Director – Carol Banker
Writers – Erin Maher & Kay Reindl
Fear is the key in this weeks wonderful episode of Swamp Thing. Darkness most certainly was the key theme, in a show that doesn’t hold back in its depictions of gore and horror, both visual and psychological. The show manages to achieve the rare double of depicting a world of supernatural beasts and creatures, yet also gives us examples of human nature at its very worst, away from the visual spectacle.
One such insidious creature is Avery Sunderland. A terrible human being on every level, the flashbacks to his childhood give flesh to his desire to achieve greatness at all costs, no matter who gets hurt in the process. Steeping to new lows this week, he conspired to buy a new child to placate his wife. Yes, poor Susie Coyle is now the ward of the Sunderland family. Whilst it will bring joy to the still-grieving Maria, and remove the child from her Uncle’s unfit care, it is all part of Avery’s long game. Will Patton’s performance was unreal this week, his nuanced turn giving the character all sorts of levels. Whilst his syrup remains reminiscent of Uncle Lewis from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, his delivery and poise remain laced with barely concealed venom. As his wider involvement with other parties becomes clear, all hell should break loose. Please DC, give us The Conclave previously mentioned and make us fanboys very happy indeed.
As previously mentioned, this week was all about fear. Literal fear. By way of a mysterious corpse being found near the swamp, (which really is the gift that keeps on giving), a sickness was transmitted around the citizens of Marais that caused them to see hallucinations of their worst fears writ large. Whilst for most characters, they saw traumatic memories, poor pot washer Todd suffered tremendously. A combination of his fear of snakes, sharp kitchen utensils and a handy garbage disposal created the most gory scene of the series so far, which is saying an awful lot! Masterfully shot, with enough blood and guts on offer to just about stay on the right side of decency, this was a scene to avoid watching on a full stomach. Darkness with a capital “D”.
Little hints once again this week regarding Daniel Cassidy and the truth behind his existence in Marais. His conversations with Xanadu are hinting at a deal he has previously made. But with who? The Devil, The Conclave, other mystical forces? This drip-feeding information is keeping me desperate for more knowledge. Based on his comic book iteration, we know he is a force for good not darkness, but who is he in bed with, metaphorically speaking? With the abrupt cancellation of the show, I hope the writers have managed to give the character his full arc within this single season, or it will be a huge waste of a fascinating comic book hero.
Overall another great episode of this series, that has yet to disappoint. Appealing to genre fans and hardcore readers alike, it looks and feels like something much more than the usual comic book TV fare. A perfect storm of great casting, nuanced performances and special effects work that leaps off the screen, this has been the best DC Universe show to date. Each episode, whilst keeping its cards close to its chest, is full of great Easter Eggs and nods back to the source material. A quick aside, was that Uncle Anton is Abby’s fear vision? Either way, this is a show that has been made with care and reverence. Much like Titans and Doom Patrol, the general audience can dive straight into it and love it, but it is full of fan service galore, giving long time devotees more bang for their buck. Portraying darkness in a way that no other show can, let’s all hope the remaining 6 episodes can take it to a point that doesn’t feel cut off and unfinished.