Everything gets tied up in a nice little green bow this week as we’ve reached the end of the road, friends. Plus some final comments from the author. Before we drain the swamp and bid adieu to the bayou, let’s unwrap the conclusion of Swamp Thing in episode 10: Loose Ends.
This is it, folks, we’ve reached the end of what I feel has been the best DC Universe original released so far. Although some of the big media outlets, including DC Universe themselves, have been labeling this the “season finale” or simply, “the finale,” there still has been no word from DC HQ on what happened and what the future may hold for our little horror comic book show. So for now, let’s just dive in to this jam packed finale and hope for the best.
It’s kind of funny that this episode was appropriately titled “Loose Ends,” for a lot of reasons. Was it because it was the finale, or maybe because there were some storylines that needed completion, or maybe it was simply a wink to the fans regarding the complicated, arduous, and controversy-laden circumstances surrounding the series from the start? Regardless, that being said, first things first: Matt Cable and Caroline Woodrue are alive! Yeah, I know, we were unsure of their fates at the conclusion of last week, but they’re both fine. Well, maybe not fine, after downing all her pills, Caroline started this week in a catatonic state, and Matt was tucked away in a comfy hospital bed, recovering from his car wreck. More on him in a bit. But, man, Jason Woodrue completely lost his marbles this week. He tied his paralyzed wife to a chair while he cooked up bits and pieces of the Swamp Thing’s organs he recovered last week. I mean, he was sautéing that offal in a manner where even I thought it looked pretty good. Believing the key to unlocking the regenerative powers was locked within, Woodrue tried the dish before feeding it to his sickened wife, leading him to writhe in pain on the floor as a result, yet somehow still finding himself connected to The Green in some way after recovering from the spell.
Which lead to my first query: If one can simply reap the benefits of the creature’s powers by just eating bits of his insides, then couldn’t that write us into a corner in the future. Think about it, Woodrue only cooked up a fraction of what he recovered from Swamp Thing. Theoretically, he still has like a whole lung and a liver lying about at the conclusion of this episode. Anyone could simply recover those organs, eat them and give themself some form of Green Power. Luckily, Abby shows up and tries to talk some sense into the crazy man, before he puts his wife in any more danger, and tries to call 911 to get her some medical help, but not before Woodrue slaps the phone out of her hand. Then, as most villains do, he goes on and on about Abby’s meddling and all the good his research can do just long enough for the cops to show up and Taser the shit out of him. The cops then haul away a yelling and screaming Woodrue as an ambulance speeds Caroline off.
Guess who finally showed her face this week? That’s right, Madame Xanadu creepily appeared in Maria Sunderland’s psychiatric hospital room to explain to her that all the madness that has steered her decision-making in the last few weeks is a result of her tapping into dark forces in an attempt to contact Shawna and it has now unleashed demons that are returning to collect their due. Maria asks her if she can help her find some kind of peace or escape from these demons, to which Xanadu replies that if she grants her this reprieve, it may be one she never comes back from. When next we see Maria later on in the episode, she’s smiling on her bed and speaking out loud to Shawna in visions that only she sees. Next query: So did Xanadu go ahead and put her in this happy state or did Maria just lose more of her marbles? When Abby asks as to why Xanadu is there to begin with, she simply states that she’s there to help Maria with her pain, but she never comes out and says, “Yeah, I put some kind of spell on her, she’ll be fine now,” you know what I mean? And that’s all we see of Madame Xanadu.
Back at the hospital, Lucilia Cable is at her son’s bedside when he awakens and they actually share a pretty tender moment here. Lucilia reminds Matt of how much she loves him and how no matter the problem, they’ll get through this one together. It’s actually the most sincere she’s been all season and it was welcome to see this side of Lucilia that we’ve never seen before. Which means of course, if you’re familiar with my writing here on the site, that something bad is probably about to happen to ‘ol Sheriff Cable. This is a very overused trick writers like to use when they’re about to off a character. They make us feel for the character, forgive them, give us the impression that they've redeemed themselves and that everything is gonna be hunky dory from here on out. So when we follow Lucilia back to her squad car in the middle of the night and she gets inside to find Avery Sunderland waiting in the back seat to stab her right through the gut, we are now both shocked and appalled that the creators would do this to a character that we were just starting to like. How dare they?! There was a moment though that I really thought she was going to make it when in the next scene we found her conscious and grabbing at her wound. However, she was conscious and grabbing at her wound in the trunk of her squad car that Avery had pushed into the swamp. It was a pretty uneasy scene as the camera cut between Avery on the shore, the car slowly sinking into the swamp and Lucilia screaming for help in the slowly filling space. I mean, they just kept cutting between those three shots, each time the car sinking deeper, the trunk more full of water. Yeah, it was kinda fucked up, people. I don’t think she’s coming back from that.
One last thing on the Daniel/Blue Devil story before I close with all the Swamp Thing goodness that came out of this week’s finale. So Liz goes to his video store looking for him after all the carnage left over from the mobile lab because she’s got a hunch. She finds him upstairs packing his things and getting ready to head out of Marais once and for all. He claims the devil is in his head talking to him and guiding him to the next destination where he’ll be needed. He hands the keys of the shop to Liz and tells her to look after the place. As he speeds out of town, we’re treated to a flashback from earlier in the season where he was unable to leave; else he’d catch fire and burn to a crisp from the Blue Devil’s flame. Again there’s some good edits here from flashback to present and back again as he gets closer and closer to the Marais town sign until finally… he makes it across unscathed and we’re treated to a celebrating Daniel as he continues down the road. I’m gonna miss that guy.
Finally, what happened with our big green guy this week? Well, Ellery was back and frigging pissed about all the casualties he took from last week and so he enlisted the help of some more badass, well equipped, paramilitary specialists led by none other than Jake Busey, ladies and gentleman. Determined to catch Swamp Thing for good this time around, they headed into the swamp. But man, Swamp Thing started the episode off even more pissed than Ellery, so he wasn’t having any of it! As the group of mercs split up and fanned out, we got to see two more new powers this week. First, Swamp Thing camouflaged himself by curling into a ball and sprouting some leaves and branches to resemble a bush, which was kinda cool. Then, he grew some kind of spikes out of his shoulders, I’m guessing to tackle dudes and stab them in the same process. It looked like some kind of battle armor and boy did he use it. He took out all the mercs one by one, including ripping off Busey’s face! Once Ellery was the only man left, Swamp thing pinned him down, but not before Ellery begged for his life and explained to the creature how he can benefit thousands of people by letting him bring him in for study. This is where Swamp Thing delivered, probably my favorite line of the entire series when he tells Ellery, “People captured me. People made me watch while they pulled out my heart.” Then he lets Ellery live, but only so that he can be the messenger to tell the others what the Swamp Thing is capable of and to remind them to leave the creature alone. It was a very powerful moment.
Afterwards, and alone in the swamp, the creature begins to speak to a manifestation of Alec Holland. Alec explains that although he is dead and the creature is not him, that they still share a consciousness up there in that ‘ol noggin of his. It was a very poignant scene where Swamp Thing confessed he might be better off just going out into the vastness of the swamp and just getting lost out there, away from the world of man. Alec convinces him otherwise and reminds him how he should try to tap into what it is to be human through his attachment with one of the best of them… Abby. So we find Abby at the old swamp lab, a location where they had already shared so much throughout the series together, and of course she’s looking for the creature. He’s there and they share a very warm moment, each of them confessing their need for each other. They vow they’ll face whatever darkness is still coming together. And Swamp Thing smiles, people! He actually smiles.
Kudos to Derek Mears, not only all season filling the shoes of the title character so brilliantly, but especially for his performance in this finale. Mears really had to dig deep in this episode and do some of the most emotionally charged acting of the series here, and all under a ton of costume and make-up. Speaking of which, we strangely received an after credits scene, the only one all season. I won’t bore you with the full, almost three-minute scene details, but after having been released from the hospital, we see Matt Cable enter the police station, now darkened and empty. He calls out to his mom, his co-workers, anyone who might answer. Then he sees the bars from the holding cell ripped open from the inside. Matt draws his gun, grabs a flashlight and shines it down a hallway. Where he finds… our first (and probably only) glimpse of the transformed Dr. Woodrue into the Floronic Man! Giving the fans the seed of what only could have been coming in a second season. Oh well.
And there you have it, friends, the final moments of what will probably be the one and only season of DC Universe’s best show to date. It’s a shame because Swamp Thing really has so much potential. Not only as a TV show, but also as a character. I mentioned earlier in my coverage of the series how his story reminds me a lot of Shelley’s Frankenstein in that they’re both tails of creatures created by no fault of their own and with no permission having been given in the process. Thus, they struggle to find their place in a world that fears and misunderstands them, all the while trying to discover their purpose among the grander scheme of things. They’re individuals, both with no equal anywhere else on the face of the Earth, so when they feel the need to love and to be loved, they become lost. They’re loss manifests into anger. They crave revenge, lash out. I can go on and on and on. The more obvious lesson that Swamp Thing in particular teaches us is how we can coexist with the planet and “The Green” and how we shouldn’t exploit its precious resources. This was a character that was created in the early 1970’s, not long after the first Earth Day was established. Long before CFC’s, ozone depletion, and global warming became household names. We don’t do politics or social commentary here on the Horror Bound site. Why would we? That’s not what we’re about. But there are certainly things that Swamp Thing can teach us about ourselves, each other, and the world around us even today. Chances are, if you’ve found our little site through a love of all things horror, then maybe you too have felt like a Swamp Thing or even a Frankenstein’s Monster at some point in your life. I know I certainly have. But in the end, it’s what we do to not let it define us that matters.
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