We’re back with episode 3 of Immortalized, and Zach Selwyn’s unkempt hair and glazed eyes speak of a man who despairs of ever escaping his captivity. This week’s challenger is a 32-year taxidermy veteran who apparently thinks dressing like a beach bartender makes him an outlaw. Meet Mike “Mac” McCulloch and his A game.
Mike will be competing against Osaka-born Takeshi Yamada, a dapper nutcase with a habitual mad scientist laugh. Takeshi carries around a stuffed manatee rabbit, which is an odd affectation but makes sense when you think about it. (“Coney” comes from the Dutch word for rabbit, Coney Island is famous for freak shows, Takeshi is fucking nuts: It all works.)
The theme that neither competitor will be addressing is The Odyssey. This has Mike Mac thinking about the ancient Greek poem, which is not much of a stretch. Takeshi, fortunately, has a goat to pass him ideas, and will be building a five-headed fox kaiju with buffet trash horns and spikes.
Mike Mac’s project involves airbrushing a load of off-the-rack fiberglass fish blanks, which I can’t believe he thinks won’t count against him. Mike comes off as an annoying boss and a dull blowhard, but this is reality TV and he’s being edited to create a character. Nobody who teases his bulldog with a compressed air hose can be all bad.
Takeshi, meanwhile, is patrolling the beach with his bunny and a net, looking for dead stuff. I am inspired by his choice of beachwear and fully intend to wear a morning coat, spats, and a top hat next time I hit the shore.
Seriously, Takeshi is the most charming thing this show has tossed up all season. He’s energetic, he doesn’t speak in idiotic sports interview cliches, and he can laugh at himself. And he does.
Back at the studio, we have the usual unboxing and assembly montage, with assistants this week? Hard to tell with the haphazard staging and camera work. Mike Mac hands the judges some word salad about his piece and gets called out twice over the fish blanks. His finished piece looks like a corner of an aquarium done large, and the only actual animal taxidermy is the otter. At least one hopes so, looking at the dominant feature, which is a human scuba diver.
Takeshi relates his piece to the struggles of his life, including getting hit by hurricane Sandy, and throws in a SHAZAM! and a total supervillain laugh. Apparently his process involves using his own blood, spittle, and flesh. And again, we never get a good look at the entire piece, which is a shame because 5-headed fox kaiju attended by roadkill bat demons. The judges clearly love it, and Posehn is ready to make an offer.
The judging portion is mercifully short, with a few comments that don’t seem to relate and Posehn clearly having smoked the decision over. Takeshi wins by a howling margin, as is only just, and proudly returns to his holding cell.
We have one Immortalizer still to meet, and I fear he will be a disappointment after the Takeshi experience. If any good comes of this shambles of a series, besides Zach’s safe return to his family, it will be Takeshi getting his own crazy show.