Coal miners are dying in Heddwich, Pennsylvania. Nine have died in the last year, all in non-mining related accidents. It is the tenth one that draws Constantine to town: the miner is barbecued when his shower spout shoots fire. An outsider, Constantine is not exactly welcomed into town. Nonetheless, he ducks into the back of the widow’s house (don’t worry, he brought food with him: a frozen TV dinner) to examine the death shower. The widow finds him in there, but doesn’t kick him out immediately. She is drunk, and her husband, Linus, was “a bastard” who, according to the widow, tricked her to leave her Romani roots and marry him. As soon as Constantine (politely) rejects her advances, she starts screaming and has some of her extended mining family beat him up and throw him out. He also checks out the mine and discovers there is some sort of supernatural force there.
We meet the woman who was drawing Constantine obsessively at the end of the pilot episode. Her name is Zed, a drifter who bumps into Constantine – literally – as he watches Linus’s funeral procession. She thinks it is fate that they met, and desperately wants to know why she is having visions of him, a man she has never met. The two are perfectly, imperfectly mismatched. Zed, it turns out, is sentient. Constantine leads her on a guided meditation, then pours a bit of black goo he scraped from the shower nozzle onto her hand. It burns her and she sees herself in the shower, on fire, before being on the ground in front of a large cross.
Constantine slips away from Zed to follow up on this clue, and it leads him to an abandoned church with a black, demonic figure painted on the wall. After shooing out a pair of copulating kids, he does a spell and pours water over his head. Through the water he sees the shadowy apparition come out of the painting and creep towards him. While Constantine is playing with church demons, Zed hits the pub and speaks to Ellis, the town drunk. He used to be the pastor at the abandoned church, but when his son was killed in the mine, he lost a bit of faith.
A siren sounds, and the town comes running. There has been another mine collapse. One of the men who escaped confirms what Constantine suspected: there was a knocking coming from within the mine walls just before the collapse. This knocking had been reported by survivors before every major mine accident. Constantine hops in the car with one of the site foremen, who is starting to believe the rumors are true: that the mine is haunted. Or, more specifically, that they dug too deep and are banging on the door to hell. The car suddenly fills with sludgy, muddy water, and the doors are jammed shut. Gooey mud hands reach up from the sludge and pull the foreman and Constantine under. It takes a crowbar and a lot of might, but Zed finally pries open the door, saving Constantine’s life. The foreman wasn’t so lucky.
Constantine thinks they are dealing with a Coblynau, a spirit that is supposed to protect miners by knocking to alert them of a cave-in. But they are rarely malevolent and they never come to the surface. A trip to the pub reveals Ellis, shockingly, not there, but another guided meditation in Ellis’s regular chair leads them to the camp grounds where Ellis lives. He points out that you have to have faith to raise evil, and that all the dead have been the bosses. That means there is one left: the mine owner, Thad. Thad’s son doesn’t think it is a good idea to reopen the mine so soon, but the two go in to check things out. The coblynau comes out of the ground and attacks them. Constantine and Zed rush in. He chants and she paints symbols on the wall. The coblynau is easily sucked back into the hell from whence it came.
Zed takes Thad home while Constantine rigs the mine to explode. He lets Ellis have the honor of pushing the button. But now Constantine needs to go do the hard part: confront the person who was doing magic topside. He returns to Linus’s wife. She doesn’t deny that she used her gypsy black magic to destroy the town she feels destroyed her. She summons a bunch of coblynau from the mud and sic them on Constantine. He reminds her that the coblynau is, at its heart, a protective spirit, and calls forth Linus’s spirit to protect his home. It works, and Linus the mud monster drags his wife into hell.
This episode felt more like a pilot than the actual pilot. Just the right amount of character development. I found the story to be a little “blah,” but I certainly like Zed better than Liv.
You can check out a promo for the third episode of “Constantine,” plus a behind-the-scenes featurette on the just-introduced Zed, in the players below. Titled “The Devil’s Vinyl,” the episode is officially described as follows:
“John and Zed engage in a dangerous confrontation to save a woman and her family from sinister forces. John’s efforts force him to confront the darkness in his own life – while also coming face to face with a new powerful adversary in Papa Midnite (guest star Michael James Shaw).”
“The Devil’s Vinyl” will air November 7. “Constantine” airs Fridays at 10 P.M. ET/PT on NBC.
Constantine Episode 2 Recap and Behind-the-Scenes Featurette, Plus Episode 3 Promo - SuperHeroHype