So, about those recaps. I missed watching 3.6 when it first aired and just fell behind. Here's an accelerated recap of four weeks of competition to catch up going into the finale. 3.6: Bizarre Cross-Promotion
This challenge was a combination of a skill test and promoting a video game. Dishonored is the new big video game title that actually received rave reviews. I'm going to get to start playing it in a few days, myself. The contestants were challenged to create an original character inspired by the four archetypes in the universe: Thug, Aristocrat, Weeper, City Walk. They also had to exaggerate the body proportions, the skill test of the challenge.
The judges chose Derek as their winner for an oversized Thug. It's a solid makeup that meets the challenge. It feels like the Thug as demonstrated in the portfolio material, only really big. My reservation comes from how similar the design is to his highly criticized superhero sidekick the week before.
I would have given the victory to Laura for her Weeper. She took the game's mythology into consideration for her design. The exaggeration comes from taking the noble healer and turning him into a Weeper. The elongated face looks like it's crying off the skull. Very haunting design.
The judges decided that it was Tommy's time to go. His Thug didn't actually meet the exaggeration hurdle of the challenge. What he did create, a city worker with extensive injuries, didn't read Thug, either. It also wasn't finished well at all. No arguments here over this elimination.
This challenge was a much better cross-promotion challenge than the bizarre Alice/Resident Evil monstrosity that came before. It made sense and actually tested something new on the contestants.
The Foundation Challenge this week was great. Every previously eliminated contestant, except Joe who quit, was invited back to do an original Day of the Dead-themed makeup. Nicole entered the contest again and C.C. got to show off why she was on the show at all. Frankly, I thought she did the best job, but understand why Nicole's prosthetic makeup got her back in.
The Spotlight Challenge involved children. Young artists were brought in to share their original monsters with the contestants. The contestants had to bring the monsters to life with makeup. These challenges on other shows usually point out who is an awful, child-hating monster. Thankfully, everyone behaved like a human being.
Laura finally took home her first win for a monster that belongs on a Halloween episode of Sesame Street. It is so hard to make a full body suit makeup not look like a bad costume. Laura succeeded because she stayed true to the child's imagination while, once again, insisting on perfect execution.
The judges decided it was time to let Rod go. I actually felt bad for him. The makeup wasn't bad. It's just that he got paired with a child whose design forced him to do an exaggerated head again. Ve Neill told him two weeks before that all his face sculpts were starting to look the same. The noses and large skulls are identical. His child wanted a large-headed monster and Rod was eliminated for doing the same style of sculpt again. Tough break.
I would have sent home Alana. The makeup was well-executed, but it didn't look very good. Her design choices were poor and unflattering. I love Alana's aesthetic, but this was not the challenge to dive head first into her offbeat style.
You can tell when artists are having fun. These artists loved working with kids and creating bizarre monsters. Their joy made this a great challenge. It might even be my favorite challenge since Season 1's Zombie challenge.
This is the first time I can remember Face Off doing back to back challenges so similar in tone. We're stuck in a whimsy cycle and I like it. This challenge required the contestants to create an original human hybrid creature inspired by Dr. Seuss's Sleep Book.
Nicole racks up her first victory by continuing her trend of actually showing off her aesthetic. It's shocking to think that a contestant eliminated for not having direction can pull off a look this cohesive after being out of the contest for a few weeks. Her Bumble Tub hybrid looks like it walked off the pages of Dr. Seuss.
Alana was sent home for not finding inspiration in Dr. Seuss. There's just no design there. I think she got burned out weeks ago and was just coasting on aesthetic. When her style didn't match the challenge, she was sent home. It's no reflection of her ability. She just didn't thrive in the contest environment.
I wanted to love a Dr. Seuss challenge. I didn't. I think the contestants were a little burned out on whimsy. Had this been further removed from the kids challenge, we might have seen stronger designs from the never eliminated contestants.
3.9: Terminator Challenge
Sure, SyFy didn't call this The Terminator challenge, but that's what it was. Gale Ann Hurd, the original screenwriter and now a fantastic producer, judged cyborgs created from parts scavenged in a junkyard. All but one of the contestants loved the challenge and really stepped up from the Dr. Seuss challenge.
The winner, for a second week in a row, was Nicole. Her lady cyborg design was revolutionary. There was no doubting that this was a woman/machine hybrid. The character was beautiful, menacing, and very original. I love the metal implants under the face.
Roy's design also deserves recognition for being so wild. He created a zombie cyborg character. Not only did he, once again, show off his amazing fabrication skills, he got to show off a flawless zombie makeup that read under a huge costume piece. The judges have a newfound respect for his makeup abilities. This is the time to be remembered for overall excellence.
Sarah was eliminated for not knowing about cyborgs. The judges said that. She did not have the references to pull from to actually create a cyborg. She's a big space sci-fi fan, not a high tech sci-fi fan, and her makeup looked like she threw everything at her model and hoped something worked. Nothing did.
And that's where we are today. Four contestants are left battling it out for a spot on the viewer-decided finale episode: Derek, Laura, Nicole, and Roy. Who will rise to the challenge and who will stumble right before the finish line?
The show was renewed for a fourth season last week. I'm excited. How about you? Share your thoughts below.