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Sevastyan Antonov
Sevastyan Antonov

Episode 9: Undefeated Fixed

Forged in Fire is an American reality television competition series that has aired on the History channel since its season one premiere episode on June 22, 2015 and is produced by Outpost Entertainment.

Episode 9: Undefeated

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.[1]

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.[1] 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.[2] Marcaida's younger brother RJ and Kali students filled in for weapons testing while he recovered from the injury.[3]

Seven non-winners from seasons 4 and 5 competed over two episodes for $20,000. In "Long Road to Redemption Part 1", seven returning non-winners competed outside using coal forges. One is eliminated before they go inside for testing, and one is eliminated after testing. The remaining five contestants are given 2 days in their home forges to make the "perfect chopper," after which a third contestant is eliminated.

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.

Four champions from previous episodes were invited to participate in this episode. After competing against each other, the winner challenged one of the judges, a veteran weapon recreation bladesmith. In the final round, Collin Sage competed and won against judge David Baker in a side-by-side duel in the studio forge.

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.

In this special episode, the Judges; J, Dave, Doug, and Ben have a change not only to critique contestants blades, but create their very own the Judges Takeover. For the first time in Forged In Fire history, in the next four weeks, the Judges will takeover The Forge by having the bladesmiths create their favorite weapons in their style and their favorite techniques. The Judges even get to test them out in the most brutal of tests.

In this special episode, Forged In Fire brought back four of the series youngest bladesmiths to ever win the competition. These Champions age range from 18 as the youngest and 20 as the oldest to victory. Once again, these "Young Guns" will test their bladesmithing skills in The Forge and possibly be a two-time Forged In Fire Champion, a title first held by judge Ben Abbott. And for the first time in the show's history, all four smiths advanced to Round 2 and added handles to their signature blades. Handles were made from skateboard wood. After the handles were added and blades were tested, Round 2 saw a double elimination.

Week 2 of the "Judges Takeover" is presented and led by Ben Abbott. Ben tasks the bladesmiths with forging a billhook, using pure nickel. As its first-time appearance on the show, nickel is to be used in a go mai (or "five layer") forging technique. In Round 2, the handle round, Ben wants the smiths to use a wood of their choice and incorporate a ferrule. For Round 3, Ben assigns the contestants to replicate the Sutton Hoo sword, which Ben also showcased and fabricated in season 8's "Judges' Home Forge Battle" special episode.

This episode takes a look at the darker side of history. Bladesmiths have to forge weapons from a deadly device from the French Revolution. Those who make it to the final round must create a sword of death.

This week's "Judges Takeover" features J. Neilson, who challenges the smiths to recreate his serpentine push dagger designed and fabricated specifically for the episode. With the canister Damascus technique being used, Neilson also adds the stipulation that the canister must be removed. For a Round 2 parameter, Judge Neilson wants the contestants to use burl wood for the handle.

This episode gives tribute to NASCAR in what is dubbed a "layer race". Four smiths are assigned to make a signature blade, forging the metal with as many damascus layers as possible in 3 hours. The smith that can forge a blade with the most layers gets an additional 30 minutes to their time in the handle round.

Three bladesmiths create their signature blades in a single 5-hour round labeled the "Rust Bucket". During the 5 hours, rusted scrap steel (dumped from a rusted bucket) must be gathered and prepared, forged, tempered, quenched, and finished with a functional edge and handle. After testing, two smiths are sent home in a double elimination. The winner of the testing segment gets to pick the weapon style and forging technique. Brandon chooses the Messer sword and layered Damascus, then fabricates head-to-head against undefeated Judge Ben Abbott in an 8-hour round.

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, The Forge moves to the Mystic Seaport Museum in Mystic, Connecticut where the competition goes back to blacksmithing of old. Three smiths craft from a coal forge just like they did for the many wooden ships still docked on site. Also on location is the James D. Driggs Shipsmith & Whalecraft Shop where blacksmiths and boatwrights fueled maritime history by crafting metal parts for the many vessels throughout the centuries.

In honor of History's Colosseum series, the forge room is modified to mimic a "Roman gladiator arena". Two bladesmiths go head-to-head in a blade construction competition in ten events over the course of five episodes. The winner of an 8-hour smithing event has the option to continue to the next. As a competitor wins and chooses to advance through events, prize winnings increase up to a total value of $75,000.

In the fifth and closing episode of the "Gladiators of the Forge" series, the host and judges retake control of the weapon style choices, forging techniques, and parameters. For event 9, Eric returns and is given another chance to overthrow Jesse, the current reigning "Gladiator of the Forge". Jesse and Eric are tasked with fabricating an acinaces with an anthropomorphic hilt, among other parameters. Event 10 sees Kurt, a 2-time "Gladiator of the Forge" winner from the miniseries' first episode, back in action. Jesse and Kurt make a dolabra battle axe with a leather-wrapped handle. 041b061a72


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