Wednesday, April 18, 2018


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 the Swamp Thing television show has a peak, it almost invariably comes out by way of the Graham and Arcane road show. Episodes featuring the pair of 'em are always worth watching, if only because screen-time must necessarily be granted to 2/3rds of the actors who seem to 'get' this show. In this instance, we go one step further -- it's an episode where Graham gets his lifelong dream answered. He receives validation from his boss!

Prior to that, however, Arcane and Graham are meeting an ersatz Mister Freeze inside a yacht at the Houma Marina (i.e. the far side of the Universal Studios stunt show pool). This is Dr.Richard Parnell (Alan Bergman), a man who has been secretly infected with a virus so powerful that it will destroy the world unless the host body is consistently surrounded by an environment no warmer than 40 degrees Fahrenheit. I legitimately don't think it really works this way, I don't think it matters if things are really cold outside, I think the virus takes advantage of body warmth to, um, kill you. I think he should be dead. I accept corrections on the matter, inasmuch as I am no scientist and also I left the Google way over there and I don't want to walk.

Also he was walking around like this. Seems summery.

Parnell has something to offer the immortality-obsessed Arcane: Properly done cryogenics! Pow! He proves his skills by showing off a couple of taxidermized animals under a frosted sneezeguard, but that's the same thing as suspended animation I guess. Personally, were I ever cryogenically frozen, I'd specifically ask them to not freeze me in a moment of alarm with all four of my limbs jutting outward in terrified mania.

This salad bar is weird.

In return for the tiny frozen rabbit, Parnell wants a sample of Swamp Thing's blood, which is a cure for his disease. I should mention now that I can't recall if he actually told Arcane that he has the disease at this point, and likewise why he wanted Swamp Thing's blood, or if that happened later. I know that's incredibly sloppy of me, but I guarantee you that it did not really affect the story in any capacity. There was no suspense or mystery about it, it barely even killed a little time. It was basically admitted right at the start, so there you go anyway.

That came to mind because Arcane has a hard time verifying the guy's identity and story. He goes so far as to check a wineglass for fingerprints, only to discover that Parnell had his fingerprints removed! That's pretty ... cool.

Arcane also calls in a friend from evil scientist college, and they have an evil-off in Arcane's drawing room. It sort of felt like a Fry and Laurie sketch.

He even kind of looks like Fry, don't he?

Arcane manages to snag the information he wants about Parnell by trading to his classmate a few incriminating photos of powerful Congressmen. This show really can't decide how much power Arcane is supposed to wield, precisely. Throwing away a couple of Congressmen that breezily implies that it's the smallest part of his empire of influence. Frankly, that's maybe too powerful for who he is? He's a scientist, and he uses a small amount of wealth to keep Houma under his boot -- that sounds about right. Someone get me the phone number for the writers of the 1990-1993 Swamp Thing late night television series, I got something to tell them! It'll be a landline.

Aware of his mysterious pal's true identity, Arcane tries to test the disease...on Graham! It's pretty hilarious as they Star Trek fight over the syringe. Graham runs away LIKE A BABY to the swamp, where he's challenged by Swamp Thing. In what turned out to be a pretty clever series of events, it appears that Arcane's attempt to infect Graham was merely a stunt to generate in him real fear, so as to be a more effective lure for Swamp Thing! Sucker! You thought you were gonna die!

This probably didn't help.

Graham's hysterics lead Swamp Thing to Dr.Parnell's refrigerated yacht where Arcane and a bunch of his men are waiting to capture the big bog idiot. To protect himself from Swamp Thing's excoriations -- Arcane has led Parnell to believe that Swamp Thing is a missing link type creature, "Like Bigfoot" -- Arcane shoots out the voicebox from the big pile of garden hoses. Also pretending to be an environmental activist at this point, Arcane insists that he was protecting the doctor and his men from "the monster's venom sacs." I don't know why that made me laugh.

Swamp Thing is placed in a cold chamber, helpless before Arcane's ministrations. The Doctor is excited to finally have a cure, and Graham is getting so fucking drunk it is awesome. It's his best day! His boss apologized for scaring him, he got to be helpful, he even got praised! Graham's best day!

Swamp-o uses the power of reverse film to heal his wounds, and then gets to have a nice chat with the doctor in a scene which is indistinguishable from The Shape of Water, look:

Um, so, this has gone on longer than these things usually do, and it's not like there's a lot happening in this episode, so lemme blow through the rest: Swamp Thing breaks free and goes full Dolemite, just straight knocking dudes all hell of over the place. The doctor tries to help him escape and is shot by one of Arcane's men. Arcane gets some of the doctor's blood on him, so maybe Arcane has the super virus now? It takes ten years to show up, and he didn't have any open wounds, so who cares but anyway that was played off like they were ever going to mention it ever again.

Swamp Thing guides Parnell to the swamp, where he gets an epilogue and dies, and probably bled all over everything so that's it for Universal Studios. Also, was this an HIV metaphor? Too late to ask now, I guess...

Let's go out on a shot of Drunk Graham!

1 comment:

Ferb Morgendorffer said...

Soon as it got to the part about the fake-out betrayal I was like "Oh yeah, I remember this episode!" In fact I think this is the only episode besides the one where the psycho-brat was taken into slavery that I still have a clear memory of.

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