Swamp Thing Episode 5 Introduces DC Comics’ Phantom Stranger

Swamp Thing and Phantom Stranger

The fifth episode of Swamp Thing drops on the DC Universe streaming service this Friday, and it's bringing Phantom Stranger to life. Though the show may have been cancelled far too soon, the complete first season will air for fans to enjoy. The finale was even reworked after the episode reduction, which presumably means more closure even if it doesn't answer every question or satisfy every desire.

What's sure to be satisfied, though, is the desire to see more iconic comic characters in live-action. Swamp Thing already boasted a cast full of classic heroes from Abby Arcane (Crystal Reed) to Avery Sunderland (Will Patton) from the first episode, but the series series quickly branched out by adding crossover characters like Madame Xanadu (Jeryl Prescott) and Blue Devil (Ian Ziering). Now audiences will get a chance to witness the first live-action appearance of the Phantom Stranger, played by Macon Blair.

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Related: What Madame Xanadu's Tarot Cards Mean

Episode 5 is called "Drive All Night," and the description according to DC Universe is as follows:

"Haunted by the ghost of her childhood friend who reemerges from the swamp, Abby's forced to confront both her past with the Sunderlands as well as the dark forces at play in Marais. While she continues to search for a cure for Alec, he struggles to come to terms with his transformation with the help of a mysterious Phantom Stranger (recurring guest star MACON BLAIR).  When Abby's life is threatened, Swamp Thing is able to use his abilities to save her, but it's Matt, ultimately, who saves the day – further isolating Swamp Thing from the human world.  Meanwhile, Sheriff Cable learns some disturbing information about her son, while Jason Woodrue shares a revelation about Swamp Thing with Avery Sunderland."

While there's a lot to unpack about this week's episode, the event that jumps out most prominently is the introduction of Phantom Stranger. Though he's never had his own television series or film, he has been a popular comic book character since his debut in 1952. After a 6-issue anthology, he interacted with various heroes in their own titles before receiving an ongoing one of his own. He even crossed paths with Swamp Thing in a major way during Swamp Thing Annual Vol. 2, where he helped the agent of the Green make peace with his situation thanks to his near-omniscience. Their dynamic on the page sounds rather similar to what it might be onscreen, as a matter of fact.

Other important aspects of "Drive All Night" include the continuation of Abby wrestling with her past, which will certainly mean more insight into young Shawna Sunderland's death. Matt Cable (Henderson Wade) and his mother Lucilia (Jennifer Beals) will also have important roles to play in pushing Swamp Thing (Derek Mears) further away from the people of Marais. It's unclear how exactly Phantom Stranger will help Alec, but presumably his advice will counteract the dark forces and fear surrounding him.

Unfortunately, given the show's untimely demise, fans may not get to see the relationship between these two heroes develop beyond a mysterious encounter. But even if the #SaveSwampThing movement doesn't result in a last-minute renewal, it's still a treat to see the beginnings of the mythology that James Wan and his team had in store for these epic characters.

More: Why DC's Swamp Thing Was Cancelled

Swamp Thing is currently available for streaming on DC Universe.

Source: DC Universe

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