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Episode Recap: Premature Explosion


Our lives are enhanced by inspired ideas, like the airplane or the smartphone. In the second episode of Town of the Living Dead, the crew of Thr33 Days Dead comes up with their brilliant contribution to humankind: they want to blow up a boat. The script for their zombie movie doesn’t call for a boat explosion, but everyone in this Jasper, Alabama-based crew thinks that blowing up a boat is exactly what their film needs.

Actually, everybody is onboard with this idea except for John, the movie’s writer and director. You know, the guy who should be making this decision. Tina, Thr33 Days Dead’s executive producer, meets John at the Jasper Mall food court to discuss the proposed boat explosion. John says they can’t afford to randomly blow up a boat. It’s a good argument. Tina surprises John by pulling a check for $17,000 from her bra, and reveals that she’s mortgaged her house. Blowing up a boat has been a dream of hers, and it’s gonna happen.

Terry, the bald and rotund crewmember whose job title is “Makeup and Special FX,” is placed in charge of blowing up the boat. Terry recruits his sister’s boyfriend, Chance, to help him with the task. When Chance introduces himself by saying, “There’s only three great loves of my life: women, food and blowing things up,” you’re thankful that he’s found his way onto this show.

Chase and Terry make a field trip to Jasper’s hardware store to stock up on explosives. Terry says he needs, “Hydrogen peroxide, Tiki torch fuel and dynamite.” One hopes this doesn't put him on a government watch list. The hardware store sells him everything on his shopping list, and Terry announces that he wants to give “Michael Bay a run for his money.” The demented look in Terry’s eyes makes you believe he might do just that.

On the day of the shoot, the crew heads down to Smith Lake. Chance hands Terry a detonator to blow up the dynamite on the boat. He explains that he bought the device on eBay, confirming that the Internet is a terrifying place. In a touching scene, Terry says, “I don’t want to be the token gay guy in Jasper. I want to be the token gay guy who blows shit up.” With this declaration, Terry is on his way to becoming not only the hero of this show, but a true American hero.

Tina rehearses the big scene several times with the cast. Bryan, Thr33 Days Dead’s lead actor, breaks down the scene: the three main actors will get off the boat, “beat the living hell out of some zombies,” and then the boat will spectacularly blow up behind them. While the crew is rehearsing, the boat spontaneously blows up when cameras aren’t rolling. The explosion truly looks like a special effect from a Michael Bay movie – it’s jaw-droppingly awesome. The crew is furious that they didn’t capture it on film. It’s a disaster that could only happen on the set of Thr33 Days Dead. Most film crews would give up and say, “Well, we didn’t need a boat explosion anyway.” But the crew of Thr33 Days Dead doesn’t give up without a fight.

Tina scores another boat at Tackle World in Jasper – it’s a tiny dinghy that she gets in exchange for eight Thr33 Days Dead T-shirts. Before the second boat-explosion attempt, Chase and Terry practice blowing random items up in a training montage. Chase puts a firecracker into a rotisserie chicken and says, in a sing-song voice, “I’m trying to blow a chicken’s ass out.” And then he blows a chicken’s ass out with an explosive. We’re only on Episode 2, and it’s going to be tough to top that moment.

Finally, the crew returns to Smith Lake for the second go-round at blowing up the boat. With cameras rolling, Terry hits the detonator. Unfortunately, the “explosion” looks less like a boat blowing up and more like someone blowing out a candle. John says, “I’ve seen bigger smoke plumes coming outta Chase’s rear end.” But of course everything’s gonna be OK, because John ends the episode with his catchphrase: “We’ll fix it in post.”