Wednesday, June 21, 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'm having some genuine anger issues at this point when it comes to the order on the Swamp Thing DVD series. I preferred to use the DVD order in lieu of the IMDB order, or the broadcast order, or even the shooting order, because there were compelling arguments in favor of all of these except that I had the DVDs and I'm lazy and stupid. Lazy and stupid always win out!

But what that's left me with is a season three opener which clearly takes place at the beginning of season two, even going so far as to be a sequel to a late season one episode. It also ends up being a Graham-and-Arcane-centric episode which takes place back-to-back with another Graham-and-Arcane-centric episode, although I don't really mind all that much because Kevin Quigley is really growing on me as an actor and Graham actually gets some character development in this episode! Yow!

"What is this, a fruit pie? I don't remember putting  fruit pie in my jacket." ::eats it:: "Well, this isn't a fruit pie..."
Anyway. We open with Graham and Arcane purchasing an ancient tome containing the incredible secrets of voodoo -- titled, as far as I can tell, "The Incredible Secrets of Voodoo!" This sounds like something you'd buy from a supermarket checkout aisle but, in fact, it's purchased from a twitchy wharf rat standing on the side of a handgun that you typically get to walk away from.

The voodoo book that reveals all the mystical secrets of the universe -- written by Baron Samedi himself, which just made me picture Ernie Kovacs in Bell, Book and Candle -- turns out to be bad for you! It's bad for Arcane, anyway, who spends the rest of the episode dressed like a guy running his own cult on an episode of CHiPs, howling with all the fury of an entire foley department having just recently acquired tapes of zoo sounds. Swear I heard him trumpet like an elephant once.


While Arcane flips out, Graham proceeds into Houma to find DuChamp, the mystic houngan played by Roscoe Lee Browne in season one. DuChamp is d-for-dead, unfortunately, so after Graham plays footsie with what the credits list as "Strange Woman" (Cheree Vandoren, who tries to lure Graham into some sort of implied danger and then turns his gun into a snake, for no good narrative reason I can suss) he finds DuChamp's son ... DuChamp! They don't go for first names 'round here.

DuChamp Jr pledges to help Arcane in return for the voodoo book, which would rock except for two things: One, DuChamp's no good at doing voodoo and, two, he has to have Swamp Thing do it for him.

What keeps DuChamp from being able to help Arcane is two-fold, and part of it is Graham. The long-suffering lab assistant has to come clean on some destructive secret onto which he's been holding, and which is screwing up the good voodoo up to this point. As it is, the secret is -- humility. Graham can't allow Arcane to die because he's attached himself to Arcane's coattails. Graham admits that while he considered himself a scientist, he realizes that he is a "mere technician," and if he doesn't stay with Arcane -- whom he unironically calls "a great man" -- then his whole life will be without value or purpose. Goddamnit Graham, you went and got good on me.

Graham clearly shops for clothes at the supermarket.

The other obstacle is DuChamp's sister, Lady DuChamp (called Tanda, actually, played by Karen Fraction). Tanda has been poisoning the magic well in an effort to ice Arcane -- even the twitchy wharf rat was under her pay, delivering the book as a honey trap. The reason, it turns out, is ... HOLY SHIT HOLD ON YOU GUYS, IT'S CONTINUITY! ... to avenge the abduction of Jim Kipp!

Tanda tells her brother of their mother's cousin in Brazil, whom he doesn't really know for some reason. Seems the cousin's daughter fell into a river and was rescued by an American boy working as a slave in a nearby camp. and that boy's name was Jesus Chr- I mean Jim Kipp! And to return the favor and bring justice to Jim, she's gonna kill Arcane.

She's so over this conversation and its voodoo-shaming.

Alternatively, tell the authorities about the work camp maybe, or use your voodoo shit on someone who can get Jim out. It's what I would have done, but then, I'm No Houngan (that phrase is copyright me and you can buy it on t-shirts).  

Anyway, this all comes down to Swamp Thing needing to put things right. Up to this point, he's only been showing up in Arcane's hallucinations, berating him about voodoo for being bad for the swamp. "Voodoo is against nature!" he keeps saying, and it sounds racist although I couldn't tell you exactly why. Young DuChamp offers to make Swamp Thing human again -- his exact wording was "I have come to make you a man!" -- if Swampy helps Arcane, but the swamp monster instead decides to keep his humanity for a while longer. Allowing Boy DuChamp to transform him back into a human would just make him a creation of the houngan's, rather than his own person, he explains. Also, he'd turn into that fucking plank of wood from that season two episode, and nobody wants to act that poorly if they can avoid it...

I got nothing.


Britt Reid said...

"Other sites, however, are hobbled by the need to cover shows which have been "recently broadcast" or which are "any good at all.""

Swamp Thing is currently-running on MeTV's H&I (Heroes and Icons) channel along with other comic book-based shows on Saturday mornings.

Calamity Jon said...

See, that's some useful information, but it just seems like an "um,actually" when you put it like that.

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