DC’s Swamp Thing
Episode 8: “Long Walk Home”
Directed by E.L. Katz
Written by Doris Egan
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Brilliant Disguise” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “The Anatomy Lesson” – click here
In the woods, Avery Sunderland (Will Patton) has crawled from the swamp and he’s nursing his nasty wounds. He hears voices in the trees nearby. He tries to walk out of there, carving the trees to mark his way.
The Green starts to react, erasing his tracks. He sees a vision of Sheriff Lucilia Cable (Jennifer Beals) pointing a shotgun in his face. She pulls the trigger on him. Nothing happens. He reaches out and her face becomes a series of gaping wounds with vines crawling out of them.
And she disappears.
Dr. Abby Arcane (Crystal Reed) is back at CDC HQ having the new sample examined. She’s got Harlan Edwards (Leonardo Nam) back by her side. The ever wondrous Adrienne Barbeau— who previously appeared as Alice Cable in Wes Craven’s 1982 Swamp Thing)— is in this episode playing Dr. Palomar. She’s a doctor running the show as the new Assistant Director of the CDC. Abby tells Palomar what she’s seen in Marais. Actual results aren’t helping her back things up yet.
The Assistant Director’s not pleased. She’s heard Dr. Arcane hasn’t actually spent much time at the hospital in Marais. Even Harlan’s curious what Abby was up to, and the answers are more complex than a single conversation.
Later, she levels with Harlan about Alec Holland (Andy Bean). She says he’s “more than just a patient” in many ways. She tries telling him everything, no matter how wild it sounds. Harlan was in Marais, he saw / experienced strange things. He has his friend’s back like always. She has no idea when he leaves her apartment that evening a couple men pull him into an SUV, taking him who knows where!
In the swamp, Avery goes on having awful visions. He sees his own father chopping away at a tree that bleeds. (Perfectly grim environmental message.) The capitalist sees what his family’s done to that place. He watches his father hauled by the vines into the campfire, wailing in the flames while he’s helpless to do a thing.
A terrifying existential journey. Then he runs into Swamp Thing (Derek Mears).
Avery wakes in the swamp lab where Holland worked. He sees the wound in his leg closing up with the help of mossy vines. The altered Holland and Sunderland have a chat, the latter pretending to have no clue how the former wound up near dead. Swamp Thing explains his belief that the Green resurrected him to fight greedy capitalists who use the natural world without ever giving back to it.
Can Dr. Jason Woodrue (Kevin Durand) do anything for Holland? Or, will Avery’s offer to help Alec be a “real man again” actually result in more woe for Swampy? Chances are Woodrue would only exploit him. Swamp Thing does help Avery with a boat to get home. We’ll see how things progress from here— if Sunderland will genuinely try to help, or only further try to silence Holland.
At the CDC, Dr. Arcane’s sample is being locked down tight. She can’t access certain authorised areas, either. Dr. Palomar spins a bullshit story about Harland being reassigned overseas as the reason for him not being around, even before being questioned about it. Abby’s brought in to a conference room with one of the men who took Harlan, as well as Nathan Ellery (Michael Beach), who’s gotten wind of Holland from his latest trip to Marais. They’re already talking about a potentially violent confrontation with Swamp Thing.
This has Abby rushing to get herself back home to Marais.
“You hate this place”
Back at the guest house, Avery shows Dr. Woodrue his healed wound, telling him about Holland out in the swamp with the growth covering his body. Jason lets his employer know about Ellery + what Maria (Virginia Madsen) told him. He’s also discovering there’s a goose “laying golden eggs” in Holland’s predicament. The doc speaks of “the secrets of cell regeneration,” playing to the egomaniac in Sunderland. Is the rich man more interested in capitalist medicine, or honouring a debt for having his life saved?
They go back out to the swamp, where they encounter Swampy, who flatters Jason by telling him he’s read his work. How nice— professional respect! Holland’s dying to know if someone can help him go back to being an ordinary person again. He’s not willing to leave the swamp.
That’s when the red laser sights train on Swamp Thing.
Men with guns have come. If they want to fuck around, they’re going to have to deal with whatever comes. They try to use their weapons against Holland. His mutated form and connection with the Green afford him great powers. After a few shotgun blasts from Avery and a bunch of pressurised nitrogen, they subdue him, like a fossil.
What a wild ride! Every episode’s been fun. This one provides a new branch of story with the reunion of Holland and Sunderland, with Alec in his changed state. Also fun to see Abby back at the CDC + all that entails.
So gutted we won’t get Season 2. Fingers crossed they’re going to do a film(!!!).
“The Anatomy Lesson” is next time.