NOTE: Full spoilers for this episode of, “Swamp Thing” are present in this review
The final episode of Swamp Thing truly hurts. Not because it’s a bad episode by any means, but because of the total opposite, in fact. Swamp Thing deserved so much better than it got, and its unplanned series finale continues to hint at so many exciting plot developments that will seemingly never see a payoff now. “Loose Ends” feels so frustratingly aptly named, because that’s exactly what it’s full of– Loose ends, and we have WarnerMedia to thank for it! We do at least get an exciting final turn for this rendition of Swamp Thing himself though, as the Conclave Group’s forces make another attempt to capture him. At the same time, Abby also runs afoul of an increasingly unhinged Jason Woodrue, who is now going to very extreme means to save his ailing wife.
You very rapidly get the sense that the show’s writers are scrambling to do whatever they can in order to give Swamp Thing as effective a send-off as possible, especially after the show’s initial episode order got slashed from thirteen to ten. This likely explains why the show’s final episode tries to jump between several characters that don’t otherwise factor into the plot, but that the writers nonetheless clearly didn’t want to leave hanging. Chief among these personalities is Maria, who, as I said previously, is never going to be given a payoff to being stuck in a mental institution now. We do at least get some closure with Maria though, after Madame Xanadu seemingly traps Maria in a consenting bid of prolonged insanity, albeit insanity that finally reunites Maria with her dead daughter. Even Abby must quickly resign herself to there being nothing more anyone can do for Maria as well, which is a kind of twisted, bittersweet resolution for Maria’s character, I suppose.
Daniel and Liz also have to try and fumble through a story arc that can’t properly incorporate them, though again, the show does the best it can to give them fitting send-offs. Liz eventually tracks Daniel to his old video store, where Daniel is quickly preparing to flee Marais. Liz has been doing research on Blue Devil’s character history in the meantime (apparently, DC Comics exists in the Swamp Thing universe, and Blue Devil comic books also get published under DC’s line, in a bit of a neat touch), but nonetheless fails to stop Daniel from fleeing Marais. Daniel thus entrusts Liz with looking after his video store before taking off, presumably going back to L.A., to keep developing his career as both an actor and a superhero. Daniel’s character got the most raw deal out of this show’s lead personalities, but at least the prospect of Daniel getting a chance to have his own off-screen hero career isn’t bad, nor is the idea of Liz running the video store from this point.
Outside of those little character asides though, we get plenty of excitement between Abby, Swamp Thing and Avery, who all see the bulk of big character resolution in this series finale. Avery initially gets removed from the mission to capture Swamp Thing, but he nonetheless makes himself busy by visiting an injured Matt in the hospital, even telling Lucilia that they can be together now, since Avery will likely be divorcing Maria soon. After Lucilia rejects Avery and threatens his life however, Avery later stabs Lucilia through the gut in her police car, before dumping her in the trunk, and pushing the car into the swamp! Matt didn’t get a chance to do much in this episode, by the way, but Lucilia’s grim fate was clearly meant to be a big cliffhanger for a prospective second season. I suppose it’s fair enough to assume that Lucilia just died in the swamp then, given that Swamp Thing got prematurely cancelled, which I guess is still a fair enough turn, especially since it does put Avery back on top in Marais.
The actual mission to capture Swamp Thing is easily an episode highlight though, since we see one last display of violent wrath here, once the Conclave Group’s soldiers inevitably end up cornered in the swamp. After capturing one soldier and using his corpse as bait, Swamp Thing violently kills the rest of the soldiers, but leaves Nathan Ellery alive, ordering him to tell the Conclave’s forces to stay away from him and the swamp. Swamp Thing also predictably debates forsaking humanity for good after this, in order to simply become one with the swamp forever. Even considering the show’s forcibly truncated run easily allowing this result though, Swamp Thing does decide to remain in his human-like state, partially because of the lingering memories of Alec, and partially because of his connection to Abby, who does eventually return, promising to fight the coming darkness and the Conclave alike, alongside Swamp Thing. Again, this at least provides somewhat of a resolution to their characters, even if these promising battles will likely never actually be seen by audiences at this point.
Before actually getting to Swamp Thing however, Abby spends most of this final episode at the Woodrue house, initially looking for Avery, but instead stumbling upon Woodrue and his wife, after Caroline gets taped to a chair, paralyzed by her medication overdose. Woodrue is prepared to feed Caroline bits of Swamp Thing’s false organs in an effort to cure her, though instead consumes the Swamp Thing matter himself, which eventually starts to destabilize his psychology, on top of making him very strong. Abby’s interrupted 911 call does at least lead the police to the Woodrue house however, where they get Caroline to a hospital, save Abby, and arrest Woodrue, though this doesn’t turn out to be much of a solution for long. In a fun and frustrating post-credits scene, we see Matt return to the Marais precinct, only to find that the guard has been killed by plants and thorns. Matt then sees a Swamp Thing-like Woodrue nearby, before Woodrue attacks Matt, presumably killing him too. DC fans would no doubt recognize that Woodrue has transformed into his villainous alter-ego, Floronic Man from DC Comics lore here, a villain that was clearly meant to be incorporated into Swamp Thing as a big bad for an aborted Season Two. The Floronic Man effect is pretty good too, which is likely why the show gave us one teasing glimpse of it, since the make-up and effects artists clearly didn’t want their work to never be seen, even if Swamp Thing was practically killed in the crib by WarnerMedia.
DC has plenty of unfortunate premature series cancellations to their name, such as Green Lantern: The Animated Series, Beware the Batman, Constantine, Krypton and Young Justice, to name a few examples, even if Young Justice fortunately ended up being revived on the very same DC Universe platform that Swamp Thing was denied a proper run on. Perhaps Swamp Thing could also see some kind of revival at some point, whether on DC Universe, HBO Max, or some other platform entirely, but at this point, it seems doubtful. That’s truly heartbreaking, because this final episode for the series continues to demonstrate what a superb production this is, and how it deserved to have a much longer run than it did. It’s especially commendable to see the kind of narrative gymnastics that the writers had to try and pull off in this last episode too, in order to give the show’s leads something of a semi-satisfying resolution, despite having less episodes to work with than WarnerMedia originally approved. The future of the DC Universe streaming platform as a whole seems to be in doubt now too, considering that WarnerMedia is throwing far more resources behind their HBO Max streaming platform at this point, even directing new DC programming there to add insult to injury. It’s all just a bunch of corporate bullshit that unfortunately killed a great show before it could realize its best story arcs, and considering how awesome a series Swamp Thing already was, even in its earliest episodes, that’s what hurts most of all.
- Exciting final battle with Swamp Thing and the Conclave soldiers
- Avery seemingly killing Lucilia
- Awesome Floronic Man transformation for Woodrue
- Several cliffhangers that will likely never be resolved