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SilverStormm

S01.E03: The Devil's Vinyl

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Episode Synopsis:

 

 

John and Zed engage in a dangerous confrontation to save a woman and her family from sinister forces. John's efforts force him to confront the darkness in his own life - while also coming face to face with a new powerful adversary in Papa Midnite.

 

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Hehehehehe, lines, the lines.

 

You should know that most of what I do is illegal.

 

Just because she says so, doesn't mean we have to jump.  ....... Okay, that's long enough, let's go.

 

Z had skills.   She ain't no damsel in distress.   She saved herself, then Constantine.   But I hope that isn't always the case.   He doesn't have to be a wimp for her to kick ass.   They can both kick ass.   Or have complementary skills.   His magic, her sign language.   Stuff like that.  Although I will say the hand of glory upsetting the corpses was a bit of unsettling.

 

Would you make a deal with the devil to save your child?  People you never met might die, but you would save your child.    Not as easy an answer as you think.  Although loved making the incmpetent soul catcher "keep" the contract.    Again, the lines.

 

But why did they keep calling the record an "acetate?"   Why not use record?  But damn those were some nasty ass people, even the "nice" one after than record.   Smart thinking with the ear plugs though.    Sometimes non-magic works best.    Reminds me of an old joke from the Valdemar books "What happens when you stick a wizard with a sword?"  "He dies."   

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In vinyl recording, you could make a live recording of music by playing it into a sort of reverse record player in which the needle physically carves grooves into the surface of the disc. Those discs could then be used to make metal plates for mass production but could also be played in an ordinary record player. They used to be made with cellulose acetate and even after they were manufactured with a different process, they were still referred to as acetates.

So Constantine works out of a place that's apparently bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. And he has a card which takes on the appearance of whatever credentials he needs to go somewhere. And he travels with a female companion who assists him and also acts as an audience surrogate for the story. Throw in some robots and time travel and the BBC would sue (fortunately, I don't think either are very likely).

So far the show is nothing remarkable, but it's serviceable enough that I'll keep watching whenever I have a free Friday night. And I'm glad to see he has other abilities besides exorcism. There's only so many times he can point at someone and chant Latin phrases. It's not the most visually dramatic kind of battle.

Was the singer Ian Fell supposed to already know that his wife had sold her soul for his health? Because he barely reacted to the news at all, and yet at the same time he didn't seem to know all the details of the contract. I couldn't tell if that was deliberate or just really bad acting.

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This week's episode was sooo much better than last week's. It's like night vs. day, or Constantine vs. anyone with a moral compass. ;-) Just kidding, John is pretty entertaining.

The dialogue this time around didn't seem as clunky, and Zed is actually tolerable! And useful. Amazing.

More Chas! Thank you!

My mom laughed when the angel popped up when John was tied down. It was pretty sudden.

Yeah, the re-animated corpses thrashing around (particularly the ones in body bags!) was pretty unnerving.

After the second bloody explosion, I called out to my mom: "An effect so nice, they used it twice!"

If they keep up this the quality they produced in this episode, I'm probably in it until the end of the run. :-D

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I liked this episode best of the three so far.

 

Zed made a much better impression this time around. Less weird stares and personal space invasions, more being useful and acting like a person. I like the direction this character took, clearly competent in the world she came from but still learning in John's world.

 

Papa Midnight was pretty good too. Very imposing, a very believable threat and I look forward for him making another appearance. The 'slow death' was a little comic booky, and Papa should have shot him in the radio station, but I enjoyed it anyway.

 

John does need to be a little better at what he does though. Zed has saved him 2 episodes in a row. Papa Midnight got the drop on him. He would have failed at the radio station without Papa Midnight's intervention. And the whole first episode revolves around his failure with Astra. Zed calls him arrogant, but where does that arrogance come from? He's not exactly showing that he had a string of victories up until now. Petty dabbler, indeed.

Edited by venturestar

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He's not exactly showing that he had a string of victories up until now. Petty dabbler, indeed.

 

I was just thinking about that. I am not that familiar with the comics but I appreciate that he's not a special snowflake. His skills are acquired, not gifted upon him. I hope they are not going with the Chosen One trope here.

 

I too liked this episode more this week because they were not forcing the supposed UST.

 

I thought they would have brought along those noise cancelling earplugs that Papa Midnight was using. You wouldn't have to mess with the wires if you needed to fight. Gawd knows how they always manage to tangle up no matter where I put them.

 

The vitamin K label cracked me up. I mean it's less tacky than a product placement but they could have put in a little more effort to make it look legitimate. It looked like a kindergarten flash card.

 

So did that hell hole close up or what? Bless the poor soul who stumbled into it.

Edited by kwerkee

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Ava Crowder!  When did you get out of Harlem, and hook up with a rock singer?  Then again, making a deal with the devil is about the same as being involved with Boyd.  Always like seeing Joelle Carter.  Can't wait for Justified to come back.

 

So, being a Constantine newbie, I'm guessing Papa Midnite is one of the big baddies from the comic series.  Curious to see more of him in the upcoming episodes.

 

Constantine and Zeds interactions were much better this time.  Not as much obvious close-ups and getting into each other's faces, like last week.  Zed in general, was better tonight as well.  Although, I did love it when Constantine just told her to put blood on the floor with no other instructions, and she automatically poured it in a circle around the dead body.  I guess she learns quickly!

 

More Chas, please.  He never fails to bring out a chuckle or two.  Also, want to know more of what  Angel Manny's deal is, and why he seems to like picking on Constantine.

 

Death by vinyl records is certainly a weird and violent way to go!

 

 

So Constantine works out of a place that's apparently bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. And he has a card which takes on the appearance of whatever credentials he needs to go somewhere. And he travels with a female companion who assists him and also acts as an audience surrogate for the story. Throw in some robots and time travel and the BBC would sue (fortunately, I don't think either are very likely).

Ha, yes, I noticed that too, and it was totally reminding me of Doctor Who.  At least he doesn't have a screwdriver... yet.

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I hope John put a spell on that dumb ass, jasmine. She knows or believes what she's after is The Real Deal, but she doesn't re-hide it from her obviously curious daughter? She brings it into her home? Where her loved ones are? She is almost too stupid to live. She had guts, but no smarts, wrt The Acetate.  For a bit, I was wondering if she was paying folks back for a relative's death, due to the Acetate.  I mean, she left a set of headphones in the studio, where it would surely tempt the guy. No, just a reckless fool who's got a lot a lot of blood on her hands.  (Speaking of hands? That was freaky and spooky, and everyone having a Dead Man's Party made me freakin' jump! Good one, Show!)

 

Papa Midnite seems appropriately imposing and impressive. He appreciates Winchester rifles. He has lovely eyelashes. He respects televangelists' game. He has no time for stupid help or interlopers (John). I hope he is recurring because I like the actor and I want to see smack talk between Papa and Manny. It would be awesome. Scary, but awesome.

 

I loved the obvious Sex Pistols track choice, but when fighting big E Evil, why not give yourself a grin now and again? ICAM on the actual earplugs though; easier to defend/keep in. Unless you were going to drop the Walkman down your shirt, just earplugs is a more common sense strategy. Then again, why the hell were they listening to the station once the screaming and the shooting began?!Turn that  effer off!!  Chas is totally Silver MVP. Gold MVP goes to sign language knowing Zed. Way to show the guys to actually think instead of reacting.  (I kicked myself mentally after the wife's name reveal. I thought it might tie in to the daughter. Then I didn't hear her name too well.)

 

I like Manny's time-stops, but maybe those need to be a little more spaced out?  I found Manny/the homeless man more fun, but dang if the shop that does the time-stops doesn't make it pretty- even a janitor squeezing a sponge!

 

I love the mill and hope that we can explore it some in the coming episodes. They don't have to go down that hall just yet, but there is bound to be some funky room we can look into. ( Speaking of another certain well-travelled "Brit", I loved the card. I did roll my eyes and muttered "psychic paper?" Yet it was fun. Hope that homeless guy pops up again, but maybe straightened out some? Thanks to his "credit card"? I know, too optimistic. Oh, well.)

 

Ready for next week!

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This episode was the best so far  -- so it's a shame that the show may have already turned off viewers with the first two.. 

TVByTheNumbers doesn't think the show has much of a chance of survival, ratings-wise.

 

Something still feels a bit off. The lead actor  seems miscast. His character is supposed to be flippant, but it seems as if the actor isn't buying what he's selling.

I never get a feeling of real danger when Constantine is in trouble. (A common problem when TV shows put their lead character in danger.)

 

The addition of Papa Midnight was welcome. Constantine needs more of a supporting cast and a feeling that his world is our world, too. 

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His skills are acquired, not gifted upon him. I hope they are not going with the Chosen One trope here.

 

Oh, I agree. I don't want any chosen one storyline here. I do like that the magic and knowledge he has seems earned. I can see Constantine as a guy who put in the hard work to learn his craft.

 

But what I would like is a little more competence. I mean, the earbuds getting pulled out? That's foreseeable to anyone who has worn earbuds. It made a great contrast between Papa Midnite and Constantine though. They both had the same solution to beat the record, but Constantine wound up screaming on the floor, while Papa Midnite strode through like a boss and ended the threat.  

 

Maybe that's the point though. Constantine is someone who knows a lot and has power, but doesn't think things through or plan for things going wrong. It certainly matches up with what we were told happened with Astra. 

 

TVByTheNumbers doesn't think the show has much of a chance of survival, ratings-wise.

 

Last night's episode was up a bit from the previous week's. Considering this was probably the best episode of the three, maybe the show can eke out a few more viewers next week. A trend of rising viewers rather than falling viewers might give it a lifeline, even if the numbers are low.

Edited by venturestar
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Oh previously.tv. A British accent (if such a thing exists) would include a Scottish accent, as Scotland is part of Britain. That's like me saying "an American accent (or a Texan one)". Sorry, but that drives me bugshit.

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Poor Ava Crowder has no luck with husbands, does she?  It was nice seeing Joelle Carter from Justified, and the more alumni from that show imported to this one, the happier I'll be.  I'm still not sold on Zed.  My favourite moment was when the angel froze her so that can't be good.  I don't really have a sense of her yet.  I find Chas really well portrayed by his actor and I enjoy his appearances, but Zed isn't giving me much and she isn't a lot of fun.  Constantine annoyed me in this one too, with his magic that works until it doesn't.  I really want to like this show because the elements of it appeal to me, but I'm not on board yet.

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This still feels more like Supernatural than HellBlazer but at least it was much less offensive than last week, and Zed was believable as a human being. I'm glad I gave it the three episode rule, because this one convinced me to keep going.

 

And I really like the casting for Papa Midnite.

 

Oh previously.tv. A British accent (if such a thing exists) would include a Scottish accent, as Scotland is part of Britain. That's like me saying "an American accent (or a Texan one)". Sorry, but that drives me bugshit.

 

I'm glad I'm not the only one who gets twitchy when people think 'British' and 'English' are synonyms... which is nearly all of the time.

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I know I'll get flamed for this, but I much prefer Keanu Reeves in the role.  Wow, I can't believe I just typed that.  His Constantine was intelligent and knew what he was doing, but tired of it all.  Matt Ryan's Constantine seems like an idiot, and needs to be saved on a regular basis.  I want to like this, but I agree with whoever said it was like Supernatural.  Hell, it's like Supernatural Lite.

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Unfortunately I'm still not feeling this series. I keep thinking that something is off, something is missing, but I'm not entirely sure what it is.

 

I liked this week better because I enjoy Chas, Manny, and especially Papa Midnight. Having the supporting cast around makes the world feel deeper and more alive. But then there's Zed, who is completely uninteresting to me. Worse, it seems like this should be HER show, with Constantine as her sidekick. She's the one with strong, consistent powers, she's the one who saves him at the end of every episode, she's the one they follow. That's a unique take on the Hellblazer story, but for me the actress just isn't strong enough to carry the show.

 

On the bright side watching this show introduced me to Grimm, and I'm very much enjoying getting caught up with that.

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I know I'll get flamed for this, but I much prefer Keanu Reeves in the role.  Wow, I can't believe I just typed that.  His Constantine was intelligent and knew what he was doing, but tired of it all.  Matt Ryan's Constantine seems like an idiot, and needs to be saved on a regular basis.  I want to like this, but I agree with whoever said it was like Supernatural.  Hell, it's like Supernatural Lite.

 

You're not alone!  I vastly prefer the Keanu version and you hit on the head exactly why. It's not even the necessarily the writing. I think if you plugged the KR Constantine into this show with this pretty interesting supporting cast, the show would be exponentially better.  Matt Ryan always seems like he's waiting for his next cue to flop his pretty hair about for the camera.

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By the way, were we supposed to think that Ian Fell, the formerly cancer-stricken musician, knew about his wife's deal to cure his condition? Because he seemed totally unperturbed when the revelation came out, and yet everything else about the episode was coded such that we were supposed to think that the wife had secretly taken on the burden by herself. I can't tell if it was bad writing or really bad acting.

 

By the way, I got to put a little bit of my Latin knowledge to use at the end when Constantine was chanting. I couldn't make out everything he said (I suspect the sound mixers were not concerned about making sure the few dozen audience members with Latin knowledge to understand everything), but I distinctly heard "Exorcizamos te" (we exorcise you) and "omnis in formalis" (in all forms) and "in nomine...domine" (in the name of the lord). For all I know, these are just standard phrases taken out of exorcism books, but hey, how often do I get to use my high school Latin classes while watching TV?

Edited by Xantar
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I am really growing to like this show. Made a point to watch it live, and quite enjoy it. Matt Ryan is awesome as Constantine, and I really like the introduction of Zed. She seems like she can perfectly hold her own, isn't a damsel in distress and puts John in his place and isn't fazed by what's going on around her. I'm all over it.

 

The episode was good too. Love seeing Harold Perrineau popping up as Angel Manny and like this new character Papa Midnite. Very interesting. I'm in. The hand of glory "raising" those corpses was creepy though. Nice and creepy.

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Hey, they could have been if the independence vote had gone differently!

Thank God it didn't.

 

P.S. I'm a Scot (and a Brit) and I voted no :)

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I caught part of this by chance the other night and I'm glad that I did. I didn't have high hopes for this show after I heard they retooled the pilot, but even though I like Lucy Griffiths, her replacement is fine. I'm glad they kept Chas, though.

I loved the lore behind the "acetate." I'm so used to being exposed to foreign fantasy elements that it's cool when something distinctly from American culture brings a little mysticism to a story.

I see why Papa Midnite got a hashtag promo spot. Dude has presence. That's some good casting. Despite Constantine writing him off as a drug-dealing magical scumbag, he seemed more interesting than Constantine if I'm honest. I hope we get to see a lot more of him.

I don't mind that Constantine just barely survives tight spots thanks to the intervention of others. He's got the luck of a (bad) gambler. If he was always reliable and heroic, it would be a different show about somebody else.

I agree that his characterization could benefit from some lived-in grit over the quirkiness he's been given, but the show is young and maybe we're meant to see him become a tired eyed veteran over time.

The corpses all waking up was creative and scary. More of that kind of unsettling aspect of magic and I'll have to tune in every week.

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But what I would like is a little more competence. I mean, the earbuds getting pulled out? That's foreseeable to anyone who has worn earbuds. It made a great contrast between Papa Midnite and Constantine though.

 

That actually fits the comic book characterization pretty well. John is sloppy, but very clever and very lucky. He's the supernatural equivalent of that kid who never studies because they usually test well.

 

Overall, I liked this one best. Hellblazer was at its best when it mixed up magical lore of different cultures and this Papa Midnight was promising.

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I, too, am not completely sold, but am liking it better each week. This episode was fun, with an intriguing mystery and humorous moments. I love Chas. Zed is fine -- I like her narrative better than that of the woman from the pilot. I didn't mind Constantine's goof with the ear buds, because I assumed he went with what he had in his bag -- music and all! -- not having time to go out shopping for true ear plugs. 

 

The show committed one of my pet peeve tropes: having a random character just happen to know American Sign Language. That said, it wasn't too bad: she didn't have to say or understand too much, so we didn't need to pretend she was fluent or anything -- just someone who might have taken a class somewhere along the line. And the camera stayed mostly on the actor who portrayed the deaf character, who signed well.

 

When Constantine doesn't think things through, screws up, and is saved by others, he reminds me a little of Harry Dresden, from the Dresden Files novels :-)

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So Constantine works out of a place that's apparently bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. And he has a card which takes on the appearance of whatever credentials he needs to go somewhere. And he travels with a female companion who assists him and also acts as an audience surrogate for the story.

 

Similar dishes can have different flavors.  John's "psychic paper" was a minor magical artifact that apparently got a lot of people dead over the years (probably through cheating at gambling).  The "extra space" in John's place probably has a demon that eat souls living in it.  And the female companion is probably going to end up sleeping with John and suffer some horrible fate.  Or be revealed to be a demon or somesuch.  If John ever pulls out a "sonic screwdriver" it will most likely be powered by the heart's blood of murdered children.

 

Also, props to John for blocking the acetate with "Anarchy in the U.K."

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Husband and I gave this show a chance, but we're out.  We'd dvr'd this and couldn't be bothered to finish watching this episode once we started.  Just can't connect with this show.  (Strange, because usually my husband likes ANYTHING related to the premise of the show -- big horror fan, loves all the weird stuff).

Edited by LucidDreamer

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Possibly due to getting the okay/rights from relatives.

Johnson's music is under copyright at least until 2018, but I don't think that would apply to depicting the legend about him dealing with the Devil without using the actual music he wrote.

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I meant that his family might have the right to okay how his legend is used, not his music.

 

They don't.  However, if you want to use Robert Johnson's legend, you're also going to want to use his music, so figure they canned the idea in favor of being to use other music.

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I like that they put their own unique spin on it. Gives the mythology more breathing room to drop badass names like "The First of the Fallen" seamlessly into the legend.

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I just hope they can handle said character better than the comics if and when he appears. The need to differentiate him from Neil Gaiman's Miltonian Lucifer left them with a fairly flat portrayal of brutal, petty malice. If the TV show doesn't have that separation, they might be able to do something creepier and more majestic along the lines of Viggo Mortenson's take on the role in The Prophecy.

Edited by Bruinsfan
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they might be able to do something creepier and more majestic along the lines of Viggo Mortenson's take on the role in The Prophecy.

 

That was one of my first "scary" movies; I only watched that one, though. The cast wowed me and Adam Goldberg's Jerry was great.

 

If this show can put a bit more humor in, not much more, it might be just right. 

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I love the music stuff and I liked the allusions to John's punkish past too but I preferred the previous two episodes.

 

The stuff with the Acetate was fine enough though it only really got exciting when Papa Midnite was added into the mix.

 

Loved the scenes with Midnite and Constantine in this episode.

 

Some decent moments with Chas and Zed too. Manny seemed a little tacked on though, 6/10

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