Face Off Goes Beyond Thunderdome

A trip to the wasteland means everyone dyes historic on the fury road. 'Dye,' like in hair -- geddit?

Getting The Challenge

We open in a somewhat desert-y place. McKenzie drives up in a brand-new, not very interesting car, and the designers applaud for reasons that are certainly not related to production assistants with cattle prods standing just off camera.

And then much more interesting cars roll in. They're being called "Wasteland Cars," and I don't know if that's an actual phrase. They're weird cars that look like they belong in Mad Max. And the designers are supposed to design the postapocalyptic warriors who drive their vehicles. Cig is delighted by this. His glee is not diminished by learning that everyone will be expected to incorporate car parts into their designs. He was probably going to do that anyway.

McKenzie tries to get people hyped up about the product-placement car, even though it's clearly the least interesting vehicle there. And yet, everybody is simply fascinated by its many features. They spend a lot of time going on about how neat it is. And that's what merits this segment an automatic skip. Too bad, too, because some of the other cars looked pretty cool driving up to the contestants.

Design Phase

I'm not sure how to describe the cars, because they're all pretty much covered in rust and skulls. One of them is a motorcycle, and I expect to have strong opinions about whether Adam and Logan create someone that could actually ride a motorcycle. it doesn't start out well because they're planning on putting giant samurai flags on the back. Adam objects to this, but Logan cares nothing for wind resistance.

Gage and Rachael decide to make a scavenger, because that's mostly what you get in Mad Max movies. Their design process starts with the box of random auto parts they have to incorporate, which seems logical.

Keaghlan and Melissa are doing a warrior woman who's missing an arm. Like Charlize Theron in Mad Max Fury Road. But did Charlize Theron replace her missing arm with a machine gun? No. And why not? I feel like George Miller missed a trick there.

Ben and Evan have nothing. They're just kind of poking at the car and hoping that the other one comes up with a great idea. At this stage of the show, that has not happened.

Sculpting Day One

This takes roughly twenty seconds before Michael Westmore comes in for the mentor session.

Mentor Session

Boy, Mr. Westmore is here much earlier in the process than usual, huh? That's good news for Ben and Evan, because now they feel like they have a direction. It's not terribly original to do someone who's been covered in burns, but it's something. He mostly seems to like what he hears. And then, with a cheerful "Bye, everybody!" he's gone as mysteriously as he appeared.

Day Two

Evan's got some sort of crazy plan where he has two identical vacuformed masks with a layer of liquid between them.

Adam wants to give their samurai twin scimitars. Logan doesn't like the shape for motorcycle use, but my main objection is that there are two of them. You need one hand for the throttle, guys. See how many motorcycling opinions I'm bringing to this? Adam goes on about how they can be held to the side, which will bring the energy "down and out" or whatever, but the good news is that Logan accidentally breaks them so I don't need to worry about them yet.

George has a really cool approach to burn scars that involves melted gelatin instead of sculpting something that wouldn't look as good and would take a thousand hours. And Cig will later point out that it's natural to have a sharp line between a burnt area and an unburnt area, which means they don't need to worry about hiding their edges.


Incidentally, my notes refer to that picture as "George Burns" because it's the contestant named George, and he's working on burn makeup. This is the sort of exciting look behind the scenes that television shows use as an excuse to make "Enhanced Versions" of their episodes to try to trick you into watching the same episode as the previous week.

Application Day

Remember that weird plan of Evan's? It doesn't work. I think he was envisioning sort of a moving Etch-a-Sketch look, like Rorshach's mask from Watchmen. Instead, he just paints the mask.

In Last Looks, there is the usual mix of people trying to cover big swaths of makeup while other people, who were farther ahead, get to do fiddly little detail work.

Reveal Stage

There's a guest judge! It's Paul W.S. Anderson, the maker of some Resident Evil and Death Race movies. But not the good Death Race movies. There's a new one called Roger Corman's Death Race 2050, and it's exactly as cheesy and bad as a Death Race movie should be.

Cig and George made a cool character with attitude.


She's got a mohawk made out of a buzzsaw. You can't get much more postapocalyptic than that.

Ben and Evan have a look that's mostly just bad burn makeup.


See how Cig and George also did burn makeup, but also gave us a character? Ben and Even seemed to have stopped at "burn scars."

Emily and Tyler did a face I like much more.


They also did about four feet of feathered headdress. They never explain where these people in the wasteland got all these cool furs and feathers, do they? Unless those are vulture feathers, I guess.

Logan and Adam did a bunch of fabrication, and I have to say that none of it right for someone intended to ride motorycles.


There is also supposedly a face in there somewhere.

Gage and Rachael actually seem to have done Mad Max himself rather than one of the outlanders he meets.


I mean, that's obviously a Mel Gibson wig, right??

Keaghlan and Melissa did something that seems pretty bland to me.


I like the idea of the eye stripe, but I don't know if that's enough to count as good makeup. Emily and Tyler had an eye stripe, and they also had shading.


Close up, everyone likes the amount of asymmetricality that Cig and George did. Ve thinks Ben and Evan's burns are haphazard. Paul dismisses something as "very Clive Barker" and then has to clarify that he loves Clive Barker, but not here. They dislike the paint on Logan and Adam's. And so did I! But this seems like a fabrication-heavy challenge to me, so maybe all the cool stuff will count for more than usual.

Ben/Evan say their character is named "Disco Inferno," which is also the name of a WCW wrestler I met once. The judges seem to like their work more than they did on the close-up. For once, there is dissent on the panel, as Glenn likes the mask but Paul thinks they should have just focused on their makeup.

Logan and Adam talk about their props, but Ve wants to talk about the makeup. There are some arm scars that are meant to be tally marks ("She's counting something," they vaguely explain), but Ve wants some of them to be infected. Her philosophy is that it's a shame to not infect everything you can.

Tyler and Emily have colors that Neville likes. Glenn thinks it doesn't fit the challenge, but he doesn't really explain why. He likes it in spite of whatever objection he had. Ve calls out Emily's trademark giant feathery wig work.

Cig and George have a model who happily waves her cigarette at the judges. Paul liked it from the silhouette, which is a great sign. This is where Cig's little fiddly detail painting came to play. They praise the model by name, so I will too. Good job, Crystal!

Keaghlan and Melissa cause Glenn to say, "Her facial makeup could use a lot more erosion." And Ve just doesn't like the flatness of it. Neville was taken out of it by this one bit of bone sticking out of the arm.

Rachael and Gage say they were excited by their concept but not by their makeup. Ve doesn't like the chestpiece that tries to incorporate a smoke alarm. Paul thinks they should leave more to the imagination. This is the auteur behind the Resident Evil movies telling them they should be more subtle. That's a bad sign.

At this point, we would normally have a round of private judging, in which the judges would tell each other things they had already said out loud twice in the episode. It's not the best use of time, but I think the idea is that if anyone's had their minds changed by a designer's explanation of their choices, this is when that would come up. But instead of any of that, they just announce the winning team. Cig and George are the winners.

A Twist

And then! All that screentime we've been saving by tightening up segments pays off in the form of an unprecedented twist. Well, I guess there's precedent in that Project Runway has done this exact thing. Anyway, what's happening is that the three bottom teams (Keaghlan/Melissa, Rachael/Gage, and Logan/Adam) get an extra hour of Last Looks to address the complaints the judges had.

Rachael and Gage rip that cage off the chest and take off some texture. Rachael cuts up her own scarf to create bandages that will hopefully cover up problems. For that alone, I want them to stay.

Logan and Adam didn't like their face makeup at all. It was too dirty and had too much overspray. So they clean the face as much as they can so they can start over with tribal tattoos and stuff. And they consider infecting a couple of those scars so Ve can get her gross-out effect.

Keaghlan and Melissa just repaint their guy and pull the golden bone out.

And then...the episode's over. Guess we'll find out who won next week!

Final Verdict

I love me some Mad Max. But this episode was weirdly paced, with everything sped up so there'd be room for people to gawk at product placement at the beginning and redo Last Looks at the end. And then we didn't even get the elimination.

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