Constantine season 1, episode 3, “The Devil’s Vinyl,” just finished airing, and we got to meet Papa Midnite for the first time! Read our recap and discuss with fellow fans.
Hear no evil
The episode opens with a woman walking into an abandoned building filled with dead animals. She finds a Holy Bible in the wall, and within its pages is an old record.
The woman brings the record to a man named Bernie to run a spectral analysis. As she leaves the room to take a call, she warns him not to listen to the record. But once he’s alone, he hears voices and can’t help himself. The headphones freeze themselves to his ears, and the voice tells him to kill himself, which he does.
His Satanic Majesty
Zed uses her powers to track down Chas and John at Jasper Winter’s old house. Chas invites her in (after holding a gun to her face) and they walk in on John covered in blood, trying to learn a new spell. As Constantine continues to dance around, Chas explains that the house expands and contracts, sometimes by mere inches, sometimes by a lot more. He opens a door and shows her a long hallway, but even John says he’s not ready to go exploring down there.
John gets cleaned up and explains that his friend Bernie was killed, despite the fact that the newspapers are calling it a suicide. Zed touches the article and the stigmata on the map and her powers instantly kick in. “I smell Jasmine,” she says, and then gets cold. John reluctantly takes her along on the job, while Chas promises to find more about Zed.
John digs around in his man-purse, pulling out interesting objects like the nails of St. Padua, trying to find something to use to break into the morgue. But Zed just pickpockets one of the employees and gets the job done in a matter of seconds.
John explains that Bernie was an old friend who produced Mucous Membrane’s (John’s old band) first and only album. John whips out a Hand of Glory and uses it to bring Bernie back for a few moments. He mentions voices, the acetate being cold, and the word moonrise before he’s dead again.
Curious about the Hand of Glory, Zed asks what the price of using it is. John says it costs his own mortality, a few days each time he lights it. Zed seems surprised, but John just says, “I do what it takes.” That’s Constantine, for you.
Legend has it
John is about to go old school and hit up a library to make sense of their new clues, but Zed has the power of Google at her fingertips. They track Moonrise Records’ owner to a hospital, and after John employs
psychic paper a magic playing card and a pretty spectacular Southern accent, they find Marcus Mooney.
Marcus tells them about Willie Cole, a popular blues singer from Memphis who vanished without a trace. Legend has it that Willie sold his soul to the devil and recorded the voice of the Deceiver himself. Mooney found the record after Willie, uh, exploded, and hid it in a wall because he couldn’t destroy it.
He also says a private investigator stopped by about a week ago to learn the same information. He worked for a man named Fell. Before Mooney can share anymore information, however, Manny shows up and takes his soul.
Didn’t see that coming
John knows who Ian Fell is: a metalhead at the top of the charts. Zed and John find his house and break in, but quickly realize his wife — Jasmine — is the one who made the deal. But she didn’t do it to make him famous; she did it to save his life. He had cancer.
Jasmine explains that a soul broker named Anton had her sign a contract for her soul in order to save her husband’s life. This was nearly 20 years ago, but just a few weeks prior he found her again and said he could give her soul back if she found the acetate Mooney hid all those years ago.
John uncharacteristically gives Jasmine a hug, slyly planting one of the nails of St. Padua in her coat, and assures her he will talk to Anton for her.
Turns out, returning Jasmine’s soul was never part of the plan. Papa Midnite, a voodoo priest, is behind the sham. He wants the record because it’ll give him a lot of power. John isn’t down with that, but Midnite’s men knock him out and tie him to a metal grate.
“All this just to get me alone,” John says. “I don’t do zip ties without a safe word.”
But Midnite isn’t laughing. He says he wants the record as a get out of hell free card. He injects John with an anticoagulant and then cuts his wrist. It’s a slow death, just in case Midnite’s men don’t return and he needs to come back and question him.
Manny shows up again, but he refuses to help John. Luckily, Zed saw the awkward hug John gave Jasmine and realizes he planted St. Padua’s nail on her. She follows the trail and finds John, but not before Midnite’s men wreak some havoc.
After stealing the record, they become obsessed with playing it every chance they get. Zed, John, and the newly arrived Chas show up too late to a club where everyone has died. Chas tells John that Zed isn’t in any police database, but John doesn’t know if that’s a good sign or a bad one.
Meanwhile, Zed talks to a deaf employee who saw everything and was not affected by the record. She has another vision and they figure out the men are heading to Tiger Radio to broadcast the record. Chas not-so-subtly keeps telling John how useful Zed is, but John is still hesitant.
Go to Hell
John runs into the radio station blaring some Sex Pistols through his earphones. Unfortunately, they fall out at the most inopportune time. Luckily, Papa Midnite shows up and takes out the speakers. But before he can grab the record, John sends it back to hell. And then hightails it out of there.
At the end of the episode, Constantine forces Anton to literally eat his contract, saving Jasmine’s life. Ian will get cancer again, but he’s convinced with modern medicine he’ll have a much better chance.
Parting shots show Zed looking at her necklace, a sword in the shape of a cross with blue stones, and Papa Midnite making a voodoo doll of John.