DC’s Swamp Thing
Episode 7: “Brilliant Disguise”
Directed by Alexis Ostrander
Written by Andrew Preston & Rob Fresco
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “The Price You Pay” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Long Walk Home” – click here
Alec Holland (Andy Bean) appears before Dr. Abby Arcane (Crystal Reed) again, in human form. She inhaled “hallucinogenic properties” from the flower. He explains a bit of his connection to the Green, suggesting that’s why this has happened. The trees likewise grow out to offer fruit for Abby when she’s hungry, like their own personal Garden of Eden, except twisted. Alec can hear the Green reaching out to tell him something. Abby wants to go see the place where “the rot has taken over,” and reluctantly he’ll take her.
Matt Cable (Henderson Wade) tells Liz Tremayne (Maria Sten) he knows about Holland. He’s worried Abby is right about whatever’s been happening in Marais. Across town, Avery Sunderland (Will Patton) is glad to see his wife Maria (Virginia Madsen) doing better. He tells her about his involvement with the Conclave, though not the extent of the organisation. He then gets an angry visit from Sheriff Lucilia Cable (Jennifer Beals). “Everything you touch goes to hell,” she tells him. She’s unhappy he used her son to do his dirty work with Holland. She also tells him Alec’s still alive, insisting the two of them have to take care of the walking dead man.
Alec takes Abby to a place where the rot is spreading and the environment’s “lashing out in anger.” She wants to take a sample, but he says it’s too dangerous. She won’t take no for an answer. It’s like a barren wasteland of pestilence. Suddenly, a wretched vine grabs Abby by the arm. They manage to get out before the woods fall down around them.
But the darkness keeps growing.
At the guest house, Maria goes to see Dr. Jason Woodrue (Kevin Durand) about his work. He’s defensive when she asks about whether or not he’ll deliver on what his work promises so far. She’s very interested, for her own reasons. On the swamp, Avery and Lucilia search for Holland. She knows his dark secrets. The scientist was going to unravel everything he was concealing. Lucilia’s actually luring Avery into a trap. She and her son Matt ambush him, hoping to rid themselves of Sunderland for good. Avery claims he’s Matt’s father [for those who don’t know, Jennifer Beals is half-black] throwing everything into chaos. Gives him time to escape. He’s shot before getting into the water. Matt’s shot, too. Lucilia rushes off with her son, assuming she got Sunderland enough to kill him.
Back at the lab, Abby’s consumed with the darkness working its way under her skin. She suggests Chinese lantern. Only they don’t grow anywhere near. “They grow somewhere,” Abby says. So, Alec uses the Green to summon the plants. They grow through the window and Abby’s able to use some. The darkness fights it, not letting a quick cure beat it, spreading throughout her body. Alec uses the Green again to instruct the flora inside her body to heal itself. He becomes Swampy once more, sucking out the diseased darkness. Later, the two share their first kiss before the spores’ effects wear off, while Abby still sees Alec as himself and not as Swamp Thing.
“It’s a war inside you”
Nathan Ellery (Michael Beach) has arrived, impatiently waiting to hear about the supposedly breakthrough results Avery’s been producing. Of course the man himself isn’t around. That leaves Maria to impress with the cuisine, and Jason to go over the results. Maria takes things over a bit. She talks a damn good game.
And everything impresses Ellery, even the food.
Maria was part of the plan to kill Avery all along. Lucilia and her boy turn up on the back doorstep that night. Matt’s bleeding. Biggest problem is the fact Avery’s DEFINITELY NOT DEAD— that’d be tossing a fantastic plot out with the bath water, wouldn’t it? Nice to see women sticking together. Their trouble’s going to get a whole lot worse once Sunderland crawls out of the swamp and takes his revenge.
Will he be the same when he comes out?
Alec believes there’s a purpose in him being transformed. He knows there’s a war brewing in the natural world. He thinks there’s destiny at play. Although he remains at odds with his human side / his feelings for Abby. He doesn’t want to leave her behind, yet feels it’s his duty, a piece of the greater design being “a warrior” for the Green.
So sad this won’t get to go on another season, or more. Nevertheless, the one season we’re getting has been utterly spectacular. Swamp Thing is one of the few comics Father Gore ever really fell in love with, particularly after getting older, so it’s such a treat for it to be brought to such horrific, gnarly, vivid life. The romance angle is there, which was such a strong element in Alan Moore’s work on the series, as well as SO MUCH OTHER STUFF. One of the best superhero adaptations so far, hands down. Up there with Legion.
“Long Walk Home” is next time.