We’ve reached our first individual challenge of the season this week. It doubles as an ad for SyFy’s upcoming show Hunters. Not that I’m terribly down on SyFy’s fare. Childhood’s End was good…. well ok, the first episode was. The Expanse is decent stuff. The Magicians seems to be alright, though the source material has many problems baked into it. But considering we’re promoting a new show, you would think that the production would have spent some money on this challenge intro. Any money really? Instead they’re in the warehouse, with some stock chairs, and a cheesy faux government symbol spinning on a projections screen, and the “special guest’ is Michael Westmore.
The challenge: to make a realistic looking disguise for the Agent Hunters who are chasing the shadowy alien-esque terrorists. (I suppose they couldn’t have them make the shadowy alien-esque terrorist, now could they?) It should be noted McKenzie calls this a “focus” challenge, which was a concept introduced last season, where the contestants are to focus on the face. Michael Westmore’s advice to them is about trying to change bone structure on the cheeks, or the dental work. I’m not sure the contestants hear him though, between the stories of making disguises for Michael Jackson so the poor man could leave his house once in a while.
We’re shown pictures of the “Agents,” but since a couple are clearly recognizable as our regular models, it’s not like we’re meeting a cast from the show. The models are preassigned this week, which suggests there are ones the cast wants to work with more than others.
We have a couple of contestants who are convinced the path to success by gender swapping, while Mel insists that this is the moment to do an old age make up. They must not have had that long to sculpt, since Michael and McKenzie walk back in still wearing the same outfits from earlier. How badly is Westmore going to undermine the confidence of the contestants this week?
- Walter: The chin is “cartoony.” Next!
- Katie: The profile’s nose is compared to a ski jump.
- Rob: He is warned that older people have more skin textures in their necks.
- Johnny: Westmore says his prostheses are too thin.
- Njoroge: One of the gender (and race) flippers. Westmore says he hasn’t done enough.
And that’s all we have time for this week. Not even half of our eleven designers. This is a two day challenge, so the contestants are already hitting the mold room by the time the Westmores are leaving and people are sitting down to lunch. The shortened challenge also means no one has time for mold drama, just a few frets over not making too many pieces.
On application day, most of the designers have come up with a single full facial piece. There are different theories as to painting skin tones, most of them terrible. In fact, the skin tones are what give away these are prostheses, and suggest that the top looks this week may be more default than success stories.
Let’s see how kind the judges are in their grading curve.
Though they couldn’t convince Gail Ann Hurd to show up for the top half of the episode, they have secured her appearance at the judge’s table this week. The woman famous for The Walking Dead make up is also the one doing the make up for SyFy’s new Hunters show, so shilling commences, as if we haven’t just sat through ads for the show during the commercial breaks.
Due to the nature of the challenge this week, we’re not using the “posed” images provided by SyFy, which don’t show the face all that well. Instead we have screencapped the “Before” and “Afters” from the morph. As you will see, they are highly instructive.
Anna: Fake tan skin tone. No Nose.
Walter: The five o’clock shadow is godawful.
Yvonne: Odo as a Rock and Roller.
Johnny: Blackface! Featureless blackface!
Mel: I would have put her in the top over Melissa, because her face was at the same level across the board. But this was not an “Old Age” make up challenge.
Melissa: There are really good parts to this make up, all of which are around the cheeks. The mouth is a disaster though, and so are the eyebrows. She’s only in the “top” because there wasn’t anyone else to put there. The judges insist she’s both in the top and the bottom, which is a cop-out.
Robert: Another really good skin tone. The nose is a bit cartoony, and you can see the feminine facial features under it, but the beard is realistic enough to pass muster. The judges think it looks better without the glasses. Ve praises his hair laying. Gail Ann believes the gender flip. Neville thought that the forehead was a prosthesis piece since it matched the nose so well.
Rob: The hair and the skin tone are dead on, one of the very few where that can be said. He also nailed the receding hairline, and the beard. “he would disappear into a crowd” say the judges, which was never a criteria specified for this challenge, but I suppose if you’re disguising Agents, that is supposed to be taken as read? Rob was the only one who took it that way though, and that makes his win almost unfair. But then again, the hair and the skintone are so believable (and head and shoulders over everyone else), he should win for that alone.
Katie: Oof, that skin tone is burnt cowboy. It’s like a bad Tom Selleck cowboy. The man looks like he’s made of plastic. Ve excuses the shiny look as perspiration. Neville tries to say it’s not human, because no one’s got hair that big, but then Glenn points out that he’s sitting right there, with hair twice that size, so.
Kaleb: Old school blackface, a terrible nose, the hair looks fake as hell and the work around the mouth is a complete failure. Neville won’t use the word “blackface” to describe it, but that’s what he means. The rest of the judges agree, this is just a disaster. At least kale knows better than to defend it–he knew this was a disaster.
Njoroge: The skin tone is terrible–like on the border of yellow face. The wig is laughable, and the facial hair is wrong. Neville compares the facial hair to straw. Gail Ann says from afar it looks like a girl who is wearing a costume. Glenn is alarmed Njoroge thought he was about to be in the top, and calls it “a racial stereotype.”
Njoroge has been in the bottom several times now, and his first time on his own, he couldn’t see that his make up was a disaster. That’s the kiss of death in the early rounds. Not surprised he’s out this week.