“He was hurting himself. He doesn’t understand what’s happening to him.”
While the authorities search the swamp for Alec’s body, Abby tries to come to terms with the guilt of her past and the monster she saw in the swamps, while the infected Susie Coyle’s condition changes and develops a psychic connection with the mysterious Swamp Thing.
At the start of “Worlds Apart”, the police are out in search of the missing Alec, none too keen on him surviving the explosion Abby witnessed. They’re even more skeptical of Abby’s purported creature sighting, particularly Sheriff Cable (Jennifer Beals, Taken, The L Word, Flash Dance) who conveys her own frosty attitude towards the newly returned Abby. The authorities aren’t much help and Abby knows the clock is ticking and that finding any data Alec may have had on this outbreak could save lives, especially when Harlan shares the news that two more cases have been discovered. The primary driver in this episode is a search for answers. Abby is at the center of this, trying to figure out Alec’s fate, the need to find a solution to the outbreak and, on a more personal level, coming to terms with her past in Marais. She starts this latter path as a part of her professional job, visiting Avery Sunderland in order to gain access to Alec’s lab from the police. Though Avery’s charming words conveys his shame regarding his and Maria’s treatment of Abby (whom they took in when she was 7) it also could have been nothing more than a calculated effort to mitigate her inquiries into his relationship with Alec. That’s almost confirmed when Avery gently refuses Abby’s request, relegating her to continue the search for clues elsewhere.
The Sunderlands are also looking for their own answers. Avery calls in Jason (Kevin Durand, The Strain, Lost, Smokin’ Aces) and Carolina (Selena Anduze, Bosch, Mr. Mercedes) Woodrue in order to figure out what happening with the accelerant Jason created. Maria has her own journey as the weight of her daughter’s death has re-anchored itself to her at Abby’s return to town. Her visit to Madame Xanadu (Jeryl Prescott, The Walking Dead, Ray Donovan) introduces a supernatural presence to the narrative, “a shift in the balance of the light and the dark” that truly makes itself known when, at episode’s end, Maria is cuddled in Shawna’s bed, the very real and very eerie corpse of her daughter nestled beside her.
As “Worlds Apart” crafts what will be a search for answers as its backbone, it also gives viewers the first true glimpse into the titular creature as it works to reconciles its nature. The connection it shares with Susie will be a vital part of the story. This much plays out in “Worlds Apart” when Susie escapes the hospital and heads into the swamp with designs on comforting the scared and confused creature. It eventually saves her from Thug #1, ripping the man apart with the roots of the swamp, showcasing its own psychic connection outside of what it shares with Susie. It’s Susie’s reveal though that is the big shocker—at least for Abby. “He said his name was Alec,” the girl says after being rescued. This revelation will no doubt spark Abby’s hunt for not only the cure for the mysterious outbreak but also solve the mystery of Alec and the Swamp Thing.
“Worlds Apart” is a solid second outing for what was turning out to be a promising series. Despite some of the safe plot lines and rushed nature of Alec’s transformation, the first two episodes nailed the horror elements that look to play a huge role in the series. Whereas the pilot set a decent foundation, “Worlds Apart” expands upon that, producing a reasonable number of questions whose search to answer will ultimately be the driving force throughout the season.
Root and Stem
- Well, that was fast. Less than a week after its premiere, the news came out that DC has officially canceled Swamp Thing. There’s no doubt that this news saps a bit of the excitement I had for the series’ progression and may have affected my energy for this week’s watch. There are still 8 episodes left though and, even if that’s all we get, what the first two episodes have set up—particularly Madame Xanadu’s mention of the light and dark and that last shot of Maria in bed with her daughter’s corpse—suggests a fascinating ride of mystery and horror with Marais as the backdrop.
- From what I saw in the pilot, I was not a fan of framing Avery Sunderland, businessman, as the antagonist. It seemed too safe and typical a choice. A lot of his motivations would have benefited the town but only as an ancillary benefit to lining his own pockets. After “Worlds Apart” though, maybe his antagonistic role is nothing more than misdirection. His wife Maria’s visit to Madame Xanadu and the subsequent appearance of reanimated (?) Shawna suggests something much more sinister than Avery being the bad guy. Maybe he’s nothing more than a gap-stop antagonist, with the real baddie something that’s drifting through the shadows.