One week ago, DC Universe’s Swamp Thing debuted the first chapter of their 13-episode long season onto their streaming platform. One day ago, DC announced that they were canceling the show and this season was now going to only be ten episodes long. Today, we want to know why.
A cancellation after one episode (one particularly good episode, too) is nothing to sneeze at. Either Swamp Thing’s quality is about to go downhill real fast, or there’s something going on behind the scenes here. It’s the former, well, that’s too bad — but if it’s the latter, we might just have the making of a new cult television show on our hands.
The only way to find out, of course, is to watch it — which is why we’ll be recapping all ten episodes of DC’s Swamp Thing as they come out.
Meet Abby Arcane (Crystal Reed). She’s a tough-as-nails, takes no crap for anybody CDC employee who’s well-known for stopping diseases before they become epidemics in various communities. The first scene we see her in, even, plays to her intelligence and humanity as we see her coax a young pair of siblings into accepting the medical treatment the CDC has to offer.
The one place Abby doesn’t want to go, however, is home (taking a page out of Sharp Objects or even Ma’s playbook) — home being Marais, Louisiana. Yet, after a young girl named Susie (Elle Graham) comes down with a rare disease nobody has ever seen the likes of before, home is the one place she has to go.
Upon arriving in the bayou she’s tried so hard to forget, she quickly runs into Alec Holland (Andy Bean) — a bright, young scientist who’s working for a powerful figure named Avery Sunderland (Will Patton, even though he really comes across as Christian Bale in Vice makeup during his opening scene).
Alec wants to help and, more importantly, tells Abby he has something to offer. Granted, he’s not sure what, exactly, it is that he has to offer, but he’s smart enough to know he’s made some sort of discovery.
Abby doesn’t necessarily believe him at first, but she’s also pretty stumped by some of the absurdity surrounding the case. Not only is Susie a medical mystery, but her father — Eddie Coyle (John Bishop) — shows up dead and covered in slime, weeds and swamp life just a few days after his daughter is hospitalized. When Alec approaches her with what may be an answer to what’s happening around here, of course she’s going to check it out.
Alec’s discovery is some sort of chemical that, for whatever reason, germinates swamp life. One drop of this mysterious substance (a substance that he found traces of in the local swamp, then leading him to assume this is what made Susie sick) and roots, tree branches or what have you will instantly leap forward like some kind of extreme invasive species.
The two head back to run some test on Eddie’s body, which brings us to what is easily the coolest part of Swamp Thing thus far.
After placing a few drops, Eddie’s body begins to break apart and destroy itself in a very John Carpenter and The Thing like fashion. The practical effects are quite honestly astounding, as it’s a beautifully gory scene they set up in this moment.
During all this commotion, Susie briefly awakes, runs into the room and tells her dad to stop. Abby runs over to the young girl, who then collapses right as Alec hits a very disfigured Eddie with a makeshift rubbing alcohol bomb.
With Susie now back in a hospital bead and alive, Abby and Alec head to a local bar to try and get some more answers.
While they’re there, Abby runs into an old acquaintance — Shawna Sunderland (Given Sharp). For reasons we learn later in this Swamp Thing episode, Shawna raised Abby before earning a deep hatred for her after Shawna’s real daughter was killed in an incident she blames Abby for. We aren’t told what that incident is, but we know that Abby, too, says she’s to blame.
Abby and Alec leave and cruise around the swamp for a little, eventually finding some suitcases full of the chemical that Alec previously pulled out of the water. They then split up to do some further research, which is when things really hit the fan.
Alec is pulling up another suitcase when he’s greeted by a spotlight from another boat. While Alec attempts to make contact with them, the man in the other boat very unexpectedly opens fire.
Down goes Alec with two shotgun blasts to the chest.
He’s not dead, yet — oh no. Alec, of course, is our swamp man, as this semi-alive swamp quite literally swallows him up and injects him with, well, whatever swamps are made out of.
Abby hears the explosion and comes running to his aid, only to be greeted by the swamp man himself. She runs away, leaving poor Alec alone on the shore, confused as to what he has become.
And that’s the first episode of Swamp Thing! Not all of the line delivery is great, I’ll admit (Abby’s journalist friend can’t quite get there with that southern accent) and I haven’t decided if I care about the human drama yet, but the True Detective kibe to it is intriguing and the practical effects are pretty damn cool, to say the least. So far, I see no reason whatsoever to cancel this show — but, hey, we’re only one episode in at this point.
Log into DC Universe tonight to catch the newest Swamp Thing episode!