DC’s Swamp Thing
Episode 6: “The Price You Pay”
Directed by Toa Fraser
Written by Tania Lotia
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Drive All Night” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Brilliant Disguise” – click here
Alec Holland (Andy Bean) a.k.a Swamp Thing (Derek Mears) sees an animal dying in the forest and wanders into a bear trap. From the shadows, he’s shot with tranquillisers. The people hired by Avery (Will Patton) see they’re up against something tough. They try firing on it with assault rifles but Swampy chases them. He uses his connection to the Green to attack, wounding them, though they somehow manage to get back to their boat.
In the hospital lab, Dr. Jason Woodrue (Kevin Durand) is up to no good. Upstairs, Cassidy (Ian Ziering) is in a coma that he may not come out of, leaving Liz Tremayne (Maria Sten) feeling guilty, not to mention worried about what Sunderland will do next after sending “a message” with the attack. Dr. Abby Arcane (Crystal Reed) is stuck in the middle of it all. She’s sick of Marais bowing down to Avery’s every whim. She confronts him. He, as expected, plays the victim until she pushes him to honesty. The crew from the swamp earlier are in the hospital now, too. They’re brutally wounded and talking about a “swamp monster.” Abby doesn’t believe Alec would do that to them. She’s only denying part of him is now animal.
We’re given a look at Cassidy working on a film set, some time ago in Marais. He talked casually with a studio guy— Phantom Stranger (Macon Blair)— about the usual shooting issues during production. The stranger asks him a vague question about being satisfied with life. He offers to “put in a good word” in return for a favour.
Sheriff Lucilia Cable (Jennifer Beals) talks angrily with her son Matt (Henderson Wade) about what she found out from LaCroix before gunning him down. She’s not sure why Sunderland would choose her son to di his dirty work. What’s obvious is there are issues between mom and her boy. He knows what she’s done, and the extent of her relationship with the greedy capitalist. Big family rift here.
Phantom Stranger asked Cassidy to play “a very important role” right there in Marais for him. He was the one who tasked Daniel with waiting for a particular woman. Is this deal going to allow the former stuntman to come out of that coma? The monitors he’s hooked to start going wild and he bursts awake, pulling the tube from his throat. He’s on fire— almost literally. His veins are surging with blue flames. Liz can feel it through his skin. That IV bag Woodrue was messing with earlier? Cassidy’s playing a part in whatever fucked up bio-social experiment the doc’s conducting. Woodrue has toyed with the mutagen sample Abby brought back. He makes sure to show Avery the results.
And this will turn the chaos around town up to 11.
In the swamp, Abby searches for Holland. He feels bad for what he’s done, despite being attacked. He doesn’t want to hurt anybody, forced to defend himself similar to a territorial animal. Like a defenceless plant, only he’s NOT defenceless— he’s able to fight back against the humans that wound the natural world. Perfect metaphor for climate change and other environmental changes taking place in 2019, as the Earth itself fights back against what we’ve done to it. “I feel more in common with the Green of this place than anything I‘ve felt before,” Alec says.
The mess continues to get complicated. Alec and Abby are interrupted after Matt comes into the swamp looking around the area. Swamp Thing grabs the cop, nearly tearing him to bits. Abby calms things down. She also reveals that Swamp Thing is Alec— whoopsy daisy! Swamp Thing doesn’t remember the night he nearly died. Good thing for the cop.
At the store, Liz finds Daniel burning up. He’s attempting to track down Dr. Woodrue and she’s worried about him, so she dials 911. Dr. Caroline Woodrue is worried enough about her husband working with Sunderland, she’s now dealing with Cassidy showing up in the middle of the night, going insane. Jason and his wife both witness the Blue Devil all but burst from Cassidy’s skin. Caroline’s able to get a tranquilliser into him before anything worse happens. Right in time, seeing as how Avery’s turned up at the guest house waving a shotgun.
Cassidy’s brought back to the hospital. He’s visited by Madame Xanadu (Jeryl Prescott). she tells him his destiny’s been determined. She can’t do anything to change that. She can only ease a little suffering. Swampy’s also suffering out there alone, hanging onto the few sweet memories he had with Abby. How long until all that was human in him is entirely gone? He’s worried the more he seeks answers from the Green for Phantom Stranger.
Then, a flower grows from his palm. Suddenly he’s Alec in the flesh once again.
There are people. There are stories.
The people think they shape the stories,
but the reverse is often
closer to the truth.
— Swamp Thing,
Love and Death (Annual #2)
GOD, Father Gore loves this series. So much great sci-fi+horror. Like Alan Moore’s best work, the humanist focus of the story is why everything’s so compelling. Without that it’s another run of the mill superhero-style story. That’s why Swamp Thing is one of FG’s favourite comics. A delight on the small screen.
“Brilliant Disguise” is next time.