[It’s the final Swamp Thing episode, Thingalings. If you haven’t already, check out the Swamp Thing recap page to make sure you don’t miss a second of swampy goodness before we close out the series.]
We begin at the moment we left Swamp Thing, after he made the most horrific discovery of the season yet. He is not, as he assumed, a mutated Alec Holland. Instead, he’s 100% plant, a part of the swamp that has just absorbed Alec‘s consciousness. Abby comforts him, saying she knows he’s human inside, despite what they’ve learned. Their conversation is broken when Swamp Thing hears Avery‘s thugs returning to the swamp, seeking revenge. This time, he says, he won’t let them hurt him. Briefly, we meet up with the Woodrues‘. Jason is interacting with Caroline, and as the camera pans back we discover that her OD from the last episode has made her a shell of a person. Still, Jason keeps talking to her, duct-taping her upright to a chair.
Later, at Delroy’s, Abby explains what’s going on to Liz. She blames herself for his situation, saying she didn’t do enough to save him. Liz tells Abby about Maria being locked up in the psych ward, and Abby assumes that Avery’s behind it. Reluctantly, Abby goes off to find Maria. Despite their mutual hatred, they may be each other’s best shot at getting out of this mess. Liz then heads off on her own mission. We see on her iPad a copy of DC Comics’ Blue Devil, so we can assume she’s off to see Dan.
“…the last episode of Swamp Thing proves that it deserves a second season.”
At the Woodrues‘, Jason continues to talk to the non-functioning Caroline. We learn that she’s still conscious, but that she can’t move or speak. Jason tells her that he’ll fix her, showing her the plant organs he removed from Swamp Thing last episode. These are the keys to her cure, he says, as he begins cutting open the green heart. Meanwhile, the swamp is teeming with mercenary soldiers. Nathan Ellery is there, telling them to kill Swamp Thing, when Avery Sunderland appears. He and Ellery fight, Avery arguing that the project is his and should go along with his plan. Ellery reveals he knows all about Lucillia‘s attempt at murdering him, and that maybe Avery‘s plans don’t always go so well. Ellery commands his men to set out.
Speaking of Lucillia Cable, we find our cutthroat sheriff at Marais general. Matt is there and, much to this writer’s surprise, alive. Still, he’s in a coma, and Lucillia can’t see him. The attending doctor tells Lucillia that Matt was drunk as he crashed his car. Back in town, Liz has caught up with Dan. Dan says he can hear the Blue Devil in his head, telling him of a greater destiny for him somewhere outside Marais. Finally free of the town, Dan leaves, giving Liz ownership of his video store. We then briefly check in with Maria Sunderland, who’s seeing horrific visions in her padded room. Madame Xanadu appears to tell her that, in trying to contact Shawna, Maria has been corrupted by evil forces. Remember I mentioned being confused by Maria‘s sudden change to evil mastermind? Well, now it’s been explained. Xanadu says she can help Maria, but it may come at a cost.
In the swamp, Ellery and his men are getting close to finding Swamp Thing. One of their men, named Romero (gotta be a reference, right?), succeeds in finding the creature. Swamp Thing, growing organic armor onto his body, attacks. We cut back to the psych ward then, where Abby is confronting Maria. Unfortunately, Maria‘s mind is gone. Xanadu tells Abby the only person who can answer her questions now is Avery, and Abby leaves. Before we leave the psych ward, we see Shawna‘s ghost returned to Maria. This time, however, she’s as she was in life, not drowned and rotted. Shawna promises to be with her mother “forever and ever.”
At Delroy’s that evening, Avery Sunderland gets good and drunk. Though Delroy asks him to leave, Avery touts the fact that he still owns the place. In fact, he seems to believe he owns Marais. Then, the subject of Lucillia comes up, prompting Delroy to tell Avery about Matt‘s accident. Finally, Avery leaves. Back at the Woodrues‘, Jason is cooking up Swamp Thing‘s heart. It looks like he’s about to feed it to Caroline, but instead he takes the bite, not wanting to give her an untested product. At first, Jason seems fine. Then, the change begins.
We’ll return to him in a moment, but first, we catch up with Ellery and his men. Their hunt has been completely unsuccessful and now, it’s dark. Even worse, the swamp itself is erasing the men’s path back to where they entered it. As vines descend from the trees above, the hunters realize they’ve become the prey. Now, back at Castle Woodrue, Jason finds he has new plant powers, splitting his wooden table in half just with his mind. Abby walks in, looking for Avery. She demands that Jason get medical help for Caroline. She manages to call 911, but then Jason restrains her. “I won’t let you or anyone else keep me from saving her,” he says.
At Marais General, Avery Sunderland appears in Matt Cable‘s room. Lucillia is there, ready to fight, but Avery proposes peace. He says that, with Maria out of the picture, he and Lucillia can make a fresh start. With their son. Lucillia rebukes Avery, wishing him death and that she’d be the one to give it to him. Back at the Woodrues‘, Jason explains his “cure” for Caroline to Abby. He attempts to feed Swamp Thing‘s organs to Caroline and Abby tries to stop him. With incredible strength, he throws Abby up against a wall. Just then, the police arrive, having traced Abby‘s 911 distress call. They tase Jason and Abby is saved. Meanwhile, back in the swamp, Ellery‘s men continue to lose a battle to Swamp Thing. The swamp’s vines rip and stab into the mercenaries, making a gory spectacle out of what were supposed to be the world’s best soldiers. Soon, only Ellery is left.
“There’s still so much evil to fight, so much wrong to correct, so much death to face.”
Back at Marais general, Matt wakes. Lucillia tries to talk with him, to promise him they’re going to be alright, but Matt asks that she leave. Lucillia heads out and into her car, where Avery is stealthily waiting for her. He plunges a knife through her chest, telling her that he really did love her. He holds her hand as she closes her eyes. We cut suddenly to the swamp, where Avery attempts to dispose of her. She’s in the trunk of her cop car, sinking into the swamp water, but our our surprise, she’s still alive. She screams out for help as Avery watches her car descend into the muck. Avery returns to his car and, out of nowhere, coughs up a strange-looking plant.
In the heart of the swamp, Swamp Thing has finally finished with Ellery‘s men. He lets Ellery go, making him promise to tell the Conclave about what he’s capable of. With the violence finally over, a vision of Alec Holland appears to Swamp Thing. Swamp Thing suggests that he could be able to disappear into the green, but Alec argues, convincing him to stay in the human world for Abby. Alec leaves him with a question. “Alec Holland is dead,” he says. “Question is: who do you want to be?”
Just then, Abby arrives at Alec Holland‘s old lab, where all of this began. Swamp Thing appears to her, tells her about almost leaving. He says he stayed because of her. Abby tells him that she feels the same way about him, promising to stay in Marais. The darkness, they agree, is still raging in Marais. There’s still so much evil to fight, so much wrong to correct, so much death to face. But for all the horror that Marais holds, and for all the horror we saw on Swamp Thing, the series ends on a hopeful note. Whatever darkness is in Marais, Abby and Swamp Thing are there to fight it. Together.
And that’s a good thing. In a terrifying post-credits scene, Matt Cable returns to his old office to find plants overgrowing the police station. One of the deputies is there, run through with wooden splinters, and there’s a cell door open. Matt peers down a dark hallway and sees something that we as DC Comics fans have known was coming the whole show: the Floronic Man. The Swamp Thing-like creature speaks to Matt, informing him that he was Jason Woodrue. The camera cuts away as we hear gunshots and the sound of Matt screaming.
I won’t dwell on how well the last episode of Swamp Thing proves that it deserves a second season. Everyone who’s been watching the show has said that since it was canceled. Instead, I want to talk about how this series delivered such a smart, satisfying, and succinct ending. Not only did it close out the arc that began in the first episode, it consolidated and closed the arcs we picked up along the way. Dan Cassidy road out into the sunset. Maria Sunderland found her daughter again. Every major ploy point (and most minor ones!) came to a head in this final episode of Swamp Thing. And for a series that was originally supposed to be thirteen episodes instead of ten, not to mention three seasons instead of one, that is pretty damn impressive.
Whatever happens with this series in particular, we have definitely not seen the last of Swamp Thing. Rumors of a movie are already circulating around the internet, and with comic book horror media on the rise, we are guaranteed to revisit the murky terror of this character sometime soon. When that day comes, I hope very much that the creators behind the next iteration of DC’s weirdest hero have seen this show. This show got Swamp Thing right.