The themes of episode 4 deal with the balance of light and darkness in nature, and a person’s worst traumas and fears, like the fear of losing one's parents, or a child.
The opening scene reveals more about how darkness is rising from the swamp, when two illegal loggers enter at night, and the swamp strikes back by releasing a century-old curse (or is it a virus?) that becomes the focus of the episode. It passes from person to person through blood, and nightmares and hallucinations come with it.
As the curse/virus passes from person to person, we see their worst nightmare. Each nightmare is frightening, even horrifying, but The CW once again assures that the episode remains PG-13 for its family network airing, and deletes the gore. Is this curse an aspect of Nightmare, from DC’s Sandman universe? Time will tell.
Abby ventures into the swamp repeatedly…at night…alone… (not too smart for such a smart woman) to talk to Swamp Thing about the curse and a cure for his transformation. One socially distanced visit has a very impressive CGI scene, as Swamp Thing gives Abby a sample of his body to study for a cure. Not sure why he still wants to keep space between himself and Abby. Other than mentioning again that there is great danger in the swamp and she should leave.
Creepy Dr. Woodrue comes to the hospital lab to work, and finds Abby examining the tissue sample, and he is desperate to get his hands on it after he discovers it is a plant and animal hybrid. He pretends to be Abby’s scientific confidante.
Avery Sunderland is NOT keeping Woodrue on the payroll to find a cure, as he tells his wife Maria so her family money keeps flowing; it’s a cover for poisoning the swamp to generate new financial opportunities.
This is the root issue of the balance that has become the heart of this season; the mystical swamp is defending itself from Sunderland’s accelerator poisoning, and is striking back, even if it means accidentally releasing hidden evils and darkness. Swamp Thing knows this and tells Abby. When asked how he knows, he says, “The plants, the trees…I think they are talking to me.” It’s more insight into his symbiotic connection to nature that gives him such elemental power in the comics. It will be interesting to see the extent of his power on this show.
This Swamp Thing is not the limited vocabulary, Frankenstein’s monster-like creature from the early comics; he effortlessly speaks as Alec, and is very aware of who he was and what he has become.
As Madame Xanadu and Swamp Thing both warn...again...a darkness is coming to the swamp and Marais, and it’s going to be really, really, bad. She even tells Danny, an actor who plays DC hero Blue Devil in the movies, that his heroic destiny is tied in with this approaching darkness. We even see some of that heroism in this episode.
Meanwhile, Avery Sunderland is pulling unethical strings to give his wife Maria a surrogate daughter to replace the one they lost. I wonder how Maria’s dead daughter will react to being replaced?
To find out, tune in to Swamp Thing on The CW every Wednesday night, or stream it the next day at cwtv.com, along with past episodes.
This well-made, well-cast horror series is never boring. Give it a go this week; it's a perfect scary show to try for Halloween.