The Reveal of Papa Midnite | Constantine “The Devil’s Vinyl” Review
Constantine’s third episode, “The Devil’s Vinyl,” puts us face to face with a soul broker, one who makes deals with people for their souls. The episode starts off with a woman, Jasmine Fell, finding an old vinyl record buried inside of a wall. Naturally, this can only be a bad omen. She takes it to a music producer to analyze it. She clearly tells him not to listen to the record. If someone’s telling you not to listen to the creepy old record, have a little restraint! The producer did have a little restraint before he promptly gave in and listened to the record. He dies a horrible death which signals the time for John Constantine to step in and save the day.
After Constantine left Zed at the end of their last case, she decided to track him down using her abilities. He did, after all, say that he would teach her about using her abilities. It didn’t take her long to find where Constantine and Chas are hiding out in their house. When she goes inside, she comments that it looks much larger inside than it does on the outside. Chas reveals a large corridor, with what may be more hidden rooms, that extends as far as we could see, and Constantine remarks that even he is not ready for that yet. I’m hoping that in the coming weeks we can explore more of this mysterious house and maybe see what’s lurking beyond those doors.
The map shows that Chicago is next up on the list of places where demons will cause trouble. When finding the death of the producer, Constantine tells Zed that he is an old friend, and they head to the Windy City. Zed is starting to prove to be a useful part of the team when she pick pockets an ID card to get into the morgue so that Constantine can momentarily resurrect the producer to reveal anything from his last living moments. When Zed questions how Constantine would know a music producer, he reveals the fun tidbit that he used to be in a band called Mucus Membrane. This is one of those moments that you remember just how witty and arrogant Constantine can be.
The music producers last living moments lead Constantine and Zed to a man on his death bed. Even though it’s past visiting hours, Constantine uses a charmed card to trick the receptionist into believing that he is a health inspector. Constantine always seems to have something up his sleeve. The dying man tells them that the record, which they all called the Acetate, was cursed after a Blues singer sold his soul to the devil. By using appropriate flashbacks, we got to see this story for ourselves which proved to be very intense in showing the true darkness in this record.
When they finally traced the record back to Jasmine Fell, Constantine and Zed find out that she traded her soul for her husband’s life, who was dying from cancer at the time. The soul broker that gave her the contract told her that he would give her soul back if she gave him the Acetate. Since Constantine knows that soul brokers don’t ever break their deals, he decides to get the real story by meeting the broker himself.
Finally, halfway through the episode, we meet Constantine’s first true adversary, Papa Midnite. Constantine reveals too much, and Papa Midnite ties him up while he goes in search of the Acetate. By giving him an anti-coagulant and slicing open a wound in his arm, Papa Midnite leaves Constantine to bleed out. Out of professional courtesy, he leaves Constantine with Vitamin K, the one thing that will save him, if only he can get out of his restraints to take it.
We are treated with another sighting of Manny in this episode. He sits next to Constantine and watches him slowly bleed out while doing nothing. Maybe Constantine isn’t so crazy not to trust the angels. Lucky for Constantine, Zed is smart and is starting to understand how Constantine operates and saves him before he can bleed out.
Now it’s off to the races. Who will get to the Acetate first, Constantine or Papa Midnite? In their first head to head, Constantine comes out the victor, by destroying the Acetate and sending the darkness inside back to hell. We all know this is not the last we will see of Papa Midnite, and I, for one, am truly happy to see a worthy adversary for John Constantine.
The Fell family’s hellish journey is finally going to come to an end. Constantine brings the soul broker to them to break the contract. He tells the broker to eat the contract and then proceeds to shove it in his mouth. When the Fell family realizes this is a literal eating of the contract Constantine says, “Where did you think the saying comes from?” It was a nice touch to add this bit of dark humor to the end of this episode.
This episode was a great showing for Constantine. Zed was one of the strongest points in this episode. She is in no way a damsel in distress. She is proving to be useful to Constantine, and she knows it. She’s also much better with people, a skill with which Constantine could use some pointers. Overall, Constantine is starting to find its groove; although, I think they are still working on getting a handle on an overarching story. It seems that Papa Midnite is here to stay considering the episode leaves us with Papa Midnite wiping what appears to be John Constantine’s blood onto a voodoo doll and tossing it into the flames. Only time will tell what this means.
+ Zed is a very capable woman and a useful part of the team
+ Constantine still has his wit
+ Introduction of Papa Midnite
– Still trying to find its groove at least in the sense of an overarching story