“This new world...this Green…reacts to my thoughts and feelings. I think it saw how much I wanted you to see me as myself again. How much I…longed for that connection.” —Alec/Swamp Thing, to Abby
This episode opens just after Swamp Thing had super-speed Miracle-Gro’d a flower in his hand that spewed spores that Abby breathed in, and when she opened her eyes and looked up, she saw Alex standing in front of her.
This scene introduces what kind of relationship Abby and Swamp Thing/Alex will be able to have: a virtual, hallucinatory one, it seems, thanks to the powers of the Green. Their beautiful, budding (ahem) love story can continue after all, and be the heart of the Swamp Thing saga, as it was in the comics.
Alec’s relationship with the Green is a two-way street; he is also super-sensitive to what the Green is feeling, and it continues to warn him about the coming Darkness. It’s the Rot, which can consume everything in its path. Part of the yin/yang balance of nature. His experiences begin to make him realize and accept that he is a part of something big, that he became the Swamp Thing as part of some bigger plan or purpose. To be a warrior in the coming battle between the Green and the Rot, between Life and Death. We see the storyline being (ahem) planted for future episodes and seasons.
Abby insists on investigating the Rot, in hopes that it might somehow lead to a cure for Alec. Despite Alec’s warning, she insists, and they go exploring, and the Rot infects Abby. Will Alex be able to save her?
Sheriff Cable confronts Avery Sunderland about Alec Holland still being alive and kicking in some form. He decides that if you want something done right, sometimes you just gotta do it yourself. So the on-again, off-again couple of Avery and Sheriff Cable head out into the swamp to hunt.
This series is full of surprises, around every turn. It never fails to entertain, even when we don’t see much of the title character. The interpersonal dramas and tragedies keep building. Among several twists, this episode also reveals a major secret, decades old, a life-changing, who-the-hell-am-I-really one.
Is the “Brilliant Disguise” episode title a reference to the spore-induced Alec, or to Maria Sunderland’s seemingly helpless, emotionally distraught wife, now turned into cutthroat wife and businesswoman, or is it a reference to an unexpected betrayal? Or all of the above?
Meanwhile, something rises from the swamp, and it isn’t happy. At all.
Tune in to Swamp Thing on The CW every Wednesday night, or stream it the next day at cwtv.com, along with past episodes.