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Recap: Face Off Season 13, Episode 5: Death Dealers

McKenzie Westmore and her Tarot Cards (image: SyFy)

Tonight’s episode of Face Off opens with the artists walking up into a large old house to find McKenzie reading Tarot in a grand ballroom. This week’s Spotlight is making the 13th card in the Major Arcana of a tarot deck, Death. Each artist will get a reading from two of Hollywood’s most prominent tarot readers and they must use those cards for their inspiration. The pairings this week were made by random draw. The prize for the win is the help of an industry expert next week as there is no elimination this week.

Walter v Jordan, Damien vs. Graham, Kevon vs Derek, Mel vs Matt

The tarot readers give each pair of artists readings using a three-card spread. Walter’s reading tells him to create anything he wants. Jordan is urged to be open to a higher calling and to make it profitable. Kevon is called to show his skill and teach it. Derek is told that he wants to take the easy way but he shouldn’t. Damien gets reminded that it’s not fair. He forgets and can be too negative. Graham gets some tricky cards (two the same as Damien) and told to be ready for a change. Mel is told to express who she is in a balanced way. Matt’s cards all have the energy of winning and having strength on all levels.

They’re allowed to work in that ballroom for a bit during the design phase. It’s interesting to hear their own interpretation of the readings they were given. They aren’t so much using the readings but the cards themselves which, given the information they’re given is probably for the best. There are some great ideas in the beginning, especially from Matt and Damien. They head back to the lab and get to work sculpting their deaths.

Michael Westmore starts at Matt’s station where he suggests to maybe square off the chin, so the skeleton peaks through. At Mel’s station, he’s a bit more negative. He thinks it looks more like a person who’s had a minor stroke which is not what she was going for. He gives her some advice on how to emphasize parts to eliminate that. He thinks Walter has a good profile. A lot of neat stuff, but urges him to be careful in painting so he doesn’t lose the detail. He thinks Jordan’s jawline ends too abruptly. He urges Derek not to be too subtle. Subtle disappears on the stage. He leaves and we don’t get to hear anything else. Damian heads into the mold room as quick as he can so he can possibly get a second foam, just in case.

Day two and Matt’s look right now looks like the most metal conehead ever. Definitely from France. Everyone is bouncing ideas off and explaining what they’re doing and it’s all quite interesting and neat. Mel has changed up her idea and it definitely looks a lot more demon like. Graham is using foam to make his helmet with the L200 foam and a heat gun. I’m actually really liking Jordan’s work so far (even if Walter is still my front-runner). And then Jordan has run into the mannequin holding a vital piece of Walter’s look and has possibly damaged it irreparably. It was an accident and he’s capitulated but that doesn’t exactly make it totally square. Walter deals very well with it though, teasing instead of getting mad. Which is another great reminder why I love this show and am still mad at SyFy for canceling it. Matt’s mold is cracking so he patches it to let it cure overnight. Damien’s helmet is coming along and the idea of it is really nifty.

Day three starts and the first thing Derek finds is a thick crack in his cowl piece prosthetic that he needs to fix. Matt is working on his chest piece that isn’t perfect and has horrible edges but it’ll work. The models are getting put in their pieces and Graham is having his model glue feathers. I don’t always understand the beginning colors but for the most part, they’ve made it work. I have to say, I’m really impressed that Jordan isn’t using some crazy garish colors like he usually does.

At the start of Last Looks, Graham has no paint on his model at all because he spent so much time making his wings. I’m a little worried about how bright and garish Damien’s character is. It doesn’t feel like it fits the challenge to me.

At the reveal stage McKenzie introduces series judges: Glenn Hetrick, Ve Neill, and Neville Page and reintroduces the challenge.

Mel Vs Matt (image: SyFy)

Mel vs Matt: I just don’t think Mel has a chance here. It’s neat and sharky but it doesn’t really look like death in any way and Matt’s death is just flat amazing. The detail is so neat and interesting. I want to write this death’s story. Judges: Mel – they don’t get death. It’s very blocky. Matt – great color. Great embellishment. It’s very alluring. It is creepy and death and artistic. The head is very regal and successful. She is stunning.

Winner: Matt

Kevon Vs Derek (image: SyFy)

Kevon vs Derek – both neat and creepy. It’s going to be a hard pick here. It might come down to Derek’s detail in the split Judges: Kevon – Giving it a little more bulbous head would have made it more proportionate. Derek – The paint a little muddy but detail is great. Extraordinary job – eloquent and original while weaving in the tarot symbolism but different colors would have made it better. Neville finds it very captivating.

Winner: Derek

Walter Vs Jordan (image: SyFy)

Walter vs Jordan – my favorite ever from Jordan absolutely but Walter’s is amazing too. I’m really glad I’m not a judge here. They’re both really great in different ways. Judges: Walter: The color transition is amazing. Jordan – very much a step in the right direction but still a little cartoony. It’s not as realistic as what they were looking for. There’s no emotion. It feels like a mask. Ve thinks it’s great up close and his paint skills are amazing.

Winner: Walter

Damien Vs Graham (image: SyFy)

Damien vs Graham – I wish Damian’s wasn’t pink. His color is terrible. And, it’s a big pink Silence! Grahams is too pink too, but it does feel more death. Like a pretty skinless lady. Judges: Glenn thinks Damien’s looks like Death at a German metal festival. All he’s missing is a guitar. The color is very off and the reveal isn’t great when he takes the helmet off. Graham’s sculpt is beautiful. Subtle and it works. She is beautiful with good color choices. Good use of restraint and it works very well. It’s not a skull but more man without a face.

Winner: Graham

Matt’s Death (image: SyFy)

Overall Winner: Matt

I think Matt’s death is probably one of my favorite characters this season. It’s beautiful and eerie and intricate. I think tonight’s episode might be my all time favorite non-finale episode.

I love nights when no one goes home but I’m pretty sure next week will probably be Mel’s last go round. She’s got the skill but I think she’s afraid to let go and be really creative. Just my opinion. I loved this challenge so much. I have a thing for tarot cards so this was right up my alley and I loved where they all went with it.



  1. I’m glad you’re still recapping Face Off. It’s my favorite show and most of the other sites that used to cover it don’t do so anymore. Keep up the great work! 🙂

    • sarahwagner

      It’s my favorite too. I’m hoping they can get enough signatures to convince SyFy to keep it for another season!

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