It’s been a few weeks since the last recap, but the show has marched on. I am going to continue to recap the series, but the revelation of cancellation just strips out a real sense of urgency. We have some other things in development here at Haunted MTL as well that have served to… distract. So, let me apologize about the lateness of this recap/review. We’re going to continue the project. The show is still great, which makes writing this series of posts kind of tough.
The Story So Far
This was a fairly low-key episode with a relatively undercooked bit of swamp evil and a plot of place-setting. That being said, the show is still fantastic.
Abby and Alec Working Together
The major narrative of the episode revolves around establishing the nature of Abby and Alec’s relationship given his new form. Abby is very much interested in doing everything she can to aid Alec in understanding his swampy fate. Alec, localized in the swamp, pursues the mysteries of the waters around Marais. The two essentially represent two different worlds and must work across their respective regions to solve the problems that bleed between them.
Unfortunately, this week, the threat feels a little underdeveloped.
Two men enter the swamp to cut down some trees that haven’t been picked over by local logging companies. The trees, enhanced by the pollutants, fight back, dropping a mummified corpse that was lost in the swamp on the men, scratching one of them.
The scratch causes hallucinations of one’s deepest nightmares, driving one of the men, a dishwasher at Delroy’s to kill himself when he hallucinates his arm under attack by a snake. He ends up stabbing himself in the arm repeatedly, and then for good measure jams his arm into the garbage disposal. During the struggle, Delroy, the owner of the bar gets scratched. Thus begins a low-key infection plot culminating with Abby herself getting infected.
Later, an infected and hallucinating Abby finds herself in Alec’s arms as he draws the evil from her and puts in back in the mummy. The mummy being the remains of a person who was infected by this evil and fled to the swamp to make sure it could harm no others. It wasn’t until Alec Holland arrived in the swamp when that could finally, truly happen.
The plot was fairly predictable, but it did a great deal of work to establish the what should be the standard, working relationship of Abby and Alec; a relationship that should be effective and entertaining.
It is not surprising that Avery Sunderland has a dark and tragic past. The episode opens with him destroying the remains of poor old Gordon and remembering an incident in his past where his most-likely abusive father berated him for being unable to kill a gator. The scene doesn’t really tell us anything we couldn’t have already assumed about Avery, but it should, hopefully, lay groundwork for a more significant revelation in the future.
The major thrust of the Sunderland subplot revolves around Avery’s manipulative nature; both toward the town and Maria as well. Avery still needs the dose of funding to keep Woodrue on the case regarding the biological properties of the swamp. While inviting survivors of “the green flu” to a crawfish boil, he spies Maria’s attention toward the young Susie.
Throughout the episode we see Avery manipulate everyone around him to try to get the young Susie into a position where he can bring her into the Sunderland home, to give Maria a new child to care for. Not necessarily out of the goodness of his own heart, however. After all, “the green flu” may be gone, but who knows what after effects might pop up. If only there was funding to keep Woodrue on the job…
Of course, he doesn’t know about the ghost of Shawna lurking around Maria… might there be a possession in the future?
Daniel and Xanadu and the Incoming Darkness
The cryptic teasing of Daniel Cassidy’s history and reason for being stuck in Marais moves at a snail’s pace this week. All we really learn is that he made a deal that forced him to stay in town. For comic fans already familiar with Cassidy, the implication is pretty clear, but for the average viewer, it is just more cryptic teasing. We do get a moment of heroism from Daniel when he helps disarm sheriff Cable that belies the nature of his potential future, however.
Meanwhile, Madame Xanadu is concerned her powers may be waning. She has hinted at the spreading darkness from the swamp, just as Alec has begun to sense if through the plant life in the area. Perhaps a trip to the source of the darkness on Xanadu’s part is what will bring these character together.
What Stood Out?
The scene with the stabbing of the arm and the garbage disposal was fantastic and keeps up that body-horror component of the show that has worked out so well so far. It’s been great that every episode has at least one incredibly gory or gross-out moment.
Also, kudos to the show for including the Swamp Thing in a daylight sequence, allowing us to see the details of the prosthetics and makeup. The work holds up incredibly well and, hopefully, means we’ll get some great, brighter lit scenes with the effects and outfit before the end of the series.
The Final Verdict on Swamp Thing
This episode is very much a place-setting episode, moving pieces around for a larger payoff. Thankfully, it was still very entertaining and keeps up the visual excellence that has been the hallmark of the show so far.
(3.5 / 5)
Comic connections are initially a little sparse this week. No real new introductions to characters are made, so there is nobody new to introduce from the comics. That being said, there is an exception regarding Abby’s hallucination. We see her confronted by a faceless man who talks about her mother as he threatens and berates Abby. She’s had nightmares about this man since childhood. This man is potentially Grigori Arcane, her father, also known as the Patchwork Man. As for his being faceless? Well, we all process trauma differently… though he could also, literally have been faceless. We’ll see if we encounter Abby’s uncle Anton later.