RECAP! Face Off: Lost Languages

Episode 3 is upon us. We’re immediately teased with the drama about to unfold, including the Michael Westmore warning: “This is looking cartoony,” and some molding room disaster tease.

The competing artists are brought up to a desert-like area, and ahead of them are some ruins and statues. The special guest is David Peterson, a professional language creator, who created Dothraki and several SyFy shows. Huh. What a job.

Peterson explained how he won a competition for Game of Thrones when they were seeking someone to create the Dothraki language. That’s a pretty amazing story. Good for him.

The spotlight challenge is to create a member of a long-lost race based on a set of artifacts and its corresponding language. Interesting.

In the lab, Kaleb and Mel head in the ruins first. Props to the prop and set decorating department, as each of the artifacts are fairly realistic looking and covered in cobwebs. Nice touch.

David, as the 4th judge, recommends that they all listen for a phonetic clue to give their character the same look that he was thinking of when he designed the language. Tricky.

Now we get to hear the languages – Kaleb and Mel’s sounds like a combination of Dothraki and Klingon – and very angry and growly. They decide on a snake creature, which works for their artifact, but I didn’t really hear any hissing or lisp so unless they give the snake lips, I’m curious to see if David is cool with it.

Walter and Rob’s language sounds pretty hilarious. Kind of Dutch. They say Nordic. Something. But the way Rob describes it, it sounds Polish – K’s and vowels strung together. They’re working on a feline creature wearing a wolf pelt.

From the clip we hear of Johnny and Robert , it sounds French, complete with kissy sounds, until it yells angrily. They’re designing a squid-like creature, based on their artifact. Robert believes the beak of a squid would make the clicking sounds they think they hear in the clip.

Yvonne and Anna reveal a language that sounds just… fast. Like a fast, garbled (yet clear, if that makes sense), made-up language. They agree on a more human character who has deemed himself a god.

Katie and Melissa’s language has rolling r’s and speaks in a low, chanting tone so they develop of Lady of Death.

Ant and Njoroge’s is no doubt the least developed language – just full of clicks and hisses. They decide to create a reptilian creature, but judging by the sketch, Mr. Westmore’s comments about cartoony will be to these guys. It’s a bright green thing with huge eyes that don’t quite work with the head shape. Let’s see where this goes.

Mel’s having self-doubt about the ears she’s sculpted, and even though Kaleb does a great job of convincing her he loves them, she insists she’ll leave it up to Mr. Westmore.

Just before the Westmores walk in, we hear Njoroge ask if Ant is really sold on the eyes. Ant doubles down, saying they’re his favorite thing about the sculpt. WARNING. WARNING.

Upon their approach, Mel asks the Westmores what they think of the ears. They both respond with genuine enthusiasm. See, Mel? Why so worried? They inspect the other piece, and Michael reaffirms his positive position. Yay.

When it comes time for Ant and Njoroge, my prediction was correct. Mr. Westmore pulls the “cartoony” card, and in the talking head, Njoroge says he’s been thinking everything that Westmore’s saying (then speak up, dude!).  Neither Westmore is not cool with the eyes. Not good, guys. There’s pressure now, since both have been on the bottom already.

With Walter and Rob, Mr. Westmore says the wolf head must be “magnificent” in its paint job. And we learn Glenn is a cat person. Makes sense.

Yvonne has been working on the headpiece, which she has meticulously lined with pearls. Anna points out this method could be ruined in the mold, leaving them with a blank cowl, and now Yvonne, who’s been in the bottom in both episodes thus far, is panicking. She starts muttering about popsicle sticks and diamonds and ends the day happy, so that’s good. The day closes with the “Girls on Film” music, and we’re ready to begin anew.

Day 2 has Robert going on about calling his creature Octoman, referencing last week’s Game Board Man. This one’s even got a theme song. While Robert walks between entertaining and annoying, I’m betting he’s a much stronger personality, and we just see the tip of the iceburg.

Yvonne is putting that popsicle stick in action, and she’s pressing tiny diamond shapes into the headpiece, creating a stunning texture. When Anna holds her face sculpt up to it, it’s very clear the two pieces go together perfectly. Well done.

Johnny is attempting to mold the giant squid cowl, but the Ultracal is so heavy, it’s making the thin flaps around the head fold in on themselves. Johnny freaks, and he and Robert struggle to keep it flat. Eventually, they use sticks and shims to hold its shape, which honestly, they should have done in the first place. It’s better than Robert using his head to prop it up.

Later on, Johnny tries to create tentacles using cotton and latex, but that doesn’t work. I’m starting to wonder about Johnny’s technical knowledge here.

Application Day starts with Robert trying his hand at the tentacles, this time using polyfoam. While I understand they already have the molds, I just wonder why they didn’t try fabricating them out of something else – L200 wrapped around a stick or something.

On Team Feline, Walter admits he doesn’t have time to lay hair on the wolf pelt, so paint it is. How you make a pelt without hair is beyond me, but best of luck to you, sir.

Mel and Kaleb fabricated a bladder that works under the prosthetic to enhance the visual vocalization.  As they’re applying, we catch the model speaking in the language – oh good! I’m hoping this means all the models learned their language to speak on stage. Not sure why I didn’t assume that was happening. Now I feel silly.

Oh god. Frog Man is not looking good. At this stage, it might even be worse than last week’s disastrous Crayon Man. They’ve painted it a neon green with white and yellow elements… if that paint job isn’t toned down, there’s no way they’re gonna beat that cartoony vibe. Okay, Ant SWEARS that he goes over the bright colors with darker browns, reds, and black. I don’t see it — but maybe I will later. Still, Ant is defiant in their bright color choices.

Back onto the tentacles, and the polyfoam hasn’t set. Johnny is Mr. Miserable. He and Robert decide to scrap the pieces all together, losing something to their overall look. Johnny decides to focus on the paint job to sell it. By the time they leave for last looks, Robert is cursing instructions and Mr. Miserable is predicting certain doom.

During the commercial break, they play a promo for Face Off, highlighting the different strengths and backgrounds of some of the contestants – of course, showing Melissa laying a beard on a make-up that we haven’t seen yet, thereby narrowing down who could possibly be going home tonight… Not really a big spoiler, but come on now.

Last Looks, as per usual, was a mad dash of painting. Robert adds a mismatched red to their Octoman, Ant made their alien white-lipped, which Njoroge hates and paints over with brown. Anna and Yvonne are fighting with fake teeth, and decide to scrap the idea; the piece didn’t fit the model’s small mouth (Been there — with a small mouth and giant teeth, none of those Halloween fake teeth pieces ever fit me.) At time, Robert feels the piece isn’t terrible, it’s just unfinished.

My Amateur Impressions:

Walter & Rob: The Feline Warrior is interesting – the face looks natural and is well-detailed. But the wolf pelt looks ridiculous – like a rubber wolf head of this great face. The language doesn’t NOT work, so there’s that.

Anna and Yvonne: Egyptian King does a phenomenal job spitting out that breakneck language with confidence and force. The makeup looks great, too. Basing out the headpiece in black was a brilliant idea.

Katie & Melissa: I’m… not really sure what to think of this one. During the episode, all we saw was the work on the wing scars. She doesn’t look terrible, but there’s not a lot about her that really stands out. The language is great, though.

Mel & Kaleb: Snake Man looks — odd, but it works. The paint job and the eyes are really killer. The language doesn’t quite match the snake fangs, but it doesn’t seem too detrimental.

Ant & Njoroge: No. No no. From my couch, I’m not seeing those darker colors Ant promised (he promised!) he put in there. Neither the cowl nor the eyes look symmetrical, and when he tries to speak the language, it clearly does not work. Bottom look, easily.

Robert & Johnny: Well, it’s not Frog Alien terrible. But it’s definitely off. The paint job on the cowl is nice, but the face is strange – it’s hard to tell the black beak is a beak at all. When the model says his line, he makes that kissy noise, and I can’t help but wonder how that’s possible in a creature with a beak. Can birds do that? Though at the end of the line, it’s very reminiscent of Davy Jones a la Pirates of the Caribbean. Just sayin’.

The Professionals’ Impressions:

Right off the bat, Glenn points out the quality difference between Feline’s face and cowl. David is glad Egyptian God wasn’t impeded in his fast speech. Up close, the judges see the extreme detail they took in Snake Man’s cowl. Ve believes Frog Alien could’ve been saved by a better paint job. And David points out the beak is troublesome with Octoman’s designated langauge.

Top Team? Anna & Yvonne. Yvonne had a reversal of fortune and won the challenge.

Ant is headed home. Unsurprising, considering how Glenn and Neville ripped apart his cowl, though Njoroge better start speaking his mind soon if he plans to stick around.

Overall Thoughts:

This was a really unique challenge. Though initially confusing, the teams, for the most part, did a really great job. This week’s episode seemed to spend a ton of time on Days 1 & 2 on the sculpting phase, and I like it. Finally, some of the contestants are showing some personality, though there aren’t any real oddballs (except Robert, sort of) or divas yet, keeping the drama to a minimum.

Beauty in Words:

“I think it was fine to use squid metaphorically…” — #Nevilleisms

“… but his very close friends call him Sushi.” — Robert, discussing Octoman.

What do you think? Will you miss Ant? How’s the season going so far? Let me know!

 

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