While on a search for more signs of The Rising Darkness, John and Zed run into Judith - another member of The Newcastle Crew and John's former lover. The Newcastle Incident gave Judith a precognitive power that lets her sense a new evil - bad people coming back from the dead to kill again. John offers to help Judith with the latest of these "Meat Cutters" and find the source of their power but Judith is less interested in learning why these creatures exist than stopping them - a point of contention that will lead to the discovery of a horrible secret.
Alan Moore's Swamp Thing (the character of Judith) Hellblazer #11 (references to The Newcastle incident) and Scooby Doo (John's trap for the second Meat Cutter at the bar seems like a Freddy Jones trap if ever there was one.)
The whole episode plays like a dark parody of 1980s slasher films, with all of the various Meat Cutters acting like Jason and Mike Myers.
This may not be intentional, but the whole episode is also reminiscent of the Hunter: The Vigil role-playing game, which allows for the players to contend with monsters similar to The Meat Cutters called Slashers. (Slashers are what writer Daniel Cerone refers to the creatures in the action notes of the script.) The game suggests that one possible origin for Slashers is that they are Hunters who have been driven mad by repeated encounters with supernatural evil and there's some suggestion this is starting to happen to Judith.
The script is very well written and it's a shame it was never filmed.
This episode was never filmed.
As a way to build publicity for Matt Ryan's appearance as John Constantine in the Haunted episode of Arrow's fourth season, writer Daniel Cerone offered to release this script if a certain Twitter post got over 2,000 re-tweets. It got over 3,000 and the full script can be read here.
Judith was another member of The Newcastle Crew in the comics. She was a tantric magician and John's lover. They met at the North Beach Ashram where they both studied Tantric Yoga. Like John, Judith was addicted to the thrill of using magic. It was Judith who assisted John in trying to summon a bigger demon than the demon that was plaguing Astra, the little girl they were trying to save.
After The Newcastle Incident, Judith was scared straight for a time and became a member of London's punk community. John recruited her to help him with his plans to stop The Brujeria from bringing about the end of the world in Saga of The Swamp Thing. Sadly, Judith turned traitor and joined with The Brujeria after being cornered. She died after outliving her usefulness to the cult.
The physical description for Judith mirrors her appearance from the comics when she was part of The Newcastle Crew, though slightly older. "Early 30s -- punk rock, bottle blonde, goth lipstick -- dressed in form-fitting leather pants".
Rather than being a tantric magician, the TV show version of Judith had precognitive dreams. She apparently dabbled in necromancy as well.
John sings one of his original songs to Judith after they shag. The lyrics he quotes are from Venus of The Hardsell - an actual song written by Hellblazer author Jamie Delano as the one single of John's old band Mucous Membrane. You can listen to one fan's cover of it here.
John uses a mouthful of alcohol from his flask and his lighter to create a fireball to fight the first Slasher. While this may be a simple fire-breathing trick, it seems to have a magical effect.
Judith had precognitive dreams, seeing the future while she was asleep. Her power changed after The Newcastle Incident, causing her to have visions of people dying from the perspective of The Meat Cutters.
The Meat Cutters, as Judith calls them, are animated corpses that refuse to die unless beheaded.
Meat Cutters seem to be formed from the bodies of bad people who died violently and, when possible, will target the people they view as being responsible for their death. The first Meat Cutter we encounter was a man named Brad Howard who committed suicide after losing his job and went after his former co-workers. The second one, formed from the body of local bully Reggie, targets the four friends who accidentally killed him and dumped his body down a well.
Judith collects the weapons she takes from The Meat Cutters that she kills, though they don't seem to have any magical properties on their own.
John and Judith both know how to hypnotize people. Judith uses it to calm the surviving victims of The Slashers and help them overcome the trauma. John uses is to put Judith to sleep - first to help her fight her insomnia and then to induce a precognitive dream.
Zed uses the nails from the coffin of St. Padua to find John.
John does a series of tests on the captured Meat Cutter to determine what makes it tick. The final test rules out phase-shifting entities, which - by process of elimination - means that it was spell work. Necromancy, to be specific.
To deal with the guilt of Newcastle, Judith found a spell of atonement that could be used to remove sin from a person's soul. John is familiar with the spell and notes that it requires the sacrifice of a damned human soul. Judith worked the spell outside of a prison on the night of a death-row execution but, due to the influence of The Rising Darkness, the ritual got twisted and that killer's soul is now animating the other bodies of recently deceased evil people. Judith's precognitive gifts have been likewise corrupted due to her connection to the killer's soul thanks to her spell.
(John attempts to explain a trust fall to Zed)
John: Close your eyes.
(Zed does so)
John: Now... fall into my arms.
Zed: Nice try.
John: And that’s why you’ve lasted this long. You’ve got the good sense not to trust me.
(As John is about to get killed by the resurrected Slasher, Judith stomps in.)
Judith: Sorry I'm late.
(The Slasher turns and Judith attacks. She disarms The Slasher before beheading it.)
Judith: Burlap. This season’s trending fashion.
John: Nice blade work.
(Judith turns to recognize John with shock.)
Judith: John Constantine?
John: Judith. Can’t seem to keep away, can we?
(John and Judith cuddle, wrapped in a blanket after a good shagging)
John: (singing) “Love, adventure, death and glory. The short goodbye, the whispered story.” That bit’s brilliant.
Judith: I hate to break this to you, but you were better when you stuck to covers. Your original music...
John: Sadly, there might be a sliver of truth to that. You see this scar? You know how I got it?
(John moves his hair aside and points to his scalp.)
Judith: Wrestling a 500-pound golem?
John: No. From a bottle tossed on stage by a drunken frat boy who didn’t appreciate the poetry behind my lyrics.
Judith: Punk is best left for the wasted and the wounded. Frat boys... you gotta stick with your own, John.
John: That has become abundantly clear.
John: Jude, Jude... you might be hunting random, reanimated killers, like you think. Or you might be playing whack-a-mole with one demon, or one entity, moving from body to body. I got tests in my kit to find out.
Judith: Damn you, John! This is why I didn’t want you coming with. I knew you'd find a way to make it all about you.
John: About me? I'm trying to stop people from dying!
Judith: (realizing) This was your plan from the start, wasn’t it? “I’m not sure I want to see you go right now.” You used me. Same way you use everyone.
John: That’s not true.
Judith: Then why didn’t you tell me this was your plan before we left?
(John is cornered, but he plays it honest.)
John: Would you have taken me with you if I had?
(As Judith is about to strike John down with her katana, Zed enters the bar and throws a knife into Judith's calf. The pain makes her drop her katana and Zed moves forward.)
Zed: I told you, I'm used to my knives.
Judith: You should’ve let him have me
John: Why? The lives he took are on his soul, not yours.
Judith: Another con. It’s just what I’d expect from you, John
(Judith turns and starts walking.)
John: C’mon, Jude. Let’s hash this out over a pint. We’ve free run of a tavern and hours till dawn!
(She stops and looks back.)
Judith: You know, John, at least I tried to make myself better. But you’re still lying to your friends and sacrificing them for the cause. What are you going to do when you’ve killed off everyone you ever cared about?
(Judith turns and keeps walking. John, not having the heart to argue, watches her go.)
John refers to Manny destroying his scrying map in C112.
Zed makes reference to Chas being a great chef.
John refers to the events of C104, C108, C109 and C111 in telling Judith what happened to Gary, Ritchie and Ann Marie from The Newcastle Crew.
Zed uses the nails from the coffin of St. Padua from C103 to find John. (Curiously, the script says they were from episode C104 - though this may be because the original second episode was aired as C106.)
Judith and Zed are both skilled knife throwers but Zed is used to throwing with her own knives.
The script describes the setting as "a nondescript town whose name bears no relevance to this tale." Later clues reveal it to be in Kentucky.
Technically, this whole episode was an untelevised adventure.
Judith and John both make reference to The Newcastle Incident.
The Fridge Factor
Averted hard. While Judith did screw up in her ritual to atone for her sins, she is good in a fight and proves more than a match for John in the heroics department. She saves John from the first slasher and Zed saves John from Judith in the end.
John Screws Up
John's meddling in Judith's life - while helping stop the continual cycle that was getting people killed - pretty much destroys any chance of romance or friendship he has with Judith.
The Bottom Line
A bit hard to judge since we only have the script to go by. But based on the script alone, this would have been a great episode. With the proper casting Judith could have been a great foil for John had the show continued and the future scripts stuck with the eventual fate of The Newcastle Crew based on what happened in Saga of the Swamp Thing. There are hints here of Judith starting to go mad from her repeated encounters with The Slashers and it's easy to see her being corrupted by The Brujeria as she was in the comics. Alas, barring a miracle, we'll never know...