Tuesday, March 22, 2016


With superhero television programs blowing up in the last few years, recaps of superhero television shows have become all the internet rage. Other sites, however, are hobbled by the need to cover shows which have been "recently broadcast" or which are "any good at all." But who covers the uncoverable? That's why Gone&Forgotten chooses to cover the 1991-1993 USA Network live-action Swamp Thing television series in a feature I like to call "Swamp Thing Wicked This Way Comes" or...

If You See Swamp Thing, Say Swamp Thing

The story of a withered carrot and his efforts to lure evil out of the swamp using only his dancing feet and the song in his heart
Season One / Episode Five : Blood Wind

Is it an episode of Swamp Thing or a gastro-intestinal issue? It's hard to say, if you're familiar with this show.

Anton Arcane picks up a kid sidekick in the form of "Crown Prince," (Michael Champlin) an eyepatch-sporting underwear model with hair teased high-ta-Jesus. What Crown Prince brings to the man-mutating table is a chemical which turns whoever ingests it into the victim of horrible violence. I don't understand why this is something you'd want to build in a lab otherwise dedicated to making monkey-people and pig-dudes. Still, despite it being a failure, this is a show ostensibly about the beauty of the environment so nothing gets thrown away - it gets recycled.

"I can't believe that dad is making me throw away all my bottled urine."  

Specifically, it gets recycled straight into Tressa's whole literal face. Crown Prince disposes of the garbage on what turns out to be Jim's mom's favorite bike path. Or, he tries to, anyway - Swamp Thing takes the chemical away from him, then opens up the jar and leaves it on a stump, steaming blood-red menace. Tressa, inured to the threat of danger from years of living with tiny man-murderer-in-the-making Jim, wanders right up to it and inhales what appears to be the entire jar of liquid.

I'm sure she'll be fine.

Not that -- at twenty-two minutes an episode -- Swamp Thing has a whole lot of time to fart around, but a decent amount of the middle of the episode is dedicated to Tressa taking a shower, walking around in a robe, and slowly putting on stockings. It's the 90s and this was late-night basic cable television, so folks needed something to masturbate to.

When Tressa descends on the town's shopping district, Anton Arcane descends on her, and a little more time is wasted in the middle of the episode on some super-creepy-peepin'. If the red mist has one benefit among its murder-centric hate-juicin', it's that it kills Anton Arcane's ardor dead. Hooray! Crown Prince developed creep repellent!

The one downside is that it finally kicks in, turning the nice people who live on the Universal Studios backlot into scene-chewing monsters. Tressa suffers assaults at the hands of an art gallery owner, a hunky dad doing yardwork, and a sewer worker who looks a lot like Dan Didio and which seems about right. Rushing into the swamp, Tressa even finds herself assaulted by plants, as even Mother Nature realizes that the show could be leaner.

"There's no turtles down here! There's not even any discarded pizza boxes!"

Swamp Thing, for his part, utilizes his tremendous powers to keep Tressa safe; from a sitting position behind some bushes, he demands in the tone of a mildly annoyed dogowner "Stop it. Stop it," and then, for emphasis, adds "Stop." He's the hero of the show.

As a vine drags Tressa to a sheer drop over a cliff, Swamp Thing discovers that he can't approach her without also getting a case of the Screaming Red Mad-As-Shits. What he CAN do, apparently, is spontaneously grow a root from his foot and send it shooting towards Tressa, erupting from the ground right in front of her looking for all the world like ... um ...


Swamp Thing's dick.

Crown Prince enters Anton Arcane's portable evil science van lab, hacking together an antidote he'd never thought to put together before he himself chugged a buncha this shit. He also reveals that his eyepatych is a phony affectation, and that he's got David Bowie eyes, which isn't sufficient cause for wearing protective gear.

Rest in peace, you beautiful Starman.

Jim has to deliver the antidote, despite wanting to kill his mother ... because of the Blood Wind, that is. Sure, it's only because of the Blood Wind that he wants to kill his mother. Just the Blood Wind and nothing else.

By the end of the episode, Tressa is cured of the Kill-Me-Measles, and everyone else walks off screen without any sort of conclusion to their stories. I can tell you that Crown Prince doesn't come back any time soon, and the possession of the Blood Wind chemical doesn't come in any more handy than the pig-guy with the gun did last episode. The swamp contains so many intriguing plot threads just wandering around out there, amongst the murder vines and Swamp Thing's schwanz poking up out of the ground...

1 comment:

Chuck Dunn said...

Y'know, I actually found the series on DVD for, what, $5 at a discount store some time ago (Ollie's Army represent!) and bought two copies, so I could give one to a fellow Swampy fan. She actually returned it to me a few weeks later, with some mumbled excuse or other. I then re-gifted it to a bad-film fanatic, and have never gotten a more positive response. Surely there's a drinking game to be made here.

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