Episode 5 – “Drive All Night”
First aired June 28, 2019.
This episode is named after the Bruce Springsteen song from from his 1980 album The River.
EPISODE 5, SCENE 1: Maria and Avery talk on the phone and he thanks her for funding Jason’s research. Maria goes upstairs to investigate strange noises coming from Susie’s room. Avery is in a motel room with Lucilia and he notices that Liz is calling her phone.
EPISODE 5, SCENE 2: Maria checks on Susie, who is frightened because an angry Shawna appeared in her room. Maria briefly leaves to get a blanket and returns to find that Susie has disappeared. Maria notices that the bathroom is flooded and Shawna rises from the bath and accuses Maria of trying to replace her. Maria hugs Shawna, who then assumes the appearance of Susie but with Shawna’s evil, dead eyes.
EPISODE 5, SCENE 3: Swamp Thing finds a tag in the swamp and remembers being Alec and leaving it there to indicate an active mutagenic site. Swampy has a vision of many dead bodies in the river and on its banks. He tries to turn away but roots grab him and force him to look. When the roots release him, Swamp Thing sees a man (Phantom Stranger) approaching on a boat. The Stranger is unafraid of Swamp Thing and Swampy asks him who he is.
NOTES: The Phantom Stranger is a mysterious character of great magical power who first appeared in Phantom Stranger #1 (Aug./Sept. 1952). He featured in backup stories that ran throughout issues #1-13 of the 1982 Saga of the Swamp Thing series. Phantom Stranger and Swamp Thing finally meet in issue #14 (June 1983).
EPISODE 5, SCENE 4: Cassidy gets in his car and attempts to leave Marais but stops at the edge of town. He gets out of the car and attempts to breach the limits of the town with his hand but his arm bursts into a blue flame. He asks the unseen forces whether Abby is the one he is supposed to be waiting for. He opens up the car boot to reveal the head of the Blue Devil costume, and we see its eyes glow.
EPISODE 5, SCENE 5: Lucilia and Avery finish having sex at a motel room. Lucilia gets up to leave and Avery notices she still wears a ring that he gave to her before he met Maria. Lucilia gets another call from Liz, who has been leaving messages about the evidence Margaux found. Lucilia decides to investigate Alec’s death before Liz publishes her own version of events in the newspaper.
EPISODE 5, SCENE 6: Abby continues to analyse Swamp Thing’s cells in the hospital lab. She begins to suspect that what she is seeing is beyond the realm of science, but is interrupted by Jason. Jason asks where the sample came from and whether it had something to do with Alec Holland, as he was the only scientist doing research in the area. Abby gets a call from Susie and leaves.
EPISODE 5, SCENE 7: Delroy finds Avery preparing turtle soup in the Roadhouse kitchen. Avery asks Delroy to tell Liz to stop pursuing him. Liz enters and asks Avery where Gordon is, and Avery explains that he’s on vacation. Avery gets angry at the line of questioning and threatens Liz and her father.
EPISODE 5, SCENE 8: A man takes Jason to Alec’s lab and they find that it has been damaged. Jason notices large footprints and takes a sample of some plant growth nearby. He looks at the sample under the microscope and discovers that it is the same plant material that Abby has been studying.
EPISODE 5, SCENE 9: The Stranger says he wants to help Swamp Thing understand what is happening. He touches a tree and hears it whisper its memories, and he explains that the Green connects all of the trees together. The Stranger says the trees are warning them of a danger from the past returning for someone that Swampy knows. Swamp Thing touches the tree and sees a vision of a teenage Abby in the river searching for Shawna.
NOTES: The strange man mentions that he is “Just a passing stranger. Maybe a phantom from a dream.” The Phantom Stranger frequently uses a similar catchphrase in the comics.
In this scene, the Phantom Stranger first mentions the concept of the Green – the elemental realm of plants. In the comics, this concept is first mentioned and experienced by Jason Woodrue at around the time of The Saga of Swamp Thing #22 (Mar. 1984). Further explanation of the Green and Swampy’s role in the realm of plants is provided by John Constantine, who is first introduced in The Saga of Swamp Thing #37 (June 1985).
The Stranger warns Swamp Thing of “danger here for someone you know. A danger from the past, returning.” He may just be referring to Shawna’s ghost seeking revenge on Abby. However, it could also be a reference to Abby’s uncle Anton, who never appears in the TV series but is arguably Swamp Thing and Abby’s greatest nemesis in the comics.
EPISODE 5, SCENE 10: Abby arrives at the Sunderland residence and Maria answers the door. Abby hears Susie humming a song that Shawna knew and sees a flashback of her and Shawna on the bridge as teenagers. Abby meets Susie, who speaks to her as if she were Shawna and refers to events that only Shawna and Abby experienced. Abby suspects that Maria and Susie may be playing a spiteful prank on her. Susie causes the door to slam and then appears as the drowned Shawna. Shawna tells Abby she wants revenge, and then vomits out an eel. Abby leaves the room.
EPISODE 5, SCENE 11: Downstairs Abby confronts Maria, accusing her of filling Susie’s head with ideas of Shawna. Maria denies this and claims that Xanadu brought Shawna back. Maria tells Abby to leave. Susie appears on the stairs and says that she must return to the swamp at some point, and that Maria should accompany her.
EPISODE 5, SCENE 12: Outside of the Sunderland house, Abby leaves a message for Child Services and is approached by Xanadu, who also fears for Susie. Abby sees Maria and Susie drive past in a car.
EPISODE 5, SCENE 13: Lucilia visits Remy Dubois to ask him about the night Alec died. Remy reveals that the only other boat that went out that night was Avery’s boat, driven by Matt. Lucilia accuses him of lying. Remy pulls out a shotgun demands $50,000 to keep his secret safe. Remy also says he found a dynamite wrapper on the boat when Matt returned. Lucilia shoots and kills Remy, and then reports the shooting via the police radio
EPISODE 5, SCENE 14: In the car, Abby and Xanadu talk. Xanadu admits she opened a door for Shawna’s return because Maria was grieving so much. Abby says that the girl she saw at the Sunderland’s was not Shawna, but Xanadu explains that Shawna’s spirit is twisted with darkness. Abby is still angry with Xanadu, believing that her advice was once responsible for the death of her mother Anise.
NOTES: Abby’s mother Anise is only briefly mentioned in the comics (Swamp Thing #125, Nov. 1992) and it is implied that Anton had her burned alive as a witch out of jealousy that she chose his brother Gregori. (Anise is not to be confused with Abby’s paternal grandmother Anaïs, who actually was a witch and was introduced in Swamp Thing #83, Feb. 1989). In the ‘New 52’ reboot, Anton claims that Abby killed her birth mother when she was a toddler (Swamp Thing #10 [Aug. 2012] and #23.1 [Nov. 2013]).
EPISODE 5, SCENE 15: Susie takes Maria to the riverbank where she sees a healthy Shawna beckoning her into the water. Maria enters the water and Susie collapses as Shawna’s spirit leaves her.
EPISODE 5, SCENE 16: Abby and Xanadu arrive on the bridge and Abby notices the roadside memorial again. Susie runs up to them to warn them that Shawna has bewitched Maria. Abby instructs Xanadu to call Matt, and Abby runs down to the river.
EPISODE 5, SCENE 17: Abby tries to get Maria to leave the water and apologies for the death of Shawna. Maria attacks Abby and tries to drown her but Abby escapes and runs to the shore. Maria goes to follow her but Shawna drags her under. Abby frantically searches for Maria until Swamp Thing emerges from the water, carrying Maria.
EPISODE 5, SCENE 18: Abby revives Maria. Swamp Thing describes his vision of the teenage Abby and transmits it to her. Abby has a flashback to the morning Shawna died. Shawna wanted to jump off the bridge for fun but Abby tried to talk her out of it. When Shawna was standing on the edge of the bridge, Abby pushed her in as a joke but Shawna did not resurface. Abby jumped in after her and then Shawna emerged unharmed. However, something then pulled Shawna under the water permanently. In the present, Abby now remembers the events of that day. They hear Matt calling out and Swamp Thing leaves. Matt comforts Abby while Swampy watches on.
EPISODE 5, SCENE 19: At the Roadhouse, Liz is concerned for Delroy’s safety after Avery’s threats. Cassidy is at the bar and is frustrated that he cannot leave the town. Liz admits that she left Marais once to study and live in New York but things didn’t work out and she returned to help her father.
EPISODE 5, SCENE 20: Outside, Liz sees that her car tyres have been punctured and she is approached by two masked men who deliver a warning, obviously on behalf of Avery. She fights one of the men off, and Cassidy arrives and is knocked unconscious. The men run away.
EPISODE 5, SCENE 21: At the hospital, Avery is going to visit Maria. Before he can see her, Avery is approached by Jason who tells him that Abby’s sample is from a living creature, and Jason wants to capture and study it. Avery gives Jason the name of a skilled hunter, as Maria watches on with disdain.