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Face Off – Season 8, Episode 4 Royal Flush

The episode of Face Off opens with our remaining 13 contestants walking into a grand casino, flooded by the sounds of gambling. They walk to a card table where McKenzie is waiting for them. They are standing in the Normandy Casino; a little taste of Vegas in California. This week’s spotlight challenge will be to take a classic character and imagine it in the style of Tim Burton, a la Alice in Wonderland. These characters will then be the face cards of a deck of cards and they will have to incorporate the suit (clubs, diamonds, hearts, or spades) into the look. The joker will be able to pick a suit to use.

Team Rayce: Logan has the Queen of Clubs, Regina takes the Joker, Adam takes the King of Clubs, Rob gets the Jack of Spades, and Anthony takes the King of Hearts.

Team Anthony: Jamie has the King of Spades, Ben has the Jack of Diamonds, Kelly has the Queen of Spades, and Daniel takes the Queen of Diamonds.

Team Laura: Darla gets the Jack of Hearts, Emily takes the Queen of Hearts, Julian takes the Jack of Clubs, and Stephanie has the King of Diamonds.

We don’t see much of their sketch time. The whole episode seems to move a little too fast, because it is an individual challenge and there are still so many characters to see on the Reveal Stage. We’ll get to see more of the process as we get fewer contestants.

Day one in the Face Off lab is a short 5 ½ hours. The returning champs arrive and immediately start counseling their teams. There are some interesting stories emerging for the characters. Daniel may have some issues, as Anthony thinks his look is too dark for the challenge. I’m not sure I agree since Tim Burton is best known for his quirky dark characters. Scary or dark doesn’t equal not whimsical necessarily. Overall, everyone seems very excited for their first individual challenge. Michael Westmore arrives and while he likes Daniel’s reimagined character, I would have liked to see what he thought of the original idea. We don’t get to see most of his remarks or advice, but I imagine it was useful. As the champs get ready to leave for the day, Logan changes his idea midstream. Hopefully he won’t find himself struggling for time because of it. At the end of the day, some contestants seem very behind and I worry that maybe we won’t have all 13 looks finished on the Reveal Stage.

Day two gives them 9 ½ hours in the lab. The champs are there waiting for them as they rush into the workspace. Everyone knows what they have to do and jump right in. Rob is making a giant foam spade hat and it looks pretty neat so far; I’m very interested to see his character and whether the giant hat overshadows the makeup or adds to it. Regina is taking a bit of a short cut using the same mold for the two faces of her Joker. Emily is doing some great work on an enormous red wig. There are some interesting ideas, but everyone is almost too concerned with the idea of whimsical and I think it may be limiting them a bit. I think some of the ideas that the champs think are too “dark” would have been awesome if the artists had done them anyway. After the champs leave, people are hurrying to get their molds washed out and ready to run the foam. With one hour left to the day, one of the contestants blunders pretty badly by trying to run a gelatin practice face and instead coming perilously close to destroying his mold instead.

Day three is Application Day, which gives them four hours in the lab and one at Last Looks and, as usual, they are going to need every minute of that time and still want more. When the models arrive, there’s a bit of an issue, as one of the models couldn’t make it and the replacement has a much more narrow face, leaving the artist struggling to make everything fit just so. As always there are some issues, but painting seems to be going well. Daniel seems very uncomfortable with pretty makeup, but he’s doing his best. Time moves ridiculously fast and it looks like some people might not finish in time. At Last Looks, there is patching, repairs, final touches, and a lot of self-doubt. At this point, most of the artists seem to be hoping for just safe.

McKenzie is waiting for them at the Reveal Stage and introduces our esteemed judging panel: Glenn Hetrick, Ve Neill, Neville Page, and special guest judge, Emmy winner, Robert Stromberg (Maleficent). The Reveal Stage process moves by a little too quickly for me to have much reaction to the looks, and some we don’t hear the judges’ opinions on at all. You can visit the challenge’s scrapbook to see all the looks.

Jamie: (King of Spades) It’s very cartoony. Reminds me of the Burger King king. Judges: Too many elements, too rough, some good shapes but overall, a bit drab.

Logan: (Queen of Clubs) I’m not sure how I feel about it, it doesn’t seem special but it isn’t bad, and we don’t really get an opinion from the judges.

Regina: (Joker) The two face bit works pretty well. Overall it’s pretty neat but I don’t really see a suit accentuated here. The Judges opinion of it went too fast for me to write down.

Adam: (King of Clubs) I liked it. Didn’t love it, but it was interesting.

Rob: (Jack of Spades) I think the hat worked really well overall. The look is sort of a Cyrano de Bergerac meets Captain Hook. Judges: the eye patch is a bit too big and the prosthetic was not fully applied, as the edges are pulling up even if those flaws are mostly hidden by the big black wig.

Anthony: (King of Hearts) the color is muddy and it looks very sad. No whimsy here. Judges: There are a lot of problems. Muddled paint, washed out detail, and the hair is an absolute mess.

Ben: (Jack of Diamonds) I think it’s neat, very old guard looking.

Kelly: (Queen of Spades) Great color, interesting features, but to me it looks more like a Disney witch than a Burton Queen.

Daniel's Queen of Diamonds (Image: SyFy)

Daniel’s Queen of Diamonds (Image: SyFy)

Daniel: (Queen of Diamonds) I see what he was trying to do, but it fell way short for me. Judges: Conceptually unintelligible, the design looks uncertain and possibly deformed. From the comments given, I think they would have really liked his initial concept if he hadn’t been dissuaded from pursuing it.

Darla: (Jack of Hearts) it might be a little on the nose in the forms, but it’s done quite well. Judges: Clean, brilliant, nice subtle paint work, with a good application.

Emily: (Queen of Hearts) There are some awesome forms in the face, tying into the collar. More anatomical heart than heart shaped and I like that. Judges: Gorgeous profile. Beautiful. Masterfully done.

Julian: (Jack of Clubs) Sort of Rip Van Winkle looking in a good way. Judges: Bizarre and interesting. Very “out of the box.” It stands out and shows a great deal of skill.

Stephanie: (King of Diamonds) creepy Elvis looking character. It works well combining creepy with a touch of whimsy.

Emily's Queen of Hearts (image: SyFy)

Emily’s Queen of Hearts (image: SyFy)

Top Looks: Emily, Darla, and Julian (all team Laura)

Bottom Looks: Jamie, Anthony, and Daniel

During the judges’ discussion, they are absolutely brutal and I’m glad they waited until the contestants were off stage for this part. It is absolutely certain Daniel would have done better with his original idea, as Neville just mentioned some of those elements as part of what he could have/should have done.

Winner: Emily

Going Home: Daniel

Emily is quite talented and I think right now, she and Julian are strong competitors. Next week looks to be a different challenge than Face Off has ever done before. A sound effect challenge. I’m assuming they will have to make a creature that makes the sound they hear but I could be wrong, we’ll have to wait and see. It should be quite interesting.

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