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Cult TV: The Master Episode 6- “Fat Tuesday”

October 6, 2021 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz
The Master

Cult TV Issue #11: The Master Episode 6

Hello, everyone, and welcome to the latest issue of Cult TV. I’m Bryan Kristopowitz.

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Okay, so I’m finally going to reveal who I think should play the John Peter McCallister role in a theoretical remake/reboot of The Master. I think you would want to go with a biggish star and someone that the action movie/action TV show would take seriously and want to watch in the role of the “American who becomes a ninja master” that Lee Van Cleef played in the original. It would be cool if the person was an actual real deal martial artist of some sort but it wouldn’t be an absolute requirement. But the chosen one would have to be able to play a badass or be seen as a credible/believable badass. It would also be cool if it was Denzel Washington because the man can act in anything and be awesome in it, but he probably wouldn’t do it. Yes, he’s done plenty of action movies over the years and you just know he would nail the character, but I just have a feeling that he wouldn’t do it if approached. So who is it? Who do I think would kick ass as the “new” John Peter McCallister?

Liam Neeson.

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Think about it. He’s a good actor. He’s an action icon and has been a bonafide one for the last thirteen years. He’s grizzled/can play grizzled if and when he has to. And while most of the heavy lifting martial arts stunts and fight sequences would no doubt have to be done by an appropriate stunt performer, Neeson could probably do some of the close up fight scenes and whatnot (he’s shown himself to be adept at mimicking hand-to-hand brawling in the Taken movies). And, truthfully, Neeson probably wouldn’t look too ridiculous wearing a ninja hood or ninja outfit. With the right lighting and camera work I bet he would look pretty good in the outfit.

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Of course, Michael Jai White would also rock hard in the part. I’m not entirely sure he’s “old enough” for the part quite yet. Maybe in another five years?

As for the “Max” part, I would go with a complete unknown. And you could go either male or female with the character. So, really, this character is wide open. I don’t have a specific actor in mind.

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And the Okasa part? Kane Kosugi. There is no one else I would want. Kane is a badass martial artist, just like his father Sho, and it would be awesome as hell to have an actual Kosugi in the remake/reboot. And this time, Okasa would actually be in every episode. He probably wouldn’t attack the McCallister character every episode, but he would definitely be involved with every episode. And none of this “well, he’s in the show because we keep repeating the big ninja throwing star to the back scene from the first episode” stuff.

So would you watch a remake/reboot of The Master with Liam Neeson as “The Master” and Kane Kosugi as the Okasa chasing after him? If not, who would you like to see in a theoretical The Master reboot/remake?

Here are the links to reviews for the first five episodes of The Master, just in case you missed them for some reason (or want to read them again):

Episode 1

Episode 2

Episode 3
Episode 4

Episode 5

And now, onto the sixth episode of The Master.

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Episode 6: “Fat Tuesday”

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Director: Sidney Hayers
Writer: Tom Sawyer

“Fat Tuesday” is an exceptional episode of The Master for one simple reason: the episode has two fight scenes involving Sho Kosugi’s Okasa.

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The first fight scene involves Okasa taking on six different guys at one time in a martial arts studio after inquiring on the whereabouts of Lee Van Cleef’s John Peter McCallister. McCallister apparently goes around to martial arts studios while on the road with Timothy Van Patten’s Max and hangs out/gives lessons to people/talks with studio owners/operators (it’s also implied that the studio owner here in this scene knows McCallister and is familiar with the whole “ninja clan” thing and knows that McCallister is a ninja master and that Okasa is one of McCallister’s students). The second Okasa fight scene happens later in the episode and is similar to previous Okasa fight scenes in that he essentially appears out of nowhere to take on McCallister, who is busy at that moment with something else. Both scenes are cool as hell for different reasons. The first scene is awesome because it shows Okasa taking on someone else besides McCallister. We’ve seen Okasa bested by McCallister multiple times and it becomes questionable as to why the audience should be worried about Okasa at all if beating him is no big deal (how dangerous could he really be?). Well, after watching Okasa take out six men all by himself you know that he is an ultimate badass and really is someone that McCallister has to be wary of. The second scene is awesome because it’s more “Sho Kosugi wearing that sweet chain mail mask helmet thing,” which is the kind of stuff I could watch all day long. Lee Van Cleef’s stunt double also gets in quite the workout in this sequence (who the hell is this guy with the obvious bald cap?).

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Okay, so “Fat Tuesday” has two Sho Kosugi/Okasa fight scenes in it. What else does the episode have in it? What is the episode about?

“Fat Tuesday” has McCallister and Max heading to New Orleans as they have a lead on the potential whereabouts of McCallister’s daughter Teri. A local newspaper reporter, Eve Michaels (Susan Kase), is believed to know Teri and used her as a source on her big ongoing story involving Beaumont (Robert Pine), a prominent rich guy everyone loves but is obviously dirty as hell. When McCallister and Max arrive in New Orleans they rescue Michaels from three of Beaumont’s henchmen (they try to kidnap her in a parking lot) and immediately try to get information about Teri. After some questions and whatnot, McCallister and Max decide to get involved with Michaels’ investigation.

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So why is Michaels investigating Beaumont? What is Beaumont believed to be up to? Michaels believes that Beaumont is selling military weapons to Middle Eastern terrorists. Michaels’s boss Sam (the great Floyd Levine) is really the only one who believes in Michaels and her instincts, but he also knows that taking down a guy like Beaumont is going to be difficult. Beaumont is heavily entrenched in local and state politics. He’s a rich guy with several powerful friends, both inside and outside of government. If you’re going to go after a guy like that you better have the goods on him. Sam isn’t sure that Michaels has what she needs to do that. He doesn’t want her to stop her story, though. Sam just wants more proof that Beaumont is the man everyone knows that he is.

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So then some stuff happens, Beaumont holds a big hooha “society” costume party where he meets with the terrorist leader he’s doing business with, and McCallister and Max show up at the party, too (McCallister wears his ninja gear as his costume, which looks both awesome and freaking ridiculous). They mingle with the various people, and McCallister actually talks with Beaumont. In the midst of all of this, Max runs into Okasa, who is also at the party wearing a ninja outfit. Max thinks Okasa is McCallister, though, and Okasa kicks his ass before running away.

So then some more stuff happens, Beaumont gets pissed about Michaels’s newspaper story on how he’s a corrupt piece of shit, McCallister and Max go to a public park to meet with Beaumont’s henchmen and McCallister runs into Okasa (I can’t stress how badass this fight is. And I’m still surprised by how the fight turns out. Okasa actually beats McCallister. He doesn’t kill him, but he does win. I didn’t think that would happen), Michaels gets kidnapped by Beaumont’s henchmen, and we find out that Beaumont is planning on going to Brazil. What the hell is that about?

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A wounded McCallister tries to regroup by going to Willie (the immortal Mabel King), the jazz club owner that he became sort of friendly with earlier in the episode. And while this happens Max gets captured by Beaumont’s henchmen and sent to the same garage as Michaels to die. And while all of that is going on, we find out how Beaumont plans on getting weapons to his terrorist customers (a complicated computer scheme where they hack into a U.S. Army compound and turn off the compound’s security system).

So then Max finds a way to escape captivity and rescues Michaels (I forgot to mention the “ninja lesson” for this episode is how to escape being tied up. McCallister manages to untie his hands while riding with Max into New Orleans, and Max uses the technique later on in the garage when he is tied up. Max and the audience also learn, according to McCallister, that Houdini used ninja techniques during his escape performances. Is that true? I have no idea, but in the context of the show it kind of makes sense). Max then gets back with McCallister and they go right after Beaumont and his henchmen.

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The final fight between McCallister and Beaumont on Beaumont’s boat is weirdly engaging and brutal. It almost looks like Beaumont may know some rudimentary martial arts and he’s somewhat formidable. McCallister, of course, eventually beats Beaumont and Beaumont’s boat explodes and McCallister hands Beaumont over to the cops. But, man, I wasn’t expecting Beaumont to be a match in any way for McCallister. But then Beaumont is Robert Pine, and he was on ChiPs, so I guess it shouldn’t be too insane that Beaumont fights better than most main bad guys.

The episode ends with McCallister talking with Michaels about how he knew that Michaels didn’t really know his daughter Teri, and we find out that the Teri McCallister Michaels was talking about as a source for her articles was completely made up. You shouldn’t wonder why, if McCallister knew that Michaels was lying about knowing his daughter, he stuck around anyway. McCallister is all about taking down bad guys. Michaels was after a bad guy in Beaumont, and McCallister couldn’t let her face down Beaumont alone. That who he really is. A good guy ninja.

This episode really didn’t do much with the New Orleans setting. There are stock footage sequences with Mardi Gras parades but we don’t see McCallister and Max interacting with those parades. The jazz club is the closest thing to “New Orleans” the episode gets. Mabel King is fabulous as Willie the club owner. It’s also interesting how it seems as though McCallister and Willie have some sort of relationship from “back in the day” when he shows up at the club after fighting Okasa. If I’m not reading this relationship wrong and they do know each other I wonder how they first met. Did it involve McCallister’s military service somehow?

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The rest of the episode is quite good. The two Okasa fight scenes are, again, the best part of the episode and the main reason to watch “Fat Tuesday.” The episode also moves at a quick pace and the story is engaging. Pine is sleaze personified as Beaumont, and his various henchmen are exactly the kind of assholes you expect to see working for a guy like Beaumont. Susan Kase does a good job as reporter Michaels. She makes Michaels a perpetually troubled individual before we even know what’s really going on with her, and you end up sympathizing with her plight throughout the story. Part of that is due to how sleazy and terrible Beaumont is. I would like to know how Michaels’s boss Sam felt when he found out that Michaels was working fast and loose with the specific facts when it came to Beaumont. Would he continue to trust her in the future with potential big stories?

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The minor subplot involving the woman who mistakes McCallister for an old friend from Indiana is hilarious. Lee Van Cleef becomes befuddled when confronted by the woman and has no idea how to tell her that he isn’t Leroy (the guy from Indiana). The final scene, where McCallister goes with the flow and the adulation from the woman and her friends, is priceless. I wonder if that happened to Lee Van Cleef in real life (not so much the mistaken identity thing but the whole “random people coming up to him in clubs and restaurants” thing). And if it did, did LVC take it as well as McCallister?

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“Fat Tuesday” is a very good episode of The Master. There’s great ninja action, the cast is phenomenal, and the story is engaging. I wonder how many more “engaging” episodes we’ll get in the show’s thirteen episode run? And how many more real deal Sho Kosugi performances are we going to get in the remaining seven episodes of the show?

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Rating: 4.5/5

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Next issue: The Master Episode 7: “Juggernaut”

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The Master Episode 6: “Fat Tuesday” IMDB page

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