Constantine recap episode 5: “Jackass of All Trades”

Constantine recap episode 5 danse vaudou Lori Acken

Matt Ryan as John ConstantineHas anybody else been wishing Constantine would get around to answering any of the dozens of questions it’s been asking since premiere? How and why can Chas survive a giant hole in his chest? Who is Zed and what’s her problem? Why does everybody on this show love John Constantine even though he’s clearly a jerk? Danse Vaudou might not have answered any of these questions, but it did start to hint at them so hopefully we don’t have long to wait now…

The cold open’s murder is of a fashion student having an ironic phone conversation about how not-in-danger she is living in New Orlean’s French Quarter. She’s almost immediately stabbed to death by a woman in a surgical mask, who is impervious to bullets. Post-opening title sequence, we find Team Constantine hanging out in the safe (club) house. John connects Zed’s visions to the blood map with a Victorian hypnosis gizmo while Chas cooks dinner. It’s all very domestic. Zed sees a boy learning to shoot a gun and the map reveals the murder in New Orleans to them and the whole team takes off together, making this the first time Chas doesn’t phone in since the premiere.

They arrive in the alley where the girl was murdered and John uses a fancy bracelet to test for spirit activity. Before they get much searching done, Officer Corrigan interrupts them. He was on the scene the night of the murder and mentions that he’s been taken off the case because of his testimony that his bullets passed through the assailant. Zed recognizes him as the boy in her vision and the connection between what she saw and what happened that night becomes a little bit clearer.

The officer is not impressed when John hands him a “Master of the Dark Arts” business card but the team leaves the scene anyway, having determined a restless spirit is the murderer. John checks himself and Zed into a hotel and they half-flirt as John tries to pry information about her life before she met him and her real name out of her. Zed pretty suspiciously cuts him off and, in the process of leaving slyly, has another vision. This time she sees a car accident in the woods at night. Constantine suspects that she is still connected to the map and the events happening in New Orleans and decides to report the accident to the police. As Zed has the vision, the audience sees a boy hitch hike with a creepy old man but before the old man can make a creepy move on him, the boy blinks out of the car and into the middle of the road where his bloody face causes the man to panic and fly off the road, into a tree.

The next morning, Chas finds the scene of the accident on his police scanner and Zed tricks the police into giving her information on the crime. The man was discovered alone, but there have been a surprising number of accidents along that exact road in the last few weeks. Before they can ask any more questions, Corrigan arrests Constantine. His call, it turns out, happened hours before the actual accident making him look complicit. As he’s dragged away, John asks Zed and Chas to keep an eye on the sites of the murders and keep anyone else from getting hurt.Constantine recap Danse VaudouWhile Constantine convinces Corrigan of his innocence (in the accident), Chas guards the alleyway. Corrigan is quickly brought around to the side of Team Constantine and Chas catches the masked woman in the act, getting a man out of the way of the murder. Corrigan matches the description of the woman to a model who killed herself years earlier after another model slashes her face with fabric sheers. The ghost of the woman asks Chas if he thinks she’s pretty and he answers yes, trying to stall her or figure out what she wants. None of his answers seem to pacify the woman, however, and she stabs him to death. Ouch.

Now that they know who the former identities of the spirits, Constantine visits the model who hurt the masked woman and sends Zed to talk to the grandmother of the hitch hiking boy. Both women reveal that they feel extremely guilty for the deaths of their respective spirits. The model went through extensive therapy during her time in prison after the slashing and learned that she had a mental illness which she now has under control and she has been using to counsel others with similar conditions. The grandmother kicked her grandson out after he flunked high school and dropped out of community college, hoping it would scare him straight except that he died in a car accident on the way into the city. Both woman, it turns out, went to a voodoo master named Papa Midnite to converse with the spirits and seek closure.

Papa Midnite, if you recall, went after the cursed acetate just two weeks ago and nearly killed Constantine in the process. There’s no love lost between them, but John fees confident he can handle the voodoo man and goes to confront Midnite alone, instructing Zed and the resurrected Chas to keep guarding the sites of the spirit’s murders.

Constantine finds Midnite contacting yet another spirit (this time for a woman whose husband died of cancer) but fails to convince him that the spirits are sticking around after being called. Midnite decides to check for himself and follows up with the woman the next day. When he arrives at her house, he finds the spirit of the woman’s husband there, slowly sucking away the woman’s living soul. Constantine informs him that the rising darkness is twisting the tame voodoo magic of contacting the dead and raising vengeful spirits without his knowledge. Midnite reluctantly agrees to work with Team Constantine to fix what he’s done even though it means using a mix of his and John’s magics.

Constantine recap episode 5 danse vaudou

At the road, Officer Corrigan finds Zed waiting for the boy’s spirit. He explains that he’s been temporarily relieved of duty and is using his free time to look for the spirit as well. They decide to work together and as Zed takes over driving, Corrigan reveals that he knows her real identity. Before he can explain himself, however, the boy appears on the side of the road and they pick him up before someone else can. Zed tries to talk to the boy about his life and where he’s going, but he becomes confused and agitated. Once again, he flickers out of the car and into the road but Zed refuses to back down. Rather than veer out of the way as other did, she drives straight through him and he disappears.

Constantine and Midnite dig up the bodies of everyone Midnite raised on accident and attempt to send their spirits back by salting and burning them in a semi-voodoo ritual. The bodies refuse to burn, however, and the ritual fails. Midnite blames John’s “Jackass of all trades” style of magic and claims that his lack of respect drives the voodoo gods away. John outwardly refuses to accept this but can’t deny that he steals magic from whatever culture is convenient without much respect for their origins. Fortunately, in the middle of their fight, Constantine realizes what they’ve been missing.

As the magicians reset their ritual, Chas finds the masked woman’s spirit in the alleyway once more and Zed and Corrigan pick up the boy again. Constantine gathers back the women who first asked to speak to the dead and informs them that it’s not Midnite’s magic but their own guilt which is keeping the unhappy spirits around. In order for the spell to work, the woman must let go of those they feel they’ve wronged and each woman reluctantly agrees. They try the spell again as Chas stalls the woman by asking her questions rather than answering them. Zed pointedly asks the boy about his grandmother and if he thinks he can make up with her still. The woman and the boy both become more docile. The woman puts down her sheers and the boy asks if they can let him out of the car. Constantine and Midnite successfully get the bodies to burn and the woman and boy flicker out of existence without hurting anyone else.

As they watch the boy leave, Corrigan talks to Zed about her past. He tells her that he used to work in missing persons before he was transferred to homicide and that he remembers her name and face from her file. It’s clear she was on the run and that her family was looking for her. She seems afraid when she asks if that file still exists, asking if the search is still ongoing, but Corrigan makes it clear that he destroyed the file.

Back at the voodoo site, Midnite offers Constantine a chance to talk to his mother, who died giving birth to him. Constantine declines quickly but instead asks to talk to Midnite’s connections in hell (Midnite’s own sister) for information about the rising darkness. Midnite agrees but is clearly unhappy about it and something tells me that the next time these two meet, things won’t be quite so nice.

So, now we know that Zed has another name and a family that’s potentially still looking for her. We’ve seen Chas come back to life, although we still don’t know why he can do it or if his power extends to injuries beyond being stabbed in the chest. And we know Constantine isn’t exactly respected in magical circles for his bastardized use of magic although we still don’t know how he makes friends. Overall, this episode might not have been as strong as the last one but at least it started to hint at the origins of all the members of Team Constantine and once we clear up what Manny’s stake is in all this and what, exactly, the “rising darkness” wants, this season will be well underway to giving us a season arch worth watching.

New episodes of Constantine premiere Friday nights on NBC.

Photo by: Tina Rowden/NBC