Tuesday, September 6, 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 "Thirtyswampthing" or...

If You See Swamp Thing, Say Swamp Thing
A green bean casserole at the potluck of swamp justice
Season Two / Episode Four : Walk a Mile in My Shoots

We’re seventeen episodes into this series and they’ve finally gotten around to giving one of the episodes a pun-based title. Mazel Tov, USA Network’s late night Swamp Thing television series, today you are a man!

The episode opens with Will Kipp tied to a bomb and abandoned in the middle of the swamp. This is what I like to call “A good start.” What this show really needs is another two hundred feet of rope and a whole bunch more bombs.

The light bondage scenario which opens the show is, naturally, a scheme of Arcane’s. Specifically, it’s intended to lure the Swamp Thing … into the swamp. Well-done, Anton! You nailed it!

"Haha, you weren't expecting to see me being fellated by an old-school Doctor Who robot, were you!" 

Confronting Swamp Thing over a hedge, Arcane whips back a bush to reveal that he’s holding one of those electricity balls they used to sell at Spencer’s Gifts right over his groin. If that weren’t shocking enough, it’s also one of those phony-baloney science fiction machines which switch people’s brains! It’s usually the hallmark of a groaner plot – and, to be fair, this won’t be a particularly interesting or exciting episode – but the one thing this has going for it is that it relies on the consistently-entertaining chops of series stars Mark Lindsay Chapman and Dick Durock, playing one another for the duration of the episode.

Durock launches the fun by showing the audience that he’s got a really good “evil British” accent holstered for just such an occasion as this, even if he’s mostly using it to prank call subordinates on the phone or recreate that one Simpsons episode where Homer gets too fat to dial a phone. Retreating to “his” lair, Arcane-in-Swamp-Thing’s body walks us through the exposition for the episode.

For being new to humanity, Swamp Thing masters Level 3 Mark Lindsay Chapman eyebrows pretty quickly.

General Sutherland has been funding this experiment to create body-switching technologies, so as to transfer his effed-up corpus into the hunky husk of a hollowed-out he-man. Arcane has stolen the tech in order to self-dissect his Swamp Thing body. This’ll give him unprecedented access to the bio-restorative formula in Swamp Thing’s blood and might also help him rescue his frozen wife Tatiana, whom we hadn’t seen since the first episode of the season.

Back in the swamp, Mark Lindsay Chapman busts out an hilarious American accent which has all the flat affect of a Minnesota expatriate who’s lived undersea for a year. He gets to practice this on Will (who punches him out) and Tressa (who cleans a grimy fish tank), so it’s not a roaring success. Chapman exhibiting Alec Holland’s indulging in the physical treats of the mortal world is another scene of great delight, though, as it starts with him sniffing wax fruit and ends with him eating fish tank algae. Maybe it’s delicious, what do I know?

Desperate for a high, anything to abolish the tedium.

The one downside of the episode is that Swampy-in-Arcane’s-body goes all giddy with physical stimulation, rendering his dialogue roughly on par with that of the show’s most recent addition. And just as he hits “peak hippie,” baffled ninny Abigail comes floating into the front yard with a magical flower in her hands and a song in her heart. Now they’re a couple. I could die, I could just die.

This ends up being a very talky episode, which makes for a pretty anemic recap, to be honest. Swamp-Thing-in-Arcane’s-body (Let’s call him Swampcane) spends a lot of time connecting with Abigail unfortunately, while Arcane-in-Swamp-Thing’s-body (let’s call him Arthing) spends most of his time fussing around a darkened laboratory. The closest thing to action comes when Will interrupts Arthing in his ministrations and shoots him through the gut with a shotgun. Salad fixin’s everywhere!

Whitesnake video

I’ve said before that Chapman and Durock are the best thing about the show, but that almost exclusively applies to the pair of them interacting in some fashion or another. Separate, they’re forced to deal with lesser (or, at least, less fun) actors. At least Durock gets to hiss British abuse at underlings and Chapman gets to distill Arcane’s theatrical badness to childlike petulance.

By the end of the episode, the crotch-level lightning ball is finally put back into play, returning everything to the status quo. If the show had any of the flair of the comic book, Arcane would’ve noticed a new tattoo in the mirror when he got out of the shower the following morning, but instead he just has to face the music for Swampcane sassing General Sunderland earlier in the episode. I woulda preferred the tattoo ending.

"The end"

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