Published on November 25th, 2014 | by Brad0
Constantine – Danse Vaudou Review
In the magical realm of the DC Universe, things get a bit weird when you look at the Spectre, God’s own spirit of vengeance. The literal existence of the Christian God in the DC Universe is a strange relic of days gone by, and one that’s a little difficult to reconcile in modern times. Constantine’s latest episode, Danse Vaudou, introduces the Spectre to the series, in the form of his host Jim Corrigan. Corrigan is a New Orleans detective (traditionally Gotham City, but hey ho) who usually winds up killed by gangsters and reanimated as the spirit of justice, but tends to go more down the route of vengeance. In Danse Vaudou, Corrigan gets drawn into the investigation of three spirits walking the Earth who shouldn’t be.
It’s with Corrigan that we see the cold opening, as he’s drunk and peeing in an alley. A woman walks past him, and bumps into another woman wearing a surgical mask. She asks “do you think I’m pretty?” before slashing the first woman to ribbons with a pair of pinking shears. Corrigan shoots at her but the bullets seem to dissolve on impact.
John and the gang are soon drawn in, with Zed connecting to a childhood memory of Jim’s mother teaching him to shoot. They meet Corrigan, who is naturally sceptical of what they’re telling him. It soon becomes apparent that, as well as the masked woman, a young hitchhiker is also walking around when he shouldn’t be, and causing anyone who picks him up to crash into a tree and die. John quickly deduces that it’s ghosts, and he and Zed go to interview friends and family, whilst Chas winds up getting stabbed to death by the masked women, startling the life out of the paramedics when he wakes up.
Danse Vaudou spends quite a long time parading as a conventional murder mystery, and when it’s doing this it’s Constantine at its worst. This programme has no need to follow the conventions of TV cop shows; why interview the family when you can reanimate and interview the corpse? Less time should have been spent with John and Zed waffing around over a relatively simply mystery, and devoted instead to Corrigan. He should have been this week’s Gary Lester, but for all Emmett J. Scanlan’s good work, he doesn’t get chance to leave much of an impression. Zed’s vision of his destiny is very cool, though, probably the episode’s highlight.
As the plot moves forward, it’s revealed that the dead are rising as an unforeseen side-effect to a bit of medium work from Papa Midnite. When he realises what he’s done, he allies himself with John, temporarily, in order to send the restless spirits back from whence they came. John and Midnite’s scenes together are a joy, and again would have been the focus in a better episode. Alas, not to be. Danse Vaudou is fine, but after the heights of The Devil’s Vinyl and A Feast of Friends, it’s a shame to stumble back down to The Darkness Below’s level again. This show has already proven itself capable of better. Now that we know the first series is ending with episode 13, I hope it’s able to focus and bring that quality every week.