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Episode Recap: Zombie Karate


Welcome back to Jasper, Alabama, where the cast of Thr33 Days Dead is kung fu fighting! Or at least trying to …

Tina, the producer of Thr33 Days Dead, takes the cast to a CrossFit gym so they can work on fight scenes for the movie ... and it looks like the first time that many of them have ever seen the inside of a gym. Bryan, the lead actor, sprains his wrist during one exercise acts like he's about to die. He confesses on camera, "The only thing I fought recently was a speeding ticket, and I lost." Not a huge surprise. Tina informs John, the director, that he'll need to cut the fight scenes from the movie if he can't whip these actors into shape.

Not surprisingly, Tina comes up with a brilliant solution: hire a karate sensei to train the cast. Karate gurus aren't in abundance in Jasper, Alabama, but Laura (Tina's assistant) tracks down Master Ferrell, who operates a karate school in a strip mall. "His Yelp review is very good," Laura says to Tina.

Tina and Laura attend one of the classes of Master Ferrell, who looks like Tim Conway in an orange satin karate suit. When they first meet him, he's in the middle of pummeling little kids in his class, flipping them over and slamming them to the ground. Tina likes what she sees and offers him $75 to work on the film. The old karate master at first doesn't seem interested, but Tina ups the ante and offers him a credit on the film. Master Ferrell obviously wants to see his name in lights, because he accepts the deal.

John and Tina take a field trip to Walker County Lake, where the fight scenes will be shot. Pearl, John's mom, crashes the set. Pearl is similar to Puck from Real World: San Francisco, if Puck were a Southern mom (if don't get the reference, Pearl is here to disrupt the reality show we're watching and the movie her son is trying to shoot). John tries to shoo her from the set as Pearl demands her own part in the movie.

Pearl needles John, begging to be in Thr33 Days Dead, though John won't allow it. She insults and mocks her son, which doesn't help her case. Tina compares Pearl to a tornado: when she arrives on set, Tina says, "I find a safe place to hide and I ride out the storm."

Master Ferrell shows up to choreograph the fight scenes, and there's instantly tension between the geriatric karate teacher and the director. Master Ferrell tells John how to set up his shots and starts directing the actors himself. John's annoyed, but the cast is grateful: "It's nice to have someone around who knows what they're doing," Bryan tells Master Farrell. Chase asks Master Ferrell if he's ever been in a real fight; Master Ferrell says he has, and that he killed his opponent.

A random segue features John observing that Laura, Tina's assistant, has her jeans on backwards. It's an eight-second scene, but it speaks volumes about Laura's nuttiness.

Finally, we get to the actual shoot. In the scene, Bryan, Chase and John disembark from their fishing boat and fight zombies with their boat oars. Master Ferrell gets more and more involved with directing the actors, which prompts John to say, "On a scale of 1 to 10, my aggravation level is at 12." Tina comes up with a solution to keep Master Ferrell out of John's hair: she makes him the new boom mic operator. "When you're working sound, you have to be quiet," she says. Indeed, the new job assignment shuts Master Ferrell up.

Just when it looks like Tina has solved all the day's problems and the shoot will go off without a hitch, Pearl shows up on set with boxes of chicken wings for the cast and crew. "I brought you food, you disrespectful little devil!" Pearl shouts at John. Pearl is such a source of conflict for the director that Tina has to shut down the set.

Over dinner later that night, Pearl once again begs John to put her in the movie. After six years of listening to her pleas, John relents and finally gives her a part ... as a woman he gets to kill. After John, in zombie makeup, kills his mother in the scene, Pearl remarks, "Meryl Street [sic], you better look out, because I'm taking Hollywood over." There's really no reason not to believe her.