It is hard not to love a series where the main character uses phrases like “gobsmacked” which the main protagonist John Constantine does in Blessed Are the Damned. In Constantine, the Liverpool lad brings his country’s language with him to the rural U.S. and to the not so rural areas of the country. In this week’s episode a lay preacher for a small church is bitten by a rattlesnake and he lays dying on the floor. Suddenly, he comes back to life clutching a feather. Upon his return he can now perform miracles, such as healing and the first member of his congregation, a one legged man, grows a new leg after being touched by the preacher.
Manny the angel shows up later in the program and this week he gets quite involved for a change. Leaving behind his cryptic clues and doing a little “hands-on” intervention. Before that, however, Zed has a vision in art class, and gets noticed by the nude male model. She screams when seeing snakes wrapped around her feet while sketching and before leaving the class to see John, she makes a date with the model named Eddie for dinner. When she gets home, she tells Constantine about her vision while he talks non stop, ignoring her until he realises that she mentioned snakes. He tells her about the miracle performing snake-bitten preacher.
Constantine tells Zed that she can drive the two of them to Briarwood church and when they arrive there is a large queue of believers waiting to be healed. The first man the couple see healed is a blind man. Zed and John disagree about just what is going on in the church. After seeing the second miracle, Constantine notices that the holy man is chanting in the language of angels. Afterward, the man whose leg grew back is being examined by a doctor, in the middle of the exam, he kills the physician. In Blessed are the Damned, all those who were cured are also cursed.
John and Zed speak to some of the people in the crowd outside the church and once inside, Zed touches the preacher and gets a vision of his grabbing an angel feather. Constantine asks the holy man where he learned the Enochian he spoke at his earlier sermon. The man who killed his doctor then kills a Jefferson County Sheriff as he makes his way back to the church. After killing the lawman, the red-eyed man lopes off on all fours.
Zed tells Constantine that the preacher is not a dark man but one who is functioning on blind faith. John tells her that the miracles are not free, he says, that much power costs something and the two go looking to prove his point and find the river full of dead fish. Constantine calls Manny, who does not show and Zed suggests he tries asking nicely. When John does an incantation, with “dried myrtle, love” he adds please, and Manny shows up where the girl stood fanning herself seconds before and confirms that “courtesy counts.”
When John complains about Manny not showing up, the angel chides him saying he does have other mortals to watch over. As usual, when Constantine begins to argue, Manny disappears. But before leaving, he reveals that John can understand the angel language better if he faces the sun. Zed hums the song the preacher was chanting earlier and they can both now hear angelic singing. They follow the sound and find and angel on the ground covered by leaves.
The angel, who is called Imogen, tells Zed and John that she was taking a mortal to heaven when he grabbed her feather. Manny shows up and an excited Zed cannot see him. Manny explains that a mortal has never been able to remove an angel’s feather before and that if she does not get it back she will die. Zed asks Constantine why she cannot see Manny and he tells her that the “ugly angel” only shows himself to him to be annoying. It is during this conversation where John remarks that Zed is “gobsmacked” which is English slang for being speechless.
The preacher learns that Nate Byars, the man who grew a new leg, is now wanted for two murders. After kicking his own sister out, the man of the cloth is approached by Constantine who tells him he knows about the feather. Zed is attacked by Byars, he drags her from the tent she was sleeping in, and John has to kill the man to stop him. Constantine calls Nate a ghoul, he says that they are created by magic gone wrong. Later, Zed approached the preacher who says he will baptise her.
At the baptism ceremony Zed takes the feather from the preacher and the ghouls all begin to attack trying to retrieve the item. As Constantine barricades the church door, Zed takes the feather back to Imogen. Manny asks the other angel what it felt like to lose the feather and suddenly being able to feel pain and the sun on her face. While the preacher and John talk Constantine learns that the other man was not going to heaven but hell.
John realizes that they have been tricked, but he gets to the barn too late to stop Imogen from getting her feather back. When she reattaches the item, her appearance changes, her white feathers and clothes turn black and she starts to fly off. She cannot leave as John had put a spell around the building to keep evil out. The same spell traps her. John shows up and Imogen grabs Zed by the throat and demands that he let her get away or she will kill the woman.
Constantine asks Manny to help and initially he refuses. At the last minute he steps in and rips the fallen angel’s heart out of her chest. By the end of Blessed Are the Damned, the bad angel is dead and both John and Manny have become more of a partnership. Zed narrowly escapes some sort of harm by begging off the date arranged with model Eddie. This television version of John Constantine continues to bring this Liverpudlian into American homes in the most fascinating way possible. At the end of the episode, this very English exorcist keeps the fallen angels still-beating heart in a large jar and the preacher findsa more realistic way to make amends for his murder of an innocent. The rising darkness was stopped by Manny’s intervention but he will, he tells John, pay for his interaction.
By Michael Smith