Constantine Season 1 Episode 1 Review: Non Est Asylum

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Though Constantine Season 1 Episode 1 was okay for a pilot, I must admit it didn't blow me away or anything.

That's fine because I thought the cast was excellent and I'm sure this is one of those series where the show improves tremendously as it goes along. With people like Daniel Cerone (Dexter, The Mentalist), David S. Goyer (the Dark Knight trilogy, Man of Steel, Da Vinci's Demons) and Mark Verheiden (Falling Skies, Battlestar Galactica) on the creative team, how can you go wrong?

Even if I wasn't aware that Lucy Griffiths was written off the show, that ending would still feel slightly off. We spent an hour getting to know Liv Aberdeen and for what? I'm sure Zed Martin (Angélica Celaya) will make a great addition to the show, but the pilot should have been redone.

We meet John Constantine as he's going through electroshock therapy in an asylum. Most of the time voice overs come across really cheesy, but Matt Ryan made it work here. He tells us he checked himself in voluntarily after witnessing the murder of a young girl. The event was disturbing enough that Constantine had sworn off demon hunting.

I thought it was great the way the therapist slightly mocks his business card which reads: John Constantine - Exorcist, Demonologist and Master of the Dark Arts. Come on, that's pretty insane stuff right?

The show has that type of black humor sprinkled throughout, but it never felt heavy or overly noir the way Gotham does at times. The pacing was pretty spot on as well, I never felt scenes drag on at all.

This pilot was pretty standard stuff and I can see why Liv Aberdine was written out. She's nothing more than a damsel in distress. Constantine is too witty and damaged to spend his time babysitting this newbie. I just wish the creators had realized this before filming and brought in Zed sooner. There's no going back now, but I bet Constantine Season 1 Episode 2 will prove the creative team made the right choice.

It's easier to deny danger than to face it, but make no mistake if you don't listen to me you'll be dead by morning.

Constantine

It's great to see Harold Perrineau as Manny, the rogue angel. After being killed off in Z Nation Season 1 Episode 1, I felt cheated he wasn't sticking around. Guess everything worked out because now he's on Constantine. Manny was sent to watch over Constantine and warn him of the evil that's on the way. It's pretty obvious the angel has an ulterior motive for working with our demonologist.

Chas Chandler follows Liv home and carves the eye of horus on her door for protection. Though Charles Halford didn't have much to do in the pilot, the fact he's a giant and Constantine's childhood protector makes him a very cool character. I want to learn more about him, he clearly has supernatural abilities.

Liv doesn't understand why a demon would be after her. I didn't either to be honest until Constantine informs us that her father, Jasper Winters, was a master of the occult. His promise to Jasper to look after Liv is what brought him out of retirement. I liked that the father's pendant began unlocking Liv's abilities. Plus the effects were top notch, wasn't that bit with the ghost train kick ass?

Liv: What is happening to me?
Constantine: You're waking up. You're seeing the world for what it really is. Just like your father could.

I found it interesting that Constantine could not not see the trapped souls. It was the necklace that allowed Liv to focus her abilities and see what her father saw. Since she returned the pendant at the end it will probably go to Zed now right? I'm curious to see how they explain that one.

The scene in the cab shocked me. I know we see that same exact angle all the time, guess I just wasn't expecting the crash at that point. I'm sure I'm not the only one surprised Chas survived that power line impaling him. Is he immortal, could that be it?

At Jasper's little house of divination we see Liv pick up the Doctor Fate helmet. Constantine warns her against it of course. This reminded me of the Deathstroke mask Easter Egg in Arrow Season 1 Episode 1. It's exciting we might get to see Fate at some point. Don't you think?

So Constantine learns the name of the demon hunting Liv is Furcifer, who draws his strength from electricity. Obviously Liv was going to be used as bait. Saw that one coming a mile away. I did think the scrying sequence was pretty cool. Her little blood droplets gliding over the map toward Edgewood Ave.

I found it a bit much to introduce Richie here and when Constantine threatens to expose him as the little girl's killer it made him seem like a total a-hole. Guess the writers wanted us to see that side of Constantine as well.

Constantine bribed a security guard to let them up on the rooftop. There, he drew a demon seal on the floor. When Furcifer entered the circle, the seal held him so Constantine could order him back to hell. We learned more about Astra, the little girl that died and the Constantine doppelgänger was very cool.

Furcifer: It's only a matter of time before you belong to us.
Constantine: Hell must be short on souls if you're bothering with a sorry one like mine.
Furcifer: On the contrary, we rely on you to provide us with a fresh supply. Everyone who stands at your side dies.

As I mentioned at the top, the ending fell apart for me. Liv decided this demon hunting thing is too much for her, she returned the pendant and made plans to move out to California. However, she also very conveniently spent an hour in the map room scrying leaving Constantine a bloodstained map of the U.S. Let the demon hunting begin! Of course our mystery psychic needs to meet Constantine first.

What did you think of "Non Est Asylum?" Did you enjoy Matt Ryan as Constantine? Are you upset Lucy Griffiths was written off the show? Or are you excited to meet Angélica Celaya's Zed Martin next week? It's your turn guys, share your thoughts on the pilot in the comments below.

Want to check out the series premiere again? You can watch Constantine online right here via TV Fanatic!

Non Est Asylum Review

Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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Rating: 3.9 / 5.0 (54 Votes)
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Constantine Season 1 Episode 1 Quotes

Liv: What is happening to me?
Constantine: You're waking up. You're seeing the world for what it really is. Just like your father could.

It's easier to deny danger than to face it, but make no mistake if you don't listen to me you'll be dead by morning.

Constantine