This Swamp Thing review contains spoilers.
Swamp Thing episode 6, titled “The Price You Pay” sees the coming together of human threats while Swampy moves closer to embracing the Green, the Blue Devil almost arrives, and the Phantom Stranger shows up in a memory – but it is my least favorite ep thus far because of the lack of horror, and writing that underserves Abby.
The attack by Avery’s trackers in the opening minutes is an enjoyable action sequence. We get to see Swampy using some of his powers to send spikes into the goons trying to capture him. Those splinters look like they hurt, but that’s what you get for toying with a giant beast (and that little bunny).
While it is a strong display of Swamp Thing’s abilities, it is the lone standout sequence following the show’s consistent run of excellent horror, and creepy ambiance.
We experience another side of his extensive powers when, at the end of the episode, he grows a flower that allows Abby to see him as Alec. It won’t last, but it makes me curious if Abby will be able to see some of the Green with him as a result.
The show continues to get right Swamp Thing’s lumbering movements, and behavior. We see him unleash some rage this week, while also remaining tender to Abby. Although how long that will last once Swampy taps into the Green to learn Matt was the one who killed him remains to be seen.
But the Blue Devil stuff wasn’t working for me. It felt a little over the top (yes, even for this series), and too melodramatic. I enjoy Ian Ziering as Daniel Cassidy, but the episode relegated him to really awkward shambling and screaming while he blues himself. And as much as I liked the Phantom Stranger last week, he lost a bit of that charm in Cassidy’s memory.
Plus, Cassidy’s arc feels muddled. Did the Stranger trick him into a one-off role, only to trap him in Marais? The Stranger was presented initially as a calming force, but now it seems he cursed Cassidy. And what’s his business in Marais? And did the Stranger trigger Cassidy’s apparent transformation, or did Woodrue’s serum? This all feels more confused than mysterious, and I wish Cassidy’s arc was separate from Avery/Woodrue’s shenanigans.
At the risk of piling on a show I have really enjoyed thus far, for the second episode in a row, it seems like Abby is being underwritten. She began strong as a character, but now seems reluctant to believe her adopted father Avery is up to no good. After all she’s witnessed with him, she still acts incredulous when Liz tells her the men who attacked her (and threatened her pops) were sent by Avery to shut her up.
The scene between her and Avery, where he questions whether she wants to cross a line with him is satisfying, however. Avery sincerely cares about Abby, and just wants her to go back to Atlanta, and out of his way. But if she interferes with his business, she will be another liability to be dealt with.
Avery himself is beginning to unravel. Yes, his influence runs deep in Marais – and the only reason Matt was sent to kill Alec was to cover for Sheriff Lucilia, Avery’s mistress. So, he is a sleazy guy. But he is getting desperate to deliver to his investors (and The Conclave). That makes him sloppy. While I don’t think Lucilia will succeed in taking him down, certainly her sights are set on him after he has betrayed her, and compromised her son.
And Woodrue appears ready to sacrifice everything in the name of science, including his own marriage, even though it’s his wife he is seeking to cure. I have enjoyed the arrogance and ambiguity of the character thus far, but now he has transformed into a mad scientist, and villain with his actions against Cassidy.
“The Price You Pay” is not a bad episode, but it’s the weakest of the bunch so far. With three weeks left of the series, I am hoping the next one is a return to form.