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John's increasing desperation to find the Fountain of Imperium leads to an unlikely partnership with Spooner and a trip to Spain during World War II, as the rest of the team tries to work around Baby Gus-Gus' growing pains and Mick's pregnancy.
The classic Hellblazer comics (John using magic to fight fascism), the Rick and Morty episode Raising Gazorpazorp (heroes raise an alien baby that grows faster than humans) and every comedy based around people who aren't used to handling babies having to take care of a baby.
The official synopsis for this episode mentioned both Sara and Lita being worried about Mick taking care of himself, but Sara is barely in the episode and doesn't show up until the end, as she and Ava are out exploring wedding venues for most of the episode.
This may be Matt Ryan's finest turn yet as John Constantine, playing the warlock with all the sleaze and cunning he should have.
At the same time, Lisseth Chavez does an amazing job holding her own against Ryan as Spooner, giving Spooner further development and confirming her own strong will to match Constantine.
The costumes for this episode are notably fine and show some exquisite detailing.
The special effects for the psychedelic sequence in which John uses the blood magic potion are amazing.
Trivia Of Tomorrow
Noelle is the first instance of a classical vampire existing on Earth-Prime.
Previous Arrowverse series have shown beings from other Earths that were described as vampires and Supergirl season 6 introduced an alien race called Transilvanians, who drink blood and can transform into bats.
Zari 1.0 and Behrad clasp their hands to activate their powers at one point and say "Tarazi Sibling Powers Activate!" This is a nod to the DC Comics heroes the Wonder Twins, who first appeared in the Superfriends cartoons and had to hold hands to activate their superpowers. They also said "Wonder Twin Powers Activate," but it was not clear if they actually had to do this for their powers to work.
When Spooner is trying to comfort Fernando and tells him that some real superheroes are about to come rescue them, he makes reference to the JSA. This is the first reference to the Justice Society of America existing in some capacity on Earth-Prime, albeit as fictional comic book characters. (It's possible this is a nod to "The Flash of Two Worlds" which revealed that Barry Allen was a fan of comics starring Jay Garrick, who was a real person on Earth-2. Barry theorized that the comic book writers may have had a psychic connection to the other Earth and wound up transcribing what they thought were stories they imagined.)
True vampires must be invited into a home before they can enter and possess some degree of super-speed.
John has wards built into his home that can easily repel a vampire, even if they were already invited into the house once.
John claims to be capable of summoning sunlight in sufficient quantity to kill a vampire.
This potion Noelle provides John is identified as a cocktail of rare bloods that can be used to temporarily enhance a warlock's power. John says this "juicing" is even darker than leeching human souls for power.
The life cycle of a Gusarax is only 38 rotations according to Gary. While he does not specific just what must rotate 38 times, Gusaraxes age rapidly and Baby Gus-Gus enters his surly teenager phase within the span of a day.
According to Spooner, only the worthy can drink from the Fountain of Imperium.
Spooner's powers allow her to communicate with the mute Fernando telepathically, as he drank from the Fountain of Imperium.
John knows a ritual that allows him to draw the magic from other people and take it for himself, which he tries to use to take Fernando's power by using Spooner as a conduit.
John is still capable of clouding minds and alters Spooner's memories, instructing her on what to tell the other Legends when she returns.
(John is trying to talk his way out of paying Crowley's debt.)
John Constantine: See, I'm offering something far more valuable than dosh, love. A favor.
Noelle: What could you possibly do for me?
John Constantine: Spare your immortal life, for one.
(John nods down to the floor. Noelle realizes she's standing in the middle of a magical circle built into the tile.)
John Constantine: One word and sunshine will turn you to ashes.
John Constantine: I'm John Constantine, love. Clever doesn't even begin to describe it.
Zari 1.0: Superhero, a totem bearer, and an alien named Gary becomes singing mannies. Did I just invent our spinoff?
(John, Spooner and Fernando flee the bar.)
Spooner: John, we have to go back.
John Constantine: What? Are you mental? Why?
Spooner: The fascists will kill everyone.
John Constantine: You know what happened in the Spanish Civil War, right? The moral side, it didn't win. Now get the boy to lead us to the cave.
(Spooner just stares at John, as if to say "how did you know?")
John Constantine: Oh, come on, I know you were bloody lying, all right?
Spooner: Yeah, well, I'm not helping you finish your ridiculous, selfish quest.
John Constantine: Quest? This is real. My connection to magic is lost.
Spooner: Boo-hoo. What's so bad about being normal? You don't think that kid would give just about anything to have a normal life again? I know I would.
John Constantine: Yeah well, some people want picket fences and ponies, don't they?
Spooner: Oh yeah. And what do you want? You want me stay here and risk my life so I can help you get your magic back. Give me a reason.
John Constantine: You know where I'm from, being normal is being crushed by the boot of capitalism and then blaming it on anyone with brown skin. It's being told that only degenerates can fancy men and women. It's your old man coming home drunk every night and beating you to a pulp because that's what his old man done to him, but magic, Spooner, the ability to break the rules, to stick it to the rich and the powerful, that's who I am. And I'm nothing without it, Spooner. I'm nothing.
Spooner: (sighing) I can't believe I'm saying this. All right, John. You win.
John Constantine: You take the boy and hide.
Spooner: What are you gonna do, John?
John Constantine: Only a bastard could vanquish a monster. Go!
John Constantine: No, Spoons, listen, we failed, all right? Spain is not gonna be safe for Fernando, not for a long time. And I'm just as ineffectual as my dear old grandad fighting bloody fascism.
Spooner: That's not true. You killed a lot of Franco's soldiers.
John Constantine: Yeah, I did. And I bet at least one of them wasn't a bad bloke and once again, my soul is damned.
Spooner: You know, for someone who hates church, you sound an awful lot like a Catholic.
John Constantine: What, just because I'm like full of guilt and self-loathing?
As the episode opens, Constantine is torturing the painting of Aleister Crowley for information on where his map to the Fountain of Imperium, mentioned in 608, is hidden.
Crowley makes reference to the events of 605 and how, after being stuck in a painting again, John locked him in a chest with a witch.
Crowley eventually confesses that he entrusted the map to a banker in anticipation of his resurrection.
The banker in question is revealed to be a vampire named Noelle. She tells John that Crowley still owes her 2 million pounds for services rendered. John is able to threaten her into backing off after she realizes she's standing in a magic circle.
Noelle offers John a potion which she says was part of her arrangement with Crowley. This potion is later identified as a cocktail of rare bloods that can be used to temporarily enhance a warlock's power. John says this "juicing" is even darker than leeching human souls for power.
As the episode opens, Gary has lost his glasses and is stuck in his alien form.
Baby Gus-Gus is having trouble sleeping. So is Spooner, as the rest of the team is trying to sing him to sleep in her room.
Sara and Ava are said to be off the ship looking at wedding venues.
Behrad is able to play the guitar.
Crowley transcribed the map in 1939 while using Noelle's potion and talking to an alien being. John uses the map to narrow the location of the Fountain of Imperium to Spain, but he still can't read the alien writing on the map.
John tells Spooner about how he's lost his magic and asks for her help in translating the writing on the map. She identifies the name of Albacete - a city in Southeast Spain.
John explains the sensitive situation in 1939 Spain to Spooner and the basics of the Spanish Civil War. The war was fought between two sides - the rich and the fascists, backed by Nazi Germany versus the trade unions and the Democratically elected government. The Catholic Church also had a role in the conflict. In 1939, the war had been raging for three years, amid the rest of the turmoil in Europe caused by World War II.
Spooner is Catholic.
John does not like priests.
John read legends about a leftist leader called El Gato, who survived seven assassination attempts and a crucifixion. John suspects that he drank from the Fountain of Imperium, leading them to a bar in search of the rebel leader.
John knows enough about the Spanish Civil War to convincingly bluff his way into convincing the people in the bar that he served in the trenches of Jarama. Specifically, he knows the soldiers had to grease their guns with olive oil, fought with antique weapons and shaved with wine because water was so scarce. He also says the lice were the worst part of the experience, as they were the size of boils.
Behrad prepares Tortilla Espanola for dinner.
Lita tells Mick he shouldn't be drinking but Mick is trying to ignore his pregnancy.
In the short span of time that has passed, Baby Gus-Gus has become a teenager.
The apparent leader of the villagers in the bar tells John that El Gato got his powers from the milk of a magic donkey in the next village over.
Spooner and John both figure out that the man who told them the story of the magic donkey was El Gato.
Spooner senses something with her powers, leading her and John to the cellar of the bar. It is here they meet Fernando -a mute teenager who likes comic books.
Fernando mistakes Spooner for La Toerrera - a pistol-packing action heroine resembling a female Zorro.
Spooner senses something alien about Fernando and is able to talk to him telepathically with her powers. This leads her and John to conclude that he drank from the Fountain.
The bar is taken over by Captain Noriega of the Fascist forces led by General Franco. He has also come in search of the Fountain of Imperium. He says that he is searching for many mystic objects on behalf of Adolf Hitler and mentions the Spear of Destiny and the Loom of Fate - both objects that the Legends encountered in Season 2 and Season 5 respectively.
El Gato is shot dead by Captain Noriega. This leads Fernando to reveal himself and his powers, as he is able to resurrect El Gato, who is his uncle.
John runs off in the confusion, trying to think of a plan as Spooner is left behind.
Mick tells Lita about how he abandoned Kayla to get himself, Gary and Sara off of Bishop's planet in 607 and how he deserves to die for that.
Lita fakes going into labor to get Mick to go into the Medbay so he can be checked out.
John returns to the bar dressed in a stolen Catholic priest's robe and speaking in a bad Italian accent, introducing himself as Father Constantine. He claims to have been sent by several senior cardinals in Rome to track down the Fountain of Imperium and offers to work with Captain Noriega to secure it.
Zari 1.0 and Behrad use their combined wind powers to push Gus-Gus through a time corridor and into an unidentified pastoral setting.
John fabricates a ritual that will let Fernando "speak" through Spooner (i.e. this virgin) for the benefit of Captain Noriega.
Fernando claims that he discovered the Fountain of Imperium when an angel appeared to him after a bomb exploded next to him and his uncle and he fled into a cave and prayed for some way to save him. The angel told him to drink from the fountain inside the cave and that was when he gained the power to heal others.
Spooner lies when Fernando says he can lead her to the cave, saying that he said he can't remember where the cave was.
A firefight breaks out after John reveals himself, with El Gato asking Constantine and Spooner to save Fernando.
Spooner refuses to help John any more since it's become apparent he cares more about the Fountain than what happens to Fernando and his family. John doesn't deny this, but says that he always tried to use his magic to stand up to bullies like Captain Noriega but that without his power he is nothing. That gets Spooner to agree to help him.
Fernando takes John and Spooner to the cave with the Fountain, but the Fountain has apparently gone dry.
John tries to work a ritual to take Fernando's power into himself. He tries to claim this is to give Fernando an ordinary life, but Spooner doesn't buy it. John agrees to leave the choice up to Fernando.
Fernando agrees to give John his magic if John will help find his missing mother.
Spooner uses Nate and Behrad's lullaby to focus her mind so that she can channel Fernando's power to John.
The magic leaves Fernando, but does not attach itself to John - presumably because he was not worthy.
Captain Noriega and his men are revealed to have followed John, Spooner and Fernando.
John tells Spooner to hide Fernando while he tries to hold off the fascists.
John takes Crowley's blood magic potion and is able to kill the soldiers.
Gideon confirms that Mick is not in labor and that his babies are doing fine.
Gary found his glasses.
Sara and Ava return to the ship.
Spooner asks John about the blood potion. He says he won't be using it again. Spooner says that's good because what she saw when he was "juicing" scared her.
Spooner and John find Fernando's mother and reunite them with El Gato.
Spooner remembers her mother's voice, though she's forgotten her face. She remembers her saying "We're saved by faith alone." when she was a child.
John hypnotizes Spooner to tell the Legends that they were successful and that she drank from the Fountain of Imperium.
John trades Crowley's painting to Noelle for more of the blood cocktail potion.
Northumberland County, UK - 2021
Albacete, Spain - 1939
Most of the Legends problems with Baby Gus-Gus occur off-camera.
The Bottom Line
A brilliant episode that restores John Constantine to the treacherous wanker he should be. It also develops Spooner and teaches a bit about an aspect of WWII that doesn't get covered a lot outside of Spain.