Updated: Oct 23, 2020
By Mack Johnson and Matt Henry.
"Worlds Apart," episode 2 of Swamp Thing, is a suspenseful, thrilling, and very enjoyable ride. It picks up moments after Alec Holland was shot and presumedly drowned while investigating the mutagen accelerants being planted in the swamp. The mystical, sentient swamp had other ideas for Holland, and his consciousness was absorbed to help in the creation of the Swamp Thing. The thing is in obvious agony and confused, tearing at itself in a gruesome scene of self-mutilation. It also serves another purpose: to immediately show us the creature has the ability to immediate regenerate.
Abby Arcane was fleeing in terror from "something big in the water...like a man," as she later tells sheriff Lucilla Cable, one of many new characters we meet in this episode. Played by Jennifer (Flashdance, The L-Word) Beals, I give her credit for being one of the few actors in this cast of supposed native Louisianans to attempt an accent. Lucilla doesn't seem too happy to see Abby with her son the deputy; she knows he has always had feelings for her, and the over-protective mama in her fears he will only get hurt and warns him off. Right away, we get the feeling Sheriff Cable is a very strong woman, and someone who should not be messed with.
Abby is staying with her reporter friend, Liz Tremayne, and is having a really difficult time dealing with Alec's death. You can tell she and Liz were close friends before Abby left town, that Liz cares for her and doesn't want to see her get hurt.
They go to the town video rental joint, where Alec was renting a room upstairs, to see if Abby can find any leads on his virus research. The store proprietor is Daniel Cassidy (played by 90210's Ian Ziering), a struggling actor, known for playing a DC hero in a movie. We will see more of him in future episodes. No way a star like Ziering appears in a throwaway role.
Abby needs to get into Alec's lab and retrieve the data he has concerning the plant virus. Unfortunately, the only way of getting in there is with the help of Avery Sunderland, and even with Liz's warning against it, she heads to his home to speak with him. While she is there talking with Avery, you can see just how manipulative he is, even while welcoming her "home" with open arms. During their conversation, we learn that the Sunderlands took Abby in at 8 years old, and we see in flashes to the past why Maria Sunderland doesn't want Abby around. It's a very emotional and passive/aggressive meeting.
Back at the hospital, we find that Patient Zero, Susie Coyle, has a very intense connection to both the swamp and Swamp Thing. She feels a strong attraction to him and a strong urge to go to him.
Maria Sunderland goes to visit the spooky medium Madame Xanadu to get more help in dealing with a resurgence of the unbearable pain of losing her only child. When Xanadu starts to work her real deal mojo, the blind medium suddenly and violently sees more than she cares to, when the swamp reaches out to her. Madame Xanadu is a immortal character from the DC comics, who can see the future, levitate objects, teleport herself, and banish demons. We are sure to see more of her too; whether or not she has her comic book abilities or is merely a medium with healing and mystical senses as shown in episode 2 is yet to be seen.
This episode also introduces us to the Woodrues, married doctors Jason and Caroline, who were employed by Avery to create the mutagen accelerant. It is here that Avery's true self and unethical motivations come to light, and as he fears his name will be connected to the "plant plague" that is spreading. He threatens them, ordering them to fix the problem...or else.
Abby Arcane is the main character of this series, and it's been immediately apparent that Crystal Reed is an excellent actor; she is very expressive and watchable, even in quiet scenes. She looks nothing like her comic-inspired character, who had an unusual head of premature white hair with a black streak, but that's OK by me. Neither does it matter that Xanadu has changed from her comic book Zatanna lookalike to a older, blind, black woman.
This is a very Abby-centric episode, so the Swamp Thing doesn't appeared much at all, but there's a very exciting chase sequence in the swamp after Suzie witnesses a murder, and her new, big green friend intervenes to protect her. Once again, we are spared another very gory death scene in this CW edit. Suzie isn't afraid of Swamp Thing due to their link/rapport, but Abby's reaction to her first good look at him when she arrives is very much the opposite.
The producers' decision to shoot on location in the swamps of South Carolina was an important one, since the swamp is a important character itself. The scenery is beautiful during the day, and super-creepy at night. There's been no word where season two will be shot. There were massive financial snafus regarding supposed tax breaks given to the production team to make it affordable to shoot on location in SC. When that fell apart, it was a major contributing factor to Swamp Thing's cancellation.
There are so many questions to be asked after "Worlds Apart": What brought Alec to Marais? Was it just a job offer from Sunderland, or something more? What will happen next to Susie? What exactly happened between Abby and the Sunderland family, and what other secrets are they hiding? And what's in store after Abby has her first encounter with Swamp Thing, and discovers more about him? And who is that next to Maria Sunderland in Shawna's bed? Cue the cool, spooky music.
Find out more when episode three of Swamp Thing, titled "He Speaks," airing on Tuesday, October 20 on The CW, and the following day on cwtv.com where you can also catch up on episodes you missed.
FIRST APPEARANCE SWAMP THING: House of Secrets #92 (1971)
Swamp Thing Vol. 1 (1971)
The Saga of the Swamp Thing Vol. 2 (1982)
FIRST APPEARANCE MADAME XANADU: Doorway to Nightmare #1 (1978)
Swamp Thing (1982), Feature film directed by Wes Craven
Justice League Dark (2017), animated movie
Swamp Thing (1990), tv series