So... yo ho ho and a bottle of Medusa?

Yes, I said I probably wouldn't do more Swamp Thing reviews. But a) I said "probably", and b) some episodes are just too horrible not to review. "Yo Ho Ho" and "Heart of Stone" are two of them.

First, a shoutout to someone who doesn't know me and I don’t them. It's the writer for the Gone&Forgotten Blog. He's ten times harsher on Swamp Thing than I've been, and he actually reviewed more episodes. He's also funnier than me, hard as that is to imagine. :) So a big hand for his determination. I imagine he's in a straitjacket somewhere after watching that many episodes of Swamp Thing and having to think about them, so here's to you!

Anyhoo, these two episodes represent a milestone or three for me. Since I somehow tuned into the show on the Heroes & Idols retro channel late in its first go-round (it was a slow summer), I actually saw the last two episodes before the channel cycled back to the beginning. So these two episodes were going to be among the last I watched anyway. Then H&I screwed them up a couple of weeks ago when it moved the show to a different time slot. But… the DVR cable guide (with info apparently provided by the same people who provide TVCom with episode info) didn't reflect that changes. Since the show was Onepassed, that means since it wasn't on the guide, it didn't get recorded.

Fortunately, another retro channel, MeTV, shows the episodes a few weeks "behind" H&I. So I caught these two episodes on there. They're probably on Youtube as well, but I figured what's a couple of weeks when I can watch the episodes on TV rather than my computer screen.

There's "memorable", and there's Swamp Thing. Notice that there's no picture of Swamp Thing here.

The other milestone is that these are the last two episodes for me to have watched. So the TVCom show guide is now complete. Yay, me. Quotes, recaps, cast, the complete crew... everything's there and I never have to watch the show again. Which is a good thing. Some folks think being an editor is a great job. But it means you have to watch the crap along with the good stuff. Yeah, you get to edit "The City on the Edge of Forever"... but you also have to edit "Spock's Brain".

Speaking of crap, let's recap (recrap?) these episodes. "Yo Ho Ho" (or its alternate title, "No No No!") is actually awash in continuity, as much as Swamp Thing ever pays attention to continuity. By which I mean that the main character, a youngish Joshua Reiger, is the character that Abigail saved from deadly swamp mist in "Mist Demeanor". The kid was dressed as a pirate in that outfit, so apparently the creative team decided that he must be obsessed with pirates.

It doesn't help that the kid who plays Joshua has the kind of gee-willickers open-eyed "Gosh!" expression that makes you want to get arrested for child abuse. Okay, it makes me want to get arrested for child abuse. Because it'd be worth it in this case.

Joshua is out in the swamp--yes, parents let your kids play with the quicksand, alligators, and homicidal mutants!--and having one of his pirate fantasies. Which seems to involve pretending that he's an adult pirate, Red Ear. And what kind of name is Red Ear? We'll hear that Joshua has quite the imagination, but the best name he could imagine is "Red Ear"? It's not like he has a birthmark on his ear or anything. Neither he nor his imaginary counterpart's ear are red. And why does his imaginary counterpart look like a cross between Fabio and Willie Ames, anyway?

Anyhoo, Joshua spies two "pirates" burying hidden treasure. Which are actually two local hicks hired by Arcane's assistant Graham to bury "hydration units" They spot Joshua and chase him, and Swamp Thing gives chase. Swamp Thing apparently doesn't care much that his existence is secret, because he lets the hicks and Joshua see him as he tosses the hicks into a nearby stream.

Joshua goes home and tells his mother--who looks suspiciously like Tressa Kipp--that he encountered pirates and a swamp monster. She and Tressa probably buy their outfits at the same K-Mart. The boy apparently has a history of lying (shades of Jim Kipp), so Mrs. Reiger doesn't believe him. Joshua packs his pirate things but doesn't seem to be running away from home. At least, it's never mentioned.

Meanwhile, Arcane's new plan to deswamp the swamp involves planting "hydration units". His assistant Graham hired the hicks for some reason: supposedly because they know the swamp. Like Arcane's dozens of security guards don't after three years? The hicks buried the hydration units in the wrong places, and then ran into the "perimeter fence" and were electrocuted to death. A) This is the first time it's been mentioned that Arcane has any kind of "perimeter fence" given all the times Swamp Thing, Will, and miscellaneous people have wandered in and out of his complex, and B) The fence has a fatal electrical charge. You'd think somebody in the nearby town would have noticed the lethal electrical fence.

Not to mention that in this episode, Joshua finds the hicks and goes home. But they try to leave and find the fence. Why didn't Joshua find the fence and get killed?

Anyhoo, Joshua brings one of hydration units home and his mother sells it at her garage sale. We never see any of this. Graham finds the unit at the garage sale (we never see this, either) and that's how he and Arcane figure that Joshua knows something about the missing units. Arcane grabs a sword for some reason and goes to the Reiger house. Which looks like the Kipp house. He abducts Mrs. Reiger and takes her back to his lab where Graham tortures her with "infrared beams". Heat, in other words.

Swamp Thing can't use his swamp-based omniscience to find the hydration units because they contain natural components. Although they're in big honkin' metal boxes.

Arcane eventually nabs Joshua as well and tells him to give him the "treasure map" he's been making of the buried units, or watch Mrs. Reiger die. The kid caves and the entire team go out into the swamp to get them. Mrs. Reiger called Will in to help find the missing Joshua, so Will and Swamp Thing are on the case. There are too many guards, so Swamp Things calls upon the "power of the swamp" to turn on a fog machine which somehow transforms Joshua into Red Ear. Red Ear fences with Arcane and wins, but it's all pretend so Arcane isn't really dead. Will and Swamp Thing take advantage of the distraction to knock out the guards, and Joshua reverts back to normal. At the end, Arcane sulks and goes back to his complex. Mrs. Reiger says that she'll never doubt Joshua again. And once again the day is saved.

Hello, my name is Anton Arcane. You killed my father. Prepare to die,

If the recap didn't make it clear, this is one weird-ass episode. It's like a first season episode but instead of Tressa and Will, they substituted Mrs. Reiger and Joshua. They're that much alike. Why Arcane has a sword--other than to provide an excuse for a swordfight at the end--I have no idea. The plot is so contrived--Graham hires local hicks and they're electrocuted so they can't say where they buried the units--that it's barely coherent. But it rushes by so fast, because Swamp Thing is a 30-minute show, that you barely notice.

It's near the end of the series, and you kinda wonder what the point is. This was a USA Network relatively late-night syndicated series, Who the heck where they aiming for with crap like this? The 10-year-old pirate-dressing crowd? Men who fantasize about 10-year-olds dressing like pirates. You got me.

The best thing is Kevin Quigley as Graham. He and Arcane always seemed to have a Smee & Hook relationship, which sadly they don't reference here. Mark Lindsay Chapman, who knows he's too good for all this, hams it up big-time. I particularly like his aside to Graham about the wonders of parenthood as they torture Mrs. Reiger to get Joshua to talk. Then Arcane looks at the snivelly Graham and says "Never mind."

But at least "Yo Ho Ho" makes sense, in a demented Swamp Thing syndicated series sorta way. The next episode, "Heart of Stone", has no such excuse. A sunglasses-wearing woman named Miranda Gordon (Gordon = Gorgon. Get it? Get it?!?) wanders into Houma. For some reason she goes to a local drug store. A guy hits on her in the street when she leaves, and when he removes Miranda's glasses, he turns into stone.

The local deputy, Jensen, is on the case. He's been in one previous episode before, too. Jenson gets the fragments from the dead guy and gives them to Arcane. Who starts rambling on about the petrification of human flesh and how it’s a power that will let him rule the world. Jensen tracks down Miranda, who has gone to Will because she needs someone who is valorous and pure of heart. Will is out--mostly his shirt is pure of sleeves--so Jensen questions Miranda and when she realizes that he's not valorous and pure of heart, petrifies him.

Meanwhile, Miranda has turned her ancient Greek bracelet into a snake and sent it outside. Because, you know, Swamp Thing.

Swamp Thing picks it up and gets visions of Miranda's history. It turns out that Miranda figures Swamp Thing can "cure" her by killing her. She wanders out into the swamp to find him. When Will and Arcane shows up, she puts a very slow petrification curse on them and tells Swampy that if he kills her then it will end the curse and save them. Miranda gives Swampy the knife and all but throws herself on it. This frees the wildly jigging Will and Arcane, and Arcane sulks and goes back to his complex.

That almost makes sense. But it wouldn't be a Swamp Thing episode if it made sense. So... we occasionally cut to scenes of Zeus and Minerva (?!?) playing backgammon in a black void with a couple of Grecian columns. So I assume they're supposed to be on Mount Olympus. Minerva cursed Miranda/Medusa because she was so beautiful, and now they have a wager going to see if Miranda can find someone to kill her. None of this has any impact whatsoever on the storyline.

To confuse things even further, Perseus is there. He's basically Ator the Fighting Eagle, and looks a little like Red Ear in the proceeding episode but isn't the same actor. Perseus is first seen sharpening his sword in a black mist-filled void. Then he shows up in Houma. At the end he tracks down Miranda, finds her body--which has reverted to dust--and turns into dust himself. So... Perseus did nothing. That's great.

How much not-keefe is in this episode, anyway?
Miles not-O'Keefe

You get the impression that the creative team was aiming for deliberate humor here. Will and Arcane writhe and grimace like crazy as they are slowly petrified. This is intercut with shots of Swampy looking concerned, and Miranda with her "Medusa face." It actually looks pretty good, so I figure it's a special effect lifted from something much better. Not that that would be hard.

There is a cute bit where after the curse ends, Arcane boasts that he will have the power to rule the world now that he's experienced petrification first-hand. First of all, isn't that cute? Developing various forms of gene warfare and poisonous plants, wiping out swamps, and creating artificial emeralds won't let him rule the world. But the power to petrify people, that's his (new) go-to? All-righty. Then Swampy po-faced points out that Arcane would be ruling the world from a pedestal in the park. Arcane warns that the whole petrification thing and his knowledge of it will eventually burn Swampy in the future, and takes off. Little did he know...

There's also Arcane describing how he's being petrified as he's petrified, and doing so it in a gee-gosh enthusiastic voice.

"Heart of Stone" feels like they tossed everything they could think of at the camera, knowing they were going to get cancelled. We've never heard of Greek gods on the show before: suddenly they're playing backgammon and betting on the lives of mortals? Also, Zeus and Minerva are played by Jacob Witkin and Judy Clayton, third-banana actors who have played multiple roles in previous episodes. Heck, Witkin appeared in an episode of Lost so maybe he's second-banana.

But "Heart" is basically an episode where the creative team said "What the hell, let's go out with a bang and not worry about continuity or future consequences or anything." It affects nothing, it has no impact on what will be the last four episodes before Swamp Thing closed up shop for good.

But that's just my opinion, I could be wrong. What do you think?
Comments (7)
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May 04, 2018
I resigned my office-job and now I am getting paid £64 hourly. How? I work over internet! My old work was making me miserable, so I was forced to try something different, two years after...I can say my life is changed-completely for the better!

Check it out what i do... Click-Here-And-Start
Jan 25, 2018
And watching the opening credits of Stingray, I just noticed that Tom Blomquist was the executive producer on that and Swamp Thing. Talk about going from the sublime to the ridiculous...
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