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Gillian

Constantine S01E03 : “The Devil’s Vinyl”

  

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  1. 1. Your marks out of 10 for Constantine S01E03

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Bear McCeary said that's his father-in-law playing and they co-wrote the song with Verheiden & Goyer.

 

That was a cracking episode.

 

As usual: the less satisfying bits first.

The necessity to footnote all the artefacts in the dialogue.

ie Constantine explaining what something will do means that we'll see that later in the episode.

Constantine running through the window at Ian Fell's house. Unnecessary.

Slightly better impact from the magical nails of St Padua, and while I spotted the hug was a ruse, I guess some folks won't have, and will have engaged their "HOW DID ZED KNOW WHERE TO FIND HIM?" rants.

I was not keen on the homeless guy turning nasty. The rat was cute though.

And heparin/Vitamin K isn't going to work that quick*.

 

What I liked.

The supporting cast are tightening up, and this week's guests seemed to be doing acting on the X Files level rather than Charmed.

It's not Millennium yet.

There were some gruesome scenes in this. The initial scene with Bernie, the club and the finale were well-staged.

The misdirection of the soul bargain (and as mentioned, the way Constantine's spells don't quite work).

Manny's appearance moving that series arc story along.

 

 

"Let's say hi to His Satanic Majesty"

The scene where Constantine is practising spells was brilliant.

I didn't even have time to look for Easter Eggs because I was laughing.

 

Larger on the inside :-)

 

"I'm in charge of the music"

 

"We need to get to a library" ... google phone.

 

Papa Midnite has the right balance of gangsta and voodoo technician for me. They could have used one of the many non-mystical plants and antidotes that do the bleeding thing, but the fact he used pharmaceutical versions was more thoughtful than voodoo (pharmacognosy!). I expect there will be criticisms on racial stereotyping, but we have a black angel ;-)

His comments about the Televangelist were spot on - Papa Midnite should have more wisdom thank JC.

 

The Ace of Winchesters is a fun thing to include.

The Sex Pistols as a protective noise :-)

 

OMG, they killed Chas with electricity again !

 

I like the continued ambiguity about Zed, which I reckon is going to play a part as a misdirection of the story at some point.

 

Also, little details such as the artwork in the Fell's home and the record collection looking like one built up over years.

Oh and the club and radio station posters although sparse, seemed to be collected with a sense of occasion

Among the product placement: https://wearewires.bandcamp.com/

Accept "Blind Rage"

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Oh by the way, when he's strapped to the bench, bleeding, Constantine sings

 

"There was a poor sod, name of J,

For whom we had nothing to pray.

He died all alone, bled to the bone,

For he just couldn't be saved."

 

I couldn't place it, and thought it was "Friggin in the riggin" which would have been appropriate.

But it's the Popeye theme isn't it?

 

:-)

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My favorite episode so far. Still confused by what they are going to do with zed. We have a Constantine watching party each night in my new place.

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Well having Constantine enlisted by an angel and having a sidekick with a crucifix sets up a nice switcheroo if it's heading for a Damnation game.

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By the Demon Chas, feel free to point out to the Bleeding Cool forum chappy that Constantine used the Sex Pistols to drown out the cursed record, not as a magical ward.

 

'-)

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By the Demon Chas, feel free to point out to the Bleeding Cool forum chappy that Constantine used the Sex Pistols to drown out the cursed record, not as a magical ward.

 

'-)

 

Gladly!

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Wasn't as enamoured with that as some of you, again perfectly decent stuff but still lacking anything to make it stand out on the crowded airwaves - Matt's performance aside anyway.

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Well, this one was a marked improvement compared to the last one. The first half was much better than the hurried jumble of action-exposition-resolution at the back end.

 

The Iffy:

-Too. Many. Characters. On the one hand, played right, it could be a strength - the show's world seems larger, and plenty of them are redshirts, to be disposed of/brought back gruesomely for our viewing pleasure. But here, it just made the episode rushed trying to pack it all in. Bernie, the deathbed producer, The Fells plus their daughter, Anton, Papa Midnite, his henchmen, the hobo...

Now, I'm not dissing the central trio, or the Manny/Midnite sparring partners for John. But I think Anton was redundant - could've had him be replaced by/do the dirty deed instead of Midnite's henchmen. Would've made for a cleaner resolution - in the end he... eats the contract and....? Ian will get cancer, Jasmine won't lose her soul and he will... suffer? Die? Be eternally damned? It is not made clear, and makes the knife-to-the-throat seem like too low a threat for him to accept the deal. Also, he wanted to trade the record to Midnite in exchange for... something?

-Zed's still acting in a different [worse] show than all the rest, hope she raises her game soon. And her initial exchange with Chas was rushed.

-Dabbler Who? - not entirely sold on Constantine as a Magic Lord from Scousefray. It could very well work as a cool yet familiar direction for the show ["He's a bit like Doctor Who, but with magic" can be a way to hook new people in], but I think they could've spread the similarities over a few episodes, not hit us with the "bigger on the inside"/"psychic card" bit all at once.

-Bits 'n' bobs. Too many magical items as well, and since they compete with the aforementioned plentiful supporting characters for plot device status, they should go easy on them [especially in an episode centered around a magical item whose properties weren't really explained properly]. I'd rather Conjob be a bit more like Batman [as compared to Azrael-as-batman] and be capable of using whatever's at hand for magic purposes [like divining from his ciggie smoke in last ep]. Plus, that satchel's giving me serious Mary Poppins/

vibes. The Hand of Destiny, the tracker nails, the card, the contract, the Ace of Winchesters, and...

-That map. I get that it's the central plot device for this season, but would've preferred it if Johnny-boy went to check out his mate's death on his own accord. Not every episode should be linked to the map, especially since it didn't really add anything to the plot or larger themes.

-The white tiger vision - would've preferred they solved that one with Google as well, it was too easy/lame.

-The writing. It's getting there, but plenty of things are played too fast and loose to make the desired impact [like the OOC running through a plate of glass and the following exchange with the musician]

-The action. I get that the third act must conform to some TV writing standards, but here it rarely has the desired effect. Appreciated that Conjob was crap at it and that his headphones plan failed, so he had to be rescued [accidentally] by Papa, but if you're gonna have some action, it should be better thought out.

-Don't care much for the obligatory closing voiceover, at least the way it's been done so far. I'd prefer it if they either lose it, or have it be more like John's actual inner monologue [which would be much harder to pull off], but this voiceover/montage combo they have going on cheapens thing a bit.

 

The Good:

-Chas. Like that guy. Despite his nine lives.

-Mucous Membrane shoutout!

-Manny's first appearance was really ace, and the second one, with the hobo, wasn't too shabby.

-Papa Midnite was really cool. I want Boney M to redo that Daddy Cool song to go "Papa, Papa M". Especially, as Ade mentioned, his practical side - why use magic, when copper zipties, some meds and a club to the head will do the job?

-Casting for supporting actors is getting better. A pity they didn't give Joelle Carter more to do. If they cut down on the number of characters/magical items, they might get more out of very good performers they obviously are able to book. I guess I shouldn't complain, tho, since she took a backseat to the introduction of Papa M, but I would've preferred it if she had at least 20 more seconds of quality screentime.

-Butt-nekkid practice for a ritual was a laugh riot. Just the right amount of silly.

-The First of the Fallen exposition was nicely done, especially the explanation of why he is actively seeking out souls.

-"You're gonna have to respect my boundaries. I don't do zip-ties without a safeword." They're laying off on the too stiff and serious speechifying for John, so he gets to be funnier.

-After reading about the Sex Pistols song before I even watched the episode, I thought it'd be too on the nose, but I didn't really mind. And thus, it's a good thing, it means the moment was written/played/directed well enough for me not to care enough to nitpick.

-The Blues musician trades his soul for the music trope was done okay.

-As mentioned above, I like how John's plans fail horribly half the time [like his negotiations with the hobo, or his headphones storming of the radio station].

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I liked it; my only real problem was its insistence on spelling everything out for the dumb-dumbs that TV folk always assume exist. The long explanation for why his Not-Psychic-Paper trick worked was far better explained by the bit half a minute earlier where we just saw him use the bloody thing. And Zed's OH I knew that hug was out of character! That was weird! But now I know that it was in actual fact because of how you were [continues on for several thousand words]. Gadgetry is fun, but laboured explanations kill that fun almost as dead as explaining a joke would. They even spelled out eating the contract. Hopefully once the show's settled in they'll be more confident about the audience's ability to take 'magic' as all the explanation we need.

 

Matt's getting more and more John; I noticed he held still a lot more this episode. A lot of his glowering poses looked like actual comic book panels.

 

And I also made an eeee sound at the Ace of Winchesters :D

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I like how he stands facing ppl when he speaks to them. He stands right in front of them. Check it out next time you watch.

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You know, a lot of people say the blood letting scene serves no purpose, but it actually shows how Midnite does not want to kill Constantine, just show him who's boss. If anything, I'd have dropped the little girl scene.

oh and James, elsewhere, nailed the pointless map. This was an acquaintance of John's so he could have gone to check out the deal.

 

interesting what comments are made elsewhere. That's right, "elsewhere"

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A-hem:

 

 

-That map. I get that it's the central plot device for this season, but would've preferred it if Johnny-boy went to check out his mate's death on his own accord. Not every episode should be linked to the map, especially since it didn't really add anything to the plot or larger themes.

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My other half went "psychic paper" in a disapproving way. I myself would've prefered a Derren Brown style piece of trickery there. Hypnosis. Whatever.

 

I'm still not feeling it, but it could build. Interested to see what they do with FotF.

 

Yes, Matt Ryan is very good.

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I like how both the film and the TV show have completely reimagined Chas, leaving no remnants of the character from the books. It's exactly the sort of thing that would happen to him.

 

THEY MADE ME A BLOODY SIDEKICK AGAIN, JOHN. THIS WAS YOUR IDEA, WASN'T IT? TWENTY-FIVE YEARS. THIS IS WHAT I GET.

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I like how both the film and the TV show have completely reimagined Chas, leaving no remnants of the character from the books. It's exactly the sort of thing that would happen to him.

 

THEY MADE ME A BLOODY SIDEKICK AGAIN, JOHN. THIS WAS YOUR IDEA, WASN'T IT? TWENTY-FIVE YEARS. THIS IS WHAT I GET.

 

There's still time for Renee, Slag and make John a punching bag when fed up with his shit

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I liked it; my only real problem was its insistence on spelling everything out for the dumb-dumbs that TV folk always assume exist. The long explanation for why his Not-Psychic-Paper trick worked was far better explained by the bit half a minute earlier where we just saw him use the bloody thing. And Zed's OH I knew that hug was out of character! That was weird! But now I know that it was in actual fact because of how you were [continues on for several thousand words]. Gadgetry is fun, but laboured explanations kill that fun almost as dead as explaining a joke would. They even spelled out eating the contract. Hopefully once the show's settled in they'll be more confident about the audience's ability to take 'magic' as all the explanation we need.

 

Matt's getting more and more John; I noticed he held still a lot more this episode. A lot of his glowering poses looked like actual comic book panels.

 

And I also made an eeee sound at the Ace of Winchesters :D

I thought John did that a lot in monologue boxes in the comics when it came to the things he did or the items he used.

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(sorry Rogan, but erm, ... ,)

SERBIA SISTER!

 

None taken ;)

 

And I don't mean to sound glib or anything, but what did you mean by those "everywhere" comments? That people are not coming to the boards to discuss the show and that we maybe oughta direct them here?

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My other half went "psychic paper" in a disapproving way. I myself would've preferred a Derren Brown style piece of trickery there. Hypnosis. Whatever.

 

Yeah, maybe his magic would mean more if he did less of it. I mean, sure, they've magesplained the "cost" in this ep - him sacrificing days from the back end of his life for the spells [or was it just the cost for the Hand of Glory in particular?], but then why does he bother wasting it on magicking the receptionist at a nursing home, when he could simply flash some of that horse-racing money or con his way in?

 

Also, I felt that, although it's in-character for Zed to pickpocket that guy's swipe-card, that whole scene was way too rushed and on the nose. In general, her scenes are very poorly realized, even her scene with Chas at the beginning was weirdly cut'n'paced [wordplay!].

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No, that people should look around for reviews and comments because there's a wide range of thoughts.

 

Ah, kk. Yeah, We're at the same time overly critical and too lenient, I feel. My shorter half, who only knows Constantine from his Sandman appearance and Keanu flick, has a more favorable opinion of the show, since her expectations are much lower than mine, yet she liked the 2nd ep better than the third, feeling the third was way too overstuffed for her to be able to just watch it to relax after a long day.

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