Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Arrow S04 E05: Haunted

I've never been all that much of a big fan of the Hellblazer comic. I can acknowledge its quality, but it was never really my thing. In the comics John Constantine is many things - magician, con man, antihero, cynic, detective, punk - full of snark and sarcasm making him a poster child for not only the grim and gritty 1990s, but for DC Comics' mature line, Vertigo Comics, or as I like to call them, comics for folks who hate superhero comics.

Honestly I only really kind of started to dig John Constantine when he was swept fully into the DC Universe in the New 52. I know I'm in the minority with that, but there are a lot of folks, who like me, really loved the NBC television series "Constantine." I was sad when it was canceled, and sadder that I wouldn't see more of the Spectre or see Doctor Fate, hinted at so often. You can imagine how thrilled I was to hear John Constantine, as played by Matt Ryan, was coming to "Arrow." And apparently based on ratings, I wasn't alone there either.

As we open, Sara is stalking the streets of Star City while Oliver settles in for his run for mayor. Thea introduces him to an Alex Davis, a political strategist. The name Davis has meaning in the Green Arrow mythos, from the criminal inventor Dr. Davis from back in the Silver Age to a name on The List back in season one. I have to wonder if it's a coincidence. Davis is trying to protect Oliver from controversies that might ruin his campaign in an upcoming interview with Bethany Snow.

And yes, that's a recurring name as well. News anchor for Channel 52, she's appeared several times before starting in "City of Heroes." In the comics she was not only under Brother Blood's control but also his voice in the media. I am sure we haven't seen the last of her.

Finally something interesting is happening on Flashback Island, it's where Oliver first meets John Constantine. He apparently is on the island looking for something, and Oliver helps him find it, saving Constantine's life while he's at it - setting up the favor owed in the present day. We may also have discovered how Oliver knew about the prison under the island. And is that the Orb of Ra that transformed Rex Mason into Metamorpho (or here and here)? Nope, Horus, wrong Egyptian God and artifact.

While Team Arrow clashes with mad soulless Sara, there are other subplots afoot. In a seemingly desperate attempt to tie up loose ends, Diggle and Quentin Lance are working for Darhk to erase computer files of military who have worked for H.I.V.E. Weak or badly planned, this one isn't doing it for me. It's like Curtis Holt being a Bronze Medalist in the decathlon. It's too easy, too convenient. And Ray Palmer's message from beyond, is this whole season of "Arrow" (and "The Flash" as well) just one big set up for "Legends of Tomorrow"?

As expected, Oliver calls in that favor from Constantine and together with Laurel, they go rescue Sara's soul from the other side. It's a good sequence that I wouldn't mind seeing again, a Green Arrow/Black Canary/Hellblazer team up. I dug it, more please. Is there any way that the CW could pick up "Constantine" for another season? It would be an awesome addition to your growing DC TV Universe... please?

Next: The search for Ray Palmer!

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