TV Recap: Constantine, ‘Saint of Last Resorts: Part 2’

Constantine

Saint of Last Resorts Part 2 Plot:

After being shot and left for dead by Sister Ann Marie (Claire van der Boom), Constantine (Matt Ryan) casts a demon into himself in order to avoid being killed by another demon. The plan works initially, but the demon starts to take control of Constantine sending him into murderous black outs. It’s up to Zed (Angélica Celaya) and Chas (Charles Halford) to save their friend from unleashing a demon king upon the earth.

Constantine’s return to television is another glaring reason why NBC needs to do whatever it can within its power to get eyes on this series. Sure, NBC is impressed with the show’s DVR, it’s young viewing demographic and overall quality; but it’s the live number is what’s keeping the noose around the neck of this excellent series. The mid-season premiere was the kind of television people are looking for – smart, funny, exciting and intriguing. NBC has got to get more people aware of this show.

Photo Credit: Dan McFadden/NBC
Photo Credit: Dan McFadden/NBC

The show’s mid-season premiere is a thrilling and intense conclusion to December’s cliffhanger of a mid-season finale. The great thing about this episode is it feels like a new start for Constantine. ‘Saint of Last Resorts: Part 1’felt like an episode the writers created in order to give the series some sort of “conclusion” — if it indeed did not make the Christmas break. Frankly, it was a lousy one. Constantine was lying nearly dead in a sewer with a demon coming for him. Imagine if that’s how the series ended? One has to shudder at that notion.

Thankfully, this conclusion doesn’t feel like something rushed or tacked on, as if the writer’s got the green light to do more and had to scramble to write a conclusion. No, in true Constantine fashion (and yes this show does have a fashion despite its brief run), it delivered the conclusion with white knuckle excitement, taking us to the very last second to see if our hero can win. This show has a fantastic way of mirroring its lead character in this way, you’re always hoping they pull it out in the last second and usually, they do.

Matt Ryan’s performance in this episode was possibly his best yet. Playing both the ever-smirking Constantine and a blood-thirsty demon king (sometimes in the same scene), isn’t an easy job. However, Ryan pulls it off perfectly. He has the physical and emotional tools to present himself as a demon, someone we can actually fear but also someone in complete and utter agony. This was no amateur theatrics or over-the-top scene chewing, this felt as legit as one could get…and quite possibly the best possession “performance” in the series so far.

Photo Credit: Dan McFadden/NBC
Photo Credit: Dan McFadden/NBC

The episode also does a nice job of giving Zed and Chas something more to do than be the girl who can see things and the guy who dies all the time. They both show off their street smarts, their undying faith in Constantine and their courage in the presence of pure evil. One of the best “small” moments of the episode is when Chas, in order to get inside the Mexican prison holding Constantine, punches a guard and then gets dragged inside. He flashes a quick, bloody smile of victory to Zed (who got in pretending to be a hooker.) It’s a nice, funny little moment that helps define a character that hasn’t really been given a ton of definition.

The motives and actions of Sister Ann Marie are the only problem in the episode. The character definitely has some strong moments, but you don’t quite believe her as someone who actually wants to help Constantine, even when she actually does. The character gives up too easily, to the point where it becomes frustrating for the viewer to watch. It’s almost as if she’s giving just to give up, not because there’s this amazing reason. Sure, a reason is revealed later on, but it really lacks the punch it needed to have. Listen, this isn’t a deal breaker for the episode at all, but it could’ve been a bit tighter.

In the end, Constantine returned in glorious form. It’s one of the better hour long dramas you’re going to watch this season that’s not on a premium channel. It’s got a fantastic lead actor, consistently intriguing stories, taught direction and clever, well-timed humor. Do yourself a favor and get on the Constantine bandwagon.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Constantine airs Friday nights at its new time, 8pm, on NBC.

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Bill Bodkin is the Owner, Editor-in-Chief and Co-Founder of Pop-Break. Most importantly, however, he is the proud father of a beautiful daughter, Sophie. He is beyond excited that Pop-Break will be six years old in 2015 as this site has come a long, long way from the day he launched in it in his bachelor pad at the Jersey Shore. He can be read every Monday for the Happy Mondays Interview Series as well as his weekly reviews on Law & Order: SVU, Mad Men and Hannibal. His goal, once again, is to write 500 stories this year (a goal he accomplished in 2014). He is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism & English. Follow him on Twitter: @PopBreakDotCom
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Bill Bodkin is the owner, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Pop Break. Most importantly, however, he is the proud father of a beautiful daughter, 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