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REVIEW: Constantine 1×03 “The Devil’s Vinyl”

Written by Nick Doblovosky

Angélica Celaya’s Zed Martin feels more at home in The Devil’s Vinyl than she did last week. This was accomplished by having her character do Constantine’s job for him. What better way is there to show that she is a valuable asset to his team?

A vinyl record containing the voice of Satan has been forcing citizens of Chicago to kill themselves. Constantine (played by Matt Ryan) and company investigate the situation while attempting to save a woman’s soul.

While I am still not a fan of Zed’s presence I was not bothered by her as much as I was last week…but maybe that is because I just didn’t care for this episode? With the exception of the opening scene this episode lacked the creepy atmosphere that the show has had so far. I did not hate the episode but I caught myself checking the clock several times throughout the hour; I was not entertained. The last two installments only had several scenes that drew my attention, but the pilot had my full attention. If this show wants to improve it needs to have better writing (but David S. Goyer is involved so you might as well abandon hope). I had almost forgotten about the musician’s part of the story because I just did not care about them. Make me care, Constantine. 

The humor contained in The Devil’s Vinyl works fairly well, though I often found myself laughing at moments that were meant to be  either scary or suspenseful. Some examples would be the scenes in which the musician’s daughter is under Satan’s spell and the scene in which a homeless guy tries to kill John. The first was meant to be scary and the latter was put in for shock value: I laughed at both of them. There were several other scenes that are unintentionally humorous.

This show serves the promise of two elements: the detective story and a horror story. These often require the audience to be afraid while invested in the unraveling of a mystery, and yet the last two weeks created no fear in viewers and presented no mysteries that couldn’t be easily solved. While watching an episode I think of how the story will progress and then think of how it could go a different route to be better. If the episodes were better than I would spend my time enjoying the show instead of thinking how it could be improved, and so far my first predictions have not been wrong.

One thing I am wondering about is how the legend of a record containing the Devil’s voice was ever started. The old man had hid the record almost immediately after it was created, which would mean that nobody else would be able to know about it unless he created the rumors himself (which he didn’t). Still, Papa Midnite (played by Michael James Shaw) was a more interesting villain than the one last week had.

The Good:

– Matt Ryan’s performance

– Papa Midnite’s jacket

– Constantine’s magic card

The Bad:

– Too plot heavy. Too many stories going on, which prevented any real development by taking up time

– Not creepy enough, or trying to be too creepy resulting in laughs instead of shrieks

– No chain smoking

Final Grade: C

How did you feel about the episode? Did you think that it focused too much on the plot while avoiding focusing on the characters? Sound off in the comments or send us your thoughts on Twitter!

About the author

Nick Doblovosky