THE RISING DARKNESS REVEALED.
Note: The following review goes into detail about the episode. SPOILER ALERT!
The one giant thorn in Constantine’s side throughout its run so far has been the show’s tendency to be vague about pretty much everything. Zed came out of nowhere and has mysterious powers, we know nothing about Chas, and Constantine has a history of fighting demons that’s never quite explained. Also, the show keeps hyping the importance of the vaguely-defined ‘Rising Darkness.’ Imagine, then, the surprise it was that “The Saint of Last Resorts Part 1” finally bucked that trend, revealing some sorely needed plot information and finally giving a face to the big bad it has been trying so hard to build up this season.
Things kick off, refreshingly, not with the map but with Anne Marie, a former member of the Newcastle gang who summons John to Mexico City to investigate the disappearance of a baby from a local convent. Meanwhile, Zed is forced to stay behind while she recuperates from being linked to the fallen angel in “Blessed are the Damned.” (Whoa, this show chooses now to become serialized?) “The Saint of Last Resorts” ends up telling one well-done Constantine and one more haphazard Zed tale. Constantine’s side of things is by far the better one, with him having some great scenes that fleshed out his origins as a dabbler in the dark arts and his relationship with Anne Marie, who’s a welcome presence to the show. The Mexican setting also served to provide Constantine a much fresher, worldlier feel. We finally got some payoff to the nebulous ‘Rising Darkness’ plot, revealing the increased demonic activity to be the work of La Brujeria, an ancient clan of warlocks who are currently trying to break out of hell and return to tormenting the earth. While this reveal doesn’t make La Brujeria a satisfying villain off the bat, having Constantine fighting something more concrete is a huge step forward for the show and lends much more weight to the entire plot.
Zed’s side of things didn’t fare nearly as well. She stayed in Constantine’s magical safehouse, leading to a date with Eric the nude model from “Blessed are the Damned” who turned out to be an agent for a cult led by Zed’s father. While seeing Zed take down several cultists offered some nice action scenes, the execution of the story bordered nonsensical at times. Constantine’s “magic defenses” did squat while Zed herself was taken down by a simple knockout drug while her attackers spout generic lines about her being “the One.” Perhaps without the ‘Rising Darkness,’ the show needed a new vaguely-defined threat to contend with.
Overall, “The Saint of Last Resorts” proved to be an episode with two halves: one quite good and the other bland and predictable. Constantine’s fight against a baby-snatching Lamashtu and her La Brujeria masters proved to be a great leap forward for the show, giving more information and weight to its ongoing plots and actually gaining some narrative momentum for once. Unfortunately, the second half of this story airs after the holidays. Constantine is finally picking up steam, so let’s hope despite the holiday break, the show can stick the landing.
What did you think of La Brujeria’s reveal? Are you itching for Part 2 or can you wait? Perform your comment spells in the section below.
80/100 – ‘Great’
*We do not comment on anything relating to previews for the next episode and beyond.
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