Welcome back to Haunted MTL’s extensive recap and review series for Swamp Thing on DC Universe.
The Story So Far
Alec and Abby
Swamp Thing himself takes a backseat to the major plot of this episode. Instead, we get the wonderful return of Andy Bean playing Alec Holland and the episode spends time showing the chemistry between Alec and Abby Arcane. This transformation into his past-form stems from a flower with hallucinogenic properties, so Alec’s form is merely a trick of observation. We see the growing abilities of Alec/Swamp Thing through the pair journeying to a place where the Green has been overtaken by the Rot.
Abby decides to try to collect a sample from the blighted region but is attacked by a rotten vine which proceeds to infect her. Back at Holland’s lab, Abby is quickly succumbing to the Rot, but could be saved by a plant called a Chinese Lantern. Alec is able to use the Green to then grow the exact plant needed to save Abby. The pair finally share a kiss, but the hallucination fades and Swamp Thing returns. He determines that he is in his form for a purpose and that purpose is to be a warrior for the Green.
Avery is pulled away from his own dealings with the mysterious Conclave organization. However, a recovered Maria seems more than capable of being involved. While Avery is away, Maria seeks out Dr. Jason Woodrue and confronts him about his work for Avery. Later, with Avery “delayed,” Maria takes charge of the pitch of Woodrue’s work to the Conclave’s representative Nathan Ellery. The pitch goes very well, and Maria is shown to be a shrewd and knowledgeable figure who the Conclave can work with.
Of course, the question remains: Where was Avery?
A Cable Plot
The lives of Matt and Lucilia Cable intersect violently with Avery Sunderland in this episode. As Matt is grappling with his role in Holland’s death, Lucilia arrives at the Sunderland estate to confront Avery and reveals that Alec Holland is still alive to some degree. She proposes heading out with Avery to clear up that loose end to save Matt. The pair depart for the swamp.
The mission to tie up the loose ends, however, ends up being a ruse as Lucilia and Matt ambush Avery in the swamp and attempt to murder him. Avery pleads for his life, saying he is Matt’s father. In the ensuing chaos, a shot Avery rolls into the water and swims away. Convinced Avery will bleed out, Lucilia and Matt leave. It is revealed, however, there was a third co-conspirator to the rub-out-Avery plot: Maria Sunderland. As an injured Matt is tended to in the Sunderland’s kitchen, Lucilia and Maria speak of their arrangement.
What Stood Out?
Part of the joy of the Swamp Thing comics was the more “trippy” aspects of the character and utilizing the hallucinogenic flower in the episode was very much tonally on point. Some real momentum this week as well with the Sunderland storylines and the addition of the Conclave’s Nathan Ellery is moving the season into an endgame.
The Final Verdict on Swamp Thing
Seeing an opportunity for Any Bean to play Alec again for the bulk of an episode is a wonderful treat. Overall the episode was light on scares, but the blight of the Rot was creepily effective.(4 / 5)
We learn a bit about The Conclave this week, but not a ton. We do meet a major figure in the organization in Nathan Ellery. Note that this is not the same Conclave the was host to a number of DC magical heroes. Yes, comics can be confusing.
Another thing from the comics we see played out here is hallucinogenic plants being grown from Swamp Thing. This first started showing up in Alan Moore’s run but has shown up in recent comic iterations as well.