[Welcome back Thingalings (the nickname stays, stop messaging me). As I say before every recap, make sure to visit the Swamp Thing recap page to make sure you’re caught up before reading on. Last episode’s details are very important to this one’s, so make sure you don’t go in uninformed.]
We open on Avery Sunderland, who has survived several shotgun blasts from his ex-lover, Lucillia Cable. Avery has dragged himself onto the shore of the swamp, and now painfully makes the journey back into town. All around him, the Rot moves across the swamp trees. It has its eye on Avery. Speaking of the Rot, Abby Arcane has brought her sample of it to Atlanta, Georgia, where the CDC’s headquarters are located. There, she runs into Harlan and the new CDC assistant director, Dr. Palomer, played by (*fan squeal*) original Abby Arcane actress Adrienne Barbeau. Palomer tells Abby she can run her tests on the Rot sample, but that the CDC will be watching her eccentric habits closely.
Back in the swamp, Avery Sunderland hallucinates a vision of Lucillia Cable. She calls him a monster, says she would have never let him be Matt‘s father and shoots him. When the shot seems to do nothing, Avery approaches the strange vision. All of a sudden, horror makes a real comeback to Swamp Thing as Lucillia‘s face morphs into a bloody, rotting, vine-ridden avatar for the Rot. Back in the real world, Matt Cable recovers from his stab wound and avoids calls from his mother, begging him to come into the sheriff’s office. In Atlanta, we get a brief interaction between Abby and Harlan, who accuses Abby getting too reclusive with all this Marais work. Abby angrily storms off.
“…horror makes a real comeback to Swamp Thing“
In Marais, Jason Woodrue is visited by the Conclave’s Nathan Ellery. Ellery tells Woodrue that he’s ordered him a full mobile biology lab out of Chicago and that he’s setting it up on the outskirts of town. When Woodrue asks why he can’t use one of the Conclave’s official labs, Ellery says that it’s better if his work remains off the books. We cut back to Avery, still hallucinating, this time of the night his father died. In his vision, his father hacks away at an old, supernaturally resonant tree. The swamp lashes out, using vines to drag his father into the fire he had built. When Avery wakes from this nightmare, the Swamp Thing stands over him.
Abby Arcane returns to her Atlanta apartment, followed soon after by Harlan. Harlan has an apology pizza and bottle of whiskey for her, and the friends reconcile. While they eat, Abby tells Harlan a little bit about Marais and the few memories she has of her mother there. Then, Abby tells Harlan why she’s been so reclusive about the swamp. Harlan listens as Abby explains the situation of Alec Holland. Speaking of the Swamp Thing, our favorite jolly green giant has brought Avery back to his old lab. Swamp Thing explains the Rot and the Green to Avery, saying people like him have shifted the balance of life in Marais. He angrily approaches the businessman, accusing him of “taking, and taking, and taking” as Avery begs him to stay away.
We briefly join Matt and Lucillia Cable at the police department, where Lucillia warns her son to keep cool as the search for Avery Sunderland goes on. Matt has been acting angry and it might look suspicious. Matt snaps at his mother, accusing her of driving away her ex-husband, the man he considers his real father. We leave the Cables on a tense note and return to Atlanta, where Harlan tells Abby that although her story about Alec seems crazy, he believes her. The friends share a touching moment and Harlan leaves. Just outside, he’s confronted by some shady characters we saw earlier at the CDC. They grab him, force him into a car, and drive away, with Abby none the wiser.
Back in the swamp, Avery and Swamp Thing argue over what happened to him. In his rage, Swamp Thing accidentally reveals to Avery his feelings for Abby, and the fact that she’s been working with him. Avery realizes that the sample she brought to Marais is from Swamp Thing. Avery proposes a meeting between Swamp Thing and Woodrue. Swamp Thing doesn’t exactly agree, but he seems curious. He uses the Green to bring a boat to the lab for Avery to get home. Avery promises to help Alec and Swamp Thing disappears.
“With just two episodes left, let’s hope this smaller story can bring Swamp Thing to a satisfying, if abrupt, end.”
Miles away in Atlanta, Abby Arcane‘s card doesn’t work to get into her CDC lab. Dr. Palomer tells her that she can’t have access to her Rot sample anymore and that Harlan‘s been reassigned to Bangladesh. She then takes Abby into a boardroom, where Nathan Ellery is waiting for her. Ellery says Harlan told him everything about Alec, and he’d like her help in containing what Alec‘s become. Abby, angry and shocked, tells Ellery to stay away from Alec. She storms out of the CDC and starts back toward Marais, where Avery Sunderland has made it to the Woodrue residence. He starts to tell Jason about Alec, but he reveals that he already knows a great deal. He also reveals Maria has swooped in in Avery‘s absence and taken over the company. Still, there’s one thing Jason doesn’t know: Swamp Thing is the source of the sample Jason turned into a miracle cure for Dan Cassidy. Jason and Avery agree to investigate Swamp Thing further, but one thing is clear: to turn Swamp Thing back into a human means losing that source, and that’s just not something either of the power-hungry men are willing to do.
Later, Jason and Avery head into the swamp. Swamp Thing is there, and they try to convince him to come with them to examine his genetic makeup. Swamp Thing senses treachery and says no, so the men go with their plan B. A team of mercenaries surround Swamp Thing, using weaponized liquid nitrogen to freeze him solid. Swamp Thing puts up a fight, but the mercenaries win, successfully capturing the creature. Hours later, Abby returns to the swamp to find evidence of a struggle, frozen plants, and shotgun shells. But no Alec.
As you might remember if you read last week’s Swamp Thoughts, I didn’t care for where the story was going in the last episode. Well, let me walk that back a little bit. I realize now that Swamp Thing suffered a major hit during production, reducing the number of episodes from thirteen to ten, and then eventually being canceled altogether. So, Swamp Thing had some course-correcting to do, stepping back from a much larger story and finishing the smaller, Marais-centric one that they started. For what it’s worth, I now actually think that they’re doing a great job with that. They’ve localized the story to be about Avery and the Conclave trying to harness Swamp Thing‘s power, and even though I’ll miss Dan Cassidy and the Phantom Stranger as larger roles, I think this is a good move. With just two episodes left, let’s hope this smaller story can bring Swamp Thing to a satisfying, if abrupt, end.