A crossover episode usually means good news for Arrow fans. Whenever The Flash or some other character from outside Star City comes to town, it signals that something fun is going to go down.
When it was announced that John Constantine was headed in to save Sara’s soul, “Haunted” instantly became the kind of episode you circled on your calendar with the fattest red marker you could find. Despite the best intentions of all involved, this crossover episode fell flat.
It wasn’t the fault of Matt Ryan’s Constantine, his short lived NBC show had its share problems, but Ryan’s grip on the character was never an issue.
I’m not sure if it was Ryan’s scheduling or a desire to fit everything close to Halloween, but the way things unfolded, this episode needed to be a two-parter because it all felt rushed.
By the time the setup (Sara escaped Laurel’s basement - of course - and is killing people), flashbacks (Ollie met Constantine on The Island, fancy that) and B plots (Digs and Det. Lance team up on a mission for Dhark) ran their course, three-quarters of the episode flew by before Constantine even set foot in the Arrowcave.
This left no time for Team Arrow (and the audience by extension) to experience the weirdness that follows everybody’s favorite conjurer.
So many opportunities missed because of lack of time. Constantine gave Felicity a list of ingredients for his spell. Did she have to go to creepy parts of town or strike a Faustian bargain to get them? Nope, one trip to her local Hobby Lobby and she was good. Once Constantine, Ollie and Laurel were inside Sara’s soul chamber did they have to solve puzzles that only the kind of people who were closest to Sara could know the answers to? Other than Laurel dashing off blindly (because Laurels gotta Lawwrel), they found Sara’s soul just needed help out of the hot tub while Constantine fought the ghost of the marketplace swordsman from Raiders of the Lost Ark. Bob’s your Uncle, Sara is fixed.
Much like Constantine on NBC, this episode had its best moments in the form of one liners. Felicity had some good ones. Thea calling Constantine a “specific kind of yummy” was probably the line of the night. Unfortunately a loose collection of one-liners isn’t enough to make up for the halfhearted use of the DC TV universe’s more interesting characters.
There is a silver lining in all of this fortunately. Constantine has been formally introduced and is hopefully available for use in other shows (he’d be great for regular drop ins on Legends of Tomorrow). Let’s just hope those writers find a better use for them than a few quips and his skill as a paranormal tattoo artist.
Craig Wack is podcasting with Pajiba commenter Tatiana Torres, so please check out the Agents of GEEK podcast.