DC’s Swamp Thing
Episode 2: “Worlds Apart”
Directed by Len Wiseman
Written by Mark Verheiden & Doris Egan
* For a recap & review of the Pilot, click here.
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “He Speaks” – click here
Alec Holland (Andy Bean), as the newly former Swamp Thing (Derek Mears), is hiding while the authorities show up. Abby Arcane (Crystal Reed) and cop friend Matt Cable (Henderson Wade) are searching to see if they can find Alec, or whatever’s left of him. She’s sure he could “still be alive.” The sheriff turns up, Lucilia Cable (Jennifer Beals)— Matt’s mother— and Abby’s not getting any more help. The doctor tries to tell them about the man-like thing she saw. The sheriff humours her by watching out for a “possible bear.” She has no idea what Holland’s become out there. How could she?
Swamp Thing struggles with his new body. We see this paralleled in little Susie Coyle (Elle Graham). Holland tears pieces from his swampy body. The girl tears off the cords of the machines monitoring her, green algae coming from her nose. An eerie, horrific scene. Susie tries to tell Harlan Edwards (Leonardo Nam) about “the man in the dark” but it only sounds like dream talk.
Abby’s mourning her new friend / potential flame with old friend Liz Tremayne (Maria Sten) over a glass of bourbon. Next morning, she’s having a waking nightmare of her dead friend Shawna (Given Sharp), whose parents— Avery (Will Patton) and Maria (Virginia Madsen) Sunderland— haven’t stopped grieving. She also meets Liz’s partner, Margaux (Kelly Walker).
After that, she’s back to thinking about Holland and what he was looking into on the swamp, particularly given there’s “two new cases” of the infectious disease going around Marais. She plans to go to Avery, which Liz warns is a bad idea.
At the Sunderland place, Abby gets a much warmer reception from Avery than he originally did with his wife. He gives her a hug. She’s there on business, but he insists on sitting for a personal chat. He wants to apologise to her for not making clear he never blamed her for Shawna’s death, like Maria did and still does. Abby eventually asks about Alec’s research. He’s concerned with “proprietary information.” He’s not going to let her in there, and claims he doesn’t think there’s anything she’ll need to see.
Who tried to murder Alec anyway? Was it Avery?
Maria’s taking a trip across town to see Madame Xanadu (Jeryl Prescott). She’s seeking a way to let go of her dead child, or “let it rest.” She feels she hears Shawna calling out from the other side. So, she sits with Madame Xanadu, who places hands on her face, reciting ritualistic words. When the Madame touches Maria’s hands she sees a vision of a dead face— Shawna?— which sends her to the floor. Maria gets thrown across the room, causing her to vomit. The Madame says there’s “been a shift” between the powers of lightness and darkness.
Abby and Liz go to check out the place where Alec stayed. They meet Daniel Cassidy (Ian Ziering), an actor who starred in The Adventures of Blue Devil— “83% on Rotten Tomatoes.” Turns out the disgraced scientist kept a kind of work journal on Cassidy’s laptop. Abby takes a look through the files, playing videos Alec took on the swamp. In one video, he mentions Dr. Arcane, plus how she’s intelligent and “quite lovely.” That’s when she also hears from the hospital Susie’s missing.
“There’s something about this place…
it’s hard to escape the gravitational pull—
people get drawn back in.”
A biogeneticist has been brought to Marais by Sunderland to look into the disease. Dr. Jason (Kevin Durand) and Dr. Caroline (Selena Anduze) Woodrue arrive to meet Avery. The doctors are taken aback, because Sunderland isn’t happy. He’s pissed about the accelerant. We’re starting to see Avery’s definitely the expected nasty capitalist Father Gore worried he’d be underneath.
Susie’s hitched herself a ride, stowing away on a patrol boat heading into the swamp. The game warden driving notices lights nearby. He calls back to base letting them know. He sees there are men doing something likely sketchy. He checks the boat, finding one of the accelerant drop boxes. This gets him a hook through the face, leaving little Susie by herself on the patrol boat.
Well, not entirely by herself. There’s still Swamp Thing.
Abby and Matt are out on the boat looking for Susie after reports come in she might’ve gotten on the warden’s boat. Matt uses the time to let Ms. Arcane know he’s harboured a crush on her for a couple decades. Simultaneously, Susie tries not to get chopped up with a machete by one of the dudes on the swamp. The man chases her. She finds an overgrow house on the water, hiding beneath it.
But the man finds her, chasing her further inside. He stumbles onto Swamp Thing. He tries stabbing the creature, only stopping it briefly before it regenerates. Swamp Thing uses the power of the vines to grab the man and split him into gory bits, like a jungle version of being drawn and quartered.
Abby finds Susie. She sees Swamp Thing again, frightened by its presence. She rushes off with the girl. Something in Swamp Thing’s eyes looks more hurt than angry. Because Alec’s in there, wounded by being rejected because Abby’s incapable of seeing him within the swampy vines. Later, Susie tells Dr. Arcane how Swamp Thing spoke to her, and that he’s afraid— he confirmed his identity, which shocks Abby, realising Holland’s still out there, indeed.
Oh, and Maria? Something’s latched onto her from the other side.
A stellar second episode. Too bad silly tax stuff in North Carolina has already caused DC to cancel the series. Maybe we’ll finally get another Swamp Thing movie! It’d be great to see this continued because the characters are great, the performances are stellar, and the mix of science fiction+horror has been OUTRAGEOUSLY GOOD.
Either way, at least we’ll get these episodes. Could always be worse.
“He Speaks” is next time.