Two pirates are in the swamp digging to place their buried treasure. Another pirate, "Red Ear", is watching and noting the location. When he steps forward, he steps on a branch. A young Joshua's fantasy of "Red Ear" ends. He's dressed as a pirate, and the two "pirates" are men working for Anton. Joshua runs, dropping his pocket watch. He turns and grabs it, then keeps running. The men run into Swamp Thing, who throws them into the water. Joshua stares at Swamp Thing in surprise.
Joshua returns home and goes to his bedroom, and tosses his things into his backpack. As he runs out, Mrs. Reiger asks what's going on and Joshua tells her about pirate treasure and a swamp monster. Mrs. Reiger knows that Joshua is lying about doing his homework, and Joshua lies that a big man stole his books. She tells her son that he was supposed to clean out his closet for her yard sale, and if he doesn't then she will. Joshua lies about cleaning out his closet, and Mrs. Reiger doesn't believe him when he describes the "swamp monster". The boy says that his father would have believed him and runs out.
In the swamp, Anton complains that all of his hydration units were buried in the wrong places. Graham says that the men said that they buried them, and Anton insists that they have to be placed precisely. His assistant tells him that he'll find the two men.
The two men try to leave the swamp and keep an eye out for Swamp Thing. Meanwhile, Swamp Thing finds one of the half-buried hydration units. Graham and the guards track down the men, cutting them off so they head for the compound. Swamp Thing hears gunshots and goes to investigate.
The two men run to the perimeter fence, and Swam Thing warns them not to touch it. They do otherwise and are shocked. Swamp Thing quickly leaves as Graham and his men arrive, and Graham realizes that the men are dead.
Joshua looks for Swamp Thing, unaware that Swamp Thing is watching him.
That night at the compound, Graham shows Anton one of the hydration units and says that he found it at a yard sale.
Mrs. Reiger brings Will to her house and says that she's worried that Joshua is becoming obsessed with the swamp. She says that her husband died in the swamp, and Joshua is getting worse. Will tells her that it took him two years to deal with his mother's loss, and goes to find Joshua.
Joshua finds Swamp Thing and draws his toy sword to take Swamp Thing "prisoner". Swamp Thing plays along, and Joshua says that he's is imagination and can't take him back because he doesn't exist.
Anton opens the Reiger house door, and Mrs. Reiger hears the sound and comes to investigate. The scientist steps out of the shadows, wielding a sword.
Joshua shows Swamp Thing the broken pocket watch and explains that it belonged to his father. He complains that his mother doesn't go adventuring with him, and his father said that Joshua could be anything he wanted to. Swamp Thing tells him to trust in what he feels, and Mrs. Reiger needs her son. He asks what the "pirates" were burying, and asks to see the map that Joshua made of they hydration sites. Joshua claims that someone stole the map and goes home. When he gets there, he finds Anton waiting. Anton wants to know about the hydration unit.
Anton takes Joshua to the compound where Mrs. Reiger is imprisoned in a holding unit. The scientist says that if Joshua doesn't tell him where he found the hydration unit then Graham will torture Mrs. Reiger. Joshua quickly says that he found it in the swamp but doesn't know where. Graham starts torturing Mrs. Reiger with infrared light, and Joshua says that he has to find his map. Anton tells the boy to take him to his maps and they'll bring Mrs. Reiger with them.
The next morning, Will finds Swamp Thing with another of the hydration units. Swamp Thing explains that the units could destroy the algae, disrupting the swamp's ecological balance. The unit is filled with natural elements so he can't find the other units. When Swamp Thing explains about Joshua, Will tells him that he never returned home and they realize that Anton has the Reigers.
In the swamp, Joshua says that he doesn't trust Anton and tells his mother that Swamp Thing told him to trust his feelings. Anton threatens to kill Mrs. Reiger unless he gives him the map, and Joshua gets the map from its hiding place. Swamp Thing watches from the shadows and Will finds him. Will warns that if Anton hears them then he'll kill both Reigers, and Swamp Thing says that Joshua will keep them occupied with the swamp's help.
Mist rises from the swamp, and Anton tells the Reigers that he has to eliminate them because they know too much. Joshua grabs his toy sword and prepares to fight, and the mist envelops him and turns him into Red Ear. He fences with Anton while Swamp Thing and Will secretly take out the guards. Meanwhile, Red Ear finally stabs Anton and yells for his guards. Joshua reverts to normal, and Anton runs off but comes face-to-face with Swamp Thing and Will. They toss down the hydration unit, and Anton realizes that he's unharmed. Swamp Thing tells him to leave the swamp and Anton does so.
As Joshua unties his mother, he tells her that just like his father always said, a man's got to do what a man's got to do. The two of them head home as Swamp Thing looks on.
Written by Gadfly on Jan 22, 2018