ARROW Review: Constantine Entertains in “Haunted”
By Justin Carter
As the days to CW’s Flash/Arrow spinoff Legends of Tomorrow grow shorter and shorter, the need to remind viewers who’s who grow greater and greater.
With just one trailer way back in May for premiering in January, it’s a long time for people to remember who’s a part of this spinoff of a spinoff of a show (try saying that five times fast).
Last week, Flash clumsily introduced the new Firestorm. This week had Kendra Saunders, and it’s a safe bet that Captain Cold and Heatwave will show up for one final time by December. Arrow only has the one character from its roster switching shows, and that’s the original Black Canary, Sara Lance, whose name definitely caused a collective head scratch when Sara died. However, she was brought back to life through the Lazarus Pit a few weeks back, but now she’s gone feral and has started attacking any woman who looks remotely like Thea in order to find any sense of peace. That can’t exactly carry a character for a season, at least not on this show, so the Arrow crew needs to get her back to her old self. Enter: John Constantine.
Constantine had a solo show of his own on NBC earlier this year that was canned, but his appearance on Arrow was scheduled at the time when everyone was unclear about the show’s renewal status. Cards on the table, I never watched the NBC show (no particular reason, just didn’t interest me), so I have no idea how Matt Ryan compares here. But as it stands, he’s pretty entertaining. The script lets he and Stephen Amell play off each other really well both in the flashbacks and present day, and Ryan especially gets off some good one liners.
Even though his scenes in the flashbacks are brief, his time is well spent and we can see how these two became friends in a relatively short amount of time. It also does a good job of justifying how these two know came to know each other and why Oliver would call him. It’s like a drunk friend showing up from out of town, and a lot of the fun is just watching how the rest of the team reacts to him. It’s possible that he could return down the line, and frankly, I hope he does, if only to see to how he’d be around Felicity if they spent more than 10 seconds near each other.
Before we get to the fun stuff with Constantine, we first have to find Sara, and that isn’t entirely anything to write home about. It’s more or less what you’d expect — Sara shows up and causes a freakout, the team learns she’s alive, that sort of thing. That said, I wasn’t expecting Laurel to call Oliver out for being the king of Liar Mountain over the past few years, and that was refreshing to see. While the show is named after him, it does feel like there are times, especially during the last season, where logic was bending into a pretzel to justify its titular character telling half truths. Maybe it was a little less on the nose and probably more of a direct jab at how some fans perceive Laurel, but it isn’t like she hasn’t entirely earned the right to be angry with him over the past few years. If nothing else, it has helped Oliver and Laurel put their baggage aside to save Sara’s soul and start being actual friends again.
All in all, “Haunted” is a pretty fun episode of Arrow that probably wouldn’t have worked nearly as well if Constantine hadn’t been thrown into the mix. The guest spot is a shameless crossover for sure, but it’s a pretty damn fun and ridiculous for as long as it lasts, and it helps set the stage for the future DCTV lineup. All there’s left to do now is find a guy by the name of Ray …
- Past Oliver’s “WHAT THE HELL IS ALL THIS?!” after he and Constantine leave the tomb was a highlight for me, solely because it showed just how done with everything he was.
- Constantine can’t stop hitting on everyone, but Felicity doesn’t mind because he’s not another gorgeous woman from Oliver’s past. Sometimes, you gotta take the victories when they come.
- In between the Sara and Constantine stuff, Diggle and Lance worked together to gain some more info on HIVE and Darhk, and Diggle learned his brother wasn’t as innocent as he thought. Families sure do disappoint on this show.
- Darhk: “I don’t see you associating yourself with crime lords…present company excepted.”
- What are the odds that Matt Ryan shows up here one last time during the season to test the waters for another show of his own? CW’s John Constantine? Maybe he’ll show up in Legends, since I can’t imagine him entirely fitting in with Flash.