This Swamp Thing review contains spoilers.
After officially introducing the concept of The Green, Swamp Thing takes another step forward in building its mythology, which happens to align closely with the comics, by introducing The Rot, aka The Black. Moreover, Alec Holland’s powers continue to grow. This is all a good thing since Marais is tearing itself apart.
I applaud this series for not holding back with Swamp Thing’s abilities. I can see a version of the show where things are painfully reserved, but not only is our hero using hallucinogenic spores to appear human, he’s growing fruit, summoning plants from the other side of the world, and even using the flora in Abby’s body to combat The Rot infection. His powers coincide with the blossoming of colorful flowers and lush displays of plant life, further evoking the great artwork from the comics.
Andy Bean returns to the forefront as Holland for a majority of the episode, and while I always want to see more of Derek Mears’ beast, it makes sense. The story requires much more dialogue and quick movements, and Abby’s Holland hallucination is a practical workaround.
Narratively, it also feels like this is a sendoff to Bean and the Holland side of Swamp Thing. The visual of the hulking figure hunched on a dock as he tells Abby he is part of something bigger works. Apparently, it works well enough that Abby heads back to Atlanta and the CDC for the moment.
By the way, it seems like a phenomenally bad idea for Abby to ignore Alec and proceed into The Rot. She really acts foolishly at times and should listen to the big green dude who is communicating with the plants. The darkness of Marais thrives in death. Can she keep that sample contained, or will it grow and spread? After all, it nearly killed her.
While the supernatural elements occur between Abby and Alec, a Southern Gothic backstabbing switcheroo unfolds between the Sunderlands and Cables. Virginia Madsen has taken Maria from crazy to cunning, and her antics are foreshadowed early on when she is making that famous pecan pie and the camera lingers on her knife (soon to rest figuratively in Avery’s back).
Maria has put up with a lot this season – considering her ghost daughter tried to kill her and all – and she is fed up with Avery sucking her family’s money dry while he schtups Lucilia on the side. Her move to step up and deal with Nathan Ellery and The Conclave works. While not a total shocker that she plotted with the Cables to have her unfaithful hubby taken out, it is still a nicely paced plot reveal. I really thought Lucilia was out with Avery to kill the mutated Holland (did Matt actually tell her that?) before the tables were turned on him. The irony of Maria and Lucilia’s revenge plot is tasty, and I am hoping we get more of Madsen and Lucilia together.
But Avery isn’t exactly out of the picture yet. Lucilia deconstructs him as a con man playing victim to justify his deeds, and now he is just a broken man. He is either coming back with his own revenge plot, or Avery might be on his way to becoming an avatar for The Rot and could emerge as a supernatural adversary for Swampy.
Whether it’s Avery or Woodrue (whose subplot is tragic but needs to move along), Swampy does need a big bad to emerge quickly for a showdown. After all, we only have three more episodes to wrap up all these plots – which likewise includes all the mysterious stuff with Xanadu and Daniel, who was absent this week.