– Spoiler Review –
You can tell everyone behind Constantine was hoping for more than a 13 episode order, as “Waiting for the Man” feels too crowded and clunky, slightly rushed, and lacks the real punch of a season finale. Here’s hoping the idea to rebrand the show as Hellblazer and put it on Syfy comes true, because if this ends up being the series finale, it just doesn’t do what has become a rather enjoyable show justice.
“Waiting” wasn’t Constantine‘s worst hour or anything, it was just too clumsy. It felt like they threw every ingredient they had into a pot and hoped it tasted good afterwards. Having not seen Papa Midnite nor Jim Corrigan since “Danse Vadou,” it felt like we needed to be reintroduced to them and as rushed as “Waiting” was, that didn’t happen. Instead there’s some bounty from the Brujeria on John that Midnite suddenly is so desperate to cash in on, while the timing of Corrigan and Zed having a romantic subplot comes awkwardly in the episode about a satanist who’s trying to wed innocent women for the devil. And unlike previous episodes, there’s no explanation for Chas’ being MIA. In my mind, had last week’s “Angels and Ministers of Grace” been switched with “Waiting,” not only would’ve “Grace” worked better as a season finale, but it would’ve been a perfect place to put the twist with Manny (while hiding Midnite’s savior’s identity in “Waiting” and building some mystery leading into “Grace”).
Speaking of the twist, we first learned one of John’s closets friends would betray him back in “Danse Vadou,” and much like Midnite and Corrigan, we haven’t gotten anything along that thread ever since. A lot of these things got put on the backburner in the hopes of the longer season and suddenly it all got crammed together here. Coming off of Manny’s standout episode in “Grace,” the twist that he’s the one behind the Brujeria’s rise came as quite the surprise. But with everything going on, and without much for him to do this episode, it felt more like an afterthought than some big moment. Had “Grace” been the finale as I mentioned above, just image all those funny and enjoyable scenes with Manny only for that big twist to drop at the end! But either way, it was the most enjoyable aspect of the episode and getting to understand his motivations and how he’s been able to instigate all this are compelling mysteries I hope we’ll one day have answered.
The love triangle starting in “Waiting” felt like another weight to add to the already overstuffed episode and it’s clumsily implemented here. John and Zed haven’t had a whole lot of sexual tension, but there’s definitely been a bit of a mutual attraction. However, it’s not been important to the show and largely played off as a humorous moment for the two characters. But to throw Corrigan in some 8 episodes later as an almost instant love interest when they hadn’t really built a credible love connection between Zed and John felt rushed.
The Man marrying young women on the behalf of the devil was an interesting issue of the Hellblazer comics (I just finished reading Volume 1) but I enjoyed how the show changed it to just being a Man doing it of his own accord, not because he was part of the Damnation Army or anything. “Waiting” ticked off all the creepy boxes for the plot, but it’s surprising any young girl would be attracted to or even remotely interested in being around the rough redneck Man for longer than a second. As you’d suspect, John, Zed, and Corrigan manage to stop the Man from marrying his latest victim, but how they took care of him afterwards took an unexpected turn. With this only being his second episode, it didn’t seem like that big a moment when John talked Corrigan into murdering the Man, which was an attempt on the show’s behalf to show Corrigan isn’t a saint just because he’s a cop (and so he can become the Spectre). Instead, it felt more like he was carrying out justice compared to all the sins that Man had committed and Corrigan doesn’t come off as that bad a man.
Here are a few other things:
- Considering it’s been 8 episodes, it felt odd to suddenly have Papa Midnite be so set on murdering John that he’d send a Voodoo Zombie after him to collect on the Brujeria’s bounty. The reward was to get his sister back from Hell, so that sort of made sense for him to be hunting Jonh.
- Loved all the magic that was used, especially the Voodoo Zombies and John’s Tibetan spell. And for the glamour spell John put over his reanimated corpse, it made me think of the DC/Vertigo series Fables (and it’s companion video game The Wolf Amoung Us) and felt like a nod to it here.
- Definitely enjoyed Gary Lester visiting John and Zed by taking over a corpse they just disentombed.
- Here’s a fun little interview with Manny himself, Harold Perrineau, over at Blastr. Though they don’t discuss the twist, as the episode hadn’t aired before that interview.
Cobbling so many things together, while adding a whole new case, made for a clumsy, but still entertaining episode of Constantine. The twist with Manny certainly causes one to ponder all his actions and all his appearances so far and would be fun to watch when John and the others learn his secret in a second season. But there’s not a whole lot else presented in “Waiting for the Man” to get anyone too excited for another season, though the fault falls mostly on NBC for cutting production down on the show and forcing it to have only 13 episodes when they were obviously gearing up for more and had been on a roll with the past couple episodes.
+ The twist
+ Voodoo Zombies (and other magic)
– Doesn’t feel like a season finale
– Felt rushed and crowded
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. 6: “The Rage of Caliban”
S1, Ep. 5: “Danse Vadou”
S1, Ep. 4: “A Feast of Friends” (plus reviews for episodes 1-3)