“Go on then, let’s go say hi to his Satanic Majesty.”
Thanks to Constantine, Friday is now my favourite day of the week (because they weren’t already but anyway). So this week’s episode called ‘The Devil’s Vinyl’ introduced us to a character we definitely know from the 2005 film (as well as the comics), a voodoo practitioner/gang leader called Papa Midnite. Just like the second episode was there to introduce us to Zed, the purpose of this episode was to introduce to Papa Midnite whom I believe will probably become one of John’s enemies as the show continues. But I’m getting ahead of myself here; let’s go back to the beginning a little bit. This episode starts off with a woman called Jasmine who finds a supposedly cursed vinyl record which kills a music producer, an old friend of John’s called Bernie. Taking this personally and knowing his old mate would never kill himself intentionally, John along with Zed who followed him to Atlanta, decide to work together and head to the Windy City to find out what’s going on. After pointing a gun at Zed upon her arrival, Chas seems somewhat sceptic towards her but John tells him it’s much better for to keep her close for now so that they can work out what her true intentions are. To find out what happened to Bernie they pay a visit to the morgue and with the use of some black magic, John is able to temporarily resurrect Bernie and they work out that his death has something to do with the Moonrise Records music studio.
After talking to the original producer of the record John and Zed find out that the vinyl will kill anybody who listens to it by freezing them to death in the literal sense. John and Zed find out that a jazz musician back in the 1930s, Willie Cole, had sold his soul to the devil himself to become famous and whilst in the process of recording the vinyl, which is also called the Acetate, the devil decides to collect his soul and kill him, capturing his death on the record itself.
In this episode we find out a little bit more about John’s background when he tells us that back in England he used to be a member of a punk band with some of his friends. One of them, a guy called Ian Fell, whom old Mooney (the record producer) happens to mention which leads John to therefore believe that Ian must have made another deal with the devil but this is wrong altogether. We find out that Jasmine, the woman who first found the Acetate, is actually the one who sold her soul to save Ian’s life whom at the time of the deal was dying from cancer. She tells John that the person who holds her contract is a Soul Broker called Anton so with a bit of help John managed to seek him out whilst Zed stays behind to keep an eye on Jasmine and Ian.
This brings us back to Papa Midnite as mentioned earlier on. It turns out that the Soul Broker (basically someone who writes up the contract and convince people to sell their soul to the Devil) works for Papa Midnite whose goal is to keep the Acetate to himself as this will give him incredible power. All the while all this is going on with Zed, John and Papa Midnite, Chas has been asked to dig up some information on Zed just to be on the safe side which is why we don’t see him for much of the episode until at the end.
“She’s easy on the eyes, but she showed up last week out of nowhere. She may be legit, or she may have other … unseemly motives.”
Minus a small kidnapping incident in which Papa Midnite knocks John unconscious and ties him, they eventually manage to destroy the Acetate, break Jasmine’s deal by literally forcing the Soul Broke to eat up the contract which gives her back her soul but it still means Ian will get the cancer back even though he tells her that thanks to modern day medicine he may have a better chance at surviving and even if not he’s still had a good life with her and their daughter.
Whilst I liked this episode and thought there were some really good moments in it, such as John learning a new spell whilst blasting out punk music and being covered in blood in the beginning, I had some issues with it. I thought the lore itself, the Devil’s Vinyl, could have been a bit more original because it’s been done so many times and it’s quite similar to episodes like ‘Crossroad Blues’ from the early seasons of Supernatural. I’m not saying this necessarily a bad thing because not everyone’s watched Supernatural and it was a new spin on the legend, but making deals with the devil and selling your soul to get what you want has been done so many times and I feel like Constantine has so much else to offer that they could have done it slightly differently.
I do however like where this show is going so far. I like that they’ve brought in Papa Midnite, being a fan of the original comics he’s been one of my favourite villains and I also like the way they represent Voodoo like they’ve obviously thought it through very carefully and that scene at the end where Papa Midnite performs some sort of ritual on what I can only assume is a Voodoo doll version of John tells us that there’s definitely going to be some more trouble before all of this is over. We still haven’t found out more about the grand plot though, this rising evil that the angels are talking about and who the real villain is going to be. The devil himself? Or something different entirely? Either way, I am definitely looking forward to finding out.
“We all negotiate deals with forces bigger than us, but who are we truly negotiating with? The divine? Well, it’s only natural – prayer is one big negotiation with a higher power. But in times of true crisis, we’ll make a pact with whatever forces it takes and we’ll pay whatever price.”