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Episode Recap: Battle of the Beasts

The final three must create animalistic kung-fu masters for an actual fight scene. Who will win Season 11?


The big day has arrived, and the Final Three find themselves cruising through a movie backlot, surrounded by the stages where dreams become reality and foam latex becomes a character. Their destination is a lot filled with bamboo trees, boulders, McKenzie Westmore, and a really tall guy named Jeff Wolfe, stuntman extraordinaire and director of the kung fu wire fighting blizzard that will be their final challenge.

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Jeff gives a brief synopsis of the story they’ll bring to life: Ancient kung fu masters developed fighting styles named after particular animals, and legend has it that they developed magic to transform into the animals they studied. While one faction of masters preserved the scrolls containing the magic in order to give them to the people, another faction wanted to destroy them and keep the knowledge solely in their own hands.

Jeff introduces the fighters that will be performing, and they each give a demonstration of their style. The contestants are blown away by Tiger, Dragon, Crane, Mantis, Snake, and Eagle. Cig is first to choose his fighters (Tiger and Dragon), Emily chooses Crane and Mantis, and George goes with Eagle and Snake. They’re pumped up and ready to create, but no finale would be complete without the help of their compatriots! The former contestants pour onstage, and the three finalists round out their teams with some hefty help.

After some sketching time on the sound stage, with Jeff and the fighters giving pointers on what would and wouldn’t work for this short film full of wire fighting and acrobatic moves, the contestants head back to the lab and get into that clay. Whether it’s pure inspiration or the knowledge that there’s no time to lose, none of the finalists hesitate: they delegate and get the creations going.

Before you know it, it’s time to film! Team Emily is up first, and her concept of an aged Crane Master battling an upstart Mantis Master looks brilliant in the air. Team Cig comes in next, and since his characters have speaking roles, he pays special attention to ensuring the mouth applications stay clean and close to the fighters’ faces. Team George rounds out the day. While he came in with trepidation about the prosthetics staying in place, and his characters’ general badassery, he left with confidence that he and his crew turned out some amazing work.

The judges love all of the work they’ve seen tonight – the subtle organic chest piece on Emily’s mantis, the threatening movement of the feathers on George’s eagle, the subtle forms on Cig’s dragon. The forms and color choices on each character are truly flawless.

But it’s Cig’s detailed sculpture and nuanced forms that win. The play of gold and red on the dragon, the combination of old age makeup with hybrid makeup on the tiger, are transcendent and look AMAZING flying through the air! Cig has a special message for all viewers: he won this one for the “weird kids,” the ones who don’t quite fit in, the ones who see life differently. Follow your dreams! Make your one weird life the best weird life it can be!