Angelica Celaya's portrayal of Zed
Hints at the "big picture"
Familiar storyline - "villain of the week"
More seasonal development
John meets the highly anticipated Zed
Last week, Constantine’s pilot was rather quick in its transitions from scene to scene, having to introduce some core characters along with trying to lay out the ground rules and display what this world is all about. If you read our review on this episode, you’ll note that we thought the pilot should’ve been a big two part introduction rather than stuffed into one. “Beneath the Darkness” basically did just that without the “part 2” title, in introducing a major character in Zed, played by the lovely Angelica Celaya. Zed is well known to long time Constantine fans and for those who aren’t so familiar, you’re in for a big treat. Zed is the type to always ask important questions and push some of John’s boundaries, which he will clearly need to over step throughout the season. She also has visions and with the power of these visions she can track down clues and solutions that are crucial to a demon investigation. There was another “villain of the week” which consisted of the dead ghosts of coal miners covered in dirt trying to extract revenge on the living, but these spirits are meant to protect, so what (or who) is causing the change in order? Let’s discuss as we dabble ourselves in the world of John Constantine’s dark arts.
There is a greater darkness on the way
The small town setting in which dark evil lurks is similar to CW’s Supernatural model and should be explored often throughout the series, as demons tend to like the areas more secluded from major civilization to haunt their prey, drawing far less attention to themselves.
The ghosts of the dead, who were terrorizing people of power in the mining company, were summoned by the woman whose husband was murdered at the beginning of the episode, which wasn’t discovered until later on when John realized she had a mark resembling gypsies and their magic. One of the season’s big conflicts, which is the greater darkness that the angel Manny (Harold Perrineau) warned about, was brought up for a brief moment as John told the gypsy wife her powers were only so strong because of the dark power arising in the world. She obviously thought she was unstoppable and continued her attempt to get these dark beings to kill John, and with his wits he countered her power with the right words. John called upon the spirit of the household (her husband she murdered), who dragged her to her horrifying death in the depths below.
Gypsy: “When I left home, I promised myself I’d never use my family’s magic again, and then it all came back to me, more powerfully than ever before.”
John: “The only reason you could do what you did is because there’s a darkness spreading everywhere, even to lonesome little backwaters like Heddwich, it’s infecting you.”
What exactly is this greater darkness? We can only speculate but the fact that it’s being hyped up is a nice touch for the show and gives viewers a “big picture” to imagine. The “demon of the week” theme is understandable for a new show trying to establish an identity, so the mention of the greater picture here and there is something to help the viewers keep in mind this is all leading to something major, and that it will appear in due time.
Sometimes a lone wolf needs to get his priorities together and form a pack
“The Darkness Beneath” actually provided us with a bright light in Angelica Celaya’s Zed, who’s had tons of visions of John and constantly draws images of him. John’s overall personality has improved a lot after just a second episode, which isn’t all that surprising given the talent and potential Matt Ryan possesses. There was never a doubt about his abilities, but in the way John Constantine was written up in the pilot. Yes, there was a lot of groundwork that had to be laid out, but it didn’t all quite fit until this episode, where a lot more of his classic comic like traits started to pour in. When he takes off his infamous coat, his tie is loose as well as his somewhat tucked in shirt which gives us a more detailed idea of how John’s personality and appearance blend. Was he always so sarcastic, even before his soul was damned to hell? We will find out through time, but something else to point out is his accent, which makes him stand out easily to be pointed out should he become a person of interest while on his crusades. The accent is great and we love it, but it makes him a needle in a haystack.
A big factor in this was the arrival of the pretty Zed, who by what’s either a very big coincidence or is just destiny, runs into John while he’s in the town of Heddwich tracking a demon. Zed’s first interaction with John is exactly as Angelica described it on her twitter Q&A: “confrontational and not taking ‘bugger off’ for an answer.” It’s not totally clear what Zed’s history and back story is, but what is clear is that she has one. She’s tougher than she looks and John is aware of this, though he explains that there’s a lot worse than what she witnessed working with him, but she seems motivated and inclined to stay with him. Having a strong and beautiful character like Zed could tap in to John’s buried emotions and give viewers more insight to his thoughts and ways through the view of someone other than himself, which could affect how he goes about his work in the future. Will he let her in, or will he brush her off each time he tries? Zed was a delight in this episode, with her determination and will to continue on after what she’s seen. A gorgeous character of her magnitude is something the show needs to bring more stability and emotion, and Constantine’s creator/executive producer David Goyer has provided that right on point. Welcome to Constantine, Angelica, we can’t wait to see more of Zed!
The episodes writer, Rockne S. O’Bannon, did a great job utilizing John’s unique flare and style and mixing it with some good, and sometimes funny, dialogue. His interactions with Zed always gave viewers something comical to look forward to, since she’s such a persistent woman and questions many of his ideals and motives. The little arguments between the two added some more emotion and humanoid feeling to reel the viewers in when there’s a feeling of too much demonism, which creates a sort of reminder for John not to lose his way. These “master & apprentice” confrontations are great to watch and should be used more throughout the series.
Angelica Celaya was a great addition to Constantine for both this episode and the entire series. Liv didn’t provide much for viewers in the pilot other than her nagging questions and tendency to freak out very easily. Zed asks many questions too, but she’s curious and interested in the John’s world and the fact that she’s had many visions of him play a big part. Zed is beautiful, courageous, and her back story will give us more insight as to why she has her powers and how she mixes into the dark world of the occult. A woman of this status is what’s needed to really give John a kick in the pants when he strays off or tries to be a “lone wolf,” and Angelica Celaya did a marvelous job bringing her skills to the show.
This week on Constantine, we met a new big character for the series that will help shape the future, and also serve has John’s partner or sidekick (depending on how he sees it). The story was somewhat familiar but had a nice twist of dark gypsy magic, which is thought to be a rotten type according to John’s reaction to the miner killer. This episode was a great improvement, and what “The Darkness Beneath” did was both create and develop the relationship between John and Zed, which should be crucial to the shows future. Matt Ryan and Angelica Celaya’s performances were fun to watch, and moving forward, with greater story development, should provide tons of supernatural elements and excitement throughout the series.
Questions, Comments & Concerns…
- Will John want to take on Zed as an offical partner sooner than later?
- In a show full of monsters and evil, what could the greater darkness be?
- I hope to see Zed really put John in check when necessary
- The casting of Angelica Celaya as Zed is perfect, and will contribute a lot to Constantine’s success