The hunt was on this week as our antagonists look to study ‘ol Swampy on a lab table and Daniel gets a pretty huge focus as Dr. Woodrue uses him as a test subject. Sorry, I’m all out of swamp metaphors as we unwrap Swamp Thing Episode 6: The Price You Pay.
We were kinda cheated this week with a decidedly shorter episode than the previous half season, clocking in at barely forty minutes as opposed to the nearly hour long offerings in earlier episodes. But we were treated to a great opening Swamp Thing scene of the week as Avery dispatched two hunters to find and trap Swamp Thing so that he and Dr. Woodrue (Durand) could further study him. Not surprisingly, the creature was able to deal with them quite rapidly, displaying some pretty cool new splinter shooting powers and launching some of those into one of the hunter’s face! But not before they unloaded a few rounds of live ammo, as well as some tranquilizer rounds into ‘ol Swampy first. He even ripped apart a steel bear trap his leg was caught in with his bare hands. Proving to us that Swamp Thing is one bad M F’er not to be trifled with (where this week’s episode probably got its name I’m guessing).
Next, a confession: Could be I was wrong about my queries last week, as it seems not only is Sheriff Cable (Beals) corrupt, but her son was actually responsible for Alec Holland’s murder. So, they’re kinda both corrupt cops. In fact, the opposite of what I pitched was true. Turns out, the main reason why Deputy Sheriff Matt Cable killed off Holland, at Avery’s request of course, was because Sunderland had a folder full of proof that his mom was corrupt. From bribes, to falsifying case files, etc., Matt was actually protecting his mom by doing Avery’s dirty work for him. These two seem to be willing to do anything to protect each other. Now that’s family.
But the real focus of this week’s episode was strangely enough, Ian Ziering’s Blue Devil to be, Daniel Cassidy, as we followed him through the fallout of last week’s attack dealt at the hands of Sunderland’s goons. His story opens in the hospital, attached to a bunch of machines, with Abby and Liz discussing the negative prognosis, a coma that he’s not likely to wake up from. Next, we’re treated to a dream, or flashback more likely, of when Cassidy was in Marais shooting the Blue Devil film, then a lowly stuntman. A familiar looking character, the Phantom Stranger from last week’s episode, approaches him and they begin to discuss recent problems within the production, centering around the lead actor, whom Cassidy stunt doubles for. Cassidy, seizing an opportunity, insists he could do better than the lead, to which the Stranger adds that he may have a bigger role for him to play after he wraps on the current production. Unbeknownst to him that they’re probably both discussing two totally different things, Daniel agrees and shakes on it, immediately after which, a PA walks over to inform Daniel he’s taking over for the lead actor on the production. Hmmmmmmm. Admittedly, it was nice to see the return of Macon Blair’s Phantom Stranger this week and also to find that he now has some kind of connection to more than just one character.
Elsewhere in the hospital, Dr. Woodrue preps Daniel’s next IV drip bag, slipping in a little mickey of his own concoction consisting of a synthesized sample of an earlier specimen Abby retrieved from Swamp Thing. Now I’m gonna be honest, I thought for sure this was gonna turn Cassidy into another swamp like creature to rival Swampy, in a little tip of the hat to the 1982 film, but instead, the mutagenic regenerative properties contained within the sample jump start Cassidy’s brain function resulting in an immediate recovery from the coma. But once he awakens, Daniel starts yelling about burning up and mumbling about the deal he made with the Stranger. His body smokes and glows a bluish tinge. But although, for the time being, we’re meant to believe that it’s some side effect from the mutagen, I feel more and more like it’s going to instead have amplified or “mutated” his existing abilities, whatever they may be, in relation to Blue Devil. Only time will tell…maybe. Anyway, searching for answers, he seeks out Woodrue whose wife ends up tranquilizing him so that they can get him back to the hospital.
Once back at the hospital and safely sedated, Cassidy receives a visit from his ever-loving buddy, Madame Xanadu. As usual, she speaks in a lot of riddles regarding Daniel’s destiny and mission and all that mumbo jumbo, and apparently to herself because Daniel is pretty knocked out. But then I think the thing that we’re supposed to take away from the encounter, happens: Wishing to ease his pain and suffering, Xanadu places a palm to his forehead, which instantly lowers his heart rate to normal and removes the bluish hue to his skin. So she obviously has some powers of her own, aside from her connection to the other worldly and all other things supernatural. Again, broken record here, but week to week, it becomes frustratingly more apparent that we won’t ever get to see all these secrets revealed or questions answered by series’ end in just four more episodes, people. It’s agonizing!
Finally, we see a little more development in the relationship between Abby and Swamp Thing/Alec Holland when she goes to visit him in the swamp to confront him about his attack on the two hunters. She understands his need to protect himself and once again pleads with him to be patient as she tries to figure out a way to save him. Then of course frigging Matt shows up and Abby reveals to him the connection between the dead Alec Holland and the creature that stands before them, to which, as he should, Matt freaks out at the possibility that Holland will recognize Matt as his killer. He doesn’t, but there’s a pretty entertaining moment here when Swamp Thing grabs Matt and Matt totally shrinks in fear. Ah, it was great. Abby then asks Matt to head back to town and keep their secrets safe by not revealing anything that they’ve all just discussed. Lastly, Abby follows Swamp Thing back to the lab where they share a tender moment. Alec is afraid that if he heeds the Stranger’s request and looks deeper into the connection between himself and “the green,” that it will somehow take him further away from his humanity, the one thing that he feels still connects him to Abby. At this point, an exotic flower sprouts from his hand and releases some kind of spore into the air, the spore envelops Abby and when the camera cuts away from her, we see a human Alec Holland standing before her. Fade to credits. I feel I need to mention here that this is probably a direct reference to a similar incident that occurred in the comics wherein the creature and Abby share in a hallucinogenic experience brought on by one of his plants. During the experience, the two have simulated “sex” or whatever the human/plant equivalent of that would be. So I’m expecting next week’s episode to open with either their human forms in the middle of the deed or an aftermath scene where the two of them lay next to each other in orgasmic bliss. Mark my words.
So that’s it for this week, Horror Bound readers. Although a shorter episode, we still got a lot of good stuff out of it. Conspicuously absent this week: Maria Sunderland and Susie. Abby mentions in brief that she left Susie with some relatives before getting to the hospital to check on Daniel and some random nurse mentions to Avery that his wife isn’t accepting any treatments during her hospital visit. Although I’m sure we’ll get a needed Maria appearance next week, I don’t know about that Susie. For a character that has shown some type of connection to Swamp Thing from the beginning, I hope we haven’t just thrown little Susie off to the side for the remainder of the series. That would be kind of a cop out. For a great opening Swamp Thing scene of the week and then to see him make Matt shit his pants, this week’s episode gets a five out of five.
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