Swamp Thing: Brilliant Disguise Review
In this week’s episode of Swamp Thing, Brilliant Disguise, we finally get to understand Alec’s (Andy Bean) feelings on being Swamp Thing (Derek Mears) as him and Abby (Crystal Reed) grow closer to The Green, Lucille (Jennifer Beals) lashes out at Avery (Will Patton) for getting Matt (Henderson Wade) involved his dirty deeds, and we finally get a more proper introduction to the Conclave.
Brilliant Disguise is really all about Alec and him trying to understand what The Green has planned for him while growing closer to Abby. While the idea of Abby being able to see the human side of Alec because of a hallucination she’s enduring due to her contact with The Green in the previous episode is great, it’s not played with enough. Frankly, I could’ve used more moments of the perspectives of Alec and Swamp Thing switching back and forth to show how connected they are and the kiss that Abby gives Alec at the end could’ve had shades of Beauty and the Beast that would’ve been interesting to see. It could’ve been awesome to see the giant monster of Swamp Thing walk along the beautiful flowers with Abby as we’ve only seen him in the dark, shadowy swamp and it would’ve been an interesting contrast. However, Bean gives such a charismatic sense of charm to Alec that it’s hard to complain and his relationship with Abby has gotten much stronger throughout the last few episodes and culminates into some real feelings here.
This episode also touches on the range and power that Alec has with The Green and what it means for his future. It’s actually crazy to think that Alec can tap into The Green to bring any and every kind of plant he needs in the moments. I actually liked how the episode utilized this power as well with Alec needing to summon a specific plant to help Abby fight against The Rot after it infects her. This instance excellently shows how much both the supernatural side of Swamp Thing and the botanical and pharmaceutical knowledge of Alec matter in creating balance in the swamp. Alec also begins to understand why he’s so important to the swamp and why his transformation in Swamp Thing could be a sign of fate. Most of the series has been forecast a “darkness” that is coming to plague the swamp. So hopefully with Alec beginning to realize he is likely destined to stop this evil force with the power of The Green, we will finally get to see what this darkness actually is.
We also get to see Avery’s corrupt activities in Marais start to hit back at him with Lucilla and Matt exacting revenge. I will say that I was surprised to see them attempt to kill Avery so quickly and the reveal of Avery being Matt’s father is a bit of shock, even if I’m going to call BS. Frankly, I’m not buying into that fact much considering that Matt is, well, black and both Avery and Lucille are white, which just might be an oversight, and that this just feels so out of left field. While no one has outwardly denied it yet, I can’t see this reveal carrying much weight with only three episodes left and it didn’t really impact me much anyway. Honestly, what was more shocking was that it was revealed that Lucille and Maria (Virginia Madsen) have been plotting against Avery for quite some time. It’s expertly done in such a sly way and it’s a great way to showcase Maria’s arc from being sad and submissive to strong and stern. It’ll be interesting to see how this betrayal against Avery comes back to haunt them, considering that he’s still alive but could be in trouble, and how Maria’s relationship with the Conclave comes into play.
Though, they have been mentioned in past episodes, we finally get to see a physical figurehead for the mysterious Conclave in the form of its leader, Nathan Ellery (Michael Beach). Ellery is actually no stranger to DC properties as he played the father to Black Manta in Aquaman, so it’s great to see his presence here. While Ellery is pretty much kept on a leash and the full details about the Conclave’s activities aren’t really delved into much, there’s definitely a quiet, yet intimidating demeanor that Beach brings to Ellery. Those that know the comics know the Conclave to be a mafia organization that has some cruel intentions for Marais and the swamp, and that Ellery is quite an evil man. It’s possible that they are the darkness that everyone’s talking about and, personally, I think they’re going have a heavy hand in both bringing Abby back to Marais and unearthing the evil Rot that’s starting to consume the swamp. It’s also worth noting that we get to see more of Woodrue (Kevin Durand) being obsessed with his research and feeling a little inferior to Maria in their meeting with Ellery. We also get to see his wife’s (Selena Anduze) Alzheimer’s start to become worse in a very emotional scene that’s kind of surprising. At first, I didn’t even realize what was happening, but when it hit me it actually was effective in making me feel bad for both of them.
Overall, Brilliant Disguise continues to push the story forward and, even with the few personal hiccups I had with the episode, is still another strong showing for the series. It finally feels as if the characters have hit an emotional peak and that this “darkness” that’s been constantly mentioned throughout the series is about to enter the picture. While there’re definitely plenty of suspects as to what or who the “darkness” is actually referring to, I appreciate the way the series has kept this aspect a mystery and it’s all setting up for a final three episodes that’s can’t be missed.