Arcane's evil deeds come back to haunt him (again) and he basically gets off scot-free (again) but, trust me, I've watched ahead -- they'll come back to this premise time and again.
I really shouldn't bust too hard on this brand of episode or, in fact, this episode specifically. It's weird, it's not bad, and Arcane having an actual character arc -- dealing with his obvious mental illness, the wild mood swings, the possible effect that his experimentation has had on his well-being and the psychic assaults committed upon him by his enemies (La Roche, Mirador, DuChamp's daughter, etc) -- is good.
|No small part of this episode will involve Graham selflessly cock-blocking his mentor.|
For one thing, Swamp Thing's arcs have all been played out -- the only things left to him are either death or being cured, either of which would end the show. Arcane is the only recurring character with the background (and Chapman's the only other recurring actor with the chops) to pull off an arc, AND it creates room for Graham to develop his character. Really, if the show's writers were willing to integrate the branches of the cast a little more, they could loop Will and Tressa into this thread and create something for them, as well.
So, basically, Arcane's nervous breakdowns are giving the show life, and I'm happy to see it. Specifically, we see him throwing a screaming fit because his latest findings have been rejected by the scientific community. Their constant refusal to acknowledge his intellectual achievements cause Arcane real pain (for his sham friends), and Graham's condolences mean nothing.
|"I'm fwum Modewn-Wodewn Science..."|
BUT WAIT! "Modern Science" magazine has sent their sexiest reporter to interview Arcane, apparently using a "sexy baby" voice which is patently gruesome. Just. Just awful.
In fact, the reporter is not a reporter at all, and Graham knew it all along. Which is why it's stupid that he let her into Arcane's office in the first place, but whevs. She turns out to be not a reporter for "Modern Science" magazine, a name which continues to crack me up since it obviously took eight seconds to think up, but is also Katherine St.James (Peggy O'Neal), the daughter of the late General Sunderland!
For those of you new to the show, or who just don't memorize this stuff WHICH IS TOTALLY UNDERSTANDABLE, Sunderland was Arcane's boss for a whole season, and a little into the next. He was also responsible for abducting and appearing to kill and then actually killing Arcane's true love, Tatiana, who used to live under a sneeze guard in Arcane's lab.
But Sunderland's daughter knows none of that, so when she seduces Arcane into a romantic dinner and spikes his wine, she's earned the worst toast in bad guy history: "To the power of revenge!"
|The more you do it, the more he'll start to like it.|
While she's in unconscious Arcane's lab, pouring acid on his records (scientific records, not, like, his vinyl collection) and setting up powerful explosives all around the plant, Swamp Thing gets a telepathic montage sequence which catches him up on the story. I don't know why. Also, the acid she uses burns paper and goes right through filing cabinets but lands clean-as-you-please in a plastic wastebasket. Those are two things from this episode which I didn't understand.
St.James hauls the woozy Arcane out into Houma proper, to watch his plant explode from a safe distance. What she doesn't know is that Swamp Thing is in there disarming bombs, which is strangely hilarious and I wish he did it more often.
|"Blinded ... by the ... light ... !"|
When St.James detonates to now-inactive devices, one which Swamp Thing missed is set off. The small explosion distracts her, and she and Arcane begin karate fighting in the street. He kicks her so many times that it is plainly uncomfortable to watch. Both Chapman and O'Neal seemed to have some stunt training but only as much as was needed for Arcane to kick a woman a bunch of times and for O'Neal to act like she got kicked mostly...
But the kicking and getting-kicked goes on and then they stumble into a storefront and a weird Saul Bass effect happens and they fall onto a tiny replica of Houma and then all Beetlejuice Beetlejuice Beetlejuice style they end up IN the tiny replica of Houma! Oh ... no? I think they got sent to Cool World.
|Now you're in Cool World too!|
Their fight continues in the tiny Houma, with the ominous silhouette of Swamp Thing occasionally crossing their path. The real Swamp Thing is trying to plug up a toxic leak caused by the explosion, so whatever's showing up in tiny Cool World isn't him -- and it's casting huge, terrifying shadows over everything!
To make matters worse, while Arcane and his opponent are Wile E. Coyote kickfighting all over the Land of the Giants, St.James keeps getting flashbacks to her childhood. Her childhood was apparently in 1880, by the way, because she's dressed like Nellie Olsen and watching a wind-up carousel in a shop window.
|I got no screencaps of that, but here's St.James getting kicked a coupla times.|
In her memory, she recalls her father (Jacob Witkin, rounding out his multitude of appearances on the show) involved in some shadowy transaction. As time passes, she remembers that her father was shooting a man. This lowers her father in her estimation. Tsk. Millennials and their purity tests.
That's pretty much the ending of the episode. Swamp Thing stuffs a drainage pipe with wet newspaper, saving the swamp. Katherine St.James leaves Houma, struggling with the awakened memories of her father's cruelty. Arcane basically is unchanged, except now we know he owns a butterfly knife.
|She sort of wandered into Night Gallery when no one was looking...|
Oh, and the shadow that was occasionally cast across the tiny town ... WAS A CAAAAAAT! I don't know why! The end!