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Episode Recap: Walking On Water


Tonight's episode of Wizard Wars starts with a special treat from the Wizard Team: grand illusionist Shimshi takes the stage to perform a classic magic routine with Billie Kidd as his (reluctant) assistant. Decked out in a 1920s flapper-inspired gown, Billie lays down on a table while Shimshi places a long box across her torso. After showing off his solid blades to the audience, he plunges them down through the boxes into Billie.

But then Shimshi does something with this classic trick most haven't seen before: he lifts the covers off the boxes so the audience can see that the blades seem to render Billie into three pieces. After plunging the knives down once more, Shimshi then lifts up and carries around the middle box with her abdomen inside! When Billie says that she really needs to use the bathroom, Shimshi returns her abdomen to its rightful place, undoes the blades and box and voila: she's perfect as a peach.

It's East Coast versus West Coast on tonight's episode of Wizard Wars. The first pair of challengers hail from Philadelphia: Eric Jones, a magician who has taught at the World Magic Seminar in Las Vegas, and Joshua Messado, a magician who's developed an uncanny new version of the classic "Chinese linking rings" trick. These East Coasters square off against two magicians from Los Angeles: close-up magician Alex Iverson and heavy-metal inspired illusionist Sammy Cortino.

Host Ellen Fox reveals tonight's three everyday objects for round one: a pink lawn flamingo, a hula hoop, and a piggy bank filled with coins.

Philadelphia magicians Eric and Joshua take the stage first. Eric pulls out a tiny ring and calls it a hula hoop, then encourages everyone to imagine it as a hula hoop. With a quick flash of his hand, Eric tosses it and catches a larger sized ring in its place. Joshua shows off his "blink and you missed it" skill with the Chinese rings. With a quick flash of a cover, the pair transform the small rings into one large hula hoop.

They bring up an audience member to hula hoop for 30 seconds, promising her all the money in the piggy bank if she does. She only makes it to 14 seconds, at which point the magicians pour the money out of the piggy bank into the volunteer's hand. She counts 14 coins, 1 coin per second of her attempt.

Joshua then walks a pink flamingo back to Teller, who holds it out in front of him. Eric then tosses a coin from on stage and it makes a distinct sound that shocks Teller, as the coin has landed in the flamingo in his hands. Eric then "scoops" the money from in the piggy bank and magically tosses the handful into the flamingo, which also lands with a heavy sound from inside. Joshua opens the flamingo and pours out a handful of change from inside.

Not only were the Judges impressed by their creativity, they felt that they were able to really play up their strengths as close-up artists even in front of a larger audience, and did so with style and class. But are their smooth moves enough to beat LA-based magicians Alex and Sammy?

As Alex and Sammy take the stage, they place a hula hoop on a stand and raise a white sheet in front of it, lit from behind. The audience watches in amazement as the shadow of the hula hoop seems to bend and move on its own; when the pair drop the sheet, the hoop has been transformed into the outline of a flamingo. They raise the sheet again and  then drop it to reveal that the hula hoop is gone and a pink lawn flamingo stands in its place. Alex then makes a coin disappear and reappear again, moving from the piggy bank to inside the flamingo.

Sammy solicits a wallet and a dollar bill from an audience member, who signs his name across the bill before giving it and the wallet to Sammy. Sammy then folds up the bill and hands it to Alex, who sets it on fire. Once the smoke clears, the bill is gone and the audience member's wallet looks burnt and mangled. Sammy then smashes open the piggy bank to reveal the wallet in perfect condition inside and then pulls out a hula hoop that had been visible on stage the whole time with the signed dollar taped to it.

It was a tough call for the Judges, awarding the most points for creativity to Team LA while Team Philly picked up the most points for showmanship. When it came to deception, the playing field was pretty level between the teams, and for Penn and Teller, Team Philly pulled off their tricks with a little more style and grace.

For the Wizard War round, Ellen describes the four fishing themed items the magicians must use at least once in their routine: a fishing rod, hip waders, a tackle box, and a foot-long sandwich. Team Philly will face off against Team Wizard magicians Justin and Gregory.

Team Philly's Eric and Joshua take the stage and open with a funny disclaimer about being two black guys from Philly, so they've never been fishing a day in their lives! Joshua manages to make a full-sized fishing pole appear from his tackle box while Eric makes his way into the audience for some close-up magic. He makes coins seem to appear and disappear right in front of some audience members' eyes while then transforming a coin into a fishing lure.

Joshua takes the lure and calls up an audience member, placing the lure in her hands. With a flourish over her cupped hands, he tells her to count how many lures she has. To her amazement, she opens her hands and finds two lures.

As Eric tries to demonstrate how to use the fishing rod, Joshua remarks how his sandwich has gone missing. As Eric tries to cast the rod, he casts it through Joshua's back, with the tip of the rod sticking out of his chest. As Joshua lifts up the rod, he pulls out a foot-long sandwich from inside his waders, caught on the hook! Joshua just pushes the tip back into his chest and reveals that the sandwich is full of lures. They open the tackle box to see that all their lures have been replaced with sandwich meat and fixings inside.

Joshua complains about the waders he's been wearing this whole time, so Eric holds up a screen for him to change behind. On the count of three, Eric drops the screen and Joshua is gone - but his waders are still standing tall on stage. Eric tosses out a special fishing lure to bring him back and Joshua appears across the theatre dressed as a fish, fishing lure in his teeth.

The Judges thought the timing of their routine was a little off, with lots of dead space between tricks, but will their creativity and showmanship trump their timing issues?

Team Wizard magicians Justin and Gregory take the stage aboard their cardboard boat, the USS Makeshift. The water that surrounds them is dozens of water bottles. After a series of truly groan-inducing water and fish puns, Justin makes a live goldfish appear out of thin air hooked to the end of his fishing rod, and promptly puts it into one of the bottles of water.

They then decide to attempt their own miracle of the loaves and the fishes as Gregory pulls out foot-long sandwich after sandwich from inside his tiny tackle box. Justin reveals his empty tackle box and closes it. With a quick shape, he opens it, and it's filled with goldfish crackers. Continuing on their magic routine of Biblical proportions, Gregory "walks" on water... by standing on a box of water bottles. To Justin's surprise, he also makes a pair of hip waders magically slide up and onto Justin. Justin then steps out of the boat and "parts the seas" by waving his hand and having the water bottles fall over across the stage.

The Judges were in agreement that the puns outshined the magic acts in their routine - but that magic was apparently enough to trump the challenges from Philly, and Team Wizard wins tonight's Wizard Wars!