TV Recap: Constantine, ‘A Whole World Out There’

Constantine

A Whole World Out There Plot:

Constantine (Matthew Ryan) is sent to help an old friend Ritchie Simpson (Jeremy Davies) at Ivy University, where students have figured out how to get to an alternate dimension — only to be met by a killer, Jacob Shaw (William Mapother).

The latest episode of Constantine, ‘A Whole World Out There’ felt more like an episode of Doctor Who than an episode about the Hell Blazer himself.

And that’s not a bad thing.

Photo Credit: Annette Brown/NBC
Photo Credit: Annette Brown/NBC

Constantine has often felt like a supernatural film noir – complete with the sozzled, grizzled, disenchanted detective wading his way through a seedy underworld in order to (begrudgingly) do right. Tonight’s episode was very reminiscent of those creepier Matt Smith-era Doctor Who episodes like ‘Night Terrors.’ A slow, omnipresent feeling of fear and terror seemingly that crawls up your back throughout the episode. There’s a claustrophobic air surrounding everything and this episode, at times, is genuinely frightening. This is new territory for the series as there’s usually more of a race-against-time tone to every episode. Tonight, it was pure horror, pure suspense.

This is the brilliance of Constantine. It takes chances. Last week, the episode’s focus was taken off of John Constantine who had been the main focus of every single episode to date. Instead, they put the spotlight on Chas (Charles Halford). The result was a really tense and compelling episode. In this episode, the writers took a chance by changing the tone of the series and again, the risk pays off in spades. They also bench Zed (Angélica Celaya) and Chas, making Ritchie (played by a wonderfully twitchy Davies) John’s new sidekick. Ritchie is an awesome foil for John as he’s more of a reluctant, jaded companion for Constantine instead of a loyal, unflinching follower like Chas and Zed. Davies and Ryan, not surprisingly ,have a fantastic chemistry and the interplay between the two throughout takes a number of unexpected turns.

Photo Credit: Annette Brown/NBC
Photo Credit: Annette Brown/NBC

The Doctor Who-ness of the episode is based in the fact this episode takes place on multiples planes of reality and how one reality can be manipulated by those who understand the rules of said reality. It’s very Whovian as it kinda/sorta makes sense that allows for a completely improbable but completely  logical (in the world of the story) ending to the conflict. It just smacks of an episode that would fit perfectly in The Doctor’s cannon.

What’ll be interesting going forward is how will Ritchie fit into the rest of Constantine’s run (if in fact there is a remainder of a run). He’s so different from Zed and Chas — he’s so weird, twitchy and lives inside his own head — the complete opposite of the leap-into-danger nature of Constantine’s current crew. In fact, it’d be great to have all of them team up with Constantine and Manny (Harold Perrineau) to take on a season ending big bad.

“A Whole World Out There” is an excellent installment of a phenomenal second half of Constantine. This half of the season has consistently gotten better and better with each episode. Next week’s installment, where Manny is grounded by Constantine, has the potential to be the series’ best to date.

Rating: 8.5 out of 10

Constantine airs Friday nights at 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