It’s back and better than ever: The Gauntlet.
At this point in the game, we’ve got 8 contestants left. And a good old-fashioned Gauntlet competition will help whittle it down a bit more. First appearing the season before, the Gauntlet, as McKenzie reminds us, is a 3-part competition, each part with a very specific focus, in an effort to put certain skills on display.
This year, two winners from both Round 1 and Round 2 will receive immunity, and won’t have to participate in the final challenge, pitting 4 contestants against each other at the end. That’s brutal.
Let’s get crackin’.
Round 1: McKenzie calls out Hook (yay!!) and Pirates of the Caribbean, referencing ship captains. The challenge is to create a captain of a specific mythical ship, with the requirement of hand-laying a beard. Confidence ranges from absolute (Melissa’s got it down) to not at all (Anna’s never laid a beard before!) so this will be interesting.
We see some glimpses into the creations. Mel’s doomed herself to the next round already. Melissa explains her technique she’s honed after 7 years of experience. Robert names his character Captain Dishwasher… okay.
When time is up, the judges are revealed to be…. the judges! Neville, Ve, and Glenn will be critiquing these rounds, so that’s not intimidating at all.
This round runs a lot like a Foundation Challenge, so it’s too quick to really break down. In general, the judges seem mostly positive about what they see, and from my perspective, there are no train wrecks.
The top looks for Round 1: Walter and Melissa. They’re done competing for this challenge. But there’s more! McKenzie reveals that they’ll also enjoy a night on the town, complete with limo service. How very Hell’s Kitchen.
Round 2: Pandora’s Box. The artists are presented with a box of pre-made prosthetics. They must use all pieces in their creation — but not where they were meant to be used. So ear pieces can’t go on the ears, etc. That is a real challenge. Playing with face shape in a short amount of time is insane. Neville warns the crew to not be lazy about it, i.e. putting a chin on the forehead and calling it a “chinforehead.” This challenge will really test the creativity of the artists under specific guidelines. Very interesting.
Each contestant is hard at work re-imagining their prosthetics. There’s a lot of cutting. Some are struggling with positioning, but by the end, everyone seems on track. I really like Rob’s forehead and paint job (Neville and Ve agree), and Robert’s demon is utterly terrifying. Using the ears as eyebrows was really smart. Poor Anna got stuck with a jaw piece, complete with teeth. She used it as a crown, and the judges seem to approve. With Mel, they question the chin pieces under the jaw.
Top looks from Round 2 are Rob and Robert. Rob is adorably excited.
The remaining contestants are told to go home for the night and return tomorrow for the final challenge.
We get a few scenes of the winners enjoying their limo and dinner at the Castaway. Are these the final four? It’s definitely possible. Robert and Walter could go either way.
Day 2, Round 3. McKenzie is very serious, standing in front of a big red curtain. When the curtain drops, there are 4 sets of 3 models, each with a black band around either their eyes, mouth, or ears. Wait, are they going to have to do THREE makeups? Damn. That’s just mean.
The challenge is to show how “Hear No Evil, See No Evil, Speak No Evil” might manifest itself in a horror makeup. Who thought of this? This is crazy.
Mel develops a post-apocalyptic group who have sacrificed their sense, like a religious leader. Kaleb wants to go tribal, but he’s unhappy with the costume choices, so he reconsiders. Anna’s going with zombies. It’s a solid concept. Yvonne’s struggling with an idea. When she finally comes up with one, it’s a little confusing. Something about a king and acid torture and civilians revolting. Ultimately, they’re ghostly figures who bear the scars of an acid attack. I think.
Mel’s idea in pretty twisted. She creates skin flaps that have been cut and pulled up over the respective sense. It’s gory and horrible and a great idea, if it comes out clearly. Kaleb is now going with a crew that tempts others to give up their senses, which doesn’t really sound like the challenge, but maybe the judges will dig it.
At this commercial break, we see a “behind the scenes” clip about how Mel’s boyfriend’s favorite German word is dishwasher, and how now it’s an inside joke with the contestants, and that explains Robert’s captain. Got it.
Last Looks, or “Fast Looks,” as Yvonne calls it, is kind of a madhouse. None of the contestants seem to be in a good place except for Mel, which is nice to see. Kaleb looks near tears.
My Amateur Impressions:
Anna’s Zombie Team: They’re…. okay. They look a little plastic or something. I like Hear No Evil.
Kaleb’s Aliens (?): They don’t look terrible. I kinda like See No Evil, in an American Horror Story kind of way. But I still don’t know if it meets the challenge.
Yvonne’s Ghosts: Oooooh. Scary. I LOVE Speak No Evil. The bald cap over the mouth was a great idea. They all look cohesive.
Mel’s Sacrificees: Holy scary. Freaks me out. Which, I suppose, is a good thing?
The Professionals’ Impressions:
They aren’t fans of Anna’s color choices or mouth prosthetic. Glenn questions Kaleb’s choices. Glenn is super impressed with Yvonne’s wardrobe selections.
Mel wins, comparing it to the Hunger Games, which sound about right with this challenge.
Kaleb must pack up his kit. I don’t disagree. And like that, we’re down to 7.
Overall Thoughts: Another fairly drama-free episode, the challenges in person were probably incredibly tense, but that didn’t come across really well here. Doing a Gauntlet Challenge is a good idea, though, so I hope they continue. The last challenge was particularly well-done. I missed Michael Westmore, though. 😦
Beauty in Words:
“You are a strange, strange man. I like it.” — Glenn, to Robert and his Capt. Dishwasher.
“It’s better to have a bad idea than no idea.” — words all Face Off contestants should live by, courtesy of Mel.
“Evocative. Emotional. Visceral. Creative. But I’ll end with a ****-yeah.” #Nevilleism. Please insert exclamation points on your own time.