The fourth episode of Swamp Thing, “Darkness on the Edge of Town,” might feel a little stand-alone-ish, but it’s also pretty bloody and gruesome nonetheless.
We start relatively independent from the incidents of anything that’s happened since the premiere episode of Swamp Thing as we find two loggers out in the swamp who mistakenly run across a dead body sitting next to what looks to be a hotel key.
The body — which is a pretty unpleasant sight to behold — falls on top of one of the loggers and cuts one of his arms. They both run away, terrified, only for swamp thing to emerge and place a hand over the body.
No, he doesn’t bring it back to life as he did in last week’s episode, but there’s something notably wrong based on the expression of his face — er, where his face should be, that is.
It’s the following day when we learn what, exactly, is wrong. The logger, who is a dishwasher at the restaurant that Liz works for, is minding his own business when he sees something moving in one of the sinks.
What he sees — or at least, what he thinks he sees — is a snake. In actuality, the snake isn’t there as we quickly learn that the logger was infected by a disease that makes you hallucinate your worst nightmare in an It or Batman Begins kind of way, but that doesn’t stop this poor, sorry soul from shoving his arm down the garbage disposal to try and get the “snake” off.
We also learn that this infection is transmitted by blood, the cut he received from the corpse then being the reason why he came down with the disease.
The problem? Before removing his arm, the logger cut Liz’s father, Delroy (Tag’s Al Mitchell) with his fingernails.
Minutes after Abby and Lucilia arrive, Delroy then begins to go crazy as he suffers from hallucinations of a home invasion of his own. While Delroy goes for his shotgun, Abby and Lucilia are able to apprehend him before getting caught in the crossfires — but, once again, not before Lucilia gets cut by Delroy’s fingernails.
Not yet knowing what this disease is, Abby figures she’ll start poking around in the swamp to try and get some answers. She finds the body and the swamp thing, he tells her (he learned from the trees, who apparently are quite the talkers, we’re told) that while this infection plagued the town, like, 100 years ago, it has been dead for a long, long time. Now that it’s back, it can only mean that the swamp is fighting back against something — or someone.
We, of course, know that someone is Avery at this point, but there’s more bad news. Alec gave Abby a sample of his new swamp thing body for her to examine, only for Abby to turn it over to Jason — who is working for Avery — for some, dumb reason. The two struck some kind of agreement where Jason said he’d come to Abby with anything that he finds first since she let him examine the body but, like, c’mon. There’s no way he’s honoring that deal.
Regardless, Abby races back to town to stop Lucilia from causing any harm, only to find her scaring attendees of a party thrown by the Sunderland family half-to-death as she’s waving a gun around.
And then, quite suddenly, Daniel Cassidy — the guy who owns the VHS player — comes back into play during this Swamp Thing episode.
Ever since he received the card reading from Madame Xanadu that told him Abby is somehow important to his life, Daniel has been obsessed with the doctor and how they’re connected. Upon seeing Abby standing in front of Lucilia’s gun, Daniel thinks this could be his moments and springs on top of the sheriff to save the day.
Kind of odd and out there, but sure, we’ll bite. Was that really the connection the two had, or is there more to come in future Swamp Thing episodes? That…well, that’s the real question, isn’t it?
The whole incident doesn’t come without bloodshed, however, as this time it’s Abby who gets cut. Knowing what comes next, she runs out to the swamp to try and return the infection to the corpse before it takes over her.
She almost makes it, but luckily the swamp thing is there to help her out. Alec takes the disease from her and then puts it back in the body, which is promptly swallowed up by the ground.
We end with more mischief from Avery, as he and Maria have all but decided that they’re going to adopt Susie — who is now orphaned and seems to take a liking to Maria. There’s more going on that meets the eye, however, as Avery deposits some generic bad-guy dialogue about how Susie is all part of some grand plan he has. Whatever that means.
Again, a little monster of the week, but still another solid episode of Swamp Thing in the books.
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