“Swamp Thing” Dies on the Vine in Panicked Rush to Finish Line [SPOILER REVIEW]

Farewell, DC Universe‘s Swamp Thing we hardly knew ye. We hardly saw ye in your own show. Over your untimely death, some will mourn… but not that many, since not that many people subscribe to the streaming service. With this being the series finale and burdened with wrapping everything up in some kind of way, once again way too much happens in the episode – so of course, MAJOR SPOILER WARNING from this point forward:

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Swamp Thing mopes that he’s a swamp monster and not Alec Holland. Abby looks confused again. Dan Cassidy skips town so the Blue Devil didn’t matter after all. Did we ever really care about Blue Devil? Madame Xanadu puts Maria in a delusional stupor in the mental asylum so she can find peace with her dead daughter. Woodrue tries to feed his wife bits of Swamp Thing to cure her Alzheimer’s, eats it himself first, and gets plant powers – then he’s arrested. Swamp Thing kills a bunch of mercenaries in the swamp. Abby keeps going from one subplot to the next and getting confused. Avery Sunderland murders Sheriff Lucia Cable for trying to murder him. Woodrue goes full Floronic Man and attacks Matt Cable. Swamp Thing and Abby decide to stick around town and fight swamp crime. The end.

When Scripts Fall Apart…

If you thought the Game of Thrones finale was bad, this is the new champ. Plot for the sake of plot, now coming so thick and fast none of it matters. None of it carries weight. We didn’t care about any of it. Everything that was weak about the series takes over the entire finale.

The finale is like an episode of a daytime soap, just piling on plot after plot with little impact. And the dialogue? That goes down the drain. The terrible, on-the-nose lines felt like they were written under pressure, full of showing and telling.

The finale is one step away from being a Naked Gun-style spoof of itself. Everyone explains the plot to each other as the runtime reaches the end. The writers should have taken the opportunity to go completely hog-wild crazy at last. That would have at least made the series ending memorable.

The Most Abruptly Cancelled Show of 2019

The series launched with a lot of positive reviews and buzz. The cast and crew  thought they were a shoo-in for season 2. Then the network cut the series order from 13 to 10. Next, the show was unceremoniously cancelled days after the pilot episode premiered. The writers hastily rewrote the remaining episodes to make sure it brought the show to an end. This is the messiest series finale I’ve seen for a long time. The show fell apart as it ended with the impact and intensity of a damp squib. The rush to climax its way-too-many plotlines resulted in a tepid stew of anti-climaxes.

The reasons behind the cancellation were never clear. Both the network and North Carolina’s state government denied rumours that the show lost its tax credit, which made the show too expensive to continue production. Did the executives see how bloated the show got or did their notes turn the show into that, which caused them to pull the plug? We may never know the real reasons for the cancellation.

Too Many Characters, Slow Pacing

The show was trying to do a season-long origin story. That’s a really bad idea.  Long origin stories that take a whole season tend to drag everything out in increasingly tedious fashion. Season-long origin stories needlessly slow the story down, as putting off establishing its central relationship and sticking to it. They frequently end the season just as the show arrives at its heart, if we’re lucky. Some shows still don’t find their feet in the second season. In most continuing stories, the central story should arrive much sooner and settle into that format instead of dancing around it and never arriving. Swamp Thing appeared in less than ten minutes of each episode, and was separate from nearly all the storylines.

The show was on a subscriber service with no restrictions on swearing and violence but oddly squeamish about sex. There was no excuse not to be shocking, transgressive, or surprising – especially given the source material. The whole series has been too timid, dancing around what it should have really been about:

Abby and her buddy Swamp Thing solving swampy supernatural mysteries and having trippy plant sex.

By the end, we’re left with a sense of actors getting released from contracts, sets being taken down, the crew scattered. it felt like a show that had been taken out behind the woodshed and shot.

The entire series run of the live-action Swamp Thing is currently streaming on DC Universe.