A surveyor is working out in the swamp and hears something moving in the brush. He goes to the nearby water and sees a frog swimming, and assumes it made the noise. As the surveyor turns back, someone grabs him and knocks him out... and then leaves him lying face down in the water.
Later, Carter Sinclair Laroche is holding a press conference in the swamp announcing that he's going to build a recycling factory for the poisons of a consuming society. Arcane is in the crowd, and a reporter next to him asks where Carter is going to build the factory. Carter says that his family owns a piece of land on the other side of the swamp. Swamp Thing watches from the brush, and introduces ecologist Dr. Ann Fisk to explain how his factory won't contribute to the pollution. From hiding, Swamp Thing recognizes Ann from when he was human and they were at the university together.
Alec is talking about genetics in the cafeteria. Ann interrupts him and asks about the potential abuses of gene exploration. He talks about what Lincoln said about letting them be guided by the better angels of their nature.
A woman screams as she finds the surveyor's body. Later at the morgue, the coroner tells Carter that the surveyor slipped and hit his head, and drowned. Ann discovers that there are lethal chemicals in the dead man's lungs, and tells Carter that someone has been dumping industrial waste into the swamp. Arcane comes in and tells Carter that he has a dead man before he even built his factory. Carter figures that the more development in Houma, the less important Arcane is. Ann suggests that they keep the specifics of the death quiet for the moment until she can run some tests, and Arcane agrees with her. He offers his lab for the testing so he'll know the work was done well. Once Arcane leaves, Carter tells Ann that Arcane is a notorious character in Houma.
Later, Ann goes out into the swamp to take samples. Swamp Thing watches her from the brush as she goes into her tent for the night. She wakes up later when she hears something move, grabs her gun, and goes out to investigate. Swamp Thing calls from the shadows, saying that he means her no harm, and tells Ann that he's a friend. He says that he can't step out where she can see him, and warns Ann that there are those who would destroy the town and the swamp and she should trust no one.
The next day, Arcane looks on as Ann examines the samples at his lab. He asks if she communed with nature when she was camped out, and Ann dismisses it as nothing. She says that she had what she was thought was a dream when a voice spoke to her in the swamp and gave her a warning. Arcane dismisses it as the "Phantom of the Swamp," and says that he used to be a brilliant scientist until he changed and thinks that he is the swamp. Quigley delivers the results of Ann's samples.
Later, Ann addresses a town meeting and says that parts of the swamp are so severely contaminated that plant and animal life are threatened... and the threat is spreading. Carter takes the podium and talks about how they're all in it together. He tells the townspeople that the land he bought and their land will be useless for years to come. However, Carter offers the townspeople top dollar for any of their land adjacent to the swamp.
Carter goes to the complex and Arcane congratulates him on his manipulative skill. He staged his opposition to convince the townspeople to go with Carter's plan. Now Arcane can build his resort, Play in the Spray, on the land Carter will buy for cheap and make a fortune.
That night, Ann drives out to the swamp and calls to her "friend". Swamp Thing says that he's there, and refuses to show himself. Ann tells him that she knows about him. She repeats what Arcane said but doesn't believe him, and Swamp Thing suggests that she look closer to home for the source of the contamination. Ann realizes that he means Carter but doesn't believe it, and Swamp Thing tells her to lure Arcane and Carter to the swamp. If they're guilty then justice will be done.
Arcane is having dinner with Tatiana in her hibernation tank. Carter comes in and tells Arcane that they have a problem. Ann is going out to run more test, and Arcane says that he'll contaminate them like the previous ones. Carter says that they should both go out in the swamp to make sure the samples are contaminated.
Later, the two men arrive at the camp and worms start crawling over Carter as he works. As he brushes them off, Arcane comes out and Carter runs into his tent to wash off. Arcane sees the plans Carter was working on, and grabs them and goes into the tent. He's furious that Carter plans to drain the swamp without telling him, and insists that there could be repercussions from another dimension. When Carter refuses, Arcane leaves to let Carter deal with "him" alone.
Once Arcane drives off, Ann joins Carter. He claims that Arcane went back to the lab, and Ann says that all of her samples so far have come up clean. Carter insists that they keep working to be sure. Later, Carter dozes off and Swamp Thing sends torrential water into the site. The man walks up and discovers that the site is flooded and there's no sign of Ann. He sees the specter of the surveyor reflected in the water, telling Carter to confess to his murder. Ann comes out to investigate and Carter staggers up, confessing to the murder as Swamp Thing slips away.
The next day, the medics take Carter to an insane asylum and he mumbles about Play in the Spray. Arcane tells the townspeople that Carter was a fraud out to destroy Houma. He tears up the photo of the prospective resort and everyone applauds.
Later, Ann returns to the swamp to talk to Swamp Thing. She wonders why the swamp didn't come after Arcane, and Swamp Thing tells her that he might have been influenced by the better angels of his nature. Ann thanks him for his help and leaves. She returns to Houma and takes a taxi to the airport, and remembers what Alec told her about better angels... and realizes that Alex was the one talking to her in the swamp.
Written by Gadfly on Aug 22, 2017