DC’s Swamp Thing Episode 3 premiered this week on the DC Universe online service, and the story took a major leap with Swamp Thing (Derek Mears) holding a conversation with Abby Arcane (Crystal Reed), telling her how to treat the townsfolk suffering from the strange swamp sickness. And just in time, after Harlan Edwards (Leonardo Lam) comes down with the sickness and her job at the CDC is in serious jeopardy.
The episode was titled, “He Speaks,” which makes sense with this revelation. Instead of a scene-by-scene recap of the episode this week, we will do this as a straight review, as to not spoil the show for those who haven’t watched yet — and really, why are you waiting? Swamp Thing is horror TV at its finest.
The poignant exchange between Swamp Thing and Abby lays the groundwork for what should become one of the strangest love affairs on TV, as long as the series can visit the relationship in the remaining seven episodes. Another big revelation from Swamp Thing Episode 3 is the motivations behind the show’s villains, Avery Sunderland (Will Patton) and Dr. Jason Woodrue (Kevin Durand).
Sunderland is broke, and is taking out secret, off-the-book loans to fund the shady research to monetize the swamps of Marais, Louisiana. He will also kill to keep that secret, as viewers saw this week, when he brutally killed his loan officer (Matt Burke), who cut him off from the shady loans.
As for Woodrue, he is using Sunderland’s research money to find a way to cure his wife’s (Selena Anduze) encroaching dementia. Taking a page out of Batman villain Mr. Freeze, Woodrue will do whatever it takes to make sure his wife is safe and “whole,” even if that means pushing the science in directions it shouldn’t go — like creating a massive swamp flu that almost wiped out the town.
Other developments from Swamp Thing Episode 3 include Liz Tremayne (Maria Sten) investigating Alec Holland’s murder and digging into Sunderland, which could prove bad for her health, and Maria Sunderland (Virginia Madsen) losing her mind and now interacting with the spirit of her long-dead daughter.
Viewers also learned that Daniel Cassidy (Ian Ziering) is in Marais for a specific reason, and Madame Xanadu (Jeryl Prescott) was able to shed some light on his dark, heroic destiny.
The most shocking moment in Swamp Thing Episode 3 comes in the form of the reanimated corpse of Munson (Micah Fitzgerald), the poacher from last week. Alec Holland (Andy Bean) and Munson discuss Swamp Thing’s killing of the nefarious man in the afterlife — and in real life, the man’s body parts are reassembled by an army of insects, creating a savage, horrifying killer.
This is a heavy hint toward The Rot, as Swamp Thing nemesis, usually presented as Anton Arcane, Abby’s uncle. There’s a lot of history and Swamp Thing lore here, so we will pause this avenue of discussion, but if Anton is to somehow make an appearance in this first and only season, long time fans will be excited.
Swamp Thing Episode 3 wraps with Abby finding the cure for the swamp sickness, thanks to the advice of Swamp Thing, and Avery Sunderland realizing that Liz Tremayne is onto him, putting a target square on her back.
This episode moved the story forward a great deal, and frees up the principal characters to expand their stories free of the “epidemic” storyline. Now the show can begin to flesh out these separate threads and hopefully bring them all together for a rousing and satisfying conclusion in the final episode in early August.
Swamp Thing Episode 3 was a near-perfect transitional episode, that starts expanding the mythos for the TV version, and still pays respect to the iconic DC comic book series, with notes from Alan Moore’s legendary run in the 1980s. This was the first episode not directed by Len Wiseman (this episode was helmed by Deran Sarafian), and out of the hands of a veteran horror film director, the series proved to be in great hands and it left fans wanting more. And that’s all you can ask for.
DC’s Swamp Thing is exclusive to the DC Universe online service, and new episodes air weekly on Fridays. Check back next week for the review of Swamp Thing Episode 4, titled “Darkness on the Edge of Town.”
All images courtesy of Warner Bros. TV.