Swamp Thing: Drive All Night Review
This week’s episode of Swamp Thing, Drive All Night, finally sheds some light on the dark past that Abby (Crystal Reed) has with the Sunderlands, on why Daniel Cassidy (Ian Ziering) has been stuck in Marais for all these years, and delves deeper into Swamp Thing’s (Derek Mears) connections with the more supernatural attributes of the swamp.
Up until this point, the show has kept what happened between Abby and Shawna Sunderland (Given Sharp) a secret that Abby would eventually have to confront. With Drive All Night, not only must Abby confront this dark moment, but she must also help Maria (Virginia Madsen) and Susie (Elle Graham) as Shawna spiritual grip grows tighter on them. With Virginia using Susie as sort of a replacement for Shawna, it was only a matter of time that Shawna would rear her decrepit head and she decides to possess Susie in order to lure Maria to the swamp. This leads to some great supernatural scares that further showcase how strong Swamp Thing is at bringing some great moments of horror. There’s a great build-up towards the start of the episode of Shawna’s growing presence that’s suspenseful and leads to some creepy imagery.
All of this leads to a great interaction between Susie and Abby later in the episode where Susie, being possessed by Shawna, begins to recount what happened when they were teens. Graham puts in a great performance here and it was cool to see this strong turn from being the quieter and more contained Susie to the more aggressive and dominant Shawna. From here, we finally get to see how Shawna died and why it continuously haunts Abby. It’s interesting to see how Shawna’s death actually showed that their already might have been something lurking under the water. Though Abby didn’t mean to push Shawna into the water below the town’s local bridge, it did lead to Shawna’s demise as an unknown force drove her deeper underwater. While it’s still a mystery as to what pulled Shawna under, it’s nice to finally start to uncover Abby’s past.
This uncovering also leads to the show’s introduction of The Green, the force that allows Swamp Thing to channel into the pulse of the swamp, and the Phantom Stranger (Macon Blair), who will help Swamp Thing understand his new life better. Blair is very charming and mysterious as the iconic DC character and I was immediately hooked even from the short glimpses we see of him here. It’ll be interesting to see more of the Stranger in future episodes, especially as the foreshadowed darkness enters Marais, and if he develops a strong relationship with Swamp Thing like he does in the comics. With Swamp Thing also beginning to understand the connection he has with The Green, we also get to see some of the horror that he now witnesses with this new power. One of those horrors happens to be what happened between Abby and Shawna and it’s nice to see Abby and Swamp Thing work together more and develop a strong bond.
It’s also nice to see more time given to Daniel Cassidy and we get a slightly deeper dive into why he’s stuck in Marais and it was actually very surprising to see. As said before, Cassidy is actually the alter ego of the comic book villain, Blue Devil, but it’s been tough to figure out how or why he would become the iconic villain. However, the episode’s title, Drive All Night, actually reflects the struggles that Cassidy has been facing as we see him attempting to drive out of Marais early on in the episode. It really surprised me to see him literally stuck in Marais thanks to what seems to be a deal gone wrong with a supernatural presence. It’s a moment that showcases the price of fame and fortune and I liked how if feels like a similarly bad deal made by Johnny Blaze in the Ghost Rider comics. With his Blue Devil mask starting to show its demonic colors and Cassidy running into some complications toward the episode’s end, it shouldn’t be too much longer until we see the Blue Devil ride again. Not to mention, Ziering is just an absolute treat here and the more we get from him, the better things will be.
We also get to see more of Woodrue (Kevin Durand) becoming more and more intrigued by Abby’s findings and garner a greater interest in what’s happening in the swamp. With Woodrue now relatively working alongside Abby, he’s started to realize that the sample she’s brought back might lead to something that could get his career back on track. Even what he finds in Alec’s lab makes him so intrigued that he immediately goes to Avery (Will Patton) to ask for some help to start hunting what’s in the swamp. Avery complies with some “help,” that will likely come in the form of the mysterious Conclave that was mentioned by Avery’s banker that Avery killed. Honestly, the closer that Woodrue gets to starting his hunt, the more I know that things are about pick up very quick.
What’s worked so well for Swamp Thing is how it’s slowly built its character’s transformations towards a satisfying turn and Drive All Night is definitely the start of that turning point. It seems like the warnings about darkness coming to Marais are about to come true and darker things are about lurk in and out of the swamp. With the series only getting better and better with each episode, there’s really no reason to miss out.