SWAMP THING S01E03 “He Speaks” review

Swamp Thing -- Ep. 103 — “He Speaks“ -- Photo Credit: Fred Norris / 2019 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Swamp Thing debuts new episodes every Friday on the DC Universe streaming service.

Swamp Thing stars Crystal Reed, Andy Bean, Derek Mears, Jennifer Beals, Henderson Wade, Will Patton, Virginia Madsen, Jeryl Prescott, Henderson Wade and Kevin Durand.

Synopsis

Driven to cure the worsening epidemic in Marais, when her friend and co-worker Harlan (recurring guest star LEONARDO NAM) is stricken with the “green flu,” Abby searches Alec’s lab for a cure, but instead finds the latest supernatural reanimation from the Rot.  Although Swamp Thing uses his strange new powers to intervene, he’s more desperate than ever to find his humanity.  Meanwhile, Avery Sunderland is facing increasing pressure from financial sources and Sheriff Cable who questions him about the death of Alec Holland.

Review

It’s been a difficult week for Swamp Thing and its fans. With the news there series won’t be continuing after its initial ten episode run we’re all feeling fraught to make the most of what we have left.

Setting that controversy aside “He Speaks” is another hugely enjoyable entry in the series. Perhaps the most horror of the three episodes so far it also has a pacing and sense of urgency which continues to set the show apart from its DC Universe partners.

“He Speaks” is a very literal title in that this episode finally sees the swamp monster formally known as Alec speak. In fact there’s a huge amount of development this week as well as some monster-of-the-week action.

I do feel like there’s an undercurrent of two versions of the show trying to break through. A mystical journey through the darker side of the DCU seems to be vying for control over a procedural which would have more in common with say Grimm or Supernatural.

Whilst neither wins the day this week the balance of the two makes for a very enjoyable episode.

Abby is back at the centre of the action although there are also key moments for the Sutherlands running alongside. Crystal Reed once again shows that she is able to carry the full weight of the series on her shoulders.

From exploring Alec’s lab, to flirting with Matt in the bar, to kicking ass at the hospital there’s quite the range of material for Reed to sink her teeth in to and three episodes in she is more than owning it.

It particularly enjoyed that despite her distraction with finding Swamp Thing she was still heavily tied to the hospital, especially when Harlan needed her the most. It called back to the pilot where we saw Abby jumping in to action in the Congo without questioning her own safety.

I have slightly lost count of how many times she may have exposed herself to lethal toxins at this stage though.

There are also some really interesting developments for Maria and Avery Sutherland this week. The growing darkness in the swamp is definitely taking a firm grip on Maria.

This week we’re seeing her having conversations with her dead daughter. There’s clearly a lot more going on behind-the-scenes here and it’s all centred around that swamp. Some higher power is manipulating key players in Marais, I just hope we get chance to find out what it is before the series comes to a close.

If I had a particular criticism of the season so far it would be that Virginia Madsen and Will Patton haven’t spent a huge amount of time together on screen. “He Speaks” rectifies that somewhat with some powerful scenes as Maria stands up to (and cuts the purse strings from) Avery.

The pacing to the series is really working in its favour at this stage. Whilst Abby and Swamp Thing circle each other and keep the overall trajectory of the show moving forwards, there’s an undercurrent of the darkness in Marais which is slowly building week-by-week. The fact that the rising darkness is palpable really makes the show click for me.

The monster-of-week is perhaps really only so because of the dark twist this episode places on the character. It’s actually the character who met a grisly end last week when Swamp Thing used the swamp to rip his body to shreds.

He’s easily the least practical of the special effects in this episode. Surrounded by, consumed by and spewing CGI bugs all over the place certainly stretches the budget of the show but it looks really effective on screen.

This character also brings about an interesting scene which we spoil that also features a character not seen since the pilot…

Verdict

“He Speaks” is another excellent episode of Swamp Thing. It’s an intense and atmospheric lap around the swamp which leans in even further to the horror elements of the series and pushes its overall mythology to new places.

10/10


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About Neil Vagg 3265 Articles
Neil is the GYCO Editorial Chief. He has a BA in Film & Tv and an MA in Scriptwriting; he currently works 9-5 as an office manager and 5-9 as a reviewer/web designer. He has been subscribing to comics for around nine years but has been reading them as long as he can remember. Favourite comics: Batman; Nightwing, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and All New X-Men Favourite films: Batman (any apart from & Robin); Star Trek Generations, Underworld, Beetlejuice Favourite TV shows: Fringe; Buffy, Arrow, TBBT, Being Human UK and Star Trek TNG