Swamp Thing season 1, episode 4 review: Darkness on the Edge of Town


Episode four of Swamp Thing has built the foundation for this show. Now, it’s clear that the battle lines have been drawn and the heroes must prevail.

Swamp Thing just continues to unravel the mystery week after week. And as the weeks pass, my anger towards the DC Universe streaming service continues to grow in intensity at the same rate as my admiration grows for Swamp Thing. Hopefully, this isn’t the end of Swamp Thing. And DC sees the usefulness of now having built this live-action character and using him more – even if it isn’t necessarily for a second season.

The fourth episode of Swamp Thing, entitled “Darkness on the Edge of Town,” is just another example of the strong storytelling of this series. This particular episode focuses upon a fear-based virus that begins to snake its way through the Louisiana town of Marais.

The fear virus

So in terms of plot, this episode is very clear and well-written. A guy named Todd makes contact with a corpse out in the swamp and gets this virus that makes him hallucinate his worst fear. That virus then gets transmitted to a few more characters – until finally Abby Arcane gets the virus.

This is why Abby is such a great protagonist for the series. Certainly, any time the titular Swamp Thing is on screen, it is exciting because it looks and sounds fantastic. But Abby herself has shown that she is a hero in her own right. As soon as she gets the virus, she goes back to the swamp so that she (like the original corpse) can isolate it and keep it from spreading.

There is a risk in what she did and, of course, Swamp Thing(a.k.a. Alec Holland) helps her by taking the virus and returning it to the original corpse that started all of this. But it still plays quite well for Abby as a hero. And it shows that this particular pair (Abby and Alec) fit well together, and are probably destined for a “Beauty and the Beast”-type romance.

But Abby isn’t the only hero.

The Blue Devil

This episode reveals a bit more about Daniel, who at one time was an actor portraying a character named the Blue Devil for a small independent-type flick. Daniel wants more information on his bargain to stay in Marais “until called upon” for a mission. Madame Xanadu tells Daniel that things are unclear because of “the darkness” that is taking over the swamp.

This was an excellent part of the episode because it talks about the hero’s journey. In particular for Daniel, his path will mean helping in the fight against “the darkness.” In the interim, Daniel does his best to tackle the sheriff when she is hallucinating on the fear virus, but his mission doesn’t appear to be at its end.

It is clear Daniel will become the DC hero known as the Blue Devil, and he will be an ally for Abby and Swamp Thing. This episode is just another step towards Daniel’s destiny, and it is intriguing to say the least.

What’s to come

There is still plenty to learn, as this show has just six episodes left in its first (and looks like final) season. Clearly, Avery Sutherland has caused all this harm in the swamp by dumping “accelerant” chemicals that created “the darkness.”

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Avery even manipulates his wife for more money by “purchasing” the orphaned Susie Coyle from her uncle. Avery uses his wife’s fondness for Susie to continue funding his swamp research, despite the damage he has already caused. This villain is pretty terrific because he really thinks he is doing the right thing.

Avery is clueless to the harm, or at the very least feels any casualties are just a means to an end. His motivation is purely monetary. And he doesn’t care who gets hurt in the process. Avery can be quite charming when he wants to be, but underneath seethes a vile person that is easy to root against.

But what was best about this past episode is how it ends. Swamp Thing tells Abby, “this is only the beginning.” It is an appropriate ending for this episode because the stage is now set. Abby has seen enough to know the threat on the town is very real. She and Alec are the only hope of stopping “the darkness” from total victory.

Next. Arrow: 10 characters who need to return for the final season. dark

It is compelling storytelling, and one can only hope that DC/Warner Media will reconsider this being the end for this Swamp Thing incarnation. ‘This is only the beginning” of what could be built into a great live-action universe for the service. Yes, Titans and Doom Patrol are also part of that foundation, but Swamp Thing needs to have some kind of role, as well.