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Swamp People: Rotting lung and spleen ‘beef melt’ is delicious to alligators

Alligator hand and a man's hand on Swamp People
It’s man vs beast as alligator season gets properly under way on Swamp People

On Swamp People, season eight appears to be going swimmingly, finally. Everyone escapes Episode 3 with all their limbs intact.

Taking a cue from Daniel Edgar and the legend of Grande Noir from last week, Willie Edwards pulls out a whopper Swamp People fait accompli.

But before we discuss this, the episode opens with our freakishly blue-eyed Willie lamenting the working man’s blues of being a commercial fisherman.

To paraphrase Louisiana’s ‘Born on the bayou’ auteurs Creedence Clearwater Revival, he ain’t no fortunate Landry son. No sir. Edwards just hits the fishing and gator-snaring work daily and he never quits or makes excuses. And he does it alone.

After this opener on the third episode of Swamp People, we head first to Pierre Part and day three of alligator season which is weighing heavily on Troy Landry.

The King of the Swamp isn’t smiling much in this scene as he took a big gamble on his son Chase. It didn’t go well last week.

Chase’s first two days of gator-hunting were a study in the phrase “a day late and a dollar short”. Just utterly abysmal. Young cousin Holden appears to be the hero, but in an off-camera interview, Troy is doubtful of the two of them. It’s do or die time for the young Landry lads.

But at the end of the day, Troy is Chase’s dad, and he worries. Troy pep talks them and tells Chase to be careful out there, as it is the ultimate test for him. If things don’t turn around, Troy will have to make some hard decisions.

Cut to our other problem child, Tommy Chauvin. Jay Paul’s new deckhand still feels he has to prove himself.

The two danger seekers of the series air boat over a levee to a giant that awaits. This scene becomes a ballet of bullets, treble hooks and balls as Tommy leans over hard into the soup as Jay Paul maneuvers the boat.

Tommy
Tommy has made a life-changing turn of play and is now on top of the world

They gaffe the gator and grab it by its tail. Tommy shoots him in the head. They high-five and Jay Paul says it was the turning point for his overall view of Tommy’s value to the operation. Lots of Cajun redneck whooping in this scene.

Meanwhile, the Creole Edgar clan patriarch Daniel is all business, telling his kin it’s about gator carcass numbers. Two boats are used: One holds Daniel and his son Dwaine, a gator-hunting newbie, while the second holds Daniel’s other son Joey with Dwaine’s kid Dorien

In the gross-out scene of the episode, Joey whips out his odiferous secret weapon, a bloody lump of “beef melt” which is a gruesome chop of rotting beef lung and spleen, and it is completely disgusting.

Rotting lungs and spleen
Joey Edgar’s secret weapon: “beef melt” aka rotting lung and spleen

Back to our lone ranger of the bayou, Willie. He has managed to plop two giants into his very small boat and the more camera angles we are given of Willie the more one is reminded of the classic film Deliverance.

Using his trusty treble hook and going it alone as a solo hunter, we worry that this tactic is ripe for calamity. It is never recommended and certainly not smart to set out on a tiny skiff into remote bodies of water that harbor deadly leviathans.

A lot can go wrong here and in a split second you can be whipped under the boat. D-E-D. Your body wedged under a log while the gator eats you at his leisure.

Well, our Willie has thrown caution to the wind and he is at it, hooking the latest unseen beast — but he is being taken on a ride. This guy bags a 10-footer and manages to get this 300+ pounder into his boat by himself. Another proud moment for Mr. Edwards.

Then, disaster strikes. Willie’s boat craps out. Miles from anywhere and alone, Willie attempts to fix the engine and really shocks himself badly. It looks grim at this point.

Near Bayou Pigeon, Chase and Holden head out to their “honey hole” of Grand Lake. It appears Chase is more unintelligible than his dad in this scene. They gun up and Chase says: “Let’s just shoot this son of a biscuit.” Subtitles, of course. Chase nails the 9ft gator. They’re pumped.

Back in an odd canal miles away, Willie is stranded and he is baking in that aluminum boat and frets his alligators are rotting under the unforgiving sun.

Lucky for him, his Uncle Wesley arrives almost on cue. This is the part of the world where plentiful kin is king. He lucked out.

In Houma, Louisiana, it’s the gun show with Jay Paul Molinere and Tommy as this muy macho duo are hard on the hunt.

An off-camera interview sees Tommy commiserate that he’s f***** around enough in his life and is ready to step up his game. As the Aussies say, Good on yer, Tommy!

But these two! Crazy white boys. Back into the murky water they go sticking their arms in a tangled-up mess of yuckiness and trapped angry gator.

They finesse the gator as Jay Paul is cocked and loaded. The two guys are hitting it and on a roll, as they bag their kill, and we see that Jay is very proud of Tommy’s new tune.

Now, back to the Edgar clan as the reeking stank of beef melt in the bayou is overwhelming. Joey’s bloody bait is bringing all the gators up from the bottom. Immediately an enormous gator is on the line. Dorien has the gun and busts the 8-footer between the eyes.

Daniel Edgar
Last week Daniel Edgar bagged Grande Noir, this week Willie Edwards has his moment

Mind you, during all this gator-hunting the temperature on the bayou has soared into the 90s with near 100 per cent humidity. It’s buggy, smelly and brutal.

Willie is back at it now his boat is working and he is convinced the gator he currently has on the line is the very same one from last year which snatched the treble hook out of his hands.

Much like last week’s Grande Noir reunion for Daniel Edgar, Willie’s gator has pissed him off and he is now determined to bag the one that got away with his trusty hook.

Meanwhile, our Landry kin, Holden and Chase, are rocking and rolling as they come across yet another line attached to an active and irate gator.

These two have found some hardworking Cajun ree-lij-john, reborn as motivated gator-killing machines.

Back to Joey and Dorien who have bagged yet another one with the beef melt. Joey always says “make him pay, son” before Dorien shoots anything. Wonder where that came from.

In Violet, Jay Paul and Tommy are fired up. They have a boat full of gator carcasses and now spot a random wild hog. You can say many things about Jay Paul, and one of them is he is a great shot. He bags him a boar!

Bacon is on y’all as the 250-pound feral hog they drag in the boat along with the gators will feed an army. Noting his lethal teeth, Jay is grateful he wasn’t unarmed and meeting this deadly oinker on dry land. He says: “Looks like we eating good!”

Wild boar on a boat
This is a Cajun’s version of take-out dinner, as a feral hog bagged by Jay is going to feed all his kin

As the episode winds down, we see that the Edgar clan did well too. Beef melt apparently is delicious to gators.

The sun is still up at bayou Sorrel. We revisit Willie who is still on the case trying to get his elusive Keyser Söze of alligators inside his boat.

It’s not easy. Willie is sweating his brains out and looks all of 100 pounds soaking wet. He is convinced the gator is the very same and estimates the gator is at least 12 feet long.

But Willie is shaking with heatstroke, and under this Louisiana hot sun he wears no hat, no sunglasses and has no help in getting this behemoth up into the boat. He fights it tooth and nail. This thing is practically a crocodile and Edwards will prevail.

The third day of hunting draws to a close. The Landry tally is weighed and measured. Troy is happy and proud Chase got his head out of his a**. They are all smiles over in this camp.

In Houma, it’s a Cajun blue ribbon day for Jay Paul and Tommy who pulled in 12 gators and a massive hog. Jay says: “We got cracklins’ bacon we got it all!”

A hog roast is planned. The whole Molinere clan greets Jay and Tommy as they field-dress the pig. Poppa R.J. reiterates Jay Paul’s confidence in Tommy and they all gleefully gut, skin, carve and feast on fresh boar on the barbecue.

But the episode opener, our commercial fisherman Willie Edwards, is the one whose catch of the day blows everyone away.

The rough times he has weathered and his consistent work ethic keeps him going no matter what.

Willie’s bagged gator weighs 522 pounds. Think about that. Willie weighs in at maybe a buck twenty, at best.

Willie Edwards pulls alligator into the boat
Willie Edwards hauls his massive gator into the boat

It is insane that this one slight man could single-handedly hook, pull, shoot and THEN get the damned gator up in his boat. Hats off to him.

The next episode sees Troy out in the swamp as a cannibal gator is hunted and Willie may be skating on thin ice with his solo hunting.

Swamp People airs Thursdays on the History channel at 9/8c

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April is an accredited entertainment writer, interviewer and television critic. She is a current member of the Television Critics Association (TCA), Gay and Lesbian Entertainment... read more
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