Tuesday, October 4, 2016

IF YOU SEE SWAMP THING, SAY SWAMP THING: THE HUNT

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 "This Swamp Thing's of Ours" or...

If You See Swamp Thing, Say Swamp Thing
A moldy tupperware container who walks like a man!
Season One / Episode Six : The Hunt

In which the apple falls far from the tree



The wretched Kipp family tree sprouts a new, poisoned shoot in the form of Will (and Jim)’s absentee scumbag of a father (Paul Coufos). Poppa Kipp introduces himself by jumping out of the shadows on a dark streets and viciously wrestling with his surviving son in a manner I can only describe as “How the audience would have done it, given half the chance.”

Besides a lurky weirdo, Poppa Kipp is also revealed to be an “adventurer” and “big game hunter,” by which we’re given to understand means that he is a poacher, crook, possible murderer and all-around cynical opportunist. It’s hard to imagine where young and vanished Jim got his penchant for sleeplessly wandering the streets of Philadelphia at midnight, seeking for souls to curdle and crucify. It’s in the genes.

Get him! Put the hurt on him! Teach him the meaning of loss!
Will isn‘t happy to see the pater familias, part of which may have to do with being choked half-to-death by dear old dad in a filthy alley in the bad part of the Universal Studios backlot. He also has no respect for his frequently-absent father, although that doesn’t hold a candle to the open contempt exhibited by his father for his pathetic baby of a son. Why, he can’t even fight off a surprise attack in an alleyway!

Meanwhile, in the swamps, there’s a very special and rare orchid blooming somewhere, and Swamp Thing talks to it. It might be his only real friend, considering what nuisances the Kipps and Abby consistently prove to be.

"You're my ... only friend ..."

The orchid, as it turns out, naturally produces a powerful defoliant. This … seems contrary to how plants are supposed to work. I dunno, though, I’m not plantologist. I’ll leave it to the fine folks at the Home Depot Garden Department to confirm the science.

Actually, there might be two orchids in play in this episode, I couldn’t really suss it out from, you know, watching and listening to this episode. In any case, one appears to spout defoliant and the other neutralizes the defoliant. Or it is the same orchid and there’s a way to make it do both. Or neither. Or I don’t know what they make or do not make or have or don’t or can be or whichever. Sometimes I get dreamy while watching this show. Sometimes I dream of better shows, like Match Game and that British show where they cut apart whole giraffes.

I don't know what you did, Graham, but it earned you a Level 2 Mark David Chapman Eyebrow Raise

Whatever the case, Arcane and his pal Graham (Kevin Quigley) are super-invested in the orchid(s) in question, and leave one at Abby’s lame mid-swamp nursery. This is where we learn that the orchid is not only lethal to plants, but to human beings with the intelligence and personality of plants – like Abby! Poof! Now she’s dying!

Poppa Kipp remerges around this time to continue being loathsome and make everyone happy that he’d been absent from the series for so long. He arrives at Tressa’s house/tourist-boat-business and forces some stiff Bill Clinton kisses on her unwilling face. This is apparently Tressa’s “thing,” though, and the two swan off to make gruesome love. We are thankfully spared the sight of this.

Looks like two rubber fists fighting over a walnut.

Hold on, clarification alert – yeah, it’s two different flowers. That makes more sense. I’m rewatching this as I write, just so you know my level of dedication and also how much attention this show requires.

Dad Kipp strongarms Will into helping him find the swamp orchid, which he promises to shoot with a camera. He instead shoots it WITH A GUN! SEVERAL TIMES. This is the manner in which this guy has chosen to pluck an orchid, one of nature’s most delicate flowers.

"Just mowing the lawn, sweetheart."

Turns out Kipp Sr is in the employ of Anton Arcane, and heeds not his son’s wheedling alto protests. Having helped his shitty dad steal the orchid, Will is subsequently disowned by his surrogate Swamp Dad. It’s a touching scene, and Will keeps it together as Swamp Thing rips off Will’s epaulets and demands his gun and badge.

The episode’s half over and a lot has happened. This has probably thrown the whole Swamp Thing team for a loop, so the remaining twelve minutes of the show decides to get out of its car and start walking.

We get it, you vape.

Ultimately, Will convinces his pop to help him turn the screws on Arcane, while Swamp Thing takes a defoliant flower for the team and saves Abigail’s life. Whoopee. Will and his dad also reconcile and bury the hatchet, which makes no sense because his dad has done absolutely nothing to redeem himself and just becomes absentee again at the end of the show. Family, eh? What can you do?

This is abjectly unearned.


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