Violet recaps Season 1 Episode 3 of Constantine, titled The Devil’s Vinyl, where Constantine and Zed head to Chicago to investigate a strange record! Following the recap, both Violet and Josh share their thoughts about the episode.
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Episode Recap of Constantine, Season 1 Episode 3: The Devil’s Vinyl
In Chicago, Illinois, a woman breaks into an abandoned, run down record studio, Moonrise Studios. Inside, once she gets past the bloody animal carcasses, she finds an old record hidden in the wall. She brings the record to her friend Bernie at a modern record studio to run a spectrum analysis, to make sure that it’s genuine, but makes him promise not to listen to it. When she goes into the other room, Bernie decides to put on his headphones and listen to the record. He starts screaming, and his ears start bleeding, as the headphones ice over, then he stabs himself in the ear. The record itself ices over.
Chas greets Zed by pointing his gun at her when she arrives at the windmill. Chas gives her a tour, and it seems that the inside of the mill fluctuates in dimension. Constantine has Zed use her powers to see if she can get any info about the death of his friend Bernie. She sees a vision of jasmine and feels coldness. Before Constantine heads to Chicago with Zed, he asks Chas to see what he can find out about Zed.
Constantine and Zed arrive in Chicago, and he shows her a tracking device made from nails from the coffin of St. Padua, the patron saint of lost souls, as the nails follow one another. Zed runs into a guy and steals his ID badge so that they can access the morgue. They find Bernie’s body. It turns out Constantine knew Bernie because he produced a record for a punk band he used to front, Mucus Membrane. Constantine then casts a spell to bring Bernie to life for a short amount of time. He asks Bernie who did this to him, and Bernie answers, “The voice.” Before he drifts back to death, he murmurs, “The acetate, so cold” and “Moonrise.”
Zed figures out that Moonrise is an old record studio from the 1930s. They decide to go pay the old owner, Marcus, a visit at his nursing home. Constantine uses a magic card to get in, making it looking like they’re from the Department of Health and Human Services. Marcus tells them about an old bluesman named Willie Cole that he used to produce. The legend was that Willie had sold his soul to the devil. The devil came for Willie’s soul and killed him during a recording session, and the acetate recorded it. When Marcus picked up the record, he heard voices, which scared him, so he hid it. He mentions that a private investigator visited him just last week, and he saw that the name “Fell” was on the check. Manny the angel stops time and takes Marcus’s soul as he dies.
The woman from the beginning of the episode returns home and hides the record. Her young daughter points out that ice has begun to form on the record shelf. Later that night, the daughter retrieves the record from its hiding place, despite the freezing cold around it.
Constantine recognizes the name “Fell” as the member of more successful music group that Bernie produced. Constantine thinks that Ian Fell sold his soul to the devil in order to be successful. Constantine and Zed sneak into Ian Fell’s mansion, and Constantine goes after Ian, but he claims not to know anything about the deal. His wife, Jasmine, the woman from the beginning of the episode, appears with gun in hand, and explains that she is the one who made the deal. It turns out she made the deal in order to save her husband from dying from cancer. Her soul broker, Anton, had contacted her and told her that he could get her soul back in exchange for the acetate. But Constantine knows that her soul is not Anton’s to give back. She was supposed to meet up with him that night, so Constantine goes to the location instead.
They hear music coming from the other room, and discover that their daughter is listening to the record. They switch it off before any harm is done.
Constantine meets up with Anton, and blows Anton’s deal with voodoo priest Papa Midnite, who now knows where to find the acetate. Papa Midnite blows magic dust into Constantine’s face, and when he awakens, he is tied down to a table. Papa Midnite says he’s after the acetate because it’s a “get out of hell free” card. Then he injects Constantine with an anti-coagulant, and slices his arm, giving him about 4 hours before he bleeds out. In the meantime, he will wait for his associates to return from Fell’s with the acetate. If not, he’ll question Constantine more. He puts a bottle of the cure, Vitamin K, on a table out of Constantine’s reach, unless he can break free.
Papa Midnite’s associates show up at Ian’s mansion and take the acetate at gunpoint. While they wait in their car for Papa Midnite, one of the guys decides to touch the acetate. They both become possessed.
A homeless guy comes across Constantine, and rather than untie him, starts to take his shoes. Then Manny appears, and chastises Constantine for thinking that the acetate might have trade value. He doesn’t release Constantine though, and he goes away, leaving him alone with the homeless guy. Constantine directs the guy to the magic card in his pocket, making him think it’s a credit card, saying he can use it in exchange for cutting him loose. But the man thinks he can’t use the card if Constantine’s alive, so he raises his arms to stab him — but Zed gets there just in time to save him. It turns out he had planted the St. Padua nail on Jasmine, so Zed was able to track him with it.
The next day, they head to a night club, where Papa Midnite’s men took the record and played it, killing everyone inside. Chas arrives and informs Constantine that he didn’t find Zed’s prints in any law enforcement database. One person did survive the attack though, a deaf busboy. Zed is able to communicate with him through sign language. She sees a vision of a white tiger. They see a poster off to the side for “Tiger Radio” and realize that Midnite’s men are going to broadcast the record from the local college radio station, so they head over there.
Constantine puts on the only pair of headphones, listening to punk music, and heads into the radio station, instructing Zed and Chas to stay outside. As Constantine tries to fight his way past everyone inside, Chas and Zed decide to take matters into their own hands, and crash the car into the broadcast equipment outside, thus cutting short the broadcast.
Papa Midnite enters the radio station and points his gun at his associates, who insist that the song needs to be heard. However, the door slams shut, and Constantine casts a spell, drawing on the dark magic of the acetate to send it back to hell, where it belongs. This upsets Papa Midnite, who wants it for himself, and tries to get inside the booth, but the door is locked. We see the blood of his associates splatter against the glass. Then Papa Midnite is able to open the door, but when he enters, the room is burnt out, and it looks like there’s a pit to Hell inside.
Constantine and Chas bring Anton to Fell’s mansion to make him eat Jasmine’s contract, despite his protests. This will break the deal, giving Jasmine her soul back, but Ian’s cancer will return, though he says he’s fine with that, because he can get treatment. They shove the contract in his mouth, and make him swallow it.
In the final scene, Papa Midnite throws a voodoo doll that looks like Constantine into a fire.
Violet’s Thoughts on Season 1 Episode 3 of Constantine: The Devil’s Vinyl
I liked this episode better than last week, since we got to see a little more of Chas and Manny. However, it was mostly Constantine and Zed working together. Not sure if I like Zed yet. Her power seems both a little too convenient and a little too inconvenient at times. Convenient because it can inexplicably get them information that they need, and inconvenient because a lot of times, that information doesn’t make sense. Maybe Constantine will be able to help her develop it to be more reliable over time.
I was a little more interested in this episode than last week’s episode because I’ve always liked the story of the blues singer selling his soul to the devil for success. It comes up from time to time, though usually in reference to Robert Johnson, considering that he specifically wrote a song about it. This story used a fictional singer though, and put a bit of a different spin on things.
We also got what looks to be a recurring character in the show, Papa Midnite, who doesn’t seem to like Constantine very much. I’m guessing he’ll show up again throughout the show to cause Constantine some trouble.
Overall though, I’m not finding myself all that interested in the show. The supernatural elements that I like are there, but for some reason, I don’t feel all that absorbed in the show at this point. I think maybe I’m still missing Liv, the girl from the first episode, and trying to get used to Zed replacing her. Even though Zed has clocked more time on the show now than she did. But I liked the interaction between Liv and Constantine, and not so much the interaction between Zed and Constantine. We’ll see if the next episode can change how I feel.
Josh’s Thoughts: Constantine, Season 1 Episode 3: The Devil’s Vinyl
This was a pretty good episode of Constantine I guess. It has probably been the best one so far, but Constantine is in a weird position for me right now. It feels like a rip off show of Supernatural. Funny enough, I have a sneaking suspicion that much of Supernatural is actually borrowed from the Hellblazer comics. It was tough watching the scenes involving the demon who made a deal in exchange for a soul, and not feel it was a rip off of Supernatural. I guess that feeling mainly comes from not being too familiar with Hellblazer myself.
I guess I am a little more intrigued this episode, and I did like the fact that Constantine doesn’t trust Zed. I think it would be interesting for her to eventually be an antagonist. I am also wondering if this angel Manny is actually a villain more than a helper. He certainly isn’t a very nice guy.
This was a pretty sad story for this episode though–a woman tries to save her husband, and sells her soul to do so. She even explains that she didn’t even believe it would be true, but thought it was worth a shot.
So far I will give this show some more time, and see what happens. I am hoping I can shake this problem of feeling Supernatural is being rip-offed.
Scenes from Constantine, Season 1 Episode 4: A Feast of Friends
Here are scenes from the next episode of Constantine, titled A Feast of Friends: