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Rites of Passage Recap

In the swamp, two girls--Kimberly Stephenson and Ashley-Dane Lansbury--go a hill. Ashley climbs up it while Kimberly stands watch, and Ashley says that they have to get rid of Mrs. Barthamew somehow. When her friend points out that they still have to get rid of Will, Ashley says that she'll handle him and plucks a flower from the top of the hill. The two girls leave as Swamp Thing watches them from the swamp.

The next day, the female students are preparing to go out on a tour on Will's boat. Mrs. Barthalmew becomes sick and runs out, and Ashley tells Will that they're winners of a prestigious award at their girl's school Sheridan. He says that he can't take them out without their teacher, and figures that he needs the money. Swamp Thing watches from the brush and Will goes over to him. The creature points out that Ashley and Kimberly are the only two that will go and the others will stay with the teachers. He says that Will is supposed to do it, and Will soon gives in.

Will takes Ashley and Kimberly out in a canoe and Ashley says that Kimberly's father Senator Stephenson owns the whole lake. Ashley insists that Will unload their bags, but he refuses. They make camp and Kimberly asks Ashley if they get three wishes. Ashley insists that the legends are true and Will asks what they're talking about. She says that it's a concept mythological concept that he wouldn't understand, and the two girls go on. Swamp Thing appears and tells Will that the girls have many problems, and they will take their parents' place one day. They've come there for the Test of Shabalba, and Swamp Thing warns that they will face a test. Will is glad to test them.

The party arrives at their camp site at the lake and Will goes to get firewood. Kimberly complains that there's no electrical outlets, and the girls prepare the ceremonial fire. Will comes back and warns her that the tree she's breaking apart is alive, and tells her to respect nature. When she complains, Will tells her about alligators and glances at her bag near the lake. She reluctantly pulls her bag away.

As the trio eats, Kimberly talks about how her father has the next election in the bag. Ashley says that she has lots of stock options and talks about how they use the company jet all the time. She tells Will that she's never actually ridden in it and says that he's a busy man. Maniacal laughter echoes through the swamp, and Will glances over at Swamp Thing. He then describes a hospital for the criminally insane nearby and how a few years ago their most dangerous inmate escaped and chewed off the leg of one of the dogs sent after him. Ashley and Kimberly vomit up their lunch and then Ashley accuses Will of trying to scare them.

Will insists that it's true and the girls gather the chicken bones from their meal. He asks what they're doing, and Ashley finally explains that there's a genie that can be called up at a specific time. The genie Shabalba will grant three wishes, and the girls want Will to be the third point of their triangle. He refuses, having heard about Shabalba, and Ashley quickly says that they should turn in. Kimberly gets the hint and the two girls go to their sleeping bags.

After Will apparently dozes off, the girls tie him up. They go to the campfire and prepare the ritual, unaware that Will is faking. When the girls summon Shabalba, the smoke envelops Will and he's apparently pulled back into the brush. Ashley calls on him to come out, and the flames go out and lightning strikes. The girls run off into the lake but reluctantly come back for their bags. Meanwhile, Will complains to Swamp Thing that he pulled him back to hard. Will dismisses the girls as airheads, and Swamp Thing points out that they haven't done anything to him. He suggests that they can teach the girls to care, but Will doesn't believe it.

Kimberly looks in the brush for Will and doesn't find him, and complains to Ashley about how she got him killed. "Shabalba" growls, and Kimberly tries to apologize to the genie. She says that Will had nothing to do with it and has Ashley tear up the invocation and throw away the amulet. Swamp Thing appears to them and the girls run in terror. They hide and Will listens as the girls promise to change their ways. Everything goes quiet, and the girls figure that they'll be all right. When Ashley starts to reconsider her promises, Swamp Thing appears and the girls run in terror. Ashley breaks her leg and after a moment, Kimberly goes back to help her.

Come daybreak, the girls take a break. They spot an alligator heading for them and move on, and Ashley admits to Kimberly that she doesn't know what they would do if their position were reversed. Kimberly assures her that she's there for her. When the sun goes down, the girls stop to eat the last of their food and Ashley suggests that they navigate by the stars using what she learned from her family's yachting crew. She works out where they are and they head out. Will and Swamp Thing watch and Will admits that he's been rough on them. He explains that he resents all of the things that he didn't have as a kid, and the girls remind him. Swamp Thing tells him that the girls aren't the only ones who rose to the occasion.

The next day, the girls find a trail. A storm comes up but Kimberly refuses to run. Ashley tries to yank a branch off of a tree, and Kimberly reminds her that it's alive. The girl grabs a dead stick and says that she won't run, either. Will emerges from the brush and the two girls hug him in relief. They say that they got lost, and Will asks if they got what they wished for. They say that they're not complaining, and Will leads them back to the Kipp house. Mrs. Barthalomew and their parents are there, and the girls are relieved to see them and hug each other and then Will.

That night, Will returns home. A strong wind comes up and laughter echoes through the swamp, but there's no sign of Swamp Thing.

Written by Gadfly on Nov 12, 2017

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