Constantine: Season 1 Episode 3 "The Devil's Vinyl" (REVIEW)
written by Omar Castillon (@omar_castillon)
Who would have thought that a little music would involve a deal with the devil and a bitter chill in the air. That’s exactly what you get in this week’s episode of Constantine. For those who are vinyl lovers, beware of the curse that may be recorded onto your vintage copy of Simon and Garfunkel. Well not so much a Simon and Garfunkel album, but this episode will make you think twice about vinyl records with a long history.
The episode starts in Chicago where a woman named Jasmine is scavenging an abandoned building for a record that is said to have the voice of the devil himself as he takes away a musician’s soul after the musician made a deal with the devil. For such a famous myth (or fact, whichever works) this felt fresh in terms of a stigmata hunt of the week. The idea that a vinyl record would contain the voice of the devil, tempt people into listening to the record and then causing them to explode into a bloody mess is just one of the many things that happened during the episode.
One thing to note is that Chas, Zed and Constantine are working together on this case. Soon enough these three characters will be the ones to depend on a weekly basis for some good ol’ fashioned demon hunting. For now, they need a little more time to get used to each other. Chas seemed to feel more like a “chaperone” to Zed as she is introduced more into the world both he and Constantine deal with. On the plus side, Zed and Constantine worked quite well together in this episode. It was fun seeing them sneak into the coroner with Zed using her talents and Constantine using his as well to get the music producer in the beginning of the episode to rise from the dead. This music producer is the same one that received the cursed vinyl record and stabs his own ear. He is also Constantine’s former producer for his punk band Mucus Membrane. The hardcore fans would be happy to get this reference. It would have been even better to hear one of Constantine’s former band’s songs, but a mention was good enough.
The biggest reveal on the other hand is the mention of one of Constantine’s known enemies, Papa Midnite. The investigation leading up to the appearance of Papa Midnite (Michael James Shaw) was chilling and almost dreadful in a good way. Dreadful in the sense that you know Papa Midnite is bad news for Constantine. If you thought the occult and satanic symbols were freaky, Papa Midnite’s voodoo background is just as unsettling. Although he may seem like bad news, later on in the episode you may think twice about Papa Midnite’s methods.
Overall this episode had a lot of fun despite the rather brutal nature of people exploding. If you really want to get nitpicky about it, the episode did suffer from tone consistencies. One minute it’s this dark and mysterious soul struggle and in the next it’s comedic back and forth with Constantine in danger yet keeping with a sarcastic mood. But guess what, it didn’t really matter since it was fun to watch and Constantine is supposed to have a sarcastic attitude about his occult battles. Zed even has her moments making her really grow on the audience. I’m glad that this episode is setting up a little more of Constantine’s world. Slowly but surely this will begin to grow on other newcomers to the Hellblazer comic book series as well as the Constantine TV series. As for the TV series, I think it was a good choice to have Liv’s character replaced with Zed. Zed just seems to get a better grip of her powers and the world compared to Liv in the pilot where she was just a bit too naïve and inexperienced with Constantine’s world. Although yes, it is because of Liv’s powers that it set up the whole stigmata in a bunch of towns. Long story short, check out this week’s episode, enjoy the story, enjoy the gore and enjoy the chemistry between the characters.