DC’s Swamp Thing
Episode 3: “He Speaks”
Directed by Deran Sarafian
Written by Rob Fresco
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Worlds Apart” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Darkness on the Edge of Town” – click here
Alec Holland (Andy Bean) walks around the swamp with no shoes on. He comes across the guy Swamp Thing (Derek Mears) pulled apart last episode. It can’t be easy for the human within the swampy beast to deal with the fact he’s killed. It’s all a dream he’s having, guilt manifesting in his psyche. Swamp Thing roars, lamenting what he’s done, no matter if the guy was a rotten piece of shit.
Because he’s still human underneath all that viney growth.
Dr. Abby Arcane (Crystal Reed) knows a human being is out there with his “entire body covered with plants and vines.” She tells Liz Tremayne (Maria Sten) how Susie Coyle (Elle Graham) spoke to him, and it was Holland. She wants to hold onto that hope he’s alive. Meanwhile, Dr. Arcane hears about another CDC team from Atlanta in Marais. She meets Dr. Eli Troost (Al Vicente) about the “unusual case.” He’s already on the ground prescribing treatments, seemingly unconcerned with a democratic process.
Abby finds out that Dr. Jason Woodrue (Kevin Durand) is there, too. She finds him in the morgue cutting into Mr. Coyle’s corpse. He’s determined the disease is “part–parasite, part–carnivore, yet entirely plant–based material.” She’s leery about his relationship to Avery Sunderland (Will Patton). Also, his wife Dr. Caroline Woodrue (Selena Anduze) has a condition that’s causing her mind and memory to deteriorate.
Could he have an alternative motive here?
Life devours life.
It’s a battle to the death.”
Abby finds her man Harlan Edwards (Leonardo Nam) infected with viney growth already under his skin. He vomits algae and swamp water. Dr. Troost comes to take him away. It leaves Dr. Arcane even more determined to find out what the hell’s going on in her hometown. She heads up the river by herself. Liz makes sure Margaux (Kelly Walker) keeps an eye out for the doc.
In the woods, the man Swamp Thing tore to bits is pieced back together. He’s a walking plague, letting a swarm of flying insects out of his mouth with a macabre scream. The swarm hollows a hunter out, flying into his eyes, his mouth, until he’s nothing but a bloody, fleshy puppet.
At home, Avery gets a visit from Gordon Haas (Matt Burke) about their sketchy dealings. Haas works in finance, loans specifically. He’s scared about the bank sniffing around, and Liz keeps poking around. This has Avery in a position where the greedy capitalist— ironically, he’s in big time debt— might do something nasty. Not that he hasn’t already.
Then there’s his professional / personal relationship with Sheriff Lucilia Cable (Jennifer Beals). They’ve had an affair before. Things with Avery and Maria (Virginia Madsen) are rocky. Her dead daughter Shawna (Given Sharp) appears, questioning her mother about daddy’s infidelity, putting ideas into Maria’s head. Dangerous.
Abby goes back to the lab to look at Alec’s notes. She’s also battling the memories of how they were briefly beginning to get closer before he was taken away from her. There are insects crawling everywhere, up through the floorboards. Abby’s surprised when the dead man’s corpse comes flying through the window.
She gets to a flare, keeping it away. It’s looking for Holland.
That’s when Swamp Thing bursts through the floor. He speaks, warning the reanimated corpse to leave the doc alone. He tells the swamp: “Release him.” Once that’s over, Dr. Arcane asks about his identity. He touches her face lightly, like he’d done while alive, and she can tell it’s Alec. He’s still trying to figure out who he is, what he’s become. He knows one thing— the disease isn’t fighting them, it’s “fighting back” against humans destroying the natural world.
Things at the ole Sunderland house ain’t great. Avery tries to mend things further with Maria, though he’s mostly concerned about money and how he thinks he’s close to getting everything settled in town. But she isn’t inclined to keep funding his “delusions of grandeur,” making things that much more difficult for her husband financially. What’s he going to do now?
At the bar, Abby and Matt Cable (Henderson Wade) dance to a song from their prom— “Kind and Generous” by Natalie Merchant. Outside from afar, Swamp Thing watches on, jealous and sad he’s unable to remain in human form, that he can’t dance with the woman he cares about like a regular human. Out on the swamp, Margaux finds debris from Holland’s boat confirming he was shot at the night he disappeared.
Across town, Daniel Cassidy (Ian Ziering) gets home to see Madame Xanadu (Jeryl Prescott) is in his place. He wants her to do “one more reading” for him, despite the fact she says his Tarot cards don’t change. She turns them over: The Fool, The Hanged Man, and The Wheel of Fortune turned upside down.
Daniel’s waiting for something. He wonders if it’s Dr. Arcane.
The loans man arrives home and Avery’s in the dark waiting. Sunderland threatens him, but Haas won’t have it, threatening back to reveal the capitalist’s relationship with something called “the Conclave.” (For those who know the comics, this is a great, juicy bit.) Before Avery leaves the house, after beating Haas to death, he hears Liz knock at the door. Might mean trouble for her. And there’s A LOT of trouble in Marais already.
More great work, which is maddening, because we know we’re only getting one season. Worst part is it’s all financial nonsense holding things back. Unless another network wants to pick up an $80-million bill, we’re likely not going to see any more episodes. Tough to enjoy the episodes fully.
Yet Father Gore still loves this show! Too good not to love.
“Darkness on the Edge of Town” is next time.