Jun 2, 2020
Constantine RECAP: It's Not a Bug, It's a Featured Demon (S1:E4)
Open on a really sick-looking guy going through customs at an airport. The guard looks suspicious and asks him a few standard questions, but nothing about why he’s sweaty and has huge bags under his eyes. He says he has nothing to declare, which may be true except for whatever drug or virus is running through his bloodstream. I feel like I should make an ebola joke here, but I’m really not interested in perpetuating the myth that everyone in America should panic. Seriously, quit it. You won’t get ebola. The guard detains the man, thankfully, and we discover he’s been ‘hanging out’ in the Sudan. Yeah, that’s definitely what people do in the Sudan. He’s British, too! I wonder if he knows John? He warns the guard not to open the bottle they apparently found in his luggage, which is something you should totally try telling a customs agent some time. Obviously the bottle gets opened, and a bunch of bugs come out and swarm the room. Then they all fly into the security guard’s mouth. Oh, btw…trope.
After the opening song, Zed and John are hanging out in a park. Apparently they’re friends now? She says being in a park is like being high. Has this chick never been outside? John’s super surprised to find out she’s never done drugs, but as she points out, would you do drugs with the crazy visions she gets? I wouldn’t. John tells her that control is sometimes about letting go, and I can already feel that this is going to be “The One Where Zed Gets Lessons in Drug Use.”
Zed gets a vision of coins falling from the sky, and she’s like really excited about how pretty the coins are. Wouldn’t one of those suckers hit her in the head? At least one? If money started falling from the sky I would be covering my noggin and then collecting it, not going on about how pretty it is. Time stops. It’s Manny!
He tells John that money falling from the sky is Zed’s psychic indicator that a celestial being is close. But she still can’t see him. John strangely defends her when Manny questions her usefulness. Did I miss something in the last episode to make him believe in her so strongly? I know she saved his life, but that’s never been enough for John before. Seriously, what’s going on? As usual, Manny says nothing helpful and disappears. It’s his usefulness we should be questioning.
Zed and John get back to Jasper’s house to discover the house has been broken into. John says whatever it is will still be inside because Jasper was big on booby traps. We see the bugs from before, which John says are the most destructive creatures in the world. A mysterious voice calls out John’s name—it’s the sick dude from before! He and John ARE friends? Why the fuck are John’s British friends the only people getting into trouble on this show?? Anyway, it’s a zero gravity trap, and his name is Gary Lester. He was at Newcastle, too, of course.
Apparently, he ended up in the Sudan because of an out-of-control bender. Maybe I’m just naïve, but how do you end up in the Sudan on a bender??? Anywhere in the EU maybe, but the Sudan? It’s not just one of those places you decide to go for vacation! So on the street he sees this guy with ritualistic carvings all over his face. They’re still open wounds. His eyes are also REALLY BIG. Gary says that means someone has trapped a demon inside this poor guy. He sees it has his opportunity to atone for what happened in Newcastle, so he decides to exorcise this guy. The swarm of bugs flies out of this guys’ chest and goes into the bottle from the beginning of the episode. Guess this means the demon has been released inside the Atlanta airport.
Yep, I was right. The security guard is stumbling around the food court Men in Black-style, eating everything in sight. He falls down and the bugs fly out of his mouth, with everyone in the food court as witness.
John is preparing a vessel for the demon to be deposited into, drawing the Seal of Solomon (NOT a Star of David, God, Zed, you’re so stupid) on a glass bottle. She asks about Newcastle, which John obviously refuses to speak about, but he does tell her that Gary is completely hopeless. I’m pretty sure we all already knew that. He used to be the only one in John’s little group of exorcists who had any money, but he wasted it all away on drugs and has basically lived the most useless life John can imagine.
Meanwhile, the bugs infect a woman in a grocery store, and she reenacts the stumbling-around-eating-food scene we saw a few minutes ago with the security guard. The news is billing it as a virus, but John identifies it as a hunger demon. Wonder how he came up with that? He heads out to stop the demon but leaves Gary and Zed behind. She asks Gary about Newcastle, maybe he’ll spill the beans. He does. The group of exorcists were apparently only John’s groupies, who were really excited to accompany “The John Constantine” to Newcastle for a little black magic. Sounds like a great weekend, right? Not dangerous at all. That’s when Zed touches his arm to comfort him and has a vision. You’d think she’d know by now that TOUCHING THINGS CAUSES VISIONS. She sees drugs, basically, and falls down.
John asks around at the grocery store and finds out the bugs went into a meat delivery person. Where does he go next? Meat processing plant. Yay. The delivery man and many others are already dead by the time John arrives. One worker is still alive and eating the carcass of…something. John starts chanting and holds out his bottle of Solomon. The possessed worker does a creepy upside down crabwalk, and the bugs come out of her and go into John’s bottle. But then he drops it, because there’s still 22 minutes left in this episode and we can’t be done yet. The bugs head for John, but he gets away by hiding under a slab of meat.
Back at Jasper’s house, John has to admit defeat. Pride is such a burden, isn’t it, John? Especially when your druggie friend captured a demon you couldn’t? Zed shows John some pictures she drew of the vision she had earlier and describes the “touching” to John in the most intense, unintentionally sexual way possible. The brief stop-in for a drink is over, and John heads out again to fight the demon alone. Nice touch-and-go, loner.
John meets up with a friend who gives him the name of the demon, identifying it by Zed’s drawings. He then invites John to see one of his visions, which he apparently has regularly thanks to a drug which has everlasting effects. John’s totally down, after he’s given the counteragent, of course. Once the drug has taken effect, John and his friend switch eyeballs. I’m really hoping this is just part of the vision. The next part is a shaman in Sudan sacrificing the young man we saw at the beginning of the episode as a trap for the demon. He cuts out the young man’s tongue and carves entrapment runes on his face, all before he actually invites the demon into the young man. This episode just got super gory all of a sudden, and I have to say I’m really not okay with it. The demon enters the sacrificed man, and the shaman looks vaguely regretful about mutilating an innocent. The two wake up from their vision, and it seems John is out to repeat history, saying he’s going to need one of the special knives the shaman in his vision had used. Great, I totally want to watch all that again.
Meanwhile, Gary is freaking out about having withdrawal symptoms and feeling useless. He says he’s going to go help and fix this whole mess. Gee, think that’ll go well? Zed tries to stop him, but Gary takes her out with a drug vision by touching her again, after John EXPLICITLY warned the two of them to keep their grubby little hands off each other. John arrives home shortly, and Zed is curled up on the couch, apparently suffering from withdrawal symptoms that Gary transferred to her. She defends his desire to help, but John believes he is actually after a fix, not out trying to atone for his mistake.
Welp, John was right. Gary is under a bridge, getting beaten up by a couple of thugs. John offers them “the best high they’ll ever have” and holds up a sample of the drug he took earlier with his friend. He fails to mention that they’ll never be sober again. Just doing what it takes, right, John? He then takes Gary to a bar; definitely a fantastic place to take an addict. Gary shoots for a touching confession scene, telling John that he was high and incredibly scared during the Newcastle incident, but John’s not surprised. He’s just like, “Duh, Gary, we all knew you were high. You’re not as good at covering that up as you think, you fuckin’ amateur. And you’re a coward, it’s just in your nature. I knew that going in. No worries, mate.” Thanks, John. I’m sure that sincere display of forgiveness really renewed his ability to sleep at night. Oops, time for the plot to advance: there are more reports about the demon on the news. Just watching TV is so much easier than detective work.
John and Gary head to a museum to steal the knife they need to trap the demon. Time freezes again, GODDAMMIT, MANNY! How many times can you show your useless face in one episode?? He questions John’s judgment, as usual, but this time John actually doesn’t look 100% confident. Time starts again, and the break-in continues. John creates a distraction, making a guard dance to the music of the museum alarm, while Gary successfully steals the knife. If he can just make people dance willy nilly, why doesn’t he do that like every day?! That would be my favorite spell ever.
Anyway, the duo have a demon to catch. They get into a theatre, where the demon was last seen, and John prepares for the necessary sacrifice. He then reveals his plan to trap the demon inside Gary. Seriously Gary, if you didn’t see that coming, you deserve to be a demon vessel. Maybe not the tongue thing though; that was really gross. He’s shocked at first, but then he’s totally cool with it. Because that makes sense. They almost make out, John-and-Zed style, and start stripping, also John-and-Zed style. Then comes the chanting and the bugs and the carving on the face.
When they get home, Zed is way more pissed than Gary was, and she isn’t even the one dying. John’s annoyed. I mean, he did tell her from the beginning that he was going to manipulate people and then they would die. It’s not like she didn’t know what to expect, jfc. John holds his friend’s hand until Manny comes for him, making this the most Manny-ful episode yet. And another episode where John’s British friend dies.