[S1E8] Three Of Swords
The program places four competitors in three elimination rounds to forge bladed weapons. Each weapon is tested and evaluated by a panel of three (sometimes four) judges. As the host for seasons one through seven, Wil Willis introduced the parameters for each episode. Grady Powell replaced Willis for season eight onward. The main judges include Historic Weapons Re-creation Specialist David Baker, Edged Weapon Specialist Doug Marcaida, American Bladesmith Society (ABS) Master Bladesmith James Neilson, and two-time Forged in Fire champion Ben Abbott.
[S1E8] Three of Swords
Neilson missed most of season three due to hand surgery. ABS Master Bladesmith Jason Knight filled in for him from episode three of that season through episode seven of season four. Neilson briefly returned for the first episode of season four (a special with Knight, Baker, and Marcaida) before returning for good in episode eight until Abbott took over for the final three episodes. Since then, Neilson and Abbott have shared judging duties into season eight. Also during season four, Marcaida injured his right rotator cuff while testing a weapon. Marcaida's younger brother RJ and Kali students filled in for weapons testing while he recovered from the injury.
Seven non-winners from seasons 4 and 5 competed over two episodes for $20,000. In "Long Road to Redemption Part 2", four remaining blacksmiths compete and at last, the two finalists choose which swords they will make at their home forges. Unlike previous seasons, the finalists were only given 4 days in their home forges.
In round 1, four bladesmiths are asked to replicate a "parameter-heavy" mystery blade in just two hours. Neither the weapon nor the weapon tests are revealed. For round 2, the three remaining smiths are tasked with adding wooden handles to what is unveiled to be a gunstock war club. Two finalists go head-to-head at their home forges to fabricate General Patton's sabre.
In round 1, four smiths cut through steel cages (representing a WWE Hell in a Cell steel cage match) to retrieve 1095 and 15N20 steel plates used for their signature blades. In round 2, three smiths made handles from wooden weapons seen in WWE wrestling matches. The winner of round 3 received $10,000 and a WWE championship title belt. WWE Hall of Famer "The Nature Boy" Ric Flair makes a special guest appearance.
In round 1, smiths are tasked with making a signature Damascus san mai blade with a 80CrV2 steel core inside a 1095 and 15N20 steel Damascus "sandwich". Round 2 showcased handle construction using two different materials on both sides of the blade. The remaining two smiths craft a pair of Ginunting swords at their home forges in round 3.
The episode honors Korean bladesmithing heritage. In round 1, four smiths are assigned to forge a Korean hwando sword. For the first time in the show's history, the blades are not oil quenched, but water quenched, complementing the episode's yin and yang fire and water theme. The display piece was crafted by Forged in Fire season 7 episode 14 ("A Very Forged Christmas") champion and Korean-American Boyd Ritter, who also narrates the animated historical description of the weapon. For round 2, three contestants must add handles to their weapons, with a habaki being furnished. Round 3 sends the two finalists to their home forges to craft a Korean woldo polearm.
The episode pays tribute to some of the most iconic terrifying horror scenes in cinematic history. In round 1, four bladesmiths are tasked in constructing weapons from metal items hanging on a "Wall of Torture" tools. In round 2, the remaining three smiths make handles from wooden tools found inside vampire hunting kits. A notable test for round three's fireman's axe was the "Horror Door Chop" strength test. The axes are used to chop through a door with "FORGED" written backwards in red along the central door frame rail. Both the axe chop and the backwards red lettering are references to the 1980 film The Shining.
Rounds 1 and 2 are merged into one 5-hour fabricating round, the "Impress Us Challenge", which includes both metal forging and handle crafting. The contestants are able to use any metal composition (e.g. 15N20, 5160, 1095) from any source (e.g. bars, cables, coil springs) they choose to make their signature blade with any technique they desire. Anything found in the handle "pantry" is open to the smith's taking as well. The bladesmith that impresses the judges most at the end of the "Impress Us Challenge" is automatically eligible for the final round while the other three blades undergo testing. After testing, one smith will move on to the final round, with the other two contestants going home in a double elimination. Brandon's chopper-type blade impressed the judges most. Grant wins the testing sequence as both Chris and Evan are eliminated.
As the second competition within the "Beat the Unbeaten" Ben Abbott series, this episode showcases a new set of three bladesmiths tasked with building their signature blades in a 5-hour round. Some of the special parameters for the round include: materials must be sourced from the pile of scrap steel, any forge welding technique can be used, blades cannot be mono steel, 13- to 15-inch length, fully functional, and ready for testing after 5 hours. Zechariah does not meet the forge welded blade parameter as he only forge welds a bolster to his otherwise mono steel blade. Therefore, Zechariah is eliminated before testing begins. Jeremy is eliminated after testing, sending Rob into the final round against Ben Abbott. As the winner, Rob gets to pick the weapon style he and Ben craft, as well as the parameters. He chooses the Irish ring-hilted sword with ladder pattern Damascus.
In another "Beat the Unbeaten" challenge, three contestants (each with broken blades in previous episodes) build their signature blades in a single 5-hour round, using bandsaw blades, chainsaw blades, springs, ball bearings, and roller bearings. The blades are to be made from canister "No Can Can" Damascus in which the canister must be fully removed before the blade is finalized. Dorian does not fully remove the canister and is eliminated before testing; Chris is eliminated after testing; Caleb is the winner of the testing round. For the 8-hour final round against Ben Abbott, Caleb chooses the 2-handed Chinese warsword with an S-shaped guard and a pierced pommel, among other parameters. Caleb also chooses a random pattern Damascus steel forging technique. Since it's Caleb's second appearance on the show, Ben gets to add a parameter twist: a minimum of 125 Damascus layer count.
In this episode, two pairs of blacksmiths are given their introductions, tasks, and parameters, then immediately sent to their home forges to fabricate Scottish broadswords. Over the course of four days, each pair works together to craft their blades. Weapons testing takes place in the Forge, with the losing pair going home. For the final 5-hour round, the winning pair is split. Now, the former team members individually compete for the "Champion of the Forge" title.
In the second "Supersized" installment, four bladesmiths are assigned to make their signature blades from 2-inch diameter, 250-lb coil springs with a san mai technique. After the 3-hour forging round is complete, the three remaining metalworkers make any necessary blade corrections and fabricate wooden handles from logs. The third and final round sees two smiths building two elephant fighting swords at their respective home forges.
Three smiths compete in a two-round contest inspired by the video game Marvel's Midnight Suns. In the first round, they are given five hours to forge Blade's double-ended glaive, and must each draw a card to determine additional restrictions or benefits while they work. After one smith is eliminated, the remaining two proceed to the second round and must re-create the Hunter's long and short swords at their home forges.
Directed by Stephen ShillWritten by William J. MacDonaldIn pursuit of Pompey Magnus, Caesar and his men head to Egypt, where they pay a visit to the 12-year old King Ptolemy and his advisors. Caesar inquires about their preparations for war - he's learned that the king's sister, Cleopatra, disputes the boy's right to the throne. Rattled, the king's men assure him they are not worried about the "absurd claim." Caesar is not assuaged. "This dispute between you and she must end," he says imperiously. "Rome insists Egypt be at peace. Your grain ships must keep sailing."Hoping to appease him, the king's men present a "surprise gift" - Pompey's severed head. Instead of expressing his gratitude, however, Caesar becomes enraged. "Shame on the house of Ptolemy for such barbarity!...He was a consul of Rome!...To die this sordid way? Quartered like some low thief? Shame!" The Egyptians are stunned into silence, while their petulant boy king refers to the Roman leader as an "insect."Caesar decides to send Mark Antony and half of his men back to Rome, while he stays on in Egypt to prevent civil war from erupting. His decision concerns Antony and Posca, who worry the Egyptians will unite against their common hatred of Rome, while Cato and Scipio raise another army back at home. But Caesar insists he can crush any adversaries, dismissing Antony's suggestion that he suffers from a surplus of confidence. "It's only hubris if I fail."Before making his intentions known to the Egyptians, Caesar sends Vorenus and Pullo to the desert in search of Cleopatra. Once they've set out, he returns to the king's throne to make his demands: they must present him with Pompey's murderers, and they must repay the debts incurred by Ptolemy's father. When the boy throws a tantrum, Caesar reminds him he is a "vassal to Rome," which only infuriates him further. His advisors explain they will need time to come up with the money. "Then I will have ample time then to adjudicate your dispute with Princess Cleopatra," Caesar tells them. "You and she will plead your claims before me, and I will decide." Realizing they must pay him or risk losing the throne, the king's men decide they must kill the princess.In a tent in the desert, lost in an Opium stupor, the young Cleopatra lies shackled to a bed, surrounded by attendants. A guard enters to inform her that she must "prepare herself for her journey to the afterlife." As three of the king's assassins prepare their swords, shrieks are heard outside the tent, and the men are soon enveloped in a battle - which tumbles back into the tent, a triumphant Pullo taking down the last of the would-be murderers as the princess and her slaves watch.Returning the princess safely to the capitol city requires a procession of men, lead by Vorenus and Pullo. Exalting in her freedom, Cleopatra contemplates Caesar's likeness on a coin and inhales from her pipe. "As long as Caesar's a man, I will have him," she announces to her slave, Charmian."It's only a shame he is not here today. My womb is at the flood. A child would come as sure as spring." With this the hazy princess gets an idea, and soon Vorenus is summoned inside the tent, instructed by Charmian to "enter" the princess. "I cannot do what you ask," he says, flustered. "It is not our custom...Roman men are not used by women in that way." When the slave insists and the princess poses seductively, he nearly gives in before stopping himself. "I am no slave to be commanded so. With all respect," he says, stalking out of the tent. Instead he uses his rank to summon Pullo: "report immediately to the Princess Cleopatra, and do as she says." A soldierly order beyond his wildest dreams, Pullo takes to the task with hearty enthusiasm, as the princess's attendants ululate at a fever pitch - keeping Vorenus awake.Once she is safely returned to Alexandria, Cleopatra confronts her young brother. An iron shackle is attached to his ankle as two of his advisors are killed, their heads added to the spikes outside palace gates - alongside Lucius Septimius, the man who killed Pompey Magnus. Pullo and Vorenus are tasked with securing the palace gates, as Cleopatra and Caesar finally steal time alone. The young princess inquires as to whether the ruler's wife has given him a son. "A man without sons is a man without a future," she tells him, before changing the subject, advising him to secure the upriver ports to control Egypt. "If I wanted to control Egypt," he replies. Cleopatra insists he must - if he is to control Rome's grain supply. "Why rescue me so heroically from death, if not to use me as your puppet queen?" she says, before offering herself as his "slave."Outside the gates, one of Ptolemy's surviving men launches a spear over the palace walls, as a menacing mob gathers outside. Caesar and Cleopatra, enrapt in sex, are oblivious, unable to hear the screams for Roman blood.Back in Rome, Cicero and Brutus meet in the empty senate chamber and contemplate their fates if Caesar never returns, and "that brute Mark Antony is unleashed to do as wants." Brutus reminds them of their oath of loyalty to Caesar, but Cicero considers reaching out to Cato and Scipio, who have managed to raise an army in Numidia. At that moment, they are interrupted by Antony himself. "I am a merciful man," he informs them, before issuing a stern warning to Cicero. "If I ever again hear your name connected to murmurs of treachery, I will cut off your hands and nail them to a wall."He leaves them with news from Egypt: Caesar has lifted the siege, and massacred the armies of Ptolemy. "He is safe and sound and master of all Egypt."Back in Alexandria, the dead body of young Ptolemy floats by in the Nile. Caesar and Cleopatra emerge from the palace, as Caesar lifts a naked infant son over his head, presenting him to rows of gathered legionaries, who roar in approval. The loudest of the cheers comes from Titus Pullo, who contains himself only when he catches a sidelong glance, this one from Vorenus. 041b061a72