JUSTIN PARTRIDGE III: So, I got to about the thirty minute mark in “Quid Pro Quo” and quietly realized that this episode is kind of a clunker. Despite seeing Zed tackle case work with her usual badassery mixed with quizzical wonder, AND a truly insane performance from this week’s guest star Mark Margolis, who has now become the one true Felix Faust to me this side of Justice League Unlimited. I just really expected more from the episode that finally spilled the beans on Chas. Is this just me? Did you dig it? Am I the weird one now?
DIANA HURLBURT: Hmm. I don’t know, I liked it! I was really happy for a Chas-centric episode, I liked the relationship between him and his ex and daughter (fraught but realistic and heartfelt!), I liked the flashbacks to him and John earlier in NYC. As noted Margolis was great; the plot itself–soul-sucking magic in Brooklyn–was a little standard, but I thought the meat of character development on the frame of the Faust stuff was solid. It’s entirely possible I’m just a sucker for Chas’s brand of self-sacrifice…and also John drunk-spell-casting. Now that’s street magic.
JPIII: I finally pinpointed exactly what I didn’t like about this episode: John. I think if this episode would have been the episode that took John out of the equation and just let Chas and Zed handle Faust, not only would it have been about twenty minutes shorter, but it might have popped a bit more for me. Though, you mentioned John’s drunk spell casting and I really loved that, but I just felt that at times Chas was playing second fiddle in his own origin story and that rubbed me wrong a bit.
DH: I did like that John tried to have Chas do things his way and be in charge, and ultimately that didn’t work. I guess since it’s his show he does have to be around, but it would’ve been fun to only see him in flashback, and have him be off somewhere while Chas and Zed fended for themselves.
JPIII: And like you said, John is the lead and its a dumb reason to not like the episode just because the LEAD of the show is participating. That said, Chas already is such a strong conduit for his own troubles, beyond the fallout of his life with John, and it would have been cool to get an odd, paranormal family drama just starring Chas and Zed, while John just catches up on Gone Girl back at the House of Secrets. Also, something flew directly into my eyes when 1. Zed offered to stay by the bedside of Chas’ daughter and 2. when Chas breaks out the photo album of all the souls that reside in his body. Leave it to this show to start aiming for the heart as viewers are still trying to connect with it. Honestly, there are worse things that could be happening. That may be why I found John a little harder to take in this episode because up until the final grenading of Faust, he kind of a petulant dill hole for the majority episode. I just wanted him to get out of Chas and Zed’s way so they could wrap it all up with Ultra Heart Powers (and a stolen grenade).
DH: Tear duct stimulation powers ACTIVATE! Something not really mytharc-related that I appreciated about Chas’s journey in this episode is that it doesn’t end with him magically back together with his ex-wife. True Love (TM) did not conquer all, except that it did, because their love for their daughter is the significant thing, not their romantic relationship or lack of one with each other. I like portrayals of different kinds of love, a lot. And I like portrayals of “broken” families that work and care about each other.
JPIII: Exactly! It wasn’t some cloying, sappy realization that she had been wrong the whole time and they just needed to get their family back together. She basically was validated in her decision to drift away from Chas and Chas understood that he can still be a father without putting his family in danger. It is nice to see that this show is at least able to shy away from the usual bow-tying happy endings.
DH: Somehow I sense that Constantine will not end with any semblance of happiness.