Welcome back to Haunted MTL’s extensive recap and review series for Swamp Thing on DC Universe. Everyone seems to be in a key position now for the final two episodes in what has been a rather thrilling and satisfying season of horror television.
The Story So Far
Avery’s Swamp Trek
Having nearly been murdered by the sheriff and her son, Avery finds himself wounded and alone in the swamps of Marais. Avery has been in a character who, while maybe not entirely in control throughout the season, has had the air of someone who could get out of any setbacks. “Long Walk Home,” however, finds the industrialist at his most vulnerable. Delirious, Avery’s walk is punctuated with visions that flesh out his own relationship to the swamps; chiefly the murder of his father by the swamp itself. In a flashback, Avery watches his father dragged into a campfire by a tree that Sunderland, Sr. attempted to chop down.
It’s then that Avery is found by Swamp Thing. After being cared for, Avery offers to seek out a cure for Swamp Thing and meets with Jason Woodrue. Woodrue fills Avery in on the meeting with The Conclave that was taken over by Maria. The pair discuss the scientific advancements that could result from the study from the Swamp Thing, and Avery Sunderland gives in to his baser instincts, opting to capture the former Alec Holland for research purposes.
Abby, after her long talk with Alec last episode, returns to the CDC in Atlanta to continue her work, eager to help Alec in any way she can. Things are off, however, in that Abby is being received coldly by the powers that be and the samples she sent for analysis are being withheld from her. Abby encounters Dr. Palomar (Adrienne Barbeau) her new boss, who informs her that things will be much different from here on out. Abby is able to reconnect with her CDC-pal Harlan, but by the end of the episode, his fate is likely up in the air. Abby also gets the pleasure of being introduced to The Conclave’s Nathan Ellery who reveals how much he knows about the situation in Marais. Cornered by The Conclave, Abby flees back to Marais to warn Swamp Thing of what is coming.
“Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!”
Swamp Thing rescues and cares for a delirious Avery Sunderland and introduces himself as the former Alec Holland. Avery, as expected, does not let on to how involved he was in Alec’s death. The pair have a deep discussion on the swamp and recent incidents. Swamp Thing hints at the nature of the rot in the swamp to Avery, suggesting that his own form, as the Swamp Thing, maybe the result of the Green fighting back. Avery, thankful to his swampy savior, offers to find a cure, which Swamp Thing does not outright dismiss.
Avery Sunderland and Jason Woodrue later enter the swamp, seeking out Swamp Thing. This is a trap, however, as The Conclave has provided a team to take down the creature of the swamp. They manage, using liquid nitrogen, to contain the Swamp Thing, ready to be carted off to a lab for Woodrue to begin his research.
What Stood Out?
The cinematography of Avery’s trek through the swamp was quite well done. The shots really added to the sense of delirium and exhaustion felt by the character, and the Swamp Thing’s reveal to Sunderland is handled quite effectively.
The Final Verdict on Swamp Thing
“Long Walk Home” is a strong episode that distills the three main figures of the show to what seems to be their essential, core struggles; Avery grapples with his past and ambition, ultimately repaying the kindness of his savior with what is sure to be inevitable torture. Abby Arcane, again finding herself torn between her professional world of the CDC and the mystical high-strangeness of the swamps ultimately chooses the Swamp Thing. The Swamp Thing himself, a tortured soul, finds his efforts to reconnect to the world of man exploited because of what he is. It’s all a very strong set up to the final pair of episodes in the first and the only season of Swamp Thing.(4 / 5)
The Conclave is a deep, deep organization in the comics, and their presence in the CDC should not come as a surprise to viewers as it is meant to establish that they have a wide base of power from which to draw.
Dr. Palomar, the CDC director who Abby clashes with, should be recognizable to any fan of Swamp Thing and horror in general: Adrienne Barbeau. Barbeau’s history in horror is worthy of an article in itself, but for our purposes, we’ll highlight her role as Alice Cable in Wes Craven’s 1982 adaptation of Swamp Thing. As with any adaptation there were changes between the source material and the adaptation, but Alice Cable is very much an adaptation of the Abby Arcane character.