Swamp Thing: He Speaks Review
In the latest episode of Swamp Thing, He Speaks, we are introduced to a new villain, see Avery make a dramatically evil turn, see where other characters are going next, and the episode delivers on its title as we finally get to hear Derek Mears as the titular character.
Right away we are introduced to a kind of spiritual plane that Alec (Andy Bean) exists in as his body now belongs to the swamp and where he meets Munson (Micah Fitzgerald), a man that was decimated by Swamp Thing at the end of the last episode. Though in the real world he might be dead, his animosity and evil nature has awakened a force that is actually quite new to DC and Swamp Thing lore: The Rot. The Rot is not a physical being, necessarily, but more of a supernatural force that exists within the swamp and controls all of the bugs and insects. Seeing the bugs stitch together all of Munson’s limbs was incredibly creepy and the zombified look is absolutely amazing and pretty unique to anything I’ve seen in live-action comic adaptations. It’s truly body horror at its finest and it’s great to see the series dig deeper into its horror roots. Not to mention, we get a taste of Swamp Thing in action with a small fight sequence and it’ll be interesting to see The Rot finds its way to what’s left of Shawna Sunderland (Given Sharp).
Even the scene with Abby (Crystal Reed) discovering that her partner, Harlan (Leonardo Nam), is infected with the disease inflicting Marais, is full of stomach-turning horror that’s hard not to love as a horror fan. It was honestly a reminder that Swamp Thing isn’t the type of show to eat and watch. Abby’s discovery with Harlan also leads to a stronger CDC presence and the introduction of Dr. Eli Troost (Al Vincinte). The stronger CDC presence is kind of just a formality as the disease is spreading and as for Troost, he’s just there to give more hassle for Abby. Hopefully this thread remains as thin as it is here because while I enjoy how much is going on in the series thus far, this CDC thread is disposable and there’s already a lot going on.
There’s especially a lot going on with Avery (Will Patton) as we see Liz (Maria Sten) beginning to investigate his finances. Avery’s finances are clearly falling as his wife has begun to cut him off and his “financial advisor,” Gordon Haas (Matt Burke), has left him out to dry. It’s interesting to see how what happened with Shawna has now torn Avery’s relationship with Maria (Virginia Madsen) apart and how Shawna’s supernatural presence is beginning to influence her. With all of this, including Avery’s affair with Officer Cable (Jennifer Beals) that I was a little mixed on, we finally see Avery take his turn into villainous territory. With Haas mentioning Avery’s connection to the Conclave, a mysterious cartel that’s highly associated with the Swamp Thing series, and Avery taking matters into his own hands in brutal fashion, there’s no question anymore that Avery’s action are now taking an evil turn and all of this is highlighted from Patton’s excellent performance in the series.
What’s most important, though, is that the episode delivers on its title by letting us finally hear what Mears sounds like as Swamp Thing. Even from the little we’ve heard thus far, his voice resembles the stoic and strong appearance of the titular character. It’ll be great to hear more from him once he finds more of his voice, but I really like how there’s a slow-burn approach to revealing Swamp Thing in full. It’s also worth noting that I like the spiritual plane that we see Alec in at the beginning of the episode and hopefully we’ll get more of it in future episodes.
There’s also some other threads that get touched up in He Speaks and it’ll be interesting to see where they go for the rest of the series. We catch up with Woodrue (Kevin Durand) in a gory autopsy scene where we get to see his obsession grow with what’s happening with his accelerant in the swamp. We also get to see some of the personal struggles he faces with his ailing wife, Caroline (Selena Anduze) that will surely motivate him more to figure out what’s happening with the swamp. There’s also a great scene between Madame Xanadu (Jeryl Prescott) and Daniel Cassidy (Ian Ziering) about a changing fate that’s in David’s future that will surely lead to him becoming his villainous alter-ego, Blue Devil. The only thing that I’m still not feeling with the series that continues here is the love triangle between Abby, Matt (Henderson Wade), and Alec. It just feels like an unnecessary part to the show and it’s clearly the weakest aspect because there’s not much time given to it.
He Speaks is another strong showing for Swamp Thing as it offers some juicy threads that make excited for what’s to come as well as some great moments of body horror that are truly unique. With each episode that passes, I only become more impressed by the series. Honestly, if you’re a DC fan, a horror fan, or heavily interested in something unique, now is the time to dive in Swamp Thing to see what you’ve been missing.
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