Wednesday, January 2, 2019


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 ...

The unfortunate reality is that any time that you have an episode of a television show or an issue of a comic book which is titled "Brotherly Love," you are about to endure a story about two brothers who do not get along and which is going to take a real goddamn long time to get to the payoff. Writers overestimate the inherent drama of sibling rivalry, is my general assessment of the situation.

And that's more or less -- or, in fact, precisely -- what we get in this episode of Swamp Thing. In addition, Tressa is now involved with a new beau! If past episodes are any indication, this means we'll see Tressa slapped, struck, terrified and/or choked in her own home within the next eight minutes. Yay? She's got a type.

"Welcome y'all t'Gator Pete's!"

The episode opens with a longshot of the Kipp household, reminding me once again that I often mistake the Kipp household for a deep-swamp gumbo shack. Pulling up to the dilapidated hovel is Tressa and her date for the evening, Brad (David Rupprecht), a pleasant enough guy who spends every ounce of energy in his body pleading with Tressa to fuck him. He phrases it in terms like "why won't you give me a tumble" or "why are you giving me the cold shoulder" etc etc, even though they are literally going out on multiple dates, and she seems to like him fine, for no reason I can ascertain.

Will pops up on the front porch and basically orders Tressa to fuck the guy. I don't know why he's so invested, but he's practically furious that she hasn't put out yet. I don't know if Will's trying to wipe out a secret debt or something, but however unpleasant Brad is on the matter, Will is 500 times worse. Personal relationships have badly deteriorated in the Kipp household. This bodes poorly for the Swamp Tour business.

In this brief respite, no more than one and one-third of a second, this guy is changing the topic back to him getting fucked.
Tressa, meanwhile, has very good reasons for not trusting the guy. For one thing, he gave his home address as "the middle of Lake Michigan." Yeah, that seems suspicious. Also, his driver's license is under a different name -- and his address? ON DRY LAND! The sneak!

Anyway, this was an interesting decision to make: Beginning the episode in a darkened shithole amidst desperate sex-pleading and open hostility.

Another unsettling fact about Brad is that he's related to some hyper-violent dipshit in a Hawaiian shirt (Kurt Hewett) who kills the only likable character in this whole episode, gas station attendant Steve (Terry Jones). Sorry Steve you had to die, Steve. I love that you clearly softly rested your head rather than letting it hit something hard, tho, I respect your self-care regimen.

May a flight of angels sing you to your supper, or however that goes.

Back at Kippsylvania, Will is making a spaghetti dinner for the unhappy trio, and pretending to play guitar on the porch. I forgot how Will sometimes pretends to play guitar but doesn't, and I am awakened to the fact that he's kind of doing an Elvis impression for his character. Is this something Will's been doing all along? Has he been doing young Swamp Elvis? And, if not, can we get that character onto the DC streaming service?

So, I'd like to take a moment to check in with the status of Swamp Thing's world. At this point, Tressa and Will have both seen more awful shit than a six-tour 'Nam vet. They have had their home invaded by ghosts and evil spirits, they have traveled through time and other dimensions, the youngest member of the Kipp family was abducted and forced into slavery at a mutant mine in Brazil. And yet Tressa has uncovered so much shady deets about Brad, still lets him into her home, and Will is still shouting "FUCK. THAT. MAN'S. PENIS." every three minutes. Do they love death? Have they accepted that their own heroes' journeys may never begin, for corrupt lintel above the vital threshold? Will they refuse no call, forever mistaking death for adventure? What Houma needs is a trauma therapist or fifty.

"Let me play you a little tune I like to call 'Tressa, Give It Up To This Weird Asshole Already Whydon'tcha"

Speaking of which, Hawaiian shirt dude finally shows up, and Tressa just lets him in before he even knocks. Tressa's finest moment, that. She actually declares that it might be Will at the door, even though Will is literally standing RIGHT BEHIND HER at the time. This is what I mean. They welcome annihilation. Swamp Thing has done a great disservice to these two people, introducing them to a supernatural world where the only reasonable emotional states are apathy and welcoming death with open arms.

The shirt dude is, naturally, Brad's brother Kurt, who is nuts and blames Brad for the death of a mutual love interest, but for which he is actually responsible. Okay. That's it. Now let's have some Swamp Thing.

What the fuck caliber was this guy packing, signal flares?
Swamp Thing's powers, as far as the canon of the television show is concerned, are limited to what the swamp is willing to let him do. The swamp seems to have taken a real liking to Kurt, because it has limited Swamp Thing to actions which -- and I quote here -- "complicate [Kurt's] life." This entails a pouring rain and a downed powerline. Since Kurt is driving Tressa and Brad to a motel to kill them (despite the Kipp household being located right next to a corpse-devouring swamp, just saying), this is indeed ... complicating.

Brad has seizures in one arm, which Kurt takes advantage of in the following over-complicated way: He ties Brad to a chair and tapes a gun to Brad's shaky hand, finger on the trigger. He ties Tressa up and puts her in the path of bullet. Then he refuses to give Bradley medication, which is not cool, so that when Brad seizures -- pow, Tressa ... probably gets injured? There seems to be a lot that might go wrong here.

A real Rube Goldberg device they got there ...
Which is Swamp Thing's cue. He bursts into the motel room and, using the powers granted to him by the swamp -- slows down time.  He can do this. It doesn't actually seem like it makes anyone any all that faster, even though it's fast enough for Will to shove Tressa to the floor with alarming force -- Swamp Thing's most tried-and-true technique for saving a potential shooting victim -- and beat Kurt up.

But, just to clarify: Swamp Thing was only granted the following powers by the swamp -- raining and time-stopping. This is lighting a furnace to burn a hair.

But there is a happy ending: Tressa never fucks that guy.

I'd be a monster if I didn't show you Tressa's "Terrified Face" for this episode.

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