Swamp Thing: The Anatomy Lesson
July 30, 2019 10:03 PM - Season 1, Episode 9 - Subscribe

Alec and Dan learn some hard truths about their respective situations and have to face some consequences.
posted by sardonyx (4 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I got to this much sooner than expected, thanks to lag time between e-mail messaging when I had nothing to do but wait for replies to my questions. This probably shouldn't have been an episode I watched in five and ten minute chunks but at least I got a chance to see it.

This was great: revelation after revelation after revelation. It certainly moved the story along and created the potential for a cracker jack of an ending.

So much of it was really worth watching, especially Maria and Avery. Jason discovering what Alec actually is during the autopsy was also a fantastic scene.

I'm not sure about the stuff with Matt. It seems like a late addition to the already tangled soap opera drama. I don't know if we need it, but at this point, the writers might as well toss everything they can into the soup.

As viewers we're blaming Abby for the overdose, right?

I'm not very impressed by the Blue Devil effects. I thought the Devil looked pretty bad, but I was happy to see Dan's story back on the front burner.

I know this Stranger isn't the comic book version, and I should give the character and the actor a chance, but I just can't. He feels so off and out of character to me. It's not just about how he is mucking about in Dan's life and tricking him into situations that Dan hasn't actually consented to, it's the emotions and facial expressions and physicality and essence and presence of the character that are making me react with a "that's not my Stranger" response, even if he is wearing his chain and medallion. (Actually, I think the design on the medallion looks more like one in Arion's logo.)
posted by sardonyx at 10:18 PM on July 30, 2019 [1 favorite]

Okay this isn't a Swamp Thing comment, but a Legends one that I needed to share and this is the only open DC TV thread.

I'm for work I'm dealing with machine transcribed interviews. The discussion is about a particular large financial institution. I know the transcription service has issues with non-American names and companies, etc., but somehow I wasn't expecting it to interpret the company's name as Beebo. Seriously, why is Beebo even a word in its dictionary? Now I'm faced with reading about customer service being in Beebo's DNA. I'll be so happy when this round of assignments is finally done.
posted by sardonyx at 1:40 PM on August 1, 2019 [1 favorite]

I pretty much am with you on everything, Sardonyx -- I wasn't crazy about the way the Blue Devil looked, but I was glad we got back to Dan. Vis a vis the Stranger, I have to say that I have a lot of affection for Macon Blair as an actor (I saw him at the DC premiere of Blue Ruin and we had the same leather Chuck Taylors!), but I don't really get what's going on with this version of the character. I think he's meant to be a kind of American analogue to John Constantine, in the sense that he's a man of mystery who is probably just a regular guy underneath it all, and not one who's above manipulating nice folks like Dan for the greater good. That isn't the Phantom Stranger I'm familiar with, but it is the role Constantine played when he debuted in the Swamp Thing comic. What's weird is that Constantine always seemed to know more than he was letting on (even if he actually knew much less), and the Stranger seems kind of...sheepish? He's got kind of an "aw shucks, guys, you know me" vibe, playing a little dumb but not really, which is...interesting? It's odd. I feel like maybe I should have a slightly better understanding of what his role is by now. The medallions are a nice touch, though.

The FX folks outdid themselves with the titular autopsy-turned-vivisection. All those little vines and tubers! I wanted to feel bad for poor Swampy (whose pain was evidently psychosomatic, I suppose), but I was too busy admiring how much time and energy went into creating his innards.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 4:23 PM on August 1, 2019 [1 favorite]

Like you, I thought the autopsy/vivisection scene really well done. The only thing that bothered me (just a tiny bit) was that I thought Swampy looked really short stretched out on the table. Since that wasn't a rubber suit meant for movement, I figure they could have increased his size a bit, just to make him seem a bit imposing and less human--although I can admit that may have been the point.

You've pinpointed the problem with the Stranger exactly. It's that "aw shucks" thing coupled with the evil and manipulative intent underneath the facade. (I still say Dan's deal wasn't really a deal, let alone a fair one.) The two aspects of his personality seem to be fighting each other, and it's jarring to watch. I understand why the show would want an American stand-in for John, but I don't think this character was the way to present one.
posted by sardonyx at 5:13 PM on August 1, 2019 [1 favorite]

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