I have never had the experience of watching and getting invested in a show that has, unequivocally, been cancelled. Hannibal was cancelled about a third of the way through Season 3, but even so, we’d had two glorious seasons, and several episodes left to look forward to. But Bryan Fuller had approached every season like it might be the last, so there was a sense of completion to each finale. Swamp Thing is a baby. Approaching its first season finale as a series finale feels like throwing a one year old a simultaneous birthday party and funeral. The show has breathed and taken its time – the pacing is perfect and every episode flies by – but it’s deliberate, and it is developing like a show that has all the time in the world. Under normal circumstances, that would be wonderful; the best possible case scenario. But now I just worry that I won’t get to see enough of the vision of this world. And let’s be honest, if more than a bit crude: a li’l bit of the Swamp dick. But more on that later.
Daniel starts the episode in a coma, after he and Liz were so rudely accosted by Avery’s goon squad. We learn through his fevered visions that he, at some point, made a bargain with a mysterious man, to star in the Blue Devil movie, instead of just being a stunt man. These scenes, cumulatively, take about ten minutes, tops, and still managed to make me thirsty – as the kids might say – for a whole damn Daniel Cassidy/Blue Devil noire show. I’d watch it! And I’d love it! And it would give me an excuse to say gams! I do it anyway, but at least this would justify it some. Anyway. Dr. Woodrue, great upholder of the Hippocratic oath, decides to inject some of Abby’s Swampy samples into Daniel’s IV bag, causing him to not only explode out of his coma, but to smoke. He flees the hospital, but ultimately drags himself to Woodrue’s house, desperate for relief. Dr. Mrs. Woodrue – who we will discuss in a moment, as well as her all-around superiority (call her the one true Woodrue, and not just because of the endearing rhyme scheme) – gives Daniel some sort of a sedative and knocks him unconscious, as he appears about to fully ignite.
Speaking of the Woodrues, we know the let’s-not-get-carried-away-and-call-him-good Dr.’s motivation is to cure his wife’s degenerative illness, and it’s his one humanizing characteristic. But she points out to him that no good, ethical scientist performs their tests on unconsenting human subjects. Remember when I said she’s the superior Woodrue? The defense rests. She wants to leave, but realizes he won’t. And unfortunately, when Daniel shows up on her lawn, so does Avery, that pile of shit. Dr. Goodrue (let’s call her that, by way of demarcation. Throw all the tomatoes you must, at least I’m bringing new ideas to the table!) hates Avery because she is sane, and clearly part of her reason for sedating Daniel is to keep Avery from emptying a few rounds from his ludicrously large gun into him.
And since he’s here, stinking up the joint, let’s talk about that walking, talking garbage can, Avery, and how he might be my favorite character because I hate him so much. This week we get to see him at some of his Machiavellian best – threatening Abby with honey sweet promises that next time she says something mean about him he might not be forgiving, or telling Woodrue that he’ll MAKE Abby share her Swampy samples. There are two extremely telling moments for Avery’s character this episode. The one he is actively involved in is when he tells Woodrue not to mention Daniel’s more flammable than normal state in his report to investors. He has absolutely no concern about endangering people, if it serves his purpose. The second instance, and oh man, it’s a good ‘un, he isn’t physically present for. Ophelia, having killed Remy for witnessing Matt shooting Alec, confronts Matt about his reckless behavior. Matt reveals that he didn’t accept the job for Avery’s money – he did it because Avery has been keeping a file on Ophelia over the years, and threatened to expose every secret thing she thought she did, if Matt didn’t do his bidding. Which if you’re keeping score, means Avery has been playing the long game; sleeping with Ophelia to gain intelligence to use not against her, but against her son. It’s pretty damn brilliant.
Finally, the show is called Swamp Thing, and though we don’t get to see him half so much as I’d like, we really ought to at least check in on Swampy. He’s a swell fella, but I do wish they’d give him a little more to do than be kind of… emo? I love the guy, I really do, and listen. Turning into a weird, giant plant man would be a hard thing to process. I get that! I just want him to maybe bust some more skulls. That said, the episode ended with him blossoming some sort of flowering plant that released a sort of pollen into the air that I’m pretty sure is hallucinogenic, because he appeared to Abby as Alec. I would like to return, very briefly now, I promise, to that previously alluded to swamp dick. Because… well, you’re smart. You see where this is going. Apparently it’s a large component of Alan Moore’s run on Swamp Thing, that Abby and Swampy porked, and I think mushrooms were involved? So… I have to assume that’s where we’re going.
And I’m here for it! Oh Swamp Thing. Just the fact that you’re teasing the notion of girl on Swamp Thing action makes me miss you so much already.