Constantine Review: The Faust And The Furious

Marshall Lemon | 24 Jan 2015 06:00
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"Quid Pro Quo" pits Constantine against DC Comics' Felix Faust and finally explains why Chas keeps dying all the time.

It took a few weeks for Constantine to find its voice, but now it seems to have figured out what works: Shuffling together random supernatural concepts to see what clicks. The best moments in the series don't come up with anything new, they merge the same tropes we've seen before in uniquely appealing ways. It's great fun to watch an angel-powered baptism turn into a zombie apocalypse, or see God's predestined spirit of vengeance stop ghostly serial killers. It's much like John Constantine himself, the rather humble mage whose grab-bag approach to spells gives him a special edge, no matter how strained he seems around the edges.

Thankfully "Quid Pro Quo" is perhaps the most extreme example of "Who knows what will happen next" storytelling Constantine has attempted so far. Starting by introducing DC Comics character Felix Faust as a villain, the episode switches gears every five minutes thanks to new, hugely significant magical plot twists that could have warranted their own episodes - including the origin behind Chas' constant resurrections. And while that means the plot can seem a little ramshackle if you squint too hard, you're enjoying the ride so much that it won't matter in the end.

That said, new viewers will probably still want to catch up on past events so they're not in the dark. You can watch past episodes on the official NBC website or iTunes, and follow our ongoing reviews of the entire first season.

While tidying up the mess left behind from John's possession and Zed's kidnapping, the pair happens to notice that the scrying map has revealed a new target for the rising darkness: Brooklyn, where Chas is taking time off for a family visit. It's quickly revealed that Chas' hobby of hunting supernatural monsters has estranged him from his wife, and now the occasional weekend is the only chance he has to bond with his daughter Geraldine.

Of course Chas' family is going to be threatened at some point, and the rising darkness wastes no time getting to the point. It turns out that across Brooklyn, a powerful mage is tearing souls from human bodies - including Geraldine - and using them to fuel dark spells. What's more, it's well-prepared: Multiple attempts to find out what's happening with a medium or psychic alerts him to their presence, causing at least one of Constantine's allies to meet a horrible fate. But after a few twists and turns, our heroes finally locate the mage, and it's none other than... Felix Faust.

Don't worry regular viewers, you haven't missed the episode where Felix was previously introduced. But DC Comics fans will be more familiar with him, if still confused about his insanely powerful skillset. In the comics world, Faust is a low-level magician who keeps selling his soul for magical powers, but usually finds himself tricked or walking away worse for the bargain. That small-scale mage interpretation is the Felix John expects to see - Chas notes the last time they saw him, they were fleecing him at a card game - but the rising darkness has upped the ante. Now Felix is a true master, and with dozens of souls at his disposal, he's practically unstoppable in a straightforward fight. But where John thinks he can bargain with Felix instead, Chas starts to worry he made the wrong choice in turning to Constantine.

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