Constantine: Season 1 Episode 2 "The Darkness Beneath" (REVIEW)
written by Omar Castillon (@omar_castillon)
New week, new mystery to solve with John Constantine and this time, it takes place in a Pennsylvania mining town. This may sound a little “boring” but this was far from being the exposition heavy pilot that brushed off some of the characterization. Sure there is still a bit more exposition, but it actually felt like this was going to focus on one problem and then move on after the problem is solved. If that’s the case, then expect the rest of the episodes to have a similar feel to the season.
One of the bigger names in the Hellblazer comics Zed Martin, played by Angelica Celaya who like Matt Ryan does a decent job portraying the soon to be partner of Constantine. The pilot showed a glimpse of her character at the very end with all of the drawings that riddled her entire apartment. Finally in this episode there is a little more explanation in the form of an almost romantic boy meets girl sort of fashion; the two bumping into one another.
As for Constantine’s role in the episode, he goes on a more lone wolf detective sense following one of the markers left from a map of the entire U.S. after Liv marked it in the first episode. Again this involves a small mining town that has been experiencing sudden deaths of its workers. Long story short, this mine was not meant to be reopened after the first few accidents. Instead some third party company takes over and puts the people to work in the mine disregarding the loud knocks inside the mines. It’s up to Constantine to find out what sort of evil spirit is in the mine.
For a standalone episode, this actually worked quite well for Constantine’s character and the introduction of Zed is a welcome addition. The episode as a whole did start a little bit slow, but picked up quite a bit in the middle once the plot begins to unravel and more clues pop up to point out the oddities of the town. The spirits or creatures that were shown were pretty awesome to look at since they were a mix of zombie and shadow spirit that any normal person would run away from. Constantine definitely showed a bit of his wittiness and powers to break down the phenomena that both he and Zed experience. It was sort of questionable seeing that the supernatural deaths would happen and no police were available to investigate. Maybe that was just something that was grazed over to move the story along. This is a fantasy/horror show so, things like that can slide.
For the Hellblazer fans, this is the episode to watch so you can get into the series. The pilot was a lot of hit and miss moments, but this episode is rather enjoyable. The plot in the episode moved a little better, Matt Ryan is still awesome in Constantine’s shoes and Zed finally being part of the universe in the series is an addition that is needed. Also, one little thing to note, if you watch some scenes closely there are hints at Constantine’s chain smoking habits without having to light up a cigarette on screen. Sure there is the blatant one at the end where he takes one out and then puts it away, but since network TV has been enforcing shows to not show people smoking on screen (ridiculous I know) little bits of body language and prop usage go a long way in characterization. At least this is sticking true to the way Constantine is as a character in the comics.