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 ...
It's one of those weird all-hallucination episodes, like all TVs have every now and again, where a character has to face some unpalatable quality of their personality and all the supporting cast plays some fucking third grade school production-quality manufactured role. All "Richie wakes up in Alice in Wonderland and Potsie is the Mad Hatter" or something. "Oliver Douglas dreams that he's in the Old West, and Oliver the Pig is sheriff." That kind of stuff.
In fact, Swamp Thing had already done this with its sheriff (Mark Macauley -- and that character never appeared again, so there was no point to it), and with Swamp Thing in the episode where he met Mee-phisto. But, what the hey, they ain't done one with Arcane yet! Bring it on!
Swamp Thing seems to find what appears to be a used condom in the swamp, and goes "Arcane, will you never learn?" in this kind-of "That's Our Anton!" sort-of voice. Then he goes and wrestles with a dick-shaped canister because I think this might be an erotic fever-dream or something.
|Please see your doctor about any erection lasting four hours or which are metal and emerging from a swamp.|
Meanwhile, Arcane is fussing with some super-advanced cardboard technology at his lab, belittling his employees and having fantastic hair. Then he gets electrocuted and he's dead, the end.
Arcane's electric death results in a dream sequence-slash-near death experience, involving at first a lot of Arcane wandering around a swamp while muttering to himself. My adoration of Mark Lindsay Chapman in the role of Anton Arcane is well-documented, but it bears repeating; he is a delight. "There's a rational explanation for all of this" he says at one point, just before lightning crashes nearby, forcing him to append to the previous sentiment "Bugger that!"
|Oh Swamp Brother, Where Art Thou?|
In short order, Arcane's in a cheap prison get-up almost certainly purchased from a Spirit pop-up Halloween boutique, and is welcomed by a one-eyed man (John F.Hoye) to his own trial! Lightning crashes! Will is there as Arcane's defense lawyer, albeit one wearing a tie loosely knotted around the collar of his sleeveless tee-shirt. Finally, a suit good enough for Will to wear to his wedding.
Tressa is also part of the dream sequence, presiding as judge in what appears to be a robe stolen from the travelling company of the Sister Act musical. She's called on to be incredibly broad in this piece and she is ... she is awful. Just awful. So terrible at this. Acting. So terrible at acting.
Arcane fires Will as his defense attorney, which just allows him to become the prosecuting attorney. Congratulations Arcane, you just got exonerated! Because there's no way Will is gonna be good at this, angry dream jury or no.
There's some faffing around for a while, then the testimony starts, wherein it becomes ... good? No, not good, but at least the people who are halfway decent at this job get some screentime. Chapman, I believe, plays the role of Arcane's mother, testifying against her own son. Quigley (who plays Graham) also plays a character witness for the prosecution, but it's a lisping, sissy hairdresser which .. I have mixed feelings about this, specifically a mix of revulsion and distaste. I call it "Disvulsion."
|You're better than this, Kevin Quigley.|
There's some fun weirdos in the jurybox, although I get annoyed that every terrifying dream sequence feels compelled to add a little person to the crowd. Like ... they're people, not Halloween decorations. I'm glad they're getting work, but surely someone can write a role besides "ominous projection of a troubled subconscious" for these folks. Besides "Santa's elf."
Outside of that, there are some mutated Un-Men in the crowd -- we haven't seen those for a while -- and that omnivorous sock puppet creature from a lesser season one episode is hanging around, too. After this, for some reason, this episode becomes a clip show.
|"What is it, Ollie? Are you looking for Kukla?"|
We go back to the weird carnival one (the first one), and the one where Arcane was making a defoliant out of red moss, or when he made an evil cloud that made people want to kill Tressa. You know. The classics. But, come on, I've already watched these, there's no reason to punish me further.
After the clips, we wrap up with Tressa further condemning Arcane from the bench with a bunch of hair jokes. This is as opposed to, say, Arcane having kidnapped her son and faking his death before sending him to a Brazilian work camp. But, no, the hair is pretty savage.
|"Warriors, come out and play-ay ..."|
That meat log who occasionally plays Alec Holland in these last two seasons also gets a bit of screentime. When I woke up, Arcane had been revived, but left unhumbled, while Swamp Thing was walking into the water while adding in voiceover "Endings are sometimes only the beginning." I think that meant the episode was about to loop, so I shut it off and burned the internet. I assume you're reading this on a clay tablet or something ...