The small swamp town of Marias can’t catch a break, and nothing is getting any better. The disease is still out of control, the CDC hasn’t pulled a miracle out of their bag of tricks, and there are strange things happening in the swamps. It’s really not a big town, and just the deaths we’ve already seen might make a notable dent in the local population. Abby is still trying to figure out what to do next, and she’s not getting the answers she expected. She finally finds Swamp Thing, and gets another surprise when she finds out “He Speaks.”
The show opens with Alec Holland, not transformed into Swamp Thing, wandering around in the wilds outside Marias and running to Munson, the Cajun killer we saw last episode. It’s an odd encounter that turns violent as Alec gets some flashbacks to things that happened last episode. This ends with Swamp Thing starting awake, slumped against a tree, and really unhappy about his surroundings. As he shambles off, there’s some strange things happening behind him.
At Liz’s place, Abby is feeling unsure about a lot of things, and Liz wonders why Abby isn’t thrilled that she managed to save the girl. Abby shares some of her odd theories and observations, and Liz at least listens. The fact that she doesn’t wonder about Abby’s mental state says a lot about either their friendship, how weird the town is, or both. Their conversation gets interrupted when Abby gets a text and has to take off for the hospital. The CDC has sent in a new team, and the leader of that one clearly has some issues with Abby. Dr. Chowodury gives Abby even more bad news: Jason Woodrue is also in the hospital, not as part of the CDC team, and Avery Sunderland is footing the bill for the expert’s work. She finds Woodrue as he’s examining Eddie Coyle’s body, and the man is just as condescending to her as he has been to everyone else so far. They clearly don’t agree on a lot, and he’s a lot more interested in raw science than the people who are suffering.
Out on the streets of Marias, Liz corners a local banker and pushes for some answers to some questions that are clearly making him uncomfortable. Back at their office, Lucilia and Matt Cable talk about Matt violating protocol, which she blames on Abby’s presence. She’s walking the line between concerned mother and sheriff to deputy, and it’s a tough balancing act. Moving on to actual business, they discuss Alec Holland’s boat mishap, and Matt uses the good results in getting Suzy back to justify bending a few rules around Abby.
Speaking of, the lady herself is making rounds at the hospital. Suzy seems to be doing fine, but someone else has suddenly been stricken with the mystery illness, and the new CDC man, Eli, damn near shoves her aside as he ignores everything she has to say. I’m sort of anticipating an ugly death for him down the road, and I’ll be fine with it if that comes to pass. At Liz’s place, Abby shares her next plan, so at least someone knows, and Liz asks her girlfriend, Margaux, to keep an eye out for anything strange, given what’s been happening out in the swamps. A random hunter in the swamps argues with his wife on the phone before becoming a demonstration of how the newest threat works. Ever notice you rarely see a good guy as a hunter these days? Jason Woodrue shares some of his observations with his wife, Caroline, and we learn an important part of her subplot, which I suspect is going to be instrumental in Jason doing something he shouldn’t down the road, as if he needed anything more than his ego.
The Sunderlands clearly don’t have a great relationship, but Avery seems to be doing his best to reach out to Maria. There are definitely some communication issues here, in addition to whatever else is going on. Their talk gets interrupted by a surprise visit from Gordon Haas, the banker Liz was pushing earlier. Avery isn’t happy, and very much plays Lord of the Manor to Haas’ peasant, but Haas isn’t just taking that and he’s not saying what Avery wants to hear. Abby gets to Alec’s lab, which I’m honestly surprised hasn’t been burned down, blown up, or at least ransacked yet. The bad guys haven’t read the playbook, clearly. She pokes around and we see some hints that something is watching her.
The Sunderland home must be the place to be, as now Sheriff Cable comes by to ask about what happened with Alec. Avery clearly knows more than he lets on, but then he turns the conversation in a completely different direction. The man has no shame, that’s for sure. The sheriff is worried about the recent string of deaths, Avery clearly has other things on his mind, and she leaves. Upstairs, Maria watches her go. Maria retreats to the bathroom, and has a close encounter of the spooky kind with a ghost we’ve seen a few times already. Unlike a lot of supernatural events that seem to love the “Is this really happening?” game, this is leaving fairly significant clues that it’s for real. Abby’s research turns into a trip down Memory Lane, but that gets knocked off course when a new threat rears its unpleasant head. Abby’s not really equipped for this, but Swamp Thing is, and he makes a dramatic entrance to save the damsel in distress. Swampy is victorious (it’s his show, after all), and he and Abby have a short conversation that gives her a clue about the disease and exactly what it’s doing.
Racing back to the hospital, Abby rushes to the newest patient and tries her new idea. To Eli’s surprise and annoyance, it works. She got some good insight, although how she’d write that up in a report I have no idea. Eli also doesn’t miss and isn’t pleased by the hospital staff siding with her in the dispute. As everyone starts to recover after Abby’s new treatment, she goes to see Suzy. The little girl has a few more things to say about Swamp Thing, and is clearly dialed in to something the rest of the people aren’t. Suzy mixes strange institution with some sad little girl lines and Abby is clearly touched. Avery tries some ill-advised moves with his wife, ending in him being frustrated on many levels. The JR Ewing wanna-be is having a bad day in the evil overlord department.
Delroy’s seems to be the only bar in town, even though it’s out in the sticks. Abby goes there and ends up talking more with Matt. She’s cautiously optimistic about the results of the new treatment, but not as sure it’s the magic cure as everyone else seems to be, especially Matt. He, in turn, decides to try and fix something he’s been regretting for years. They have a dance that pretty obviously means different things to the two of them, and probably something else to the haunted figure looking in from outside.
We’ve gotten a few clues about some of the folks in town being more than they seem, and it’s time for more of that. Dan Cassidy gets home with his essential supplies, just starts in on the six pack, and gets startled by an unexpected visitor. He and Xanadu clearly have a past, and there’s something odd about his being in town. He’s more than a mostly out of work actor/local store owner, but comic book fans likely know that from the name. Margaux, out on her boat, makes an interesting find and calls Liz about it. The episode ends with Gordon the banker getting home from his own bad day and finding out he, too, has company. It’s not a good visit, and the sheriff is going to have some more work to do in the near future.
What I liked: I made fun of it before, but I’m actually glad they’re avoiding some of the clichés, like Alec’s lab being trashed before Abby could get there, and Maria’s visitation leaving actual traces behind. I’m still very much enjoying the writing, and like how the story is developing. As I said before, so far, I’m very much at a loss to understand why this show was cancelled, and so quickly. I like Abby and Liz, and am intrigued by Xanadu and Dan Cassidy.
What I didn’t: Eli’s arrival just seems to be to give Abby a new opponent, and I don’t know that we need that at this point. I’m not wild about Jason Woodrue, but I suspect we’re not supposed to like him. I’m also not sure about the developments with his wife.
So far, I’m really enjoying this series. I’ll give this a high 3.5 out of 5.