This episode delves a bit more into working-class warlock John Constantine’s (Matt Ryan) punk rock past, via a cursed blues record (or “acetate”, if you want to get old-timey about it). We open with a mystery woman named Jasmine (Joelle Carter) stealing the acetate from an abandoned recording studio that’s been adorned with dead animals, then bringing it to Chicago record producer Bernie for analysis. Despite the woman’s warnings not to, Bernie plays the record, and is driven to suicide by what he hears on it. Jasmine steals the record back and hotfoots it out of there. Vinyl collectors, it seems, are not put off by little details like records spontaneously generating frost and speaking to listeners in a sinister whisper.
We then catch up with Zed (Angelica Celaya) and Chas (Charles Halford) as they meet up at one of John’s “supernatural safehouses”–you know, the kind of place where a guy can really let down his hair, cover himself in blood, and utter a series of incomprehensible incantations while rocking out to a live version of The Ramones’ I Wanna Be Sedated. We learn more about Zed’s strange ability to “pick up impressions from tactile stimuli” and how that translates into her guiding visions, while getting a peek at John’s supernatural arsenal. It includes, among other things, a Hand Of Glory (a severed hand with candles on the fingertips which, when lit, can raise the dead for a limited period), a pair of nails from the coffin of Saint Padua (attracted to each other, they make for a handy homing device), and a deck of charmed cards that entrance the holder into seeing the card as whatever they want. All of these, it turns out, will come in handy during their latest caper.
It seems that Bernie the record producer was a mentor to John and his punk band, Mucous Membrane, back in the day, and John feels obliged to learn what happened to him. He and Zed break into the morgue and use the Hand Of Glory to learn from Bernie’s corpse that the killer record was a Moonrise Records production, and that Moonrise founder Marcus Mooney (Nicholas Pryor) lives in a nearby nursing facility. When questioned by our heroes, Mooney reveals that the record in question contained a recording by a blues man who sold his soul to the devil, AKA The First Of The Fallen, who came to collect on his debt while the record was being cut. The now-cursed object speaks in the voice of the Deceiver, and it means madness and death to any who listen to it. The trail eventually leads to former heavy metal star Ian Fell (Marcus Hester), an old musical rival of John’s. Jasmine is his wife, and she stole the record at the behest of a “soul broker” named Anton (Sean Whalen) who claims that her compliance will help certain supernatural forces cure her husband from the cancer that’s killing him. Unfortunately, while waiting to turn the record over to Anton, Jasmine has placed the record in her collection, where her daughter soon falls under its spell (maybe a better hiding place would have been among the Lawrence Welk records?). The clock is ticking now, and matters are complicated further by the fact that Anton is working for a supernatural rival of John’s named Papa Midnite (Michael James Shaw), a gangster voodoo priest with his own designs on the record and its power. The danger grows exponentially when two of Midnite’s goons are entranced by the record and make plans to share it with the widest possible audience, via a local radio station. Thankfully, John has one more weapon in his arsenal that can help him–a walkman with a Sex Pistols tape, to blot out the voice of the Deceiver. The screeching wail of Johnny Rotten saves the day, proving once and for all that punk rock has really gotten a bad rap over the years. Anton is forced to literally eat his own words to negate his infernal contract, and John gains a powerful enemy in the thwarted Papa Midnite.
DC Comics Easter Egg Watch: Both Papa Midnite and John’s old punk band Mucous Membrane come straight out of the long-running Hellblazer comic, which bodes well for future fidelity to the comic book subject matter. The original series ran for 300 issues before continuing into the more recent Constantine comic, so there’s more than enough material for the show to draw on.
When is Constantine on TV? In Canada, Constantine airs Fridays at 8 et/pt on Global TV
Where can I watch Constantine online for free? GlobalTV.com/constantine streams full episodes of Constantineonline for free, or watch with the Global Go app on your iOS or Android mobile device. Episodes are typically posted the day after the initial on-air broadcast.