blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

Swamp Thing (2019) s01e08 – Long Walk Home

All right, the show’s definitely intentionally traipsing into the endgame, which is a hopeful sign they’ll be able to wrap it in the remaining ninety minutes.

Crystal Reed returns to Atlanta with the sample of “the rot” and finds best friend Leonardo Nam less supportive than expected. And Reed’s got a new boss, Adrienne Barbeau, who isn’t impressed to hear Reed’s been hanging out in the swamp instead of doing case studies or something. Suddenly, the show’s about CDC bureaucratic procedure and minutiae, but really just to set Reed up with some personal conflict.

It’ll turn out that she doesn’t need the personal conflict, but it’s nice for her to get some character development on the professional arc. The show hasn’t been about Reed as a hotshot, globe-trotting scientist since episode two at the latest.

Meanwhile, Will Patton is hallucinating his way through the swamp, including flashbacks to his origin with his dad. We find out why the swamp hates Patton and Patton hates the swamp. Despite that hostility, Swamp Thing Derek Mears isn’t willing to let Patton bleed out, so the two have a moment. Thanks to Mears’s field dressing, Patton doesn’t get so woozy he’s going to reveal any of his own secrets. It’s a surprisingly good scene. I’d thought Patton had run out of mandibles to chew at “Swamp Thing,” but he’s got another set.

And Mears is successful in his first significant scene opposite anyone but Reed.

The episode keeps another couple of subplots percolating. Henderson Wade’s not feeling great about his recent actions and discoveries; mom and boss Jennifer Beals’s constant reminders to buck up and get through are wearing thin. It’s treading water but not bad.

Finally, there are more machinations with Michael Beach’s malevolent venture capitalist, including his continuing team-up with Kevin Durand. No Virginia Madsen at all this episode, which is a bummer. Hopefully, they’ll get that thread resolved okay.

I already wish “Swamp Thing” had another episode to finish up. This episode’s mostly getting the pieces back into place; it does rather well, functionally, with the now separated leads in their own respective dangers, making for a compelling forty-five minutes.

But this episode’s pacing being successful is contingent on next episode having enough time to get things done.

Fingers crossed.

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