Last week’s episode of Face Off was the first half of the finale, where we learned that the show, having figured out they can in fact do a finale challenge where the contestants design looks for a short film, are sticking with that format. The upshot of the camera test showed both Walter and Melissa in relatively decent shape, while Rob, who barely squeaked into the finale in the first place, having crashed and burned out on his last few challenges, has to redesign from the ground up.
This being the last hour of the season, we get the usual “contestants see their families and weep” segment–though for the first time the show has sprung to fly them in person instead of having weepy Skype commercials. Another surprise–that there is no surprise twist. Last year, the finale introduced “script changes” halfway through the process, so the designers had to make a third look–essentially hosing the two contestants who were in bad shape already. This year, they seem to have thought better of this.
With no extra make up looks to develop, the contestants find themselves being thrown on set earlier than usual, leaving Melissa to wind up doing a polyfoam run of shame right there on set. On the other hand, not having a third look helps Rob enormously–if he had to design yet another look on top of redesigning his first two, I think his would have been a train wreck.
Instead, we’re already on set and doing our first takes before the commercial break for Melissa. Walter’s is definitely the most impressive when it arrives on set–partly because his actor is so tall, and then the prosthesis he added to make the damn thing even bigger.
Rob’s is probably the most interesting of the three recording sessions, since his make up underwent a total redesign. If the director is not happy with the new looks, he’s not going to let on in front of Glenn, Ve and Neville. (They, like last year, watch the filming takes from the comfort of their own tent. ) Rob’s pumping oil effect out of his demon works really well, which it didn’t last week.
It’s a fun process to watch, but it’s unfortunately obvious that the young directors who are making the movies have been told the make up is the star of the process instead of their filmmaking. That’s one thing Patrick did not do last season when he directed all three shorts. Make up was merely one element, and the movie itself was the star. But one improvement over last year–there’s actual dialogue–it’s not an overly simple silent film with only a few actions by the actors involved that tell the whole story.
Let’s see the final products and which designer earns the win.
For the short film debuts–excuse me “anthology film”–Jason Blum has returned to remind everyone he put up his production company and man hours to help create Face Off‘s finale. One has to wonder if he will effect the judge’s choice for who they give the win to. The films are being shown outside, on a chilly fall night, as we can tell by how bundled up and huddled McKenzie is in her chair.
Melissa: I’m still not in love with her Cyclops demon. It still looks to me like something that was done a few weeks ago in an earlier challenge–just moreso, and with the light up forehead. But her possessed guy is pretty damn amazing looking–especially when one realizes he’s turning into an Ent.
Walter: His demon is really impressive–both on and off camera. I know everyone made ooh and ahh noises over the possessed woman and the tree branch growing out of her eye, but personally I didn’t think it read right–not last week and not this one either–though in context as she’s covered in vines being dragged along, at least it makes sense.
Rob: His original concept was Japanese horror, and I think part of the reason the director didn’t like it is the director didn’t get it. Rob’s changes are helpful–but he didn’t change the concept, which i think was what the director wanted. Rob is lucky though–Glenn *gets* this. Not only does he get it, he loves it. So do the rest of the judges.
That makes it an unexpected come from behind win for Rob for this season. Not bad! After choking the last couple fo weeks, seeing Rob finally take it–after being the best designer in the group all season–was quite satisfying.
For those who aren’t satisfied, I’m afraid there will be a slightly longer wait than usual for our next round. With Syfy’s new commitment back to Science Fiction, or perhaps diminishing returns after 6 years and 10 cycles on the air, Face Off will be going back to its original once a year routine, instead of spring and fall cycles, and will not be back until 2017.