We’re back for week 2 of Immortalized, and Zach Selwyn is still being held captive. His every movement is a semaphore of pleading and dread. And our challenger this week is CJ Fegan, who gives 110% and does not accept failure. CJ apparently lives in a David Lynch version of the Bates Motel, and is a second generation taxidermist, which in Edgewater, MD, is an enviable station.
We get a whirlwind tour of CJ’s prize mounts, which annoys me because they skip over a bunch of exotics and they sneak in a shot of a housecat who is clearly alive. We get to see more of CJ’s magnificent beard and his dirt bike than his actual work.
Back on set, Zach looks scared shitless of CJ. I’d be if I were him. CJ looks like he’d normally beat 110% of the shit out of any man he saw wearing a pink shirt as a matter of principle.
Our Immortalizer for this challenge is Page Nethercutt, a human fireplug who makes Larry the Cable Guy sound like James Bond. I don’t think he’s playing up his accent, I think he doesn’t give a god damn who thinks he’s a hick. These two clearly know each other, and we see some hard-handshake redneck politeness, and some shining on. Zach is sweating and wants to run for it, but sticks to script.
The judging panel throne room has been upgraded with a flat screen showing a loop of a fireplace. Confident leather trouser wearer Catherine Coan appears bemused at being called a TaxidArtist. And OK, our theme/topic/secret ingredient is End of the World.
Asked about the topic, CJ thinks he’s going to have to smoke this one over? CJ is going to have to bake this one in the oven. He might get the vapors. What I’m saying is I think CJ is going to access his creative mental state by ingesting a form of cannabis.
On to the home visits. Page is equating himself with Michelangelo, and a nuclear holocaust with a bobcat grabbing a snack. This looks like the second week in a row of the Immortalizer doing whatever they feel will best display their talents and bullshitting on the topic.
CJ points out that no one knows what the end of the world will be like, so he’s free to do his own interpretation. So he’s smoked this one over just fine.
I’m enjoying the gross technical details with the ear cartilage and bird filets, and the body mechanics. We’re getting more shop talk this ep, which makes the show feel a little more Outdoor Network than AMC. I mean that in a good way, since last week’s ep was on the twee side.
Back at the set, the fireplace video is cranking, Catherine has opted for more breathable trou, and CJ has brought a huge amount of freight with him. We’re getting a lot more of a look at the set up process this week from both contestants, with some nice air-hose tweaking.
First up for judging is CJ, who wisely lets his piece speak for itself. HOLY CRAP indeed, Brian Posehn. This thing looks like a truck stop t-shirt blown up to drive-in theater size. AMC is in fact leaving money on the table if they do not license a t-shirt with this image. As with last week’s challenger, we never see a well-composed shot of the whole piece, although the detail shots we get are like a tiny Disney movie. I am also curious as to whether CJ has included a fog machine or if he is just standing behind the display getting in touch with his spontaneous creative mindset.
Asked for his opinion on the piece, Page composes a left-handed compliment that just about equals a bitchslap. Up before the judges, he goes biblical, dismisses that, and introduces his comparative haiku of a piece. The judges clearly love it, but nobody sees the end of the world on the platform.
The judges’ comments mostly restate their inspection quips, but it’s interesting to see blustery CJ pink up a bit as he listens. One wonders if he gets a lot of affirmation for his work. Page takes it on the chin, knowing he’s been shown up.
And as it turns out, CJ wins by a nose, and Page has to do the walk of shame back to his holding cell backstage.
This is only episode 2, so it’s not surprising that the show is a bit a of a shambles, but it already looks like a one-season oddity. I’m not ready to give up yet, though. I at least want to see all the Immortalizers compete before I start recapping through the bottom of a Bourbon glass.