It really is only because Matt Ryan, as John Constantine, is on Arrow for the Haunted episode that MikesFilmTalk is writing about the show. Not that the CW series is unappreciated, Arrow is, like The Flash, a firm favorite. Unfortunately, CW, like CBS were overly snobby when divvying out press access to their stable of shows. Regardless of the fact that this site is edited and published by a journo, the networks rather snottily explained that this little site was too small to have access to either screeners or photo’s from episodes of their shows.
Regardless of the highly annoyingly snobbish attitude to sites that are not IGN or Huffington Post, or fill in name of “large” money making site here, the inclusion of Ryan’s splendid presence as Constantine made both watching and writing about episode 405 almost fait accompli.
It is, perhaps, more than a little annoying that this was one of the least impressive episodes of Arrow thus far. Sara Lance, whose time in the Lazarus Pit has allowed her body to return sans soul, is killing bad people all over town. Although she has also been attacking Thea “lookalikes” as well, she has yet to actually kill any of the short-haired Thea-ites.
Speaking of the attacks on Thea, aka Speedy, Sara not having a soul allowed her to radically kick the Queen sibling’s butt ragged. This young lady, Thea Queen, who has severe anger management issues and who can barely restrain herself from killing the baddies around town gets beaten to a pulp by the recently returned dead girl.
The gang, who are now working together for a greater Star City, set up a trap for Sara to stop her from harming Thea and to save the criminal element from being killed, after all thugs are people too. Cue the backstory of Queen meeting John Constantine on (drumroll please) the island.
As is typical of an Arrow episode there is much too-ing and fro-ing from present to past and the overall presence of John Constantine is kept to a minimum. Cutting to the chase, Constantine helps to save Sara by bringing Oliver and Laurel into the netherworld to rescue her captured soul, kept in a netherworld version of the Lazarus Pit, and to come back out unscathed.
There is another subplot about Diggle’s brother Andrew who apparently was as pure as the driven slush before being murdered by HIVE.
As interesting as this all is, let us look at Matt Ryan’s reappearance as Constantine, away from NBC and their inability to understand what is good for their own network (Can you say “The Player?”) who cancelled Ryan’s brilliant portrayal of the cigarette smoking “hero.”
Seeing the Welsh actor put on the trench coat and tie again, was fun…
To this viewer, Ryan’s Constantine in Arrow looked different. He also sounds different. John’s British drawl has been “cleaned up” and sounds much less “real” than it did on the NBC series. And…Apart from once on the island, when Constantine asks if anyone has a cigarette, the character does not light up once and John looks, for lack of a better word, too clean.
The lighting or filters used for filming Arrow made Ryan look much less “rough and ready” and more like a plastic version of his character. In essence, the long wait for Matt Ryan to turn up as Constantine was a bit of a let down.
About the network who killed Constantine the series, there is one moment where the character has apparently asked for a peacock feather, a sly dig at NBC whose logo is still a spread of peacock feathers, which John then uses to scratch his back. That was amusing but not too satisfying and there was no groundwork laid for Ryan to return. After saving Sara, Constantine recommends to Queen that they consider their debt’s to one another paid off, “let’s say we’re even.”
Still, it was good to see the actor who brought John Constantine to life so convincingly return, even if it was on a snobby network that still believes that Supernatural is the shizzle in terms of fantasy television. Another bone of contention was that when Matt talked as his character he did more reverse English magic incantation chanting than having any actual conversation.
This may have been a good thing since the accent was so toned down, it seems that on Arrow, or CW, that saying mate a lot indicates an English accent…
It also should be noted that Arrow does continue to entertain and that Queen’s evolution into the Green Arrow was a nice touch. All in all, there could have been more Matt Ryan, Neal McDonough and Emily Bett Rickards in this episode. After all there is no such thing as too much Constantine, or Damien Darhk and definitely there can never be enough Felicity Smoak.
Of course the big jaw dropping reveal is that Ray Palmer is alive, although apparently not well, as his final message tells Felicity that he is in trouble. Arrow airs Wednesdays on CW, tune in and see what happens next now that Ms. Smoak has learned that Ray is alive alive-oh.