Last week’s Constantine episode was a little bit on the rickety side, so I started watching “A Whole World Out There” with the mindset that it would be a bit of an improvement. This show has a bunch of good episodes that can still pop out, but fun lighting and performances aren’t enough to sustain this series.
The episode starts with a bunch of absent-minded kids who decided to perform some random Egyptian seance. Since they have no idea what kind of power they have in their hands, each one of them is whisked away into a strange dimension, scattered away in a creepy house. Everything about this place is screaming over-the-top haunted house, so they know that they’re in immediate danger. They’re able to spring out at the perfect time, but are they really safe? Of course they aren’t, or else there wouldn’t be a story to tell.
Back at headquarters, Constantine (Matt Ryan) is getting incredibly wasted as he stares at the mirror in front of him. It’s the same one that was talked about in “A Feast of Friends” that shows the past of those who’ve walked in front of said mirror. The soul who’s being shown off is that of his friend Gary (Jonjo O’Neill) from that episode, which is ripping Constantine apart. Can he be ridden with anymore guilt? Surely he can, especially with a couple episodes left for this series.
Manny (Harold Perrineau) pops back in and prods at Constantine to go out to investigate some creepy supernatural stuff. He’s the go-to errand boy for the angel, so he needs to keep on doing the good work to keep his feelings of guilt in check. So he runs out to bother his good old Newcastle friend Ritchie (Jeremy Davies) over at his university. Naturally he’s not too pleased seeing Constantine’s face. Anybody who’s spent way too much time around Constantine seems to have the same kind of disgust on their face whenever he waltzes back into their lives.
There’s some weird bump-in-the-night supernatural stuff going on here, but our hero cannot pinpoint it. That’s okay, because a body is about to practically pop up right in front of him. The mysterious 1950s-looking man looming around in the alternate dimension house claims his first college student victim. In a way the episode comes off as a slasher flick, dealing with youngsters who get way over their heads thanks to naivety. Constantine and Ritchie catch wind of the death, and they start investigating around to see how this could’ve happened in the first place.
At the same time the remaining survivors are butting heads over what they saw is actually real or not. Naturally there’s a non-believer in the group, and she ends up being the next target. Once Constantine figures out that these kids have been circulating through Ritchie’s class, they figure out that one of them got their hands on notes from a man called Jacob Shaw (William Mapother). Shaw was busy at work trying to put together an alternate dimension, but he succumbed to madness. Now, thanks to these naive students, he may be wreaking all sorts of havoc from beyond the grave… in a separate dimension. It’s a little difficult to attack somebody who doesn’t really exist on the physical plane, and that ticks Constantine off.
After some additional investigation Constantine and Ritchie make their way back to the cemetery where the seance started only to find that yet another victim has been claimed right before their very eyes. Man, they’re having some bad luck keeping these college students alive. It’s not their faults that they decided to dabble in this kind of magic.
Since the college students are dropping like flies, it’s really starting to eat away at Ritchie’s conscious. He already feels like a pile of crud on the inside thanks to the events at Newcastle, but to see that his own influence may have brought these kids to such a gruesome fate is too much. Constantine turns into moral support man for pretty much the remainder of the show, trying to snap Ritchie out of a bleak state of depression in order to help him try and save the last remaining student.
Meanwhile the three victims still find themselves alive, but in a strange way. Their three souls are still trapped in this house, and Jacob Shaw intends to keep it that way for his own dark purposes. He’s got this strange kind of 1950s creepy white dude look going on. William Mapother does a really good job acting like a friendly neighbor who you’re afraid will eventually eat you for dinner. Shaw chucks out some exposition on how he wants to keep the souls there for sport just so he can hunt them down and kill them as many times as he wants. Well, it sucks to be them.
Constantine and Ritchie decide it’s time to defeat Shaw once and for all by going into his world. Before they’re able to do that, the girl looks at her smartphone that reflects like a mirror, being instantly sucked into the world. She tries to escape, but there’s nowhere for her to run off to in this so-so CG landscape.
After providing some additional moral support, Constantine and Ritchie do their own seance to bring themselves into the world. They’re more concerned about killing Jacob Shaw rather than saving a girl, which seems a little poor. They’ve already lost 3 kids really quickly, wouldn’t they want to at least get her out of there first? Guess not, but at least Ritchie found out that he’s able to bend reality to his own will thanks to… something. It’s not explained entirely well, but we’re towards the conclusion so let’s go with it.
Exposition time! Jacob Shaw confronts the two heroes and starts complaining about how they invaded his world. He tries attacking them, but he’s rendered useless thanks to the combination of Constantine moral support and Ritchie’s incredible mind powers. Ritchie is able to essentially override Shaw’s power on the world, thus eliminating him and altering the world around him. But again, where’s the girl? You know, the one who involuntarily was sucked into this world?
She’s making her way out of the place, has a moment where she realizes that she can’t bring her friends back. They eventually get swallowed up by the house and she starts sobbing, only for Constantine and Ritchie to beat it into their head that they’re all dead. By the way, the CG world is a bit over-the-top, but it’s supposed to be basically a fantasy world that’s now being controlled by Ritchie. He chucks the girl back into reality and then has a long-winded conversation about how he wants to stay in that world and create new things. Constantine thinks that’s a horrible idea, because it is. He’s escaping reality, and once again our hero is turned into mister moral support in order to talk Ritchie out of staying in his fantasy land.
His friend inevitably snaps right back into reality and sees everything in a new life. The epilogue has Ritchie back in the classroom basically reflecting on the kind of emotions that he’s feeling due to this revelation. He’s living life with a new set of eyes while Constantine is still drinking away, ridden with an overwhelming sense of guilt thanks to his own actions.
“A Whole World Out There” is another lukewarm episode to add into the small pile, and it’s disappointing to see that’s the case. Jeremy Davies and Matt Ryan have this wonderful banter that translates well onscreen between their two characters, but that’s not enough to save this episode from the so-so story. Even the funky fun lighting was a bit over-the-top in the alternate world. Boy, I hope that the next episode works out better than these last two.