Kentucky’s Briarwood revival church is a small, failing snake-handling ministry. Run by siblings Zach and Sarah, they took over after their father died at the fangs of one of the poisonous snakes he was handling. Zach insists on doing things the same way his father did, and a rattler bites him in the middle of a sermon. He drops dead almost immediately, but rises a few minutes later, miraculously back from the dead. He has a large, glowing feather in his hand that he quickly pockets. He shows no signs of illness; in fact, he has the power to heal. A man who lost his leg in a traffic accident actually regrows his leg in front of stunned parishioners. Word gets out and hundreds of people flock to be healed.
Zed is in art class when she has a vision of snakes at her feet. Constantine has heard about the “miracles” in Kentucky, so the two pilgrimage there to have a look. Constantine clearly doesn’t believe in this healing nonsense. Zed doesn’t either, but she clearly wants to believe. During the sermon, in which Zach restores sight to a blind man and heals a skin condition on another, he drops to his knees, speaking in tongues. This troubles Constantine: it is Enochian, the language of angels. When it is Zed’s turn for Zach to lay his hands on her, she is trepidatious, but concedes. She has a vision, of an angel, a bright light, and the feeling of being close to death, but she senses his heart is pure. This shakes her, changes her. Constantine declines to be touched, but does ask Zach where he learned Enochian. He doesn’t know.
Constantine is looking for the poison, and he finds it: a nearby lake is filled with dead fish. He calls for Manny, who offers no help, aside from “look towards the sun.” This isn’t mentioned again in the episode and seems to have no purpose – like Manny. I hate that angel. Anyway, Constantine asks Zed to hum the tune that the Enochian was chanted in and they get a response. Following the chants to an enormous, leafless tree, they find a woman, partially buried in leaves. This is Imogen, an angel, complete with wings.
Nate, the amputee who isn’t, is feeling strange. He is hot, and he suddenly turns feral. He kills his doctor, then starts wandering around back roads. He kills a cop brutally, then gets on all fours and scampers away. Constantine later explains that he calls these people infected with the angel spirit “ghouls.” Nate was the first, but eventually the others Zach has healed will turn.
Imogen is ill and weak. Constantine and Zed take her to an empty barn and he casts a protection spell to keep the evil out. Imogen claims she was taking a soul to heaven when he pulled out one of her feathers. This brought Zach back to life, and Imogen into the corporeal world. Manny shows up, but claims it was not because of Imogen – angels are compartmentalized, so he didn’t know she fell. A mortal has never been able to remove a feather before, but this will “kill” an angel. Their soul is extinguished, and they cease to exist. Manny keeps Imogen company while Constantine and Zed go for the feather.
Constantine is working on theory that Zach plucked the feather by accident, and doesn’t even realize what he has done. He tries reasoning with Zach, but Zach thinks Constantine’s heart is full of darkness. When Constantine tries to take the feather (which Zach wears around his neck) by force, a white blast of light knocks Constantine away. Instead, Zed agrees to be baptized in the river. While Zach is dunking her, she grabs the feather from his neck. Zach freaks out, but his freak out is overshadowed by the freak out on the shore: lots of other believers are turning into ghouls. Constantine beats them back with a branch until Zed and Zach can get away. They barricade themselves in the church. Constantine holds the door closed while Zed slips out the back to rush the feather to Imogen. Once the feather is returned, the ghouls will return to humans.
The ghouls are clawing at the church door, and Constantine begs for help, but Zach is too busy wallowing in self-pity. He sees this as his comeuppance for a hit-and-run. He convinced himself that he just killed a deer, but deep down knew he killed a human. This changes everything. With a mortal sin on his soul, Zach could have only been going to hell, which means that Imogen is a fallen angel. Constantine abandons his post to get to Zed before she gives the feather back.
Too late. Zed has delivered the feather and put it back in Imogen’s wing. Her white gown and wings turn black. Manny realizes that Imogen is fallen. Constantine arrives just in time to see Imogen try to escape the barn, but the anti-evil spell Constantine cast will keep evil out – but also keep evil in. Imogen doesn’t like that, so she grabs Zed as her hostage and threatens to kill her if Constantine doesn’t let her out. Constantine is powerless against an angel (who is somehow still corporeal, even though she has her feather back) so he begs Manny to do something. Manny falls back on his continued insistence that it is not his place to interfere, and disappears. He reappears moments later, as Zed, and rips out Imogen’s heart. He disappears, and Zed is left standing there with a throbbing heart in her hands and a lot of confusion.
Back at the bunker, Constantine asks Manny how Imogen was able to break through the barrier dividing heaven and hell. “It’s getting thinner,” Manny explains simply. Thanks, Rising Darkness! Manny will face consequences, but Imogen shouldn’t have been able to slip through to begin with.
Zed is taking a bath (washing the angel stink off, I’m sure) when she gets a call. She was supposed to have a date with the cute male model from her art class, Eddie, but clearly things got a little weird and dating is the last thing on her mind. She takes a raincheck, and Eddie seems very understanding – until he hangs up his phone and tells a shadowy man in the back seat of his car that she isn’t coming. “That’s a shame. I guess we will have to try this another time,” he says ominously.
I did not like this episode. Even though Manny finally did something this episode, he still feels useless in the overall arc of the story. In general, I wasn’t excited about the angel storyline, or how faith-focused the story was. It felt heavy-handed and a touch preachy. The “ghouls” did not make for particularly scary monsters and the stakes didn’t feel very high. Had Imogen actually escaped into the world, then there would have been purpose. But by the time we learn she is a fallen angel, the episode is almost over. There is no time to worry about what could befall humanity.
Plus snakes. Why did it have to be snakes?
You can check out the promo for episode 8 of “Constantine” in the player below. Titled “The Saint of Last Resorts,” the episode is described as follows:
“A call from Anne Marie, a member of the fateful Newcastle crew, sends John and Chas to Mexico City and brings them closer to the source of The Rising Darkness. Meanwhile, Zed’s past comes back to haunt her.”
“The Saint of Last Resorts” is set to air December 12. “Constantine” airs Fridays at 10 P.M. on NBC.