Hello fans of the Master Of The Dark Arts, what an episode we had of Constantine
this week, right? Demons! Old friends! Insects! Let's just jump right in!
The episode opens inside an airport as a man who doesn't seem too well makes his way through to the Customs counter. He's sweaty, a little weird looking, perhaps a tiny bit nervous. The man is Gary Lester and he's just come from the Sudan. The Agent asks if he wants to claim anything. Gary says no. They exchange glances. Cut to Gary in a backroom getting questioned about this bottle he has. One thing leads to another and the bottle breaks and about a thousand roach-like beetles swarm and are released. They swarm around and rush into the mouth of Gary's interrogator.
We come back from the opening sequence to find Zed and John chatting about her ability to tap into the network of psychic energy that's all around us. John points out that she still has a long way to go though and that she needs to let down her walls first.
Suddenly, coins are falling all around them, but its just a vision for Zed, a warning of sorts. Then time stops and John sees his angelic acquaintance, Manny. "Pennies from heaven..." the angel says. He claims people have their own unique markers for when celestial beings are close by.
Manny keeps the conversation about Zed going. Is she good enough? Can she handle all this? Can she handle seeing the things someone like John has to see? John is confident in the girl and claims she'll only be around until her "rising darkness nonsense" is all worked out. When John presses Manny for his reason to be there, Manny says he's not, and poof, time starts again and the angel is gone.
John and Zed pull up to the cabin to find it's been broken into, inside they find Gary Lester floating high in the room, caught in a "zero gravity trap."
Turns out that Gary and John are old friends, but they haven't seen each other in quite a while, since they were back in Newcastle. Gary had disappeared and we quickly see why, he has track marks from shooting heroin on his arms. Gary mentions the name Astra and John tenses a bit. Zed notices and asks who Astra is but John ignores her and quickly gets to the rub, asking "Why are you here Gary?"
Instead of saying "Well, I released a swarm of Sudanese Hell Bugs at the airport, I'll explain on the way," he goes into full flashback mode. While on a multi-day bender, Gary had found himself in Sudan and, while there, crossed paths with a man who had fresh carvings on his face. The were the markings of a containment spell, but Gary had felt compelled, out of guilt for something that happened at Newcastle, to help this poor man. To release the binding spell, transfer the contained evil into another vessel. We see the swarm of insects burst from the man and rush into the same small bottle we saw earlier at the airport.
Zed asks the million dollar question, "Where is the bottle now?
We cut to the food court back at the airport, a security guard is basically a food zombie, grunting and gurgling as he snatches food from people. He crashes about the area, grabbing whatever he can stuff in his mouth, making his way behind a counter, he reaches into the fryer, maws a mouthful of burning hot, grease dripping fries. He dies and the insects are released again.
John preps a new bottle to contain the swarm by drawing markings on it and then he starts talking to Zed about Gary. Because Gary is... somewhere else. Gary came from decent money so growing up, he had whatever he wanted. The two of them hung together as young men and Gary was the only one with a car, to which Zed asks "so you used him?" and Constantine replies "It depends on your perspective. Maybe he was using us as friends." John says that Gary used to get high, sure, but it seems that since Newcastle, he's a total junkie now.Zed jumps at the chance to ask about Newcastle and John more or less deflects the question pointing out Gary has wasted his life.
We cut to a woman's restroom. A woman comes over to the sink. Turns on the faucet, the pipes make a terrible noise and she turns the water off. Then the insects we know and love come up from inside the sink drain. Cut to the woman bursting through a door into a supermarket. Like a ravenous beast she tears into any food she can grab. A face full of this, a handful of that, ripping open bags and gorging, gnashing on a bushel of asparagus, knocking people over to get at their shopping carts. A security guard tries to stop her but she smashes a pickle jar across his heard. He crumples to the ground and she takes a big chomp out of his neck.
John and Zed watch TV and see that it's being called a viral outbreak at the market. John heads there to investigate what he now thinks is a hunger demon. Zed stays behind with Gary because John doesn't want the old friend "helping." Zed and Gary talk a bit, more ominous talk of Newcastle. Then Gary says my new favorite phrase: "the duck's nuts." Turns out John, Gary and some friends had taken a road trip to Newcastle, John's idea, and everyone liked John so they all went. But then there was Astra, the daughter of a friend of John's, who was possessed. John had a plan back then but it didn't work, Gary intones that she died.
Zed tries to tell him he did what he could and then she touches Gary's hand and they share a psychic moment, flashes of Gary's life, specifically shooting heroin quickly flutter by, invading her mind and boom! She's on the ground.
John sneaks into the crime scene at the supermarket and gets a witness to tell him what they saw, they discuss the bugs and he gets a description of the new host. John goes looking in the back areas of the meat department to find the new host and he certainly does.
But first he changes the sign from "This Plant Has Had No Accidents In 126 Days" to zero.
He finds the new host chewing away on a giant slab of beef and tries to trap about a thousand roach-beetles in a bottle - but it doesn't work, the bottle slips his grip and smashes on the ground. He manages to trap them in the refrigerated walk-in box. And he just leaves them there. What?!
Back at the cabin John finds that Zed has done some drawings of what she saw inside the psychic connection she had earlier with Gary. It's the Sudanese man with the markings on his face.
John visits a shamanistic friend for more help, who tells him he can help John find the answers if they have a shared psychedelic experience. He and John consume "the most powerful drug in the world" and quickly they are tripping balls. The shaman removes John's eye, then his own, and puts John's eye in his own socket so Constantine can "see" what the shaman sees. The demon ravaged a small village until that town's shaman took action and offered a living vessel to the demon. A sacred knife was used to make the markings on the mans face, the marks of the containment magic. The marked man found his way onto the street where Gary found him. John wakes from the trip and realizes he's going to need one of those fancy blades.
Back at the ranch, Gary wants out, he wants to go stop this demon, and Zed tries to stop him but Gary grabs her arms causing the psychic link again, and once again Zed passes out.
John returns to find her waking up she tells him what happened and John doesn't trust Gary because he's an addict and goes after him. John finds some punks beating the crap out of some fool who stiffed them. Guy didn't have the money for the drugs. John offers up the crazy super acid he used earlier as a trade for Gary and his debt.
Cut to John and Gary at a bar, having the heart-to-heart you knew was coming all along. They clear the air, Gary comes clean that he blames himself for what happened to Astra. He was high during the seance and messed it up. But John tells him it wasn't really his fault, that John shouldn't have brought him that day.
The news on the TV reminds us of the main plot and the boys head off like old times, to go take the demon down. Together. They head to the museum to steel the knife when time freezes, and Manny the angel pops up again to ask John if he's sure he wants to go through with this. He does.
They get the knife and head off to find the beast and Gary is a bit overjoyed that they are working together like the old days. They make their way to a movie theater and John points out that the problem with containing this demon is that it needs a live human body.
And Gary sees now that John had planned to use Gary as the final vessel. It's a final chance for Gary to do a good thing but there's no going back and it could take days before he dies... but he agrees.
John performs the spell, the swarm finds it's way into Gary and John has to now make the marks on him in the same way as the original man from Sudan.
When John returns to Zed with Gary's limp body she gives him a hard time about being a manipulator and sacrificing a friend's life. John barks that it was his choice, the only way and Gary came to him.
"Do you think I wanted this? Any of it? I told you this would happen, people around me die, if you can't handle it then go."
The episode ends with John holding Gary's hand as he writhes in pain, screaming. The angel Manny appears and for once, he is silent. He sits with John, solemnly, as Gary wails.
A really good episode that could have easily been just a marginal one. I must say I'm glad they are trying to stick to one of John's key character traits from the comics, that he is often a bastard in the way he tackles and solves these dark trials.
Be sure to be back here next week for another recap of Constantine
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