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Constantine S01E02 : "The Darkness Beneath"

  

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  1. 1. Your marks out of 10 for Constantine S01E02, Please....

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I'm with you on the positives. It's all enough to keep my inner fanboy happy. I hope this series continues to take shape, setting the pieces, etc so we can get to the nitty gritty.

Zed! I like her in various wonderful ways. I also fear for her safety, as we all know John's women don't always fair well.

 

As for the Romany thing. I don't think it was racist or inapporiate. Rather, it made sense. A person with Romany heritage in a Virginian coal town would stick out a bit. Kind of like an Englishman in a trenchcoat. Add to that the protector spirits attacked her husband, when they are supposed to helping the miners (although he's a not so nice husband as we see). Certainly this and her demeanor and various Scooby clues, led John to her. There were a few more steps in his logic than "HEY! A GYPSY! Must be her!" To be fair, they could have done a slightly better job to make that clear.

 

Also, this episode was written by Rockne S. O'Bannnon, he who created/produced/co-wrote Farscape!!! He's also a consulting producer on this show.

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I'm with you on the positives. It's all enough to keep my inner fanboy happy. I hope this series continues to take shape, setting the pieces, etc so we can get to the nitty gritty.

Zed! I like her in various wonderful ways. I also fear for her safety, as we all know John's women don't always fair well.

 

As for the Romany thing. I don't think it was racist or inapporiate. Rather, it made sense. A person with Romany heritage in a Virginian coal town would stick out a bit. Kind of like an Englishman in a trenchcoat. Add to that the protector spirits attacked her husband, when they are supposed to helping the miners (although he's a not so nice husband as we see). Certainly this and her demeanor and various Scooby clues, led John to her. There were a few more steps in his logic than "HEY! A GYPSY! Must be her!" To be fair, they could have done a slightly better job to make that clear.

 

Also, this episode was written by Rockne S. O'Bannnon, he who created/produced/co-wrote Farscape!!! He's also a consulting producer on this show.

 

Now this, I didn't know!

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i liked the episode, laste episode i was at a weak eight so this is a medium to strong eight.

 

zed is a hellofa improvement over liv. she was not constantly good throughout the episode, but some of it may be due to the character zed having to know john first before going toe to toe. and the actress was playing that out. just a thought though. the chemistry between her and john is good and they played out the sexual tension rather well.

 

i liked the depiction of magic in the episode. no fire-wirlwinds, no flashes, just plain change of perception and of cause the little thingy in the last minutes. even in the mine john kept to the power of his words. neat.

 

i really disliked the scenes with the husband, his acting was bad and the killing scene was way to stereotypical for my taste. the actress of the romany did a really good job though and i totally bought her. in the first scene with john she had this cercei(got)-esque vibe, which i consider to be a huge compliment.

 

it really bothered me, that there were no aftershocks after they blew up the mine.

 

i liked the scene where john slips into the mine, because it showed how john does not solely rely on magic and that is a good thing.

 

i think you have all pointed out the greatest weakness of the script and that was the resolution of the plot. i too think they shouldve dropped some stronger hints before john came to his conclusion. it was also to obvious from the start who the sorcerer was. one could also go as far as it is a general no go to use a gipsy witch, since it is a bad stereotype and rather offensive. it is though a classic occult motive and i really hope that no one believes, that there are gipsy warlocks or witches or anything like gipsy magic. which makes me feel quite indifferent about it.

 

to end with two plus point. they embedded the bigger story arc (evil rising) and how it effects the greater order/ balance of things, so that even spirits with good intentions turn on the ones they protect. and i liked that the real bad people here were those mining bosses, although they could've gone with more emphasis on that imo and instead of mining they should've gone with fracking, since it is a topic more up to date (they basically could've gone with the rest of the plot as before, but it would've been also a nice allegory to how fracking fucks with the natural order of things).

 

now i ended with a minus point... arg. ok i have one up my sleeve: matt ryan is as much john as i could've ever hoped for and it does to my suprise not bother me that he does not smoke on screen.

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That was a better episode, but it still feels like it lacks that special spark to make it great. I don't think any of the writing is overly impressive- serviceable rather than quotable. Matt Ryan is doing all the right things so far, his Constantine is better than I expected, so credit to him.

 

We'll just keep going and see.

 

I also do not care for the titles.

 

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Oof, didn't care too much for this one.

 

 

The Good-ish:

-Matt Ryan. He's really owning the part, and if this series lasts for 2-3 seasons, I see him becoming J.C. in the public mind. Not just by replacing Keanu as THE portrayal, but influencing the comics [like it happened with The Arrow] as well. I just think they oughta either stop with the self-important speechifying, or at least write/direct it better. And his occasional strutting is a bit silly.

-Chas. I like it that they don't need to have him be a helper in each episode, he can skip an adventure [though I'd rather it was something more mundane keeping him away from the action, like he promised the missus he'd drive the mother-in-law to her doctor's appointment].

-The ciggies. See, TV people? He doesn't have to smoke to be portrayed as a smoker.

-The little things: his ability to "read" people [but also to be spectacularly wrong sometimes], his ID, getting his ass kicked.

-Most of the FX was nice, both the ghoulies at the end and the fire shower at the top. The church scene was okay, but the bit in the mine was not too good.

-The dark touches: the wife screaming "I'm the victim" while being dragged off to her death [and possibly some damnation]. It was unsettling, and I still don't know if it's right or wrong, but it kinda exists in that gray area that Hellblazer used to thrive in. More of that, please.

-Those church-fucking teens didn't get their obligatory horror movie comeuppance. That graffiti bogeyman was a bit rubbish, tho.

-Well, for someone who has such a clean coat, Constantine sure gets dirty a lot [often without the said coat, but still].

-That Liverpool mention was a nice touch.

-Him bringing the frozen chicken dinner to the bereaved family's house made me chuckle.

-The Rising Darkness from Swamp Thing. Hopefully it leads to the Brujeria. Or they can combine that arc with the Damnation Army. I like, in theory, that it seems we'll get a version of American Gothic where Constantine has to do it all himself [well, with Zed and Chas in tow], since Swampy isn't around. Hope they can/will rip off some of the better Swampy episodes from that run, like the one with the riflemaker's house, for example.

 

The Bad-ish:

-The latina b-version of Sookie Stackhouse. She's better than Liv, but nevertheless: Zed's bad, baby. Still, I think she can be salvaged if they just work a bit on the direction of the actress. Which brings me to:

-The direction/photography. I knew it'd drop off after the pilot, but despite some good bits, most of it was very generic. That coal open [puns, everyone!] with the miner and his wife was very bad, up until his shower [but the flaming thrashing silhouette was done brilliantly, for example]

-The whole Romany thing, mainly because it was too obvious, but also, not cool, guys.

-The acting: Cersei Mine-ister wife, the priest... hell, pretty much everyone who had spoken lines made me wish for the goofy angel's swift return.

-Those opening credits. Especially the flaming logo. It all seems like an ad for a B-list metal band's show coming soon to an arena near you! The music's not that bad, but I do hope it all changes to something snazzier. They can leave the tormented burning souls, tho, those are serviceable.

-Ah, the [literally] bloody map. I know it's just so he'd have a reason to move from town to town, but I hope they lose it soon.

-Even though they explained why they needed it, I didn't care much for the [obligatory?] explosion.

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I actually let that Romany thing slide with me and got into an argument with someone on it. I later discovered that the reason I was trying to defend that racist comment was because I have this burning drive to keep Constantine on air so that Supernatural doesn't have to be the only show with occult and paranormal themes. You guys don't know how fucking terrible it is to have something close to the look of John Constantine (Castiel) but only see the fucker for a few episodes while two douchenozzles take up all the screen time. The real reason I watch Supernatural is because Castiel dresses like Constantine (his character's alright too) but now that we have a show of Constantine, I don't have to JUST rely on Castiel anymore. So I guess I've become so pig headed over Constantine being on air that I've literally tried over-looking everything else.

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I liked it. Not great, but good enough. The directing is a bit shoddy, the episode doesn't flow smoothly at all. And that gypsy thing was just awful. Hope they steer well clear of it later on. It could so easily have been avoided too, if he'd just said something along the lines of him recoginzing romani magic, without singling it out as particularly evil.

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Oh, and I REALLY liked the ending of the final scene ("I'm knackered", as opposed to romantically interested) - very Constantinian, and I'm quite relieved that they didn't overplay the romantic angle.

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Count me among those that took offence to the Romany issue. "Nothing blacker than gypsy magic" might have some kind of logical consistency with whatever this interpretation of John Constantine knows about magic and the occult but to virgin ears it still comes across as quite racist. It was also pretty obvious that her character was villainous - her inappropriate behaviour towards Constantine was a clanging giveaway. "It's always the wife", as my girlfriend wearily observed while watching it.

 

I liked the setting for this last episode. A blue-collar mining town with Welsh roots in backwoods America is fertile and unexplored ground, the kind of place you'd expect Constantine to crop up in. Quite in keeping with his first appearances in Swamp Thing and then Azzarello's run on the title.

 

Is Matt Ryan owning the character? He's a damn sight better than Reeves and he's showing signs of being able to nail the acerbic wit of the character but I'm not sure about his ability to carry the "heavier" moments that he's had to deal with so far. The "You can't have her" scene from the pilot wasn't great. I remain a Matt Ryan agnostic for the time being but there's enough to be cautiously optimistic.

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Much of what I liked and disliked has been mentioned above.

 

The Romany comment by Constantine irked me a lot.

"Nothing blacker than a gypsy curse" would have worked fine, but this was nasty.

 

The Romany story by the wife, struck me more as an allegorical comment, but yeah, her attempt at snoggery misfired.

 

Chas (not Chaz) saying that only one of John's tips worked, and "I'd have thought you'd have enough practice" :-)

 

I liked the scene with Zed in the street, the way they played each other. Her confidence is rattled by what's going on, and I think it's fair enough she is shocked by it all. Her power just got ramped up a notch and this was a scary experience, but noticably not as scary as similar was for Liv.

Someone missed a trick with the driving licence: 10/05/82 when 83 would've been amusing.

 

I am not keen on the map, but then one of my favourite characters in Hellblazer is Map ;-)

It drives the season arc and can be jettisoned easily enough.

The town and some of the townsfolk were a bit clunky, but then this ain't Millennium, yet.

 

I rather liked the 1st scene in the church, even if the water thing brought back shudders of Constanteen The Movie.

Then it's fair enough that they want to give the movie fans an occasional treat when we're getting loads of comic stuff.

 

The fight scene outside the house would have amused me more if Constantine had been a bit more crap, but he was on the right side of crap fighting/ good fighting divide. I reckon Ryan has the lines and the delivery pretty much sorted.

 

And I really liked the way Villain of the Week was not a demon. That's what we need.

 

The final scene, as Red said, was a peach.

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Someone missed a trick with the driving licence: 10/05/82 when 83 would've been amusing.

 

Why?

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A random tweet just reminded me of my favourite bit from this episode - John bringing a ready meal to the wake, funny and so absolutely in character for his comic counterpart.

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'83 - newcastle crew died except gary, richie and john

 

also from the wiki:

 

nothing spectacular there...

matt was born '81

none of the authors were born '83

so what am i missing here?

 

wouldn't 85 been mo(o)re fitting? (appeared first)

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A random tweet just reminded me of my favourite bit from this episode - John bringing a ready meal to the wake, funny and so absolutely in character for his comic counterpart.

 

Liked that bit a lot - it was like something Jenkins would write circa "Life and Death and Taxis".

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The frozen dinner was hilarious. Matt Ryan is great as our John, but the other actors left a lot to be desired.

 

Couldn't John just mind trick his way into the mine?

 

Just a 5. We can do better

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After everything that's been said about how they learned from the leaked pilot and took steps to improve on it, I was unprepared for how bad this would be.

 

Sorry to speak in terms like "bad" when it's only my own reaction, and other forumites liked the same material, but I have so little respect for this episode that I can't be bothered trying harder. I still respect all your opinions. Please forgive this glitch.

 

I get that it's early days and they're finding their feet and so forth. But the problem with this was quality, not tone.

 

Storytelling was risible: the plot progresses solely because people open up to complete strangers, delivering exactly the right exposition. Even the shagging couple (who were old enough to have their own homes to shag in) paused for long enough to deliver a Clue. For f*ck's sake.

 

Dialogue was awful. The guy cosplaying Constanteen copped the Welsh lion's share of unnatural lines, maybe because Limeys speak funny, but no-one escaped.

 

Zed has more-or-less the same level of agency and charisma as Liv. Nice job there.

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Sorry to speak in terms like "bad" when it's only my own reaction, and other forumites liked the same material, but I have so little respect for this episode that I can't be bothered trying harder. I still respect all your opinions. Please forgive this glitch.

 

ha. having a subjective opinion is nothing to excuse for. you seem way more objective maybe then i am, who is blinded by matts imo stellar performance.

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I think most of the positivity comes from episodes 3 and 4. Increasing quality in those.

And Zed was clearly just a slightly reworked Liv with emergency scenes in this one.

She remains too close to Liv in facial expressions but starts to boss John around a bit.

 

I dearly hope she is a character that can be used in the way Constantine's supporting cast (especially close lady friends) are used in the book.

But maybe without stuffing her into the metaphorical refrigerator.

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