The last time I remember the contestants being dragged deep into a jungle like area, they wound up body painting their nude models in one of the worst challenges in Face Off history. So while the contestants may just be relieved they didn’t die on the way here, I’m glad to see McKenzie accompanied by a dude from Universal Creative, here to promote their resort theme park. Sadly, the terrain means it’s not a challenge promoting the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood. (Sorry, Wizards&Whatnot, I would have loved the tie in.)
Instead it’s a challenge promoting the new attraction back east at Universal Orlando, King Kong’s Skull Island. The designers must take creatures found on Skull Island and “evolve” them to the next level. And though one might think that this being the last challenge before the finale would be enough pressure, there’s a bonus prize for the winner as well, other than just being first through to the finale. An all-expenses paid trip to go to said attraction! (And probably the rest of the theme park as well.)
Most laymen might remember creatures found on Skull Island as “dinosaurs” or “large spiders”, whose excavation sites are laid out around the jungle, for the designers to pick from to use as inspiration. To wit:
Like last week, I feel those who know a lot about King Kong are at a major advantage over those who don’t know much about the Kongoverse. (Is that a word? It should be.) Melissa, for instance, is all about her character (which is also known as an Arachno-Claw.) Rob knows less (much like last week.) But he’s been on a “I Wanna Make a Dinosaur” kick prior to this, so handing him a character called a V-rex is really up his ally.
Let’s see what Westmore has to say on his final pass through the workshop before the finale.
- Rob: He’s been worried that his dinosaur face is too smiley. Westmore is worried about the amount of work he’s trying to do.
- Melissa: Westmore encourages her face piece to include the neck, in case her costume doesn’t reach.
- Walter: He’s thinking to work in the human element. Westmore advises him against that.
- Mel: He frets her face will look like a mask rather than a face.
Mel is not on solid ground again, but for once she seems to have gotten her mojo all by herself. No one is petting her or bucking her up. She’s taking risks without fear, which is a really great thing to see. I don’t know if she thinks the save automatically puts her through to the finale, or if she figures at this point, if she goes home, she’ll have made it as far as she was ever going to anyway. Either way, I approve of New Mel.
Application day sees Melissa and Walter flying through this challenge in a manner that suggests they are going to be shoo ins for next week. I’m rather crushed to see Rob crashing and burning though. By last looks, it’s clear he’s going to be sending out an unfinished piece. (That’s twice in two weeks!) Let’s see if the judges let him muddle through again on the strength of his earlier work, or if Mel really will wind up in the finale instead.
No guest judge for this all important final journey to decide who will be in the finale. (Can’t have someone accidentally arguing for the wrong person to be eliminated.) I was wondering if we might since there’s this whole “extra prize” part, but I suppose that just shows that Universal doesn’t care which one gets the free trip.
Melissa: Arachnocidis The last couple of weeks have seen time management get away from Melissa, but this week, she really brought it when it counted. That arachnid face is good enough that I’m having a hard time looking at it because I hate spiders. The paint job is superb. Thankfully, the judges agree, as well as being impressed by the sheer amount of work she did for this challenge. She’s handed both first prizes–first into the finale and first to go to Skull Island. (Her excitement about taking her kid is adorbs too.)
Walter: Terapusmordax Slow and steady wins the race. Walter may not have been as flashy as some contestants or as memorable as some who no longer stand here, but he has always churned out solid, dependably good work. He did it again this week, with a bat like creature and some super awesome wings. The judges don’t love the wings, but they agree. He absolutely deserves to be through to the finale.
Rob: Vastatosaurus Oh Rob. Oh I’m so sad for you. Last week Rob was given a pass despite not completing. This week the judges look vaguely ill. I mean, what he did get done was good stuff. That face is great. The problem is…it’s just a face. Like you can’t get around the fact that this is not a focus challenge and the rest of this isn’t just not done…it’s not done, and he didn’t even manage to hide the not-doneness.
Mel: Decarnocimex Oh Mel. Considering that Rob all but crashed and burned next to her, perhaps her bizarre take on a flesh-eating bug would be enough? The problem for me is its looks less like a bug and more like an abstract Fibonacci like fractal sequence. Or a Star Trek alien. Which is really cool, don’t get me wrong. It’s just… not what the challenge was.
So, it boils down to the judges deciding: do they put Rob through on earlier work, knowing that he can do, even if here he did not do? Or do they put Mel through to the finale, thereby validating their choice to save her a couple of weeks ago?
It’s not a good choice, to be honest. If they put Mel though, fans will yell favoritism. If they put Rob through fans will yell favoritism. With a damned either way decision, the judges decide not to validate themselves, and instead let Rob go to the finale, where he’s entering as a distant third, instead of the front-runner he would have been only a couple of weeks ago.