NBC’s Constantine The Devil’s Vinyl TV Show Review. Constantine: Season 1, Episode 3: The Devil’s Vinyl brought in the blues with some crossroads demons in the mix as John Constantine (Matt Ryan) and his team went down to the Windy City of Chicago to find an artifact that allows the person to hear the devil’s voice through an acetate. Sounds crazy on television, but Constantine brought an entertaining night full of surprises. We also get to meet one of John’s many adversaries in the form of Papa Midnite.
The episode begins with a woman who goes to find an old vinyl record located at a creepy abandoned building. The vinyl supposedly allows the person to hear the voice of the devil forcing them to play it, which the manager at Moonshine Studios does when the woman brings it over. After listening to the record, the manager’s ears start getting frostbite and kill the noise out of his head causing him to die of head trauma.
Before Constantine’s team head to Chicago, our newest team member Zed (Angelica Celaya) gets an awkward introduction with Chas (Charles Halford) as he points a gun at her to see who he’s up against. The two then seem to hit it off as Chas gives her the grand tour of the supernatural safehouse. What was even more awkward was seeing Constantine doing a spell with blood covered all over him. Meanwhile, Chas gives Zed a look at the vast corridor that goes on for miles, but Constantine cuts the trip short as he takes his team to the blood-stamped map to investigate the case of John’s old friend Bernie in Chicago. Zed uses her visions to see any supernatural activity, sensing a cold breeze in a field full of jasmine flowers.
Once they hit Chicago, Constantine and Zed head to the morgue to check out Bernie’s body. In his bag of magic tricks, Constantine pulls out a dead man’s hand and uses a spell to bring the dead to life in order to get some information on Bernie’s death. Despite waking the entire morgue, Constantine got some info on his friend’s murder. Constantine tells Zed that each of the spells he does comes with a price, with this one costing him days of his mortality. Anyway, we also get a bit of background on Constantine of his early days as a musician in a band called Mucus Membrane, something fans may know about from the Helblazer comics.
With help from Zed and Google, the duo head over to Moonshine Studios. The woman who found the vinyl starts to see the shelf turning to ice after putting the vinyl there, which her daughter also sees. John and Zed visit old record producer Marcus Mooney in the hospital who tells them a legend of a blues singer who sold his soul to the devil. When the devil comes back to take his soul, the acetate recorded his fallen voice. Unfortunately, Mooney meets his maker as Manny the angel (Harold Perrineau) comes to rest his soul. Constantine comes to a conclusion that a soul broker is involved by making deals with humans for their souls.
The case heads over to John’s former bandmate Ian, who John thinks has sold his soul. However, it turns out that his wife Jasmine (Joelle Carter) was the one who made the deal in order to save Ian’s life from dying to cancer. Before John heads out to find the soul broker responsible, he slips a compass nail in Jasmine’s pocket for backup later on. Soon after, Zed hears music in the house and it turns out that Jasmine’s daughter is listening to the acetate, but they get to her in time before being possessed. Despite her being saved we never see how well she is doing, leaving that part of the plot in the air.
John finds Anton, the soul broker in charge but learns that Papa Midnite (Michael James Shaw) is responsible for the deal. Midnite apparently took some cues from evangelists for his new deals, which disgust Constantine. It doesn’t turn well for our trusted hero however after Midnite’s goons knock him out and tie his hands up. Midnite puts doses of heparin and slices his arms to let him die slowly. Midnite doesn’t leave without telling him that the acetate will be his get-out-of-jail-free card. Midnite gives Constantine a chance to live by putting an antidote (in a Vitamin K bottle) out of hand’s reach. Constantine gets stuck as a homeless guy tries to steal from him and Manny shows up to torment him for not taking his help.
Back in Ian’s mansion, Midnite’s goons come and rob the acetate from them. Fortunately, Zed uses the coffin nail that Constantine put in Jasmine’s pocket to track him. Zed comes in time as Constantine’s plan to get the homeless guy to help him backfires. Zed and Constantine show up to the club where a massacre took place after Midnite’s thugs used the acetate there. Constantine speaks with a busboy who witnessed the scene, who wasn’t affected by the acetate due to him being deaf. Despite Zed’s dialogue being out of place, Constantine’s arrogance and charm make up for it.
Once they head to the radio station, John puts on some Sex Pistols on his MP3 player to block out the sounds of the acetate playing, which works through a horde of lunatics until the headphones get knocked out succumbing to the affects. Luckily, Papa Midnite comes storming in with his trusted rifle to end the music. Despite helping Constantine, he knows Midnite still wants the acetate so the warlock uses a spell to sent it back to Hell preventing Midnite from getting his hands on it. This should bring more tension to the two men as the season develops.
John and Chas end things with the soul broker by forcing him to eat the contract to reverse the deal. It all ends with Zed with a silver cross in her possession and see Papa Midnite using Constantine’s blood to create a voodoo doll of him and puts it into the flame.
The episode overall really started to take form in the first half of the episode, but the second half fails to keep the momentum going due to plot holes and slow pacing. Pretty enjoyable to say the least, but the plot doesn’t connect with each episode, but Constantine still has some time to develop on its own.
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