It was inevitable Face Off would do a Star Trek episode. It’s kind of amazing that it took nine seasons to get here, especially since with the sole exception of Glenn Hetrick, all the show’s current mainstays are Trek alumni. (Hetrick did Babylon 5. Go figure.) Michael Westmore’s entire career is based on his decades of work on the TV franchise, starting with TNG and going straight through to Enterprise. All of his Emmy wins come from his work on the franchise. But now we’re here, and so is Westmore, judging his first Foundation Challenge since he joined the cast. Because, since we’re doing Star Trek, we’re not just going to do a Spotlight Challenge. We’re going to cram in both a Spotlight and a Foundation Challenge, to maximize the amount of designs the show can get out of whatever movements of heaven and earth–not to mention backroom deals were cut with the franchise reboot–to get this episode to happen.
The Foundation Challenge, which is to design a TOS style alien make up, with heavy emphasis on the 1960s style of design, is also our first chance to see Westmore judge make up solo. Turns out he likes bright and bold, with unnecessary random facial appliques (are you surprised?) He singles out Jordan and Evan as his favorites, along with Jason and Nora for random facial prosthesis. Evan wins the challenge and gets immunity.
And then out step judges Ve and Neville, both of whom worked on the motion picture versions of Star Trek–her the TOS movies, and he the reboots–popping out from around the corner where they’ve waited this whole time, apparently. McKenzie emphasizes that the three of them represent the three people responsible for the evolution in Klingon headridges over the last fifty years. The reason this is important? No, it’s not a Resign the Klingons Challenge. Instead, and for the first time in my memory, Face Off is tying the Foundation and Spotlight challenges together. The hastily designed creations made for immunity are now the basis for the next step, which is to imagine how these 60s era designs they made would evolve over the course of fifty years. It’s reboot your makeup challenge! Neville emphasizes that realism is the watch word of current alien design theory. IE: the Gritty Reboot.
It’s right back to the makeup they just finished (and hasn’t been washed off yet) to consider the redesign possibilities. Since this is such an important challenge, and the show wants to make sure there are no disasters looks that might offend the Trek powers that be, Neville, Ve and Westmore all wander about the lab consulting with the designers one on one about their design changes. This is old hat to Ve, who used to do Walkthroughs before the program settled on Michael Westmore as mentor in the Season 4. Her advice is focused on common pitfalls you should avoid. Amusingly enough Westmore is encouraging everyone to go fantastical, while Neville is cautioning them to be realistic. Because that’s not conflicting advice at all.
The heard of mentors leave so that sculpting can begin. Most of our designers have really solid directions to head in. Only Jason seems to be doubling down on pointless facial appliques. Ben is the only one going ugly, but he hated his first make up, so that’s not all that surprising.
When we return for day two, Michael Westmore is back for a second day of Walkthroughs, lest anyone get on the wrong track. But it’s not a Westmore Family Walkthrough. Instead of McKenzie as his travel companion, tempering his dad humor and his cruelest critiques, he’s brought along Jonathan Frakes. While the designers pull themselves together after one of the few genuine freakouts I’m seen over a guest star in quite some time, let’s see what the two of them have to say.
- Scott: He’s bringing his original Kirk girlfriend alien into “the next generation.” “That’s Fabulous!” barks Frakes.
- Kevon: Westmore: “If I was still shooting Star Trek, I’d take that with me.” Frakes talks over him in agreement.
- Jason: “Isn’t that going to be a challenge?” frets Frakes at Jason’s sculpt. “It can happen,” responds Westmore. Frakes: “Good luck with that.”
- Stevie: Both Frakes and Westmore disapprove. “I’m glad you haven’t run this yet” Westmore tell her, as they dictate her design. Frakes: “You weren’t planning on sleeping, right?”
- Evan: Even though he’s run his mold, Frakes tells him he needs to go bigger in the design elements.
- Nora: Ve already steered her away from the bull nose wild pig look. Westmore steers her back slightly.
- Ben: Considering how much Ben hates his design, it’s probably helpful to hear that both Frakes and Westmore like his new one, though they both tell him to go bigger in the cowl “so it doesn’t look like a hat.”
And tragically, that’s all we have time for. I hope you all enjoyed the Frakes&Westmore PowerHour. Personally, I could have watched an entire 44 minute episode of it.
Application Day sees everyone except Meg start the day in a good place in terms of their molds and their pieces. (She’s doing the Eric Fox Polyfoam Run of Shame.) But for many, these are more difficult and extensive applications than they usually do, not to mention involved paint jobs, so no one thinks they are in a good place by last looks.
Let’s see what the judges think.
Continue reading Face Off Season 9: Where No Show Has Gone Before