“PLEASE… NO MORE.”
Note: The following review goes into detail about the episode. SPOILER ALERT!
“Rage of Caliban” was a good concept, one poorly executed (much like the show itself). Matt Ryan is still wildly entertaining at Constantine, but the actual plots remain bland and the cast underutilized. It’s hard to keep listing all the flaws the show has without sounding like a broken record, so we’ll leave it at saying this episode had some bright spots, but overall was an example of everything wrong with the show.
Things went to Birmingham, Ala. this week, as an angry spirit jumps around town, possessing kids and forcing them to kill their parents. With Zed curiously absent, it’s up to Constantine and Chas to find the spirit’s identity and send it back to the great beyond before it strikes again. The episode spends a fair amount of time building up the possession of a boy named Henry, and these moments are able to flesh out the conflict a bit more and give some small bit of substance to the villain of the week. However, Constantine’s side of the story doesn’t hit the same marks, with Chas serving as little more than set dressing and Manny dropping in once more to offer vague statements about ‘The Rising Darkness.’ Luckily, the episode provides some great material for Constantine, exploring his residual doubts about himself in the wake of losing Astra during the Newcastle Incident. The scenes focusing on this and Constantine’s own childhood are the best by a mile, and give a glimpse of what the show could be if it built out its lore.
What really destroys this episode is the fact that it was clearly meant to proceed the pilot. With some obvious rewrites, the whole ‘Rising Darkness’ plot has been kept vague enough that this episode doesn’t mess with continuity. The lack of Zed and other elements introduced recently manage to kill what momentum the show had after the enjoyable “Danse Vaudou.” It seems the writers have no idea what to do with the elements of the show.
“Rage of Caliban” was a terribly uneven entry, both in terms of story and airtime. The Halloween setting stuck out like a sore thumb. This was basically a solo John Constantine adventure given the lack of a supporting cast. However, it wasn’t a complete waste, with the boy’s possession allowing for some character work with Constantine and a slightly more interesting overall plot. Let’s hope Constantine gets it together, as there are only seven episodes left.
Was it good to revisit the Newcastle Incident? Summon your comment spirits in the section below.
65/100 – ‘Decent’
*We do not comment on anything relating to previews for the next episode and beyond.
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