Swamp Thing picks up where they previously left off as Swamp Thing (Derek Mears) found Avery Sunderland (Will Patton) barely alive in the swamp after he was shot by Sherrif Cable (Jennifer Beals) at the request of his wife, Maria Sunderland (Virginia Madsen). Swamp Thing was taken by Avery to see Dr. Jason Woodrue (Kevin Durand) in hopes of finding an answer to his condition. However, in “The Anatomy Lesson,” Dr. Abby Arcane (Crystal Reed) is in danger in Atlanta as her secret research and patient – Alec Holland (Andy Bean), now Swamp Thing – has been exposed and is in the hands of the team hired by Maria Sunderland.
As Jason leaves again to see Swamp Thing, at the request of Avery, he leaves his wife, Caroline Woodrue (Selena Anduze) who is suffering from some type of memory loss – dementia though it is not specifically stated. Caroline is confused and begins to tremble in fear of what will happen to her husband if he explores the swamp again. Woodrue clearly loves his wife and their relationship makes him a much more likable character. When Jason is not with her, he is arrogant and undermines those around him.
As Caroline recounts her nightmare, Jason reassures her that her misery will be over soon. He hopes to find answers to her disease now that he has a chance to experiment and test Swamp Thing. The scene flashes between the sweet embrace of Jason and Caroline and the harsh green lighting of the lab where men in hazmat suits have brought in Swamp Thing.
On the other side of Marais, Louisiana, Abby is back and tells Liz Tremayne (Maria Sten) that Alec is missing. Abby is suspicious about who is involved telling Liz that this goes beyond the CDC. Previously, Harlan Edwards (Leonardo Nam), Abby’s partner, was taken by strange men after seeing Abby and she was told he was “reassigned.” Concerned about Liz, Abby asks her one more time to help her on this case, even though she has already turned Liz’s life upside. At this point, Liz has witnessed her father having deranged hallucinations due to a parasite from the swamp and was nearly killed by goons hired by Avery. Both instances happened because of her involvement in the case. However, Liz assures Abby, in a very touching moment, they have always been there for each other and now is no different. The comradery between the two is amazing to watch. Sometimes in media, female relationships don’t feel real and often fall apart when a love interest comes around. Despite Abby’s loyalty and attraction toward Alec Holland, her and Liz never grow apart and instead support each other and their common goal to get Alec and the city justice.
As Liz and Abby attempt to track down Jason, Avery and Jason are in a lab with an unconscious Swamp Thing ready to begin their testing on his regenerative abilities. The scenes in the lab are immensely eerie. From the lightning to the music, the ambiance of the scene is downright spooky and the green color palette is very reminiscent of other sci-fi horror classics like Alien.
Additionally, the moments where Jason dissects Swamp Thing, digging into his plat-like chest cavity, are plain gross. Swamp Thing has maintained so much of his humanity that it is hard to see him or his figure as a monster, so viewing him being mutilated by Jason is uncomfortable. It is especially unsettling since calming classical music plays in the background with the squish of Swamp Thing’s skin being pulled apart. But, it also works well for the scene, showing just how ruthless Jason and Avery are willing to be.
In a much safer lab environment, Daniel Cassidy (Ian Ziering) is finally waking up. Previously, Daniel was given a regenerative serum by Jason. The serum has extreme side-effects that were only complicated by Daniel’s deal he made previously with a demon which has kept him in Marais. Once awake, Daniel speaks again to the studio guy, the demon he made a deal with, and finds himself watching as Liz and Abby attempt to track down Jason. Luckily, it is revealed to be a vision of the future. It is becoming more and more clear that Daniel has been kept in Marais to keep Abby and Liz safe, something that has been hinted previously by Madame Xanadu (Jeryl Prescott). Daniel Cassidy is one of my favorite characters in the series so seeing more of his backstory and destiny is exciting. Ziering has done a fantastic job at portraying the character’s charisma and making him so likable.
Overall, “The Anatomy Lesson” offers more insight into both Swamp Thing and Daniel Cassidy’s conditions. The episode’s pacing overall is well done but there were moments in the lab with Jason that felt like the episode was dragging on. However, that is the only major flaw I can find in an episode that spectacularly highlighted Daniel and Swamp Thing while fortifying the relationship between Abby, who even more so than Swamp Thing is the main character of the series, and Liz. With the series finale debuting Friday, August 2nd, it is hard to know if the conclusion will satisfy all the loose threads that are left. Either way, “The Anatomy Lesson” is a hell of a ride.
Swamp Thing is now streaming on The DC Universe
Swamp Thing Episode 9 - The Anatomy Lesson
Overall, “The Anatomy Lesson” offers more insight into both Swamp Thing and Daniel Cassidy’s conditions. The episode’s pacing overall is well done but there were moments in the lab with Jason that felt like the episode was dragging on. However, that is the only major flaw I can find.