As the episode opens, a few of the contestants are discussing the most recent challenge results, thankful that they weren’t sent home.
Katie: “It’s good to be safe”
Walter: “I don’t want to be safe; I’m desperate to win one.”
They start the next challenge at the warehouse, where McKenzie greets them from a “Command Central” set, where they are all asked to take a seat.
Kaleb: “It looks like we are about to be interrogated.”
This week’s challenge is a departure from the normal sci-fi / horror / creature makeups. The inspiration comes from the new television series, Hunters, which is about top-secret agents tracking down alien beings. Rather than creating alien outlaws, this week is all about creating a real-life disguise for an undercover agent. It sounds a little like Mission Impossible meets Men in Black, and it represents the first individual challenge of the season.
To give them some advice, McKenzie brings out a seasoned disguise artist: her dad, and the show’s creative mentor: Michael Westmore. In addition to his work dating from the early 1960’s (The Munsters) to the present day Star Trek franchises, Westmore has also created realistic disguises for the LA police department (for sting operations), Michael Jackson (to avoid fans), and a would-be costume party guest who, unbeknownst to Mr. Westmore, was planning an armed robbery in disguise.
Westmore’s advice to the contestants for success: change obvious things like bone structure, dental structure, and eye color. He also cautions them that all focus is on the face, including an expectation for beautiful edges and paint application.
Each artist gets their randomly-assigned models from files attached under their seat, and their guest judge is revealed as none other than Gale Anne Hurd, executive producer of The Terminator movie series, television’s Fear the Walking Dead, and Hunters, the upcoming new television series that provides the inspiration for this week’s challenge.
Anna: “Doing real makeup is hard.”
It was interesting to see the different approach to design and application for this very realistic and somewhat un-spectacular makeup, which is, by the way, exactly the point. Their “agents” must blend in as a regular person to go undetected and not draw attention to themselves. Some characters seemed a little off the mark, regardless of the quality of the make-up. For example, Yvonne created a heavy metal musician as an agent, which seemed pretty high-profile to me, and Melissa went for creating the head of the agency by aging her female model in a disastrous way. The character was not very incognito, and the high placement of the eyebrows on her model’s forehead gave the face some weird proportions.
Glenn: “This is one of the most confusing makeups ever on the show.”
Other characters ranged from a variety of changed genders, ages, and ethnicities. Ironically, the most successful of these had little to no stage presence. Robert’s great paint job and prosthetic application transformed his young female model into a male maintenance worker who reminded me of a very young Tommy Chong.
Rob’s young male model was flawlessly converted into a middle-aged man, complete with a receding hair line and head freckles, which earned him the win this week.
Neville: “Zero interest, Zero attraction—it is a success.”
Gale-Anne: “He had a lot of hair to hide. I didn’t even notice that it was a bald-cap application.”
Bottom looks were shared by several this week, but they did have some laughs over Katie’s maintenance man who looked like he had put too much fake tanning lotion on, and was sporting some fairly puffy hair.
Katie: “This makeup looks incredibly fake and dumb. At this point, I’m hoping that I’m safe.”
Ve: “For me, it’s a huge miss…the tan guy who works underground.”
Neville: “It’s a rough one, man. This no longer feels human. The hair? It’s possible that somebody could have that big of hair…”
Glen: “Hey, I’m sitting right here.”
Kaleb also struggled with realistic skin tones. His Eastern Indian woman looked orange and her facial features gave her a malnourished appearance. He knew he was in trouble when the application of the foam wasn’t ideal, forming rough edges and buckling with facial expressions. The makeup was too obvious and it made her stand out rather than blend in to a crowd.
Kaleb: “This is the worst makeup I’ve ever done, so I’m preparing for the worst.”
But lucky for both Katie and Kaleb, Njoroge’s attempt to turn his model, a young blond woman, into a young Asian guy, fell too short. I knew it would be a failed attempt; when he was adding the stereotypical Fu Man Chu mustache and heavy wig, he was in big trouble.
The hair, coupled with the oversized glasses, supported the look of a caricature and not a real guy. I think that the final blow was when Njoroge told the judges that he was really happy with the result. Sorry, Njoroge, you are going home. He took it well, and considering that he has started this profession at 49, he did pretty well to stay in as long as he did.
Njoroge: “It doesn’t end here.”
Tune in next Wednesday for the next challenge, as the contestants team up to create some “Foreign Bodies.”
FaceOff airs Wednesdays at 9/8c on Syfy.