Wednesday, August 30, 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 ...


I've reached a point where I think even mentioning the bugshit viewing order of these episodes isn't worth the effort. I say this because I have finally come across an episode which simply CAN'T fit into any order, whether its broadcast, DVD or in-continuity. IT CAN'T FIT INTO CONTINUITY. Just drink that in. This is an episode that simply cannot fit into any storyline at any point in the series. Here's why: It is the second part of a two-part episode which does not have a first part.

Everything that happens in this episode is treated as though we saw it happen in the episode previous, but there isn't a previous episode. I enjoy a good in media res myself and all, but this isn't that. This is just "someone dropped the first episode into a sewer grate by accident and an alligator ate it."

"Ladies and gentlemen, GYPSY! ... ROSE! ...LEE!"

What I do know is this: Arcane has been ousted from his lab by an even eviller scientist named Carla Jeffries (played by Tyne Daly, whom I love, and you should too). Graham has finked out his boss and now works for Jeffries, plus he gets a suit and hangs out with Jeffries' female factotum Debbie (Shaun Padgett), who is constantly filming a hair metal video from 1987.

Carla -- who is French, although I think they made her change accents halfway through the first act because she initially sounds German. Also, "Carla Jeffries" is the least French name I have ever heard, but I digress -- has plans to drain the swamp and process every living thing in it into paste. Booo, that's evil, that's Captain Planet levels of evil. Boo, Mademoiselle Carla Jeffries, le boo!

"We're doing the Here I Go Again video but with farming equipment..."

She is also seeking the biorestorative formula which turned Holland into Swamp Thing. Everybody wants that thing! This will prove Carla's downfall, although I have to admit that I kind of don't remember the exact hows and whys. I took notes and everything, but stuff was moving fast and the whole front half of the episode was missing. I did the best I could in the circumstances.

 Ultimately, and inevitably, Arcane and Swamp Thing must team up to tackle the threat of Carla Jeffries. This is good because she has amazing weapons lined up, like what is basically Cambot from Mystery Science Theater 3000. I kid a little bit, because this is a pretty well-written episode of the show (given the limitations therein implied). The one downside, though, is that it's baffling -- there's obviously a part one floating around out there, and it needs to be part of this story.

"Pan left!"

Everybody gets captured, largely thanks to Debbie, whom I believe is implied to be in a lesbian relationship with Carla. 1990s subtext is hard as hell to decipher, sometimes. With Graham, Arcane and Swampy all tied up together, we get to see a return of an old gimmick -- Swamp Thing uses his ever elongating swamp dick to break manacles and bust down walls and stuff. Fun fact: 70% of all vines in the swamp are Swamp Thing's dick.

If he's making this face, I have to assume the vine is DEFINITELY his dick...

Released from his cell but still a prisoner of Clara Jeffries, Arcane leads them to the cheap hyperbaric chamber set up by Dr.Ann Fisk in an earlier episode, with which she briefly transformed Swamp Thing into the somehow even more wooden Alec Holland. At this point, a whole "end of Superman II"/"Princess Bride" type scenario happens where Arcane tricks Jeffries into drinking the formula and getting on the wrong side of the hyperbaric chamber.

No, no, it looks good on you. It's ... daring.

She gets swampy and explodes or something, but that's not even the best part of the episode. The best part of the episode -- a part so good that it made me forget things like Swamp Thing ominously rumbling "Are we at war?" prior to the ill-fated assault on Jeffries' HQ, or Graham just being a very fun if totally pathetic toady -- is SWAMP THING KICKING A GUN OUT OF A GUARD'S HAND. Just like ... Can you picture a guy in a Swamp Thing costume, basically a naked bag of lawn clippings, just *boop* kicking a gun out of someone's hand? The costume prevents him from moving to the side or anything, so he just kicks forward like an action figure. It's terrific. Also, he smashes up a bunch of computers.

It turns out, come the end, that the whole affair was a plan of Arcane's to trap and eliminate his hated rival, of whom we'd only just heard about for the first time in this episode. Catharsis is hard to come by in these situations, you know? It's why I cling to the simple pleasures,  like a six-foot wad of green silly string booting an automatic out of someone's mitt.

It's beneath me to just caption this "Hai-KEEBA!" But I want to.

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