SWAMP THING S01E04 “Darkness on the Edge of Town” review

Swamp Thing (DC Universe)

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

Realizing that his new abilities allow him to communicate with the life around him, Swamp Thing senses a growing darkness within the swamp and begins to understand his role in the struggle for balance between growth and decay. Abby, meanwhile, is forced to accept that the things she has witnessed in Marais are evidence of supernatural forces at play – especially when her return dredges up her dark history with the Sunderlands. And Liz shares some evidence with Sheriff Cable about her investigation into the death of Alec Holland. Lastly, we learn more about the mysterious Daniel Cassidy and the supernatural bargain that keeps him in Marais.

Review

I admit defeat. You might as well scroll down the page now to see I’m giving this series its third perfect ten in terms of score. Swamp Thing is absolutely killing it and is by far the most consistent of the DC Universe series so far.

Ignoring the elephant in the room this is yet another strong episode of the young series.

With the groundwork brilliant laid in the first two episodes, last week (reviewed here) began to dig deeper into the dark side of the DC Universe. This week the series kicks in to overdrive and really shows us just what a niche streaming service is capable of.

‘Darkness on the Edge of Town” is probably as close as we will get to a monster-of-the-week episode in such a heavily serialised show. Though the darkness, or curse, or demon, or whatever it was never gets a name it still causes some serious havoc in the town of Marais.

In our gore moment of the week I was foaming at the mouth to see the first victim of the darkness mangling his hand in the garbage disposal. It was just one of plenty of creepy moments that made this episode so great.

There’s once again a lot going on this episode. There’s a crazy amount of plot threads which run through the episode:

  • Abby and Alec/Swamp Thing searching for clues as to what happened to him.
  • Avery Sunderland covering up the murder he committed in the previous episode.
  • Avery and Maria Sunderland generally hating on each other but taking in little Susie Coyle.
  • Daniel Cassidy attempting to understand his place in Marais and how it ties to Abby.
  • The darkness in the swamp infecting the townspeople.

That’s a lot of story to pack in to one, forty-eight minute episode yet the episode never feels overstuffed. It’s impressive to see a show on this scale from such a niche streaming platform.

It’s almost like the show was born for a network like HBO and is actually being restricted by its current home. Not that it matters at this point, of course.

It was good to see Swamp Thing interacting more this week particularly with that odd moment of Abby embracing the creature in that classic, monster movie style. It makes sense for the writers to allow the creature to talk, not just because he talks in the comics but to have made him a hulking brute with an inability to communicate would have made him less amiable to the viewer.

Abby’s acceptance of the creature as Alec goes hand-in-hand with what we’ve seen of her character so far. She continues to command her scenes and not be overshadowed by her co-stars. Crystal Reed is really doing an excellent job of stepping up to run the series and I will definitely be following her to whatever she does next.

The visual effects remain a highlight of the show. The gory moments and individual visions of the victims in this episode are all very convincing. As Abby was embracing Swamp Thing the costume seemed a little rigid but that’s an incredibly minor nitpick in a series of this caliber.

If you pushed me for a complaint about Swamp Thing… I’d say I want lots more Swamp Thing!

Verdict

“Darkness on the Edge of Town” is another cracking episode of Swamp Thing. Only four episodes in and it’s becoming incredibly difficult to find anything to criticise about the show. Another strong premise really pushes the show towards the darkness that lies beneath the DCU.

10/10


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About Neil Vagg 3278 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