Tuesday, July 26, 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 Happened On The Way To Heaven" or...

If You See Swamp Thing, Say Swamp Thing
A wheelbarrow full of dried apple slices comes to life and battles evil in a trash pit.
Season Two / Episode One : Birthmarks

In which we find ourselves longing for the singular stupidity of Jim, given some radical new casting.

With the exit of Jim, it seemed that Swamp Thing Season Two was ready to launch with the burden of the show’s junior contingent cut loose, complete with all of its twee predictability.

BUT WAIT NO SORRY we don’t get to have that. Instead we get Abigail.

The episode opens with a tugboat getting blown tae fuck all – Sorry Popeye! In fact, with a baby
sailing away from the danger in a box, this almost feels exactly like Roger Altman’s adaptation. Now for the singing!

"I'm Popeye the sailor man, I live in a gar-*BWAFWOOOOOOM!*

Running away from the boat is Abigail (Kari Wuhrer), apparently a psychic nitwit who had been grown from artificial cells in a questionably legal laboratory. She ends up in the arms of Will (Scott Garrison), whose shirtlessness will only increase as the series goes on. It’s in Will’s company that Abigail spills all of her secrets, which is odd because the lack of chemistry between the two of them is practically weaponized.

Anyway, here’s Abigail, she’s got ESP, and she talks nonsense, fuck this. Much of the next few episodes at least will be given over to Abigail describing her dreams and making pained analogies as she Mork-from-Orks her way through non-government-lab social niceties and cultural customs. Just when we’d been liberated from Jim, we get saddled with this flightless sea fowl.

I promise you, she's in the middle of a story that you don't so much listen to as endure.

Abigail’s ESP takes the form of interrupting people’s sentences and invading their personal space – psychically and literally. Having the same “ramble on about nothing” disease which afflicted Jim, Abigail admits that she wanders into people’s dreams (possibly to use their dream bathrooms) and goes on a long rambling story about pomegranates which actually turns out to be important later in the episode! Chekhov’s Pomegranate!

While Will is listening to this and, I assume, exhibiting patience beyond reason, Swamp Thing finds the widdo baby. Now he’s Swamp Mom! Only on alternate weekends, anyway, Patrick gets the baby on the first and third.

Backstreet's back all right!

Arcane pops up at six minutes in and has brought roughly eight suitcases full of new backstory and context. It’s turns out that Arcane is working for a major secret organization, trading his scientific brilliance (we learn, for instance, that he developed the first yet imperfect concoction of the biorestorative formula) for the resources to revive his bride Tatiana (a nod there, I’d guess) who currently resides in suspended animation, Yup, they Mr.Freeze’d him!

Arcane also briefly mentions his rivalry with Dr.Jason Woodrue and is shown to be in the employ of General Sunderland (Jacob Whitkin, who has a Dr.Klaw voice in this), plus we discover that the whole thing is officially taking place in Houma, LA, which means someone in production finally read some of the comics! I bet they were surprised!

Dammit Tressa, can't you do anything right? Post a sign, keep a child from being sold into slavery ...

Back at the Kipp household, Tressa is alleviating her feelings of grief and loss over the apparent death of her youngest son by opening a swamp tour and boat rental business. You can tell that it will all work out great because the first thing Tressa does is put her sign up facing away from the road. Someone’s gonna drown during a field trip, you can tell.

Will and Swamp Thing are now crimefighting pals, as apparently happened between seasons. Not only does Will have the partnership Jim never did, he also gets to call his boss “Swampy” and answers to an emergency call that I believe you can describe as “Swamp Thing’s asthma.”

Swamp Mom drops the baby off with the Kipps, fearing for its life. Everyone fears for its life, in fact, because we’re told that the chubby little burrito is in the throes of death. This is information which flies in the face of evidence. That baby is fat, fine and happy. The director shoulda brought in a shaved chimp or something.


The highlight of any episode of the show is inevitably Anton Arcane and Swamp Thing sassin’ each other savagely. After Arcane bemoans that “Evolution takes as long as the French Opera,” for instance, Swamp Thing snaps back with “You’re not God. You’re a garbage man!” Uh, I heard God don’t make no trash, Swamp Thing.

Swamp Thing ends up helping the baby by producing a pomegranate from his palm. Will is understandably reluctant to feed Swamp Thing’s mitt-melon to a dying infant, but is swayed when Swamp Thing promises him “My fingers pulse with life and power!” Reassuring words, these.

Ultimately, the baby is saved and then promptly fucks off somewhere because we do not need a baby in this cast, thank you. Abigail sticks around, unfortunately, babbling more gooey nonsense that you can’t imagine was intended to have been filmed. A sensitive reveal at the end of the episode has Abigail basically talk-sing a song from Annie, the end.

"Do I love you, small woman who sleeps in our fluorescent lighting? Did I not shrink to the size of a mouse for you?"

Okay, we endured that one, but next week it’s SWAMP THING VS SWAMP THING, THE WOMP-A-BOMP IN THE SWAMP! I can do better.

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