TV Recap: Constantine, ‘A Feast of Friends’

Constantine

A Feast of Friends Plot Summary:

Gary Lester (Jonjo O’Neil), an estranged, heroin-addled friend of Constantine (Matt Ryan) shows up in America with a jar containing a hunger demon which has manifested itself in the form of a swarm of roach-like bugs. The jar is broken and the demon is unleashed in America, ravaging anyone in its way.

John Constantine might be the most interesting character on television right now.

Photo Credit: Tina Rowden/NBC
Photo Credit: Tina Rowden/NBC

Last week, we saw the emergence of Constantine as an untrustworthy hero — someone who will lie, cheat and steal in order to either protect the greater good or help himself get out of his pre-determined date with The Devil.  It’s fascinating that the hero of a series, the good guy, the guy we’re supposed to get behind is someone that neither the characters on the show nor the audience can really trust. His intentions are never pure, so we’re constantly second guessing every decision he makes.

It’s utterly fascinating to see a character that is so rich and mysterious like John Constantine. Normally, we have a hero who’s on one path, who acts a certain way and his or her intentions are always fairly obvious. Here, we’re constantly on our toes and wondering what’s behind that smirk and five o’ clock shadow.

This week in “A Feast of Friends” we find out that Constantine is man enough to face the consequences of his not-so-pure intentions. He dupes and then sacrifices the life of his old friend Gary Lester (by using Gary’s body as a vessel to contain the demon) to save the world. Yet, he’s also willing to stick by the man’s side to the very bitter end, too. It’s these final powerful scenes that really make the episode something special. Prior to this scene — it was a good but not great. However, watching the final moments between Constantine and Lester were powerful. Matt Ryan deserves some serious Emmy consideration next year for his performance tonight. He’s able to hit so many emotional notes in this five minute scene — sarcasm, sincerity, pain, anger, hatred, sorrow and guilt to name a few.

Photo Credit: Tina Rowden/NBC
Photo Credit: Tina Rowden/NBC

Harold Perrineau finally gets his character Manny involved in some scenes with emotional meat on their bones. So far this season he’s been relegated to “I Told You So” and “What Are You Doing?” scenarios. However, in “A Feat of Friends” he seems more like a conscience for Constantine rather than a pain in the ass. The final scene where Manny sits with Constantine in order to watch over Gary Lester as he convulses in pain is chilling. Perrineu sells it all with his eyes. It’s a tender moment – two men who bust each other’s chops are now sitting in vigil over a former junkie who is now sacrificing his body and his life for the greater good. It’s an awesome, final moment.

Constantine just keeps delivering week-in and week-out. The “freak of the week” plot device works for the most part, mainly because it’s all part of a larger “rising evil” story arc and not the bread and butter of the series. It’s the dynamite performance of Matt Ryan and the ambiguous characterization of our hero that keep things interesting and wanting more. Each week you’re left wanting more – more battles with the spirit world and most importantly, more John Constantine.

Rating: 8 out of 10

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Bill Bodkin is the Editor-in-Chief and Co-Founder of Pop-Break. He can be read weekly on Trailer Tuesday and Singles Party, weekly reviews on Mad Men, Boardwalk Empire, Hannibal, Law & Order: SVU and regular contributions throughout the week with reviews and interviews. His goal is to write 500 stories this year. He is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism & English and currently works in the world of political polling. He’s the reason there’s so much wrestling on the site and is beyond excited to be a Dad this coming December. Follow him on Twitter: @PopBreakDotCom
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Bill Bodkin is the gray bearded owner, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Pop Break. Most importantly, he is lucky husband, and proud father to a beautiful daughter named Sophie. He can be seen regularly on the site reviewing The Walking Dead, Doctor Who, and is the host of the site’s podcast, The BreakCast. He is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism & English. Follow him on Twitter: @BodkinWrites