Under a blood-red moon, a good ol’ country boy rouses three young women from their beds, saying they need to help him on his wedding night. Outside, a red-headed girl wanders toward the house, and though a creepy old man appears out of the fog in order to warn her that she’s going to die, she hangs around and makes fast friends with the three young brides. Their “wedding rings” appear to be scars on their throats; the redhead seems keen to get one of her own. Kids today… (Though bayou policemen aren’t much smarter, apparently.)
Meanwhile, Detective Corrigan (Emmett J Scanlan) has returned to ask for Constantine’s help with a murder and a missing girl. The murder victim appears to have been mummified, and was killed on the same night the girl went missing. Constantine quickly links it to the “lunar triad,” a lunar eclipse that takes place during a blood moon. As The Man preps for his wedding party, Zed joins Corrigan and Constantine for a bit of gravedigging. (Zed gets a quick glimpse of Corrigan’s spectral powers, but it’s unlikely we’ll get to see much more of it.)
In one of the show’s best jump scares so far, Constantine’s old pal Gary Lester hops into the dessicated corpse’s body in order to bring it to life temporarily and warn his friend that there’s a big price on his head. Jump to Papa Midnite stabbing a man in the heart in order to boost his chances of bringing down Constantine and claiming the bounty for himself.
In the light of day, Red aka Vesta Whitney, comes to in a strange house buzzing with flies, and covered in Satanic symbols. The three brides make her feel right at home despite the obvious red flags. Zed, Constantine, and Corrigan interview the girl’s mother and try to get a psychic lead through Zed’s powers. No dice. Manny (from Heaven) shows up though, in response to Zed’s spiritual need. She wants his advice, to know whether or not she should warn a friend of hers (Corrigan) about his own mortal demise.
Say what you will about Constantine, but he goes to great lengths to help people, like brushing his tongue with Vesta’s toothbrush, swallowing her hair, and electrocuting himself in order to “pierce the veil” and see where the girl went. Corrigan brings him back around with a taser, and they head off to find Miss Whitney before she can become the latest bride of The Man. Vesta, however, is currently in the clutches of the Brides, who are helping her into her wedding dress, and preparing her for the big event.
Meanwhile, Papa Midnite is up to his usual voodoo tricks, bringing the stabbed man back from the dead for one purpose: to track and kill John Constantine. Our heroes pay a visit to a creepy, abandoned children’s playhouse, but the zombified corpse is there waiting for the magic-wielder. Constantine’s friends are little help at first, and John gets his head bashed around pretty good until Corrigan takes the zombie out with a headshot. Knowing that Papa Midnite is upping his game to collect the bounty (this time by way of a spy crow), John forces Zed to try to use her powers again. She enters the void and witnesses the mutilated police officer. Just before The Man chases her out of the vision, she nabs an address. Let’s hope they make it in time to prevent Red’s Wedding. (Do you see what I did there?)
Well, they’re too late to help the security guard at least but with the help of a nearby traffic cam, Corrigan might be able to track the others. Complicating matters is the arrival of another bounty hunter, so Constantine sends Corrigan and Zed on their way to deal with things himself. Let’s hope he has something up his sleeve, because it appears as though Papa Midnite simply walks in and unloads a rifle shot into Constantine, dropping him instantly. There’s enough fight left in John to question Papa Midnite about the bounty, finding out that the Brujeria offered the voodoo priest his sister’s soul back in exchange for Constantine’s death. Papa Midnite is in no mood for games and promptly blows John’s head off … except that it’s not John, it’s a reanimated corpse glamoured up to look like John.
While Constantine is dealing with Papa Midnite, Vesta accepts The Man’s marriage proposal, only to turn back and find that her young bride friends have disappeared. The Man drawls in a rough approximation of creole during his prayer to Satan. Vesta comes to her senses when her “wedding ring” turns out to be a noose around her neck; she runs off into the bayou. Luckily for her, Constantine arrives with Papa Midnite’s gun. The rifle doesn’t do him much good against the three corpses of the young brides he discovers beneath a blanket in the bedroom. And his weapon almost costs him the lives of Zed and Corrigan, who show up just around a blind corner of the house.
Constantine comes across The Man dragging Vesta back to his house. The Man runs, but Corrigan and Zed put a stop to him (with the help of a shovel to the face). Rather than take The Man into custody and allow the justice system to do its work, they shoot him down (off camera, of course).
Wrapping things up in this episode, Vesta is returned home to her mother, Constantine puts the souls of the three brides to rest, Papa Midnite wakes up to a group of cops with their drawn guns pointed at him, and Zed and Corrigan clear the air over a few drinks. Zed lets him know she’s foreseen his death, but has no idea when or where it’ll hit him, or if they can alter his future. They share a kiss as Constantine looks on; Hozier sings their soundtrack.
Constantine and Manny share a parting word, at least for season one. John now sees the evil of the Rising Darkness infecting the worst of humanity, and he’s upset at the prospect that the Brujeria and their summoned demons will cause more trouble before it’s all said and done, though he’s committed to driving them all back to Hell. Manny also pays a visit to Papa Midnite … and frees him from the police. He tells the voodoo priest that they’ve canceled the bounty on Constantine, and that the conjurer is off limits. The closing stinger reveals that it is in fact Manny who’s been leading the Brujeria.
Meh. As far as big, season-ending finales go, especially when there’s no certainty of a second season, this was a big disappointment. The “evil of humanity” villain of the week lacked the punch of some of Constantine’s earlier foes. Papa Midnite’s hunt for Constantine was much less interesting than the two of them working together in a tenuous partnership. And Manny’s final reveal was … well, lame. It was uninspired and downright lazy, even if it was pulled from the old Hellblazer storylines.
As for the bigger story arcs that started this season, each of them has fallen flat in turn. It looked as if Constantine might be gathering up his former crew to help combat the Rising Darkness, and then it briefly seemed like John would reconcile with each of them, though that often ended in death; this plot-line was dropped unceremoniously. Chas got a good episode or two to focus on his storyline in order to build up his interesting character, but was left out altogether in the final hour. Zed, who became Constantine’s go-to gal for psychic guidance and a possible love interest, remains the most curious character at season’s end; her confidence is high, her powers are strong, but her conflict with the Resurrection Crusade was cruelly teased and dropped.
Then there’s Constantine himself. Matt Ryan’s been a strong player as the magical miscreant throughout the season, but “Waiting for The Man” left him waiting for a better script. What started as an anti-hero dealing with a psychotic break related to a child’s soul damned to Hell at his hands ended with a guy who knows some magical spells being pissed that humans are weak and that demons can cause them to do reveal their inner evil. We get no real Brujeria, no demons in the flesh, no holy/unholy battles, not even a shot of Spectre in action. It’s a sad finale to what was a promising season at times. If Constantine somehow manages to scrape a second season, let’s keep our crucifixes crossed that they shore up the storytelling.
★★ Fair — Only for the dedicated
(An explanation of our ratings system follows here.)
Papa Midnite: “A life for a life.”
Constantine: “Every time I light up I have the bloody Surgeon General going on about lung cancer, but look at me! Fit as a fiddle!”
Corrigan: “You mind telling me what you’re doing?” Constantine: “A little bit of your job, a little bit of hers.”
Bride: “Are you ready? You sure look purdy. The Man is waiting for you.” If I had a nickel for every time I heard that…
The Man: “You might be the prettiest peach what I ever done see.”
Corrigan: “He ain’t no demon, ain’t no ghost. He’s a man.” Constantine: “Is he, Jim?”
Constantine (to Manny): “You’re like a blister; you only come around when the hard work’s done.”