "Hell on Earth" to give it context and weight. And while I appreciate getting to the point, this was something that probably could been paced out a little better in previous episodes. Regardless, there's lots to look forward to in Part 2.

Bottom Line: "The Saint of Last Resorts" is a promising opening chapter to Constantine's first two-parter. Powerful magics are afoot, scary monsters are stealing babies, and we finally get the truth about the rising darkness. Zed even gets an exciting subplot that doesn't involve Constantine at all, which is a refreshing change of pace. The episode stumbles quite a bit on the way to the good stuff, but hopefully that's just laying groundwork for an exciting chapter.

Recommendation: Constantine is finally giving answers about Zed and the rising darkness, and those answers don't suck. If that's worthwhile to you, then check it out.

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