This week’s Constantine had a strong, scary main plot. A group of students were brought into an alternate dimension ruled by an insane, sadistic killer named Jacob Shaw. The plot was appropriate creepy and fun and guest star William Mapother (Lost) was fantastic. They’ve been killing it with guest villains the past two weeks.
However, the show continued to demonstrate it’s almost baffling inability to build an ensemble or have ongoing conflict between characters. Zed and Chas were both completely missing from the episode and Manny only had one quick scene. Last week this show actually showed that the ensemble can function and have interpersonal conflict, but this was a complete backslide. No show can rest solely on its protagonist and John Constantine isn’t even a particularly strong protagonist, so their refusal to even try to build strong dynamics between the entire cast is strange to say the least.
In place of the usual supporting characters, this week gave us a guest character named Ritchie, a former good friend of Constantine’s. It’s tough for the show to pull off stories about Constantine being good friends with another man when the audience is aware of the show’s straight-washing. Scenes of him staring longingly at old images of Ritchie and then talking about how they used to be “good friends” just feel so coded it’s ridiculous and distracting.
“A Whole World Out There” functioned pretty well as a single episode of supernatural horror, but all my usual frustrations with this show were present. Especially considering they only have two episodes left after this, they really should be working harder to build a strong main story and give us compelling reasons to care about the main cast and their relationships with each other.