Face Off Reaches Dangerous Levels Of Whimsy

The challenge is to make comedic fantasy duos. The word 'zany' does not appear in the instructions, but some teams hear it anyway.

Getting The New Challenge

What comes to mind when I say "Shrek and Donkey" and "Legolas and Gimli"? Correct: unresolved sexual tension. But that's not what comes to McKenzie Westmore's mind, apparently, because those are the examples she uses to introduce a challenge about "mismatched comedic fantasy duos." Models come out in silly-looking fat suits to provide some sort of direction to the whole thing. Each team gets one male and one female model, so maybe the (hetero)sexual tension thing was supposed to be there all along.

Design Phase

Ben and Evan have a female wood elf and a male minotaur, so they've settled on an old married couple going on a vacation in Middle Earth. This is pretty much the storyline everyone else is going with, too. Old married couples are inherently funny to young people. Ben and Evan spend some time talking about how their elf will have a beehive hairdo that's an actual beehive, which seems like kind of a level one joke to me. It could probably be punched up, right?

Emily and Tyler are pairing a gentle faun and a greedy goblin, and I like how they have their models kind of get into character for them so that they can see how the fat suits will inform their posture.



Adam and Logan are teaming a fun-loving, book-smart naiad (fish lady) with a construction worker orc. I'll say right now that they could probably trim at least one descriptor off the naiad.

Cig and George decide that their old, cranky dwarf lady will team up with an ogre that's basically Lenny from Of Mice And Men. I like how even though those character types aren't identical, they aren't as obviously opposite as some of the other teams.

Keaghlan and Melissa have a fairy and a troll, and they're doing the same mismatched married couple idea. Keaghlan will be doing the fairy because she likes bright, pretty colors.

Day 1 Begins

George is excited to work on the dwarf makeup, because he wants to do realistic silicone old-age makeup, which he considers himself pretty good at. Cig, of course, is happy to let him do that, because doing a big, dumb ogre is something that's solidly in Cig's wheelhouse. And the challenge being explicitly comedic should probably work to their strengths, too.

Keaghlan is also sculpting realistic old-age makeup for her fairy, although she's putting in a pixie nose for an element of whimsy. People say "whimsy" more on this show than anywhere else in the world.

George isn't the only one using this challenge as an opportunity to show off a specialized skill. Emily's planning on using her skills with hair to make their faun all fancy. That means she and Tyler have to get their cowls sculpted and into molds on Day 1 so that they'll have time to put the hair on, but it also means the cowls don't have to be as finished as usual. Emily gets Tyler to do some of the specific molding work, which I think is a good use of a teammate.

Ben spends most of the day sculpting the beehive cowl, and then hating it because he spent all that time on something that doesn't look organic. And I feel like he could have just fabricated it anyway, since it's basically just a big hat.

Mentor Session

We have few enough teams left now that we get to see a bit of Mr. Westmore's interaction with everybody. Push those cheekbones. Pull the mask all the way up the forehead past the hairline. Make that elf chin pointier. Make that cooler. Put on bigger gills. Consider adding some cracking on those lips to make them look older. It goes quickly, but it's a good montage of advice. Mr. Westmore rarely says things (that we see) that aren't practical, applicable advice. Instead of "This is awful; start over" (which Tim Gunn has kind of started doing), it's all very specific tweaks to what's already been done, which I think honors the constestants' vision.

Back To Work (And Day 2)

Adam and Logan fall behind their schedule a bit, and it's frustrating them. Adam feels like he wasted hours on a cowl that won't even get molded fast enough to be used. And the cowl is going to be covered with stuff anyway, so what was all that work for, he would like to know. It's a pretty good question. And by the time it comes out of the mold, it's in two pieces instead of one. Adam's very cranky.

George, on the other hand, is having a great time. He's covered the pot belly of their fat suit with silicone so that Cig can paint it properly. But first George has to wear it to see how he'd look if he were fat. Because the dude loves props.

Emily and Tyler get to spend a lot of time on hair. Emily's doing the faun, so she give Tyler a quick lesson in how to prepare the goblin's hair. And it looks like she has a bit of trouble letting go, since she's always glancing over to keep an eye on things. Which is entirely appropriate, since she's the acknowledged hair expert on the team.

Application Day

We must be in some kind of hurry, because we don't even see the models come in. As soon as the day starts, the models are already seated and having stuff glued to their faces. It's a weird job they have, huh? A lot of teams have painted stuff ahead of time, which is a good idea when they have to do two looks instead of one.

George has to glue on the dwarf face carefully, because the silicone gets very thin toward the edges. He cheerfully warns the model that it will be her fault if they lose, and luckily the model takes it in the right spirit. Then he and Cig have their models see what expressions they can make with the appliances on, and I really like that they're doing that before painting. This way they know where the face is really going to wrinkle and what parts they want to highlight.

Keaghlan is doing lavender makeup. It's a big choice, and I don't think it's consistent with her earlier decision to do realistic old-age makeup. It's like she mentally checked off the box that said "Old Age" and now she's working on the box that says "Fairy" and is too close to the task to notice that the two things aren't going together.

We get a lot more process stuff than usual, which I appreciate. George not only demonstrates his spatter technique, he explains why he's doing it (it provides a more organic feel than a template or even by hand-painting), and why he's doing it at that point (he starts with the color of the appliance and works up toward the model's skin color). George also notes that his dwarf's jowls look weird, so he adds some carefully chosen hair to cover them up. You can totally give a female dwarf a beard, as long as it looks like it's on purpose.

Reveal Stage

There's no guest judge this week, which is disappointing. But I guess making them rare is a way to make them exciting when they do happen. Instead of filling in with people we've never heard of, they can be all directors and Doug Jones.

Keaghlan and Melissa have gone cartoony. Too cartoony, some might say. Like me. And the judges. And also Keaghlen and Melissa.



The lavender face doesn't read as "old age" at all. And I think she's acting too cheerful, too. Team Blue console themselves by saying that "they at least get it's humor." I guess that's something. It sounds like an excuse for a bad belly makeup, though.

Emily and Tyler have a really cool faun, and a goblin I don't really care about.



That faun has a great expression and body language that get across the personality immediately.



All I can look at on Adam and Logan's look is the immobile orc face.



You can get away with a big sculpted face sometimes, but when it's right next to a face that can emote freely, it just looks like a mask to me.

Ben and Evan made a long-suffering minotaur husband with an energetic elf wife.



Everyone appears to have been told that they had to come up with some sort of skit for their characters to enact. I could do without the energetic wackiness, which you can see on the elf's face.

Cig and George have the best faces, and they go together perfectly. Ve looks entranced by them.



Instead of sculpting things that look funny (kind of what Keaghlan and Melissa did), they sculpted characters that could be funny. I'm more and more impressed by these two, and by this point I'm decidedly on Team Cig and George.


The private judging has a lot of comments like "What do you suppose this is?" and "I don't get this character at all." And Glenn has a real tone of contempt in his voice as he comments on a hairdo that's "a literal beehive." On the other hand, they love George's old age makeup, with everyone agreeing that it's one of the best uses of silicone that's ever been seen on the show.

Glenn's big thing is that the challenge was to start with the body suits and build a character around that, and he wants to see characters that look like the body suit was just naturally chosen to go with the look. He talks about it a lot, especially about how well certain teams did that. I think this goes with his general tendency to care a lot about form language.

The judges praise the minotaur makeup by Ben and Evan, which they love. They are less in love with the elf's beehive hairdo.

Cig and George get showered with praise. You can't do better than comments like "The most sublime embodiment of a fantasy dwarf" and "You could not have done that better."

Keaghlan and Melissa have a much harsher critique. Nobody likes the fairy, because the lavender makeup is just a flat color. And Glenn points out that the troll has a fat, doughy body but a strong jawline. So the head doesn't go with the body, which is the sort of thing that really stands out to him.

Emily and Tyler's faun is everyone's favorite. The goblin has good colors, but it's mostly the faun that they love. I agree with the judges.

Adam and Logan's naiad comes in for a lot of criticism. The glasses don't make sense to anyone, and I think they're just there because they wrote down the words "book smart" at the top of the episode. And the bony fins coming off the top of her head don't make sense to anyone. The two characters don't seem to be from the same production design world. However, Glenn likes the way the orc looks like the body suit was chosen to go with the character.

In the final round of private judging, both Neville and Glenn mention last week's work. So I guess they do care a little bit about what happened before. Glenn's concerned that Keaghlan and Melissa haven't been moving forward creatively, and Glenn points out that Adam and Logan did that awful stone sailor thing last week.

The winning team is Cig and George, which pleases me. But I just thought of a really awful twist the show could do! What if they were named the winning team, but then the last episode split them up and made them go head-to-head for the title of winner? I hope no one's thought of that, because it's a very Reality Show thing to do, and it would make everyone sad.

The losing team is Keaghlan and Melissa, who are devastated, but not shocked, by the news. They're eliminated.


There's a good range of looks this week. The top looks are great and the bad looks are awful. Perfect!

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