It’s generally not a good idea to spend your entire magical career making major players in Hell very angry, and to follow that up by accidentally condemning yourself to Hell for eternity when you die. John Constantine, however, is not the Saint of Good Ideas; he’s the ‘Saint of Last Resorts’ as the title of Constantine‘s midseason two-parter aptly points out, and when John feels flames licking at the bottom of his shoes, he pulls out the very last resort of last resorts and invites the demon Pazuzu into his body.
Like a good guest, Pazuzu heals John of the Bullet Wound of Cliffhangers that Anne-Marie gave him before the midseason break and scares off the prowling invunche, which is a shame because the invunche remains the best creature effect of the series so far. Once the initial threat is passed, John is left with just a precious couple of days to get the demon out of him… so of course the first thing he does is get landed in prison.
There’s a lot of pressure on Matt Ryan in this episode to play out the Pazuzu possession convincingly, because for whatever reason the show’s visual effects (invunche notwithstanding) are still pretty sub-par and he doesn’t get more than glowing red eyes, some foam at the mouth, some voice distortion and some pretty bad wire work to help sell the illusion that he’s got an arch-demon inside him. But while Ryan tends to struggle with more subtle character moments, going all-out is something that seems to come naturally and as a result, his possession makes for an entertaining watch.
John’s possession is easily the most engaging plot element of this episode mainly because the outcome of Zed’s abduction is so feeble. She escapes her single captor in the space of a couple of minutes and goes on her merry way, revealing her own season finale cliffhanger as the transparent hook that it was, and the mystery behind where she comes from is dragged out for another episode.
To make up for Zed’s lack of revelations, ‘The Saint of Last Resorts Part 2’ does offer an enticing tidbit about Chas: namely, that his family has been killed and his apparent immortality is somehow John’s fault. It’s just as well that he does have the Lazarus touch because Chas gets killed again in this episode. He really ought to develop some self-preservation skills, but for now it’s kind of fun to watch him continually bouncing back up like a Bobo doll.
Somewhere between shooting John in the stomach and exorcising a demon from him, Anne-Marie also learns the importance of forgiving oneself and comes to terms with the guilt she feels for introducing John to magic in the first place, which is pretty much what we’ve come to expect of the feel-good story conclusions that Constantine seems intent on pursuing. Also, Manny is back to doing nothing except hanging around and being approving or disapproving depending on what the situation demands. It turns out that nearly unleashing an arch-demon on Earth for selfish reasons falls into the category of Things Manny Disapproves Of.
Based on the way that ‘The Saint of Last Resorts Part 2’ concludes, it seems as though the demonic possession could be setting up the TV show’s take on the ‘Demon Constantine’ story arc from the comic books. The starting point is very similar (John turning to a demon to help heal him after being grievously injured) and previous teasers for the series have suggested that we haven’t seen the last of the red-eyed Constantine. That could certainly make for an interesting direction as the showrunners push to earn Constantine a second season.
Also, this review couldn’t end without pointing out that after all the fuss and restrictions and rules from NBC regarding John’s smoking, he went ahead and shot up with a massive dose of heroin in this episode like it was no big thing. Oh TV, never change.
Constantine returns next Friday in ‘Quid Pro Quo’ @8pm on NBC. Watch the promo below: