So at last we are here. The Anatomy Lesson. This episode shares the name of the ground breaking episode of the comic book. There are no two ways around it, how do they compare?
Well, many elements of the comic book story do take place in the episode. But, as usual, this is not a straight adaptation. Jason Woodrue (Kevin Durand) has a frozen Swamp Thing (Derek Mears), captured by Avery Sunderland’s (Will Patton) men, to dissect and examine. In one really positive alteration, Swamp Thing actually wakes up during this, adding to the gruesomeness of the event.
Woodrue makes the same observations in both stories, that the specific organs within Swamp Thing’s body, which resemble lungs, liver, heart and so on, are made of plant tissue, and thus cannot possibly function the way they do in a human body. Woodrue also reaches the same conclusions based on these observations, though I will not spoil that.
This storyline actually carries on a bit further than it does in the comics, leading the creature back into the swamps in order to get his own confirmation of Woodrue’s theories.
This in an of itself would have been enough to satisfy me, but the episode advances another plot thread as well. The Phantom Stranger (Macon Blair) comes to visit Daniel Cassidy (Ian Ziering) in the hospital, showing him a vision of a possible future in which Abby Arcane (Crystal Reed) and Liz Tremayne (Maria Sten) get murdered. He convinces Daniel that he has the ability to alter this, by embracing the changes occurring within him. The Blue Devil gets born, and it’s not the light hearted version seen in the comics. Not by a long shot. I now feel really guilty about my comments about Ziering in my review of the first episode in which he appeared. His role in this episode was the icing on the cake.
And as if that wasn’t enough, the power struggle between Avery and Maria Sunderland (Virginia Madsen) develops further, and brings in another character from the comics, Dennis Barclay (Jason Davis). Matt Cable (Henderson Wade) also has an experience that mirrors one from the story “By Demons Driven.”
In other words, this episode was everything I wanted it to be, and so very much more.
It just doesn’t get much better than this. Well, maybe it does. There is one more episode, after all.