Constantine Review: “The Rage of Caliban”

Rage of Caliban, Constantine– Spoiler Review –

“The Rage of Caliban” had an engaging, yet chilling premise, but it had the feeling of being out of place (airing out of order) with some lacking character interactions.

Rage of Caliban, ConstantineIt was disappointing this week that Constantine wasn’t more on edge around Chas and Zed, who was conveniently away at a really, really, long art class, after he learned the information last week that someone close to him would betray him. Because of his nonchalance, while normally not odd for his character, the episode had an odd feeling permeating the hour like it had been meant to air earlier in the season; and yes, it being Halloween in the show, which happened almost a full month ago for us, helps back up that feeling. I get Constantine doesn’t need to necessarily follow-up on the betrayal subplot, but considering the strange absence of one of the main characters following such a revelation, it dampens that subplots urgency and intrigue. While in the middle of writing this review, I began looking around for info on this episode’s airing order and IGN’s review confirms “Rage” was meant to air as the second episode of the season, so they added in a throw-away line for Zed’s absence. It’s possible the reason “Rage” aired later was to have the more action-packed and character building episodes early to help draw in viewers.

Rage of Caliban, ConstantineEven with Chas getting a good chunk of screen-time, Manny got some of the better scenes with Constantine. As proud and confident Constantine always comes off, it’s interesting to watch him almost beg Manny for some assistance. He’s not sure he’s going to be good enough to help fend off the ‘rising darkness’ (which is getting a little annoying to keep hearing referenced to as if it’s just a far away event, which plays off the odd feeling of the episode being meant to air earlier) and he wonders why Manny, who keeps appearing to him and dropping hints, can’t just do the work himself. Manny is trying his best to groom Constantine for the fight ahead while following the rules of being unable to interfere and his scene with Constantine behind bars was my favorite of the night, as it hints at a longer connection between the two.

But having Constantine face his fears of exorcising an entity out of a child-the Newcastle incident-was a great step in his journey here. He continues to come through each week in defeating the demons, but the show has done a wonderful job of not making it easy for him, like having to sacrifice his best friend and facing his fears here. If there’s one aspect “Rage” was the strongest at, it was letting Constantine, and Matt Ryan, really shine.

Rage of Caliban, ConstantineThe twist with the parent murdering entity actually being the soul of the first killer, instead of some ancient hellish ghoul, caught me completely off guard and was a refreshing change of pace. Having ghouls of the week be demons created by humans, instead of them being summoned up from Hell, gives them a more grounded and realistic feel. Plus, it was a different take on the murderous child, which has been done to death (pardon the pun) as someone taken over by the devil’s spirit while here it was the soul of an angry, demented child.

Here are a few other things:

  • Having watched Eureka for it’s entire run, it was nice to see Zane in a non-Syfy production (the young kid’s Dad here).
  • Would love to see more of the Sword of Night.
  • Constantine’s line: “I’ll set the table for three then,” was priceless.
  • The spook factor was strong this week, especially in the final moments at the haunted house and when possessed Henry lures his dad into the light bulb trap.
  • Liked how Constantine’s paralegal help was from a woman he helped in the past.
  • Where did Constantine get that map of lay lines?
  • Having at least one of the parents be on his side was a welcomed development.
  • John has a sister? Hmm…

 

While it’s been confirmed “Rage of the Caliban” was meant to air earlier, it doesn’t excuse the episode of being weaker than the previous few weeks. But with some great interactions with Manny and some confidence building for Constantine, “Rage” at least does a good enough job to entertain and show its main character and setting are uniquely fun.

+ Good balance of humor and drama

+ Chilling subject matter

+ Manny and Constantine

 Zed’s really long ‘art class’

 No follow-up on betrayal subplot

Ryan is Mynock Manor’s Head Butler. You can follow him on Twitter @BrushYourTeeth. You can follow the website @MynockManor.

SEE ALSO:
S1, Ep. 13: “Waiting for the Man
S1, Ep. 12: “Angels and Ministers of Grace
S1, Ep. 11: “A Whole World Out There
S1, Ep. 10: “Quid Pro Quo
S1, Ep. 9: “The Saint of Last Resorts” Part 2
S1, Ep. 8: “The Saint of Last Resorts” Part 1
S1, Ep. 7: “Blessed are the Damned
S1, Ep. 5: “Danse Vadou
S1, Ep. 4: “A Feast of Friends” (plus reviews for episodes 1-3)