Welcome back to Haunted MTL’s extensive recap and review series for Swamp Thing on DC Universe. Sadly, this is where it ends. Swamp Thing was canceled early on in the year, shortly after the first episode aired.
The show was a pleasure to watch and recap, but unfortunately, the shortened episode order had a real effect on the final moments of the series. Let us take one last jaunt around the swampy-town of Marais.
Where the Stories End
Abby and the Swamp Thing
It is a real, real bummer that Abby became sidelined a bit during the latter half of the season. A lot of her work in the narrative was sort of that thankless stuff that dragged her away from the action and away from Swamp Thing. Though it was Abby who led the charge to rescue Swamp Thing, the Blue Devil showed up and stole the show a bit in an intense, creepy sequence in the last episode.
Sadly, Abby doesn’t do a whole lot in the finale. She is mostly relegated to reacting to events. The underlying tragedy of her falling for the not-even-a-human Swamp Thing is tragic, and Crystal Reed sells it, but there is just not much to do for Abby beyond reacting to what is going on around Marais. Her arc for the episode begins with her trying her best to connect with Swamp Thing, saying that he is still Alec. However, he must deal with his own pain and he heads into the swamp. So, she decides to work with Liz to find out more about The Conclave.
Swamp Thing, grappling with what he is, is visited by a hallucination of Alec Holland. Their conversation is haunting and effecting, and Swamp Thing comes to realize that Alec lives on in his own rudimentary plant-brain. What is most important is that Abby does not see him as a monster. Now Swamp Thing must decide who he will be.
The pair reunite in the lab of Alec Holland. She truly feels something for Swamp Thing, and that is enough for now. He warns her of the darkness that still lurks in the wild, but she refuses to give up on him. Together they will face the growing darkness that rises in the swamp.
Villainous Machinations Made Moot
Abby’s journey around Marais during the episode ties up some lingering plotlines. She goes to Maria to find some information, but the poor woman is too far gone. Madame Xanadu is there as well and offers Maria relieve in a delusion. Maria is gone now, consumed by a hallucination that her daughter lives and is there with her.
It is a tragic, sad ending for one of the stronger antagonists in the show.
Avery attempts to get involved with a group of paramilitary enforcers for The Conclave into the swamp to find the creature. This does not go well for him, as he is pushed aside outright by Ellery. Avery, rejected by The Conclave as a wildcard, turns to drink to deal with his woes.
The Conclave’s operation, meanwhile, is a resounding failure. The Swamp Thing uses his rapidly expanding control of plant-life to isolate and hunt down the team, led by guest star Jake Busey. It’s a brutal sequence that only leaves Ellery alive. Swamp Thing tells Ellery to let The Conclave know what has happened, and that they will not return to his swamp.
Avery, bottles deep by now, learns of Matt Cable’s accident and rushes to the hospital. Lucilia is there and he makes a desperate, grasping bid to reconnect to his would-be murderers. Lucilia tells Avery that will never happen. She’ll never forgive Avery for making Matt a murderer.
Lucilia leaves and sits in her cruiser. An angry Avery springs up from the seat behind her and stabs her. She blacks out. When she returns to consciousness, it is inside the trunk of the cruiser that Avery has sent into the swamp to finish her off. He watches the car submerge beneath the water.
The Loose Ends
Three principal characters also need to be covered in this finale.
Jason Woodrue’s story was a slow burn through most of the season, with little glimpses into the obsessive personality that lied beneath the arrogant exterior. The madness that is Woodrue really came forward during the penultimate episode “The Anatomy Lesson,” but goes full bore here. Kevin Durand plays Woodrue with a menace that reminds you of why he is a genre-darling. He menaces his wife, Carolyne, who is tied to a chair. Jason tries to feed her the cooked pieces of Swamp Thing’s harvest organs, believing they are the cure to her affliction.
He, of course, tests it himself, but he collapses. Jason regains consciousness, becoming even more of a terror and he tries to fight off Abby who does her best to help Carolyne. Unfortunately for him, Abby’s 911 call went through. We see Jason being led out from the house in handcuffs, screaming, almost feral.
In a post-credit tag, we see some time has passed in Marais where a previously comatose Matt has regained consciousness. He returns to the police department and finds it overgrown. He then stumbles upon a plant-man… Jason Woodrue, now the Floronic Man.
Our last visit with Daniel, The Blue Devil, finds him hurriedly packing up to finally leave town. He leaves the shop to Liz and, still wracked by the voice of the devil, speeds away from the town to an uncertain future. A future we’ll never get to see. At least his mission from The Phantom Stranger has been fulfilled.
What Stood Out?
Swamp Thing’s rapidly-growing power being unleashed on the mercenaries was a great way to show how much more powerful he has become. It also does a lot to establish him as a real danger if left unchecked. One could imagine in the future, had the show been given further seasons, Swamp Thing potentially succumbing to more feral, dangerous characteristics in his attempt to save the Green.
The Final, Final Verdict on Swamp Thing
As a series finale “Loose Ends” really just doesn’t feel satisfactory. It can work for a season finale, as many of the elements presented were meant to. Yet, the whole series sort of rests on the arrival point of “Loose Ends” and it just crumbles away. “Loose Ends” is a solid episode, but the weight put upon it just sinks the whole affair. It bounces around between a lot of stories and tries to tie them up. Some of these are better handled than others.
As a whole, the show just worked. It was respectful to the lore, adapted many key elements, and as a whole delivered something for Swamp Thing fans and casual viewers. At its best, the show was a Southern Gothic drama with a badass swamp monster and magic, and I will miss that.
Swamp Thing deserved better than to be canceled the way it was.
(3.5 / 5)
We’re never gonna see Swampy go toe-to-toe with the Floronic Man, and that hurts.
Rest in peace, Swamp Thing. You were beautiful while you lasted.