Saturday, January 24, 2015

Constantine 1.10: "Quid Pro Quo"

“Chas has risked much more for me. Failing my best friend would ruin me, but failing you would ruin us both.”
- Constantine

The much awaited Chas-centric episode is finally upon us (with only 3 episodes to go until the finale). I’ve been wondering about Chas since the pilot and with some of the things Constantine was saying during the exorcism, my interest was even more piqued coming into this episode. We start with a creepy guy in a mask and hooded cloak casting a spell that sends smoke through a grate in New York City. It finds a little girl playing with her dolls and sends her into a coma. Back in Atlanta, Constantine is insisting on Zed telling him the truth about who is after her and why she’s so scared. He notes that she’s faced all manner of hell beast and not batted an eye but some delusional cult freaks her out. She explains that it’s run by her father. But Constantine doesn’t care. He won’t let them get to Zed again. He’s doubled the security around HQ. Before they get too much deeper into the conversation, Zed notes that the scrying map has a new mark on it in New York. Chas is apparently on his way to visit his young daughter in New York. As he’s driving we see a flashback to two years earlier. He and Constantine are out at a bar and before Constantine leaves the bar, he does some sort of spell to make sure Chas can drive okay. I’m guessing that whatever he cast in his drunken state is what made Chas immortal (or whatever he is). That theory is going to be tested since a fire breaks out at the club and it looks like Chas and whole bunch of other people get trapped. And yes, I was right. Chas wakes up in the hospital surrounded by his family and they tell him that the doctors said he was dead when he was pulled from the fire. I’m not sure if Chas is going to be happy about this development or not. He ends up going to Constantine who explains the spell he cast was a myth. Supposedly Merlin cast it on the Knights of the Round Table at Arthur’s behest. If a knight died in the company of lesser knights, they would absorb their lives. So Chas has 47 lives (sort of like a cat on steroids). At least we know the real details behind his condition now. We also see how Chas’s burden is affecting him. He’s saving lives (and using his own) but it’s put too much strain on his family and his wife is going to leave him (he misses his daughter’s birthday). Even so, when Constantine tells him he can either wallow or be useful, he chooses to be useful.

Chas gets to his ex’s place but his daughter is already asleep. Clearly he and his ex do not have the best relationship. But they may have to put that aside because the little girl from earlier in the episode is his daughter. And she’s not the only one. Constantine and Zed get to the hospital in New York after getting a call from Chas and find that his daughter’s soul has been stolen (due to some chapping around her lips).Chas’s ex is not happy to see Constantine and warns Zed to stay away from him. But Constantine is on the case and he plans to get the little girl’s soul back. So he takes the team to a medium named Fennel. He’s not pleased to see Constantine either but after Chas pops him in the nose with the business end of a shotgun, he agrees to help. The séance starts out okay and they contact Chas’s daughter. But it is soon hijacked by a demonic spirit and it ends up burning Fennel alive.

Constantine jots down the spell that the demonic hijacker used and thanks to Zed’s powers she identifies the location of where the demon is hiding. It seems their opponent is stronger than Constantine anticipated because it is able to reach out and cut Zed even where they stand. But it does give the gang a place to look. Chas is really growing impatient when they show up to the railroad yard that Zed saw and it’s deserted. But Constantine figures out there’s a cloaking spell. So he does a quick chant of his own and a large building is revealed. And in short order, they find that the mystery demon isn’t a demon at all. It’s a dark magician named Felix Faust (I’m guessing of the famed Faustian deal). He makes a deal with Constantine. There’s a demon eating his victims and he wants Constantine to kill it and send it back to hell. In return, he will release Chas’s daughter’s soul. Chas still thinks they are wasting time so Constantine sends him back to the hospital before noting to Zed that Chas is a powder keg about to blow and he doesn’t want to be anywhere near him when it happens.

Constantine and Zed find the demon they are after but the plan doesn’t exactly go off without a hitch. Zed offers herself as bait and Constantine plans to trap the demon in a binding circle and send it to hell but his lighter won’t work and so he ends up electrifying it with a cattle prod. Hooray. Except that the deal was to send it back to hell and now Faust is changing the terms of the agreement. See, you really don’t want to make a deal with a devil.

Back at the hospital, Zed tells Chas’s ex that she’s a psychic and offers to try and talk to her daughter. It’s starting to work until Zed falls to the ground clutching her head. I guess trying to channel someone when you’ve never done it before is dangerous. At the railway yard, Chas freaks out and locks Constantine in the taxi so he can go make a deal with Faust. He offers up the 32 souls he’s got in addition to his own in exchange for his daughter. Faust doesn’t believe him and so Chas cuts his own throat to prove a point. He ends up making the deal with Faust and even Constantine can’t talk him out of it. But Chas has a trick up his sleeve. He’s got a sinew from Achilles’ heel and blows himself and Faust up right after his ex-wife shows up. Apparently she’d never seen the whole resurrection thing in action before and it kind of freaks her out.

But Chas is okay and he goes to see his daughter after she’s out of the hospital. He shows her a book filled with photos of every person he’s saved with his extra lives. It’s a very sweet moment that I’m glad we got to see. The episode ends with an interesting beat between Zed and Constantine. She apparently saw his mother when she touched the spirit world and Mama Constantine passed on the message that her death wasn’t his fault. Overall, I liked this episode. It was an interesting plotline and gave us some much needed character background. It’s really too bad that there are only three more episodes in the season (possibly series given its lackluster ratings).

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