There’s definitely some “Quid Pro Quo” between the show and its audience in this episode, finally revealing the secret behind Chas’ seemingly immortality, filling in his background, and squaring John off against a powerful mage. It’s not all great, but it’s certainly a fun ride.
Last week I was a little confused about what Pazuzu (the demon inside Constantine) said to Chas about losing his daughter. I took it to mean she had died and since we’ve literally gotten zero information about that part of Chas’ life, it didn’t seem too surprising we weren’t ever going to get more details. Thankfully that wasn’t the case, especially since the first victim of a mysterious mage’s spell happened to be Chas’ own daughter. This made me wonder if we were watching another episode aired out of order (like “Rage of Caliban” was) and I feared for his daughter’s life the entire episode.
It was pretty fitting (and funny) a drunken Constantine would be the cause of Chas’ near immortality, but the burden of that off-handed spell casting was something we’ve not really seen Chas shoulder until now. Supposedly Constantine managed to cast a nearly impossible-to-cast spell from Merlin (yup, that Merlin) which caused Chas to absorb the 47 souls who perished with him in a freak fire at a bar. This is how he continues to live despite dying, but once he uses up all 47, he only has his original one left. This was a much more unique and intriguing answer than I was hoping for, which helps explain why he would follow Constantine around to help save people instead of being with his family: because if he didn’t, wouldn’t all the souls he took have died in vain? Chas instantly becomes a lot more interesting character after this episode and I’m just wondering why we couldn’t have gotten this explanation and episode earlier in the season.
Besides Chas’ beefed up role in flashbacks and vengeful fathering, Zed also got some important things to do this week. It was great to see she took Anne-Marie’s advice about telling Constantine about her father and the Crusaders and I loved John’s point about her being less afraid of the demons from the underworld than a man of our world. Zed helps Constantine kill a sleep demon who was trying to take advantage of the spell the mage cast while giving Rene (Chas’ wife) some comfort by opening up her psychic abilities to speak to their daughter. The hazards of doing such a thing without training cause Zed tons of pain, but gives us an great final scene where she tells Constantine his mother says her death isn’t his fault. Now that’s a story I’d love to hear, considering he already has the burden of Newcastle to carry, and now we know he’s afraid that he killed his mom?
While I liked the mage’s appearance here, a one Felix Faust, a lot of his and Constantine’s interactions put me on Chas’ side of their arguements: why the hell did they keep having to run errands for someone who was super-sheisty like that? Going after the sleep demon didn’t feel completely necessary here and I questioned the inclusion no matter how interesting I found it. And then it was just a rather simple but painful con by Chas that took down Felix, someone we kept hearing from Constantine was just too powerful for him thanks to the rising darkness.
Here are a few other things:
- If you were wondering if the band in this episode had anything to do with Constantinian lore, they don’t. They just happen to be an actual local rock bank (so says DC’s TV Secrets) who got lucky enough to have an appearance on the show, though I don’t know if I would’ve agreed to an appearance where my band’s little pyrotechnics burnt down a building and killed 47 people.
- The team’s visit to the medium was super creepy and very well done (pardon the pun).
- Was it just me or did it seem like Constantine actually would be able to reverse the spell he cast on Chas? Because that flashback scene certainly seemed to hint Constantine wasn’t be completely truthful. Something to mull on and possibly a big point to be made later on this season or in the hopeful next season.
- I kind of get Rene’s point, but if she knew everything that happened then I’m surprised it caused as much strife as it did to her and Chas. Thankfully watching him blow up might’ve done the trick to reverse her trope-written character.
- Fans of Breaking Bad will recognize Felix Faust as Hector Salamanca, the old man with the bell on his wheelchair whi caused more trouble than anyone would’ve expected. And it seems like that head ol’ Faust was working on here might mean we could see him again (if this gets a second season).
- This episode had the most smoking Constantine has been able to get away with all season.
Chas’ story here was way more interesting than I could’ve imagined and really helped to build his character up. Unfortunately, it also came at the same time we’re first introduced to his family and their scenes and emotional impact weren’t as easily felt as Chas’ burden for carrying around all those extra souls. “Quid Pro Quo” was a decent story with lots happening in it, giving Constantine’s pals more to do in this escalating fight against the Brujeria and their rising darkness.
+ Filling in Chas’ background
+ Making it personal
+ Chas’ usage of souls
– Hunting the sleep demon felt unnecessary
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. 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. 6: “The Rage of Caliban”
S1, Ep. 5: “Danse Vadou”
S1, Ep. 4: “A Feast of Friends” (plus reviews for episodes 1-3)