Wednesday, March 1, 2017


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 used to like to call a dumb pun kind of title, but I've run out of those, so I just call it ...

If You See Swamp Thing, Say Swamp Thing
Season Two / Episode Fifteen : Powers of Darkness

The most far-fetched element of Powers of Darkness is that it tries to establish that Will has friends. This is patently impossible, but they're nonetheless introduced right away, and are composed of a bunch of insensitive meatheads who play hackeysack and make fun of goth kids. Hold it, I take it back, this feels right for Will.

The goth kid in question is "Dorian" (Jeremy Licht), a roof-squatting drama club kid with pretensions of vampirism. Despite the fact that everything Dorian does definitely feels arch and dramatic and inarguably worth getting punched over, Will takes a special interest in the kid and tries to befriend him. Which is the one thing worse than being turned into a vampire, actually.

Scoob and the gang
Dorian has a messy backstory. His mom is in an abusive relationship with one of Houma's jerk cops, and his vampire steady -- the woman who transformed him into a vampire and which is almost certainly a metaphor for something -- has been savagely murked by means not yet known. Mostly, though, he moans about everything in that snide, self-impressed way that theater teens always do, where everything is a big production and you have to wait to find out what sort of aggrandizing fiction they're about to weave about themselves. I may be criticizing my younger self here, as a matter of fact.

But this isn't my therapy session -- it's Dorian's! A glimpse into his home life reveals the depth of his domestic shame. Mom is manically depressed, middle aged, and thinks chicken nuggets and whiskey is a passable dinner for a growing boy. She isn't wrong, to be fair. Oh, and in addition to that, her only son thinks that he's a vampire.

(The vampire thing is repeatedly teased by way of an aerial shot racing over the swamp, implying that Dorian or some other spirit of the night is zooming through the sky -- despite the fact that it's invariably daytime when they show this. Also wrecking the illusion is that I think the film was run backwards and the whole thing was shot out of the back of a plane, as the rear flap keeps peeking into view at the edge of the screen).


Will is spending his free time this episode reading up on vampires, which is fucking hilarious because he basically treats it like someone asked him to name his favorite practitioner of Tuvan khöömei, or some other incredibly obscure area of arcane knowledge. For fucks sake, it's the Nineties, hasn't this kid even ever seen Count Duckula? Oh, and the answer to the above question is "Kongar-ol Ondar," he fucking rules.

Dorian's fantasies make up a decent part of the episode, imagining that he turns into a crazy actual vampire and eats his dad-in-law's face, that his vampire lover steps out of a Whitesnake video and does made-for-TV stripper dances for him in a dry ice factory, and that it was his gross step-dad who murdered Dorian's vampire lover. Or maybe it actually happened, I dunno, I sort of blanked out.

Dorian's room has this barbarian titty girl poster in it but they couldn't show tits on USA this early so they pinned a bedsheet over 'em, just like John Ashcroft did at the DOJ. Fuckin' hilarious.
Well, Dorian's step-dad really is dead, but it will eventually turn out that he had nothing to do with it -- Mom kind of flipped out and accidentally snuffed her second hubby with a broken whiskey bottle to the throat. I don't know if the chicken nuggets played any kind of role in the murder. Either way, that's gonna look bad on her OKCupid profile.

As for Dorian, it's Swamp Thing who is crazy sick of this vampire shit, even though he hasn't really been around for the majority of the episode Handling this emotionally disturbed kid with a dearth of delicacy, he shoves Dorian's hand into a big pool of blood, watches as the kid knocks his skull open while running through the swamp, and then forces him to relive the trauma of watching his step-dad murder his made-up Canadian vampire girlfriend right in pretend front of him.

Well here I go again on my own ...

Also, there is a mirror in the swamp. Full stop.

An awakened but emotionally devastated Dorian is gently cradled and carried off by Will, which is what happens to everyone who wanders into the swamp late at night. Around there, they call it "the toll."

Next week: we're briefly reminded that Jim Kipp isn't actually dead! Briefly, I said! Don't expect too much from it ...

Help yourself to a handful. Sorry, we don't have forks or cups.


neofishboy said...

Christ, the vampire phase. I'd like to go back in time and slap The Vampire Lestat out of my fifteen-year-old hands. Granted, that limited-edition set of Bill Sienkiewicz vampire prints that I displayed proudly on my wall was pretty awesome.

Johnie Long Torso said...

Dammit, now I want a chicken nuggets and whiskey dinner but I have no chicken nuggets and I'm not making another trip to the store today. Guess I'll just settle for whisky dinner.Also, had to IMDB Jeremy Licht cuz the name sounded familiar and it turns out he played the evil god-child (child-god?) in the Twilight Zone Movie and I thought to myself "Ah yes, the Licht boy"
and now that phrase won't leave my head.

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