Swamp Thing series premiere recap: Pilot

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Swamp Thing — Ep.101 — “Pilot” — Photo Credit: Brownie Harris / 2018 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved

Don’t Poke the Swamp

The teaser for the show was a bit long, but effective. Three guys are looking for drop points in a secluded area of the swamp in Marais, Louisiana. Before they can drop their payload, their computer tech guy is impaled by vines that rise from deep within the swamp and protrude ten feet above the water line. It’s like classic Evil Dead with roid rage. The other two guys get tossed in the water. One is torn apart by rabid vines. The other, Eddie Coyle (John Bishop), might get away.

He does. But when Coyle gets home, he must be in pain or trying to get in an altered state. He cracks open a bottle of pills, but those clingy vines bust right through the medicine cabinet and down the poor guys digestive tract via his throat. More on that later.

At school, his daughter, Susie (Elle Graham), falls out and is rushed to the Marais Hospital. Her teacher and school nurse who helped Susie also fall ill. They seem to be growing swamp in their lungs. Abby and Harlan are called in when this mysterious disease starts spreading throughout the town.

Abby enters the hospital and immediately tells the medical staff that this is serious and everyone needs to follow proper infectious disease protocol. Everyone looks back at her like they’re saying “No duh.” Also, we know Abby, herself, will not follow any protective protocol. But, way to take charge.

Swamp Thing — Ep.101 — “Pilot” — Photo Credit: Brownie Harris / 2018 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved

The Good Parts

The look and feel of the show are great. It’s dark, creepy, and makes you fear the swamp. There are a couple of legit jump scares that are not gratuitous. There’s even a vaguely explained side story about Abby actually being from Marais. She grew up there and was best friends with Maria Sunderland’s (Virginia Madsen) daughter until she killed her in their senior year of high school.

That is a juicy storyline that’s made all the better by Madsen. Sunderland clearly blames Abby for her daughter’s death. Abby owns it. Sunderland has a quick chat with Abby where she lays the ground rules for her CDC investigation: “The minute that little girl gets better, you get out.”

The killer vines are not Swamp Thing. They are the swamp. That payload the Coyle group was trying to drop? It’s a growth enhancing mutagen. Yes. That explanation is redundant. The mutagen is being dropped as part of an experiment by Avery Sunderland (Will Patton). He is a powerful developer and Maria’s husband. He had hired and then fired disgraced scientist Alec Holland (Andy Bean) to keep a sort of watch over the experiments, which seem to have gone horribly wrong.

Alec and Abby eventually team up, fend off Death Eater vines a couple of times, and have the one scene where there’s actual character development. Over brown liquor, both admit they have troubled pasts. They know there’s a cover-up happening. Investigating could be dangerous. It’s obvious that one of these characters will die in the next scene.