At the bus depot, a man, Jamie, goes over to the cigarette machine for a pack. Another man, Chuck, and his friends come over and Jamie runs. They soon corner him and beat him unconscious.
Will goes to the new carnival in town. The ringmaster, Hurly, is calling people in. A woman, Amanda, is working a carnival booth. Will sees her and comes over, and starts flirting with her. He puts up money to play her game and win the big prize, a jacket. Will asks what her name is, and Chuck comes over and tells Will that it's none of his business. As he starts shoving Will around, Hurly comes over and asks if there's a problem. Chuck quickly backs off and Hurly orders him back to work. Hurly then tells Will to have a good time and leaves with Chuck. Jamie is at the next booth, badly beaten, and quickly closes his booth, saying the game is closed.
The next day, will is walking down the street when he finds Amanda at his car. She gives him the jacket and points out that he would have won it if Jamie hadn't interrupted. Amanda tells him that Hurly sent it as an apology for what happened, and will says that he was trying to win it for her and puts it on her. They go skating and take in a movie, while Chuck secretly watches them. Amanda finally notices and leads Will off.
Later, Will takes Amanda back to the house. Swamp Thing watches from the shadows, and Will asks if she has a family somewhere. She says that Hurly and the others are her family, and Will asks if she ran away from home. Amanda says that he's a kid and they're too different, and it's time for her to move on because she's a carnie. Will tells her that he's not a carnie and kisses her. After a moment, Amanda pulls away and goes.
Will drives Amanda to carnival and she says that she has to go. He walks her in while Chuck secretly watches, Amanda starts to kiss Will, and Chuck speaks up and tells Will to make him get away from Will's car. Hey start fighting until Hurly pulls Chuck off. Chuck claims that Will jumped him, but Hurly doesn't believe him. He then tells Will that he's pushing his luck now that he's not a guest, and he's putting a stop to it. Hurly leads Chuck and Amanda off, and Will gets into his car and discovers that his tape deck is missing
Will goes to Amanda's tent and tells her that his tape deck is missing. He figures that Chuck did it, but Amanda finally says that Hurly made her steal it and Will has to go. Will goes to the swamp and tells Swamp Thing what happened. He admits that he cares about Amanda, and figures that she needs his help. Swamp Thing warns that he senses a greater danger and tells Will to be careful.
Hurly drives up and Will goes to greet him. The man knows what Amanda said, and claims that she believes what she's saying. Hurly insists that he gives them time to think and offers to buy Amanda a bus ticket home if Will can convince her to come home. Will agrees and the owner leaves.
Later, Hurly tells the carnival workers that Amanda has endangered them because of her feelings toward Will. He welcomes her back into the circle because she brings a pure heart for the lords of darkness. Hurly explains that Will cares for her, and they're going to give him a chance to prove it by letting him sacrifice everything.
Will goes to the carnival after hours and calls to Amanda and Hurly. He goes to Amanda's tent, but Chuck is in the bed wearing a wig. The other carnies grab Will, and Hurly comes in with a captive Amanda. The owner says that he planned the entire thing to lure Will there. They tie Will up and Hurly explains that his kids don't believe in anything, even themselves. He lets them believe in him, and he's a god to them. Jamie ran away two days ago and they taught him a lesson, and Hurly can't have the children think for themselves. The owner says that the swamp will be a stage for the show that they're putting on. The ground will open and the demons will walk, because he's going to drug the community cup with water... and sacrifice Will.
The carnies drag Will to the swamp, and a robed Hurly hands around the cup and says that their doubts will be erased. Amanda looks at Will, who shakes his head, while Hurly says that the demons are coming. Will yells that the cup is drugged, but the other carnies have drunk from it and see the demons. As a storm kicks up, Hurly offers Will as a sacrifice.
Amanda yells at Hurly to stop, and he slaps her down. Ignoring her, the carnies shove Will into a pool of quicksand. He sinks below the surface, but then rises up as Swamp Thing shoves him out from below. Hurly figures that Swamp Thing is a demon, and draws a gun and says that he can send him back. Unharmed, Swamp thing pulls the gun from his hand. Lightning strikes Hurly, blowing him up. Swamp Thing tells will that Hurly brought it on himself and leaves.
The next day, Will drives Amanda to the bus station . She admits that she's nervous to see her family again, and they won't understand what happened. Will advises her to leave the part out about Swamp Thing, and Amanda agrees. He asks if he's going to see her again, and Amanda says that he will once she works things out at home. Amanda kisses him goodbye and Will gives her the jacket as a reminder.
Written by Gadfly on Aug 26, 2017