Episode 7 – “Brilliant Disguise”
First aired July 12, 2019.
This episode is named after the Bruce Springsteen song from from his 1987 album Tunnel of Love.
EPISODE 7, SCENE 1: Alec appears to Abby in his human form and explains that the spores that came out of his body must be hallucinogenic. He didn’t consciously control the spores but the Green reacts to his thoughts: in this case, his desire to appear human to Abby again. Alec grows a fruit tree for Abby to eat from when she mentions that she is hungry. He can also hear the plants waking up and talking to him. He says he has seen the Rot consume life in the swamp. Abby wants to see, but Alec warns her that it is very dangerous.
NOTES: In the comics, Swamp Thing grows hallucinogenic edible tubers from his body. Abby eats one of these and they have a psychedelic sex scene in The Saga of Swamp Thing #34 (Mar. 1985).
EPISODE 7, SCENE 2: At the Roadhouse, Matt fills out a transfer request and is served by Liz. She asks him how the search for the creature went, and where Abby is. Matt realises that Liz already knows about Alec’s condition. Matt says he is scared about the darkness that Swamp Thing mentioned.
EPISODE 7, SCENE 3: Maria is baking while Avery reads Jason’s report. They talk about Nathan Ellery, who is a senior advisor for the Conclave Group and is coming for dinner. The Conclave Group have funded health and military projects, and Avery hopes to secure financing. Avery is happy that Maria is in a good mood, but they are interrupted by Lucilia.
NOTES: Nathan Ellery is the head of the Conclave in early issues of Swamp Thing, though he is enigmatically referred to as Mr. E until his full name is revealed in Swamp Thing #7 (Nov./Dec. 1973).
EPISODE 7, SCENE 4: Lucilia confronts Avery about blackmailing Matt. She tells him that Alec is alive and has been transformed, and his existence threatens to expose Matt, Avery and herself for their role in his attack. She tells Avery that they must deal with the problem directly.
EPISODE 7, SCENE 5: Avery makes an excuse to Maria to leave with Lucilia but says he’ll be back for the meeting with Ellery.
EPISODE 7, SCENE 6: Alec and Abby talk and walk through a vivid, blooming swamp. Alec explains that there are unseen forces of life and death, such as the Green, that exist outside of science. He says that they often work in a harmonious balance, but sometimes the Rot takes over. Alec shows her a dead part of the swamp and says that it’s too dangerous to go further but Abby wants a sample..
NOTES: Here the ‘darkness’ that has been mentioned throughout the series is finally explicitly depicted and referred to as “The Rot”. While the Green has battled other elemental forces before, the Rot was first introduced in the ‘New 52’ series that began in 2011. It is the force of death and decay and is often associated with the Arcane family, who are to the Rot what Swamp Thing is to the Green.
EPISODE 7, SCENE 7: Maria visits Jason to talk about his report, and asks for clarification about his conclusions. Though he says the process was a success, Maria knows that Cassidy’s treatment had severe side effects. She wants to know whether he can deliver what he is proposing to the investors. Jason says yes, but is unsure why he is consulting with her instead of Avery.
EPISODE 7, SCENE 8: Lucilia and Avery go out on a boat. Avery explains that Alec was attacked because he threatened to destroy his prosperity. Though Avery has been exploiting and destroying the swamp, he feels that the swamp owes him for taking his father. Lucilia lets Avery carry her shotgun.
EPISODE 7, SCENE 9: Abby and Alec walk through the Rot. Abby takes a sample of a rotten plant but she is attacked by tendrils and wounded. Abby and Swamp Thing flee as branches and trees fall around them and the Rot spreads.
EPISODE 7, SCENE 10: Jason and Caroline prepare for the dinner with Ellery. Caroline wants them both to return to their academic positions but he wants to find a cure for her Alzheimer’s.
EPISODE 7, SCENE 11: Avery and Lucilia are in the swamp where Matt last saw Swamp Thing. Avery becomes paranoid and points the shotgun at Lucilia, guessing that she is leading him into an ambush. Lucilia tries to talk her way out of it, and Matt appears and knocks Avery out. Matt and Lucilia plan to kill Avery and dump his body in the water.
EPISODE 7, SCENE 12: Ellery arrives at the Sunderland house and Maria greets him and makes an excuse for Avery’s absence.
EPISODE 7, SCENE 13: Alec takes the injured Abby back to the lab. The wound inflicted by the Rot is eating her flesh and they realise they don’t have time to go to a hospital. Abby tells Alec what plants will be able to cure her and he grows them, but the Rot continues to spread up her arm despite the treatment.
EPISODE 7, SCENE 14: Avery regains consciousness while on the boat with Lucilia and Matt. Avery claims to be Matt’s father, and Lucilia does not deny it. While Matt and Lucilia are arguing, Avery stabs Matt. Avery is shot twice with a shotgun but manages to jump overboard and escape. Matt and Lucilia leave so that Matt can get treatment for his injury.
EPISODE 7, SCENE 15: Alec tells Abby that the Green and the Rot are fighting within her body. He tries to help the Green win and reverts back to his Swamp Thing appearance. Soon, Abby is cured but passes out.
EPISODE 7, SCENE 16: Maria, Ellery and the Woodrues eat dinner but Ellery is upset that Avery isn’t there to present the report. Maria demonstrates impressive knowledge of the work of the Conclave Group and suggests that Jason explain the prospectus. He begins to speak in scientific jargon but Maria translates the report for Ellery in layman’s terms.
EPISODE 7, SCENE 17: Abby wakes up and Alec appears to her as a human again while he dresses her wound. The hallucinogenic effect of the spores is beginning to wear off. Abby is thankful that he saved her, and they kiss.
EPISODE 7, SCENE 18: Jason talks to Caroline, pleased that they have secured full funding from Ellery. Caroline is confused about the dinner, again exhibiting signs of dementia, and Jason is concerned.
EPISODE 7, SCENE 19: Lucilia and Matt walk to a car and Lucilia apologises for keeping Matt’s parentage a secret.
EPISODE 7, SCENE 20: Maria is pleased at receiving the funding, but Lucilia and the injured Matt arrive at her door. She is reluctant to let them in but they have a doctor with them who can perform surgery on Matt discreetly.
EPISODE 7, SCENE 21: Dr. Fred gives Matt stitches and Maria is unhappy that the attack on Avery didn’t go according to plan. Lucilia tells Maria that Avery is dead and they drink to celebrate Maria taking over the Sunderland company. Lucilia tells Maria to file a missing persons report for Avery. Maria says she doesn’t want to see Lucilia again now that their arrangement is concluded.
EPISODE 7, SCENE 22: Abby and Alec sit underneath Alec’s lab. Alec ponders whether he is part of some larger plan, and suggests that he might be a warrior in the battle between the Green and the Rot. He wants Abby to stop devoting her time trying to turn him back into Alec, and he tells her to leave. Abby drives away on a boat.
NOTES: In the comics, Alec discovers that he was selected to be transformed into Swamp Thing so as to become a protector of the Green. He formally learns of the lineage of warriors of the Green in Swamp Thing #47 (Apr. 1986).
EPISODE 7, SCENE 23: When she is in her car, Abby calls Liz and tells her that Swamp Thing is losing hope. She informs Liz that she is going back to Atlanta to use the full resources of the CDC to analyse the sample taken from the Rot. Abby drives out of Marais.
EPISODE 7, SCENE 24: Avery climbs out of the swamp water.