Swamp Thing: Loose Ends


When an actual comic shows up in someone else’s comic book tv show…

The first and final season of Swamp Thing reaches its unfortunate end. Not only was the show cancelled before it even finished the season, but the 13 episodes were cut down to 10. I’m still hoping they find a way to bring this back at some point, but it’s not sounding great. For a finale, the title works pretty well: “Loose Ends.” With it being a season and series finale, there will be spoilers below.

The show opens following up on the shocking end of last time: Alec Holland is dead, and Swamp Thing and Abby are kneeling over the body. He’s understandably shaken by all this, and the two of them argue about what it means for who and what he really is. The middle of this massive emotional upheaval is when the Conclave’s group of mercenaries show up, seeking vengeance for the losses they took at Sunderland’s place. Going up against a very pissed off Swamp Thing in the midst of a swamp is probably not a great idea.


I’m not sure why Jason Woodrue thought moving to Sunderland’s house made him think he wouldn’t be disturbed, but that seems to be the case. He’s making some preparations to try a big gamble of a cure after his wife remembered to take her meds. All of them at once. Unnerved by what they’ve found out, Abby returned to Delroy’s and updates Liz. They discuss what to do next, and Liz tells Abby something important she didn’t know. Abby takes off to find Maria, and Liz goes back to her research: some Blue Devil comics. When Delroy comes out from in back, Liz leaves too, to “go see a friend.”


Caroline stares, not that she really has a choice, as Jason shows and tells more than she’d probably like to know about his experimental cure: the “organs” he harvested from Swamp Thing. Jason is serenely sure all of this will work out as Caroline does a great job of conveying horror without being able to move. Out at the edge of the swamps, the mercs finish their final preparations for this ill-advised attack. Ellery is with them, and finally has his long-delayed meeting with Avery Sunderland. It doesn’t go really well, and Ellery is utterly unimpressed with Avery.


Lucilia rushes to the hospital after getting word of Matt’s accident. A concerned doctor takes her aside, warns her that Matt was probably drinking, but there’s no legal proof of that. I think that’s wrong several different ways, but that part gets glossed over. Liz goes back to Daniel’s odd little shop/apartment. After dealing with some really loud music, she finds Daniel packing up and babbling about his new journey in life. They part, he takes off, and gets through the barrier around the town with no problem this time. I guess he left without his dog. At the Barclay Institute, Maria is having a really bad time of things, including nightmarish hallucinations. Suffering and alone, Maria finally gets some help as Madame Xanadu returns. Xanadu gives Maria peace, but, as so many versions of things have said, magic has a price.


The over-confident mercenaries, who, in fairness to them, don’t really know what they’re up against, make their plans and head out into the swamps. Ellery actually comes with them, which was a surprise. They split up and start trying to trap Swamp Thing, and that goes horribly wrong. Abby gets to Maria a bit too late, and Madame Xanadu shares a few things with the young scientist. Abby leaves, and we get to see what Maria is seeing. All things considered, it might be more than Maria deserves.


Delroy’s, this town’s version of The Only Place To Go ™ is where Avery turns up after most of the rest of his life falls apart. He wavers back and forth between overconfident and self-pitying, turning snappish when Delroy offers some good advice. Avery is surprised when Del tells him about Matt’s accident. Woodrue rhapsodizes about the past while cooking up Swampy’s organs, as Caroline is still captive audience. Out of concern for her and living up to mad scientist standards, he tries his unusual cure on himself, which doesn’t go as planned.


Ellery, out with his troops, is the one to finally figure out they’re not the hunters but the hunted. Swamp Thing has a lot of material to work with way out in the wilderness, and the men have a really bad night. Their last, for most of them. Dr. Woodrue manages to get a hold of himself, and starts to realize how much his world has changed. This is about when Abby gets there, looking for Avery. She doesn’t find him, but walks in on the bizarre scene, and shows a lot of concern for Caroline. Jason doesn’t take kindly to being disturbed, and grabs Abby as she calls for help.


Lucilia’s bedside vigil for Matt gets interrupted when Avery shows up, offering condolences. The sheriff wisely doesn’t trust him, and they have an intense, whispered argument. He spins some plans for the future, but Lucilia isn’t buying. Woodrue returns to his work, and Abby gets him to talk about what he’s planning, at least, thus proving he’s going villain. Jason and Abby argue about what he’s doing, and his attempted cure for Caroline gets interrupted when what’s left of the sheriff’s office shows up, having traced Abby’s earlier phone call. They manage to subdue the mad scientist fairly easily. He rants about his wife as Swampy finishes up the rest of the mercenaries who came to visit without an invitation. At the hospital, Matt wakes up and has a chat with his mother before she leaves. She talks about bringing him fresh clothes to leave in the morning, which seems awful soon after he’s been out cold for a day or so. Exhausted, Lucilia goes outside, gets in her car, misses an important clue, and gets paid back for her earlier murders, completed and attempted. She’s not dead yet, but it’s coming soon. Avery disposes of her in an appropriate way, I suppose, although I have a lot of questions about how some of this was set up. This ends with Avery coughing something up that’s rather disturbing.


Ellery is last man standing, and he’s only lasted this long because Swamp Thing wants him to deliver a message. Intruders dealt with, Swamp Thing ends up spending some time talking to himself, more or less, and gets asked an important question. Abby finally catches up with him at Alec’s old lab, and they make plans for the future. It’s a nice scene that ends the regular season, and, sadly, series. There’s a post credit scene that sets up some of what I guess would have been season two, but apparently that’s not coming.


What I liked: I’m glad we got to see Xanadu and Daniel again, and get sort of endings for them. Swamp Thing got some payback in his second round with the mercenaries. It was nice of them to give Maria a happy ending of sorts. The final scene with Abby and Swamp Thing was good, as was Swampy’s chat with himself.


What I didn’t: I would have liked to see the Phantom Stranger one last time, although I admit that’s purely personal preference. Matt getting out of the hospital so soon after his accident seems rushed. I’m really curious about what happened with Avery the last time we saw him, and we’ll never know. I’m really sorry this isn’t coming back, it was pretty damn good.

A decent ending for a show that deserved better. I’ll give this a solid 3.5 out of 5, and the series/season as a whole a 4 out of 5.