Sudden Death On STEAMPUNK’D


Challenge #8 “Grand Finale”

It’s down to this: the grand finale deathmatch. Head to head to head, our final three makers — Morgan, Eddie and J.W. — in a challenge that pushes all of them to deliver. Some surprises. Some interesting designs. And a little relief that it’s over.


Challenge 8: Family Room

Personality Elements
Functional Steam Mechanism
Wardrobe: Driver/Pilot outfit

Eddie vs. J.W. vs. Morgan

Guest Judge: Dita Von Teese


Steampunkd Cast wk 08 finals


JASON: This was probably the most interesting challenge of the cycle, as each maker had to bring a personal vision to the family room challenge. Not only were they each at odds with the other two, but they also had the added pressure of having their designs include someone close to them. For Morgan, it was her boyfriend Mark. Eddie got his son in on the act. And J.W. welcomed his wife.

Wait, J.W. — is that a smile?


SONYA: Yes, it was a smile.  Unfortunately, I think the wife lost it for him.

Yeah, J.W. is immediately distracted by the fact that she’s there. This whole time he’s been pretty focused, and you can tell with the way his room went together, he didn’t have it together.

No, he didn’t have it together.  His room was my least favorite room.  He had the same problem with the fabric on the walls as in the first challenge. I didn’t really like the color scheme either. Those built in shelves were nice, though.

I like that he incorporated elements that signified the members of his family, but ultimately the room just felt a little half-done.

Yes, I liked that too. His mechanism was interesting, but it did seem half-done.  There just didn’t seem to be enough in the room to make it look steampunked.

I think that “heart” being so very much steampunk only highlighted the fact that it was lacking in the rest of the design.

Tayliss did an amazing job on his apron though.  I can’t really remember what she dressed his wife in, which goes to show, it was forgettable. it just wasn’t J.W.’s night.

Eddie, meantime, managed to do something that was both simple and steampunkerish, complete with a smoking jacket from Ave.


Oh, yeah. Ave, James, Karianne, Charles, Tayliss, LadyHawke… The not-gonna-win makers came back to help with the final challenge. Charles and Tayliss worked with J.W., Ave and James helped Eddie, and Morgan pulled in Karianne and Ladyhawke — who ended up in the hospital by day 2 and never came back.

But where was Tobias? It hit me after watching the show, that the first maker eliminated wasn’t back for the finale.

Oh my gosh, I didn’t even realize he wasn’t there!  I was expecting the gang to return, that’s standard reality show format.  The teams were interesting.  I loved James’ comment when he was picked last.

I know how he feels…

Amazing enough, it’s still happening in gym class.  LOL  But back to this, “steampunkerish”?  Okay, I actually get what you mean! Eddie’s room was my favorite room.  The gold and the sprayed on gears on the wall were so cool.  Now, James is a watchmaker, right?  Didn’t you expect to see him and Eddie to create this epic clock/watch?  That fan was a bit of a letdown.


I’d forgotten about James making watches. You’re right; that would have been much more impressive. Maybe a larger version of what we actually got in Morgan’s room, with the “time travel” device in the mantel.

I like the whimsical nature of her story about the time travelers pulling in Great Thinkers in history to sit in the parlor for high tea. She really had to step up because she’s not been very involved in the crafting of the actual room for most weeks, and she’s right to be concerned that people see her as a “fabric” person — wardrobe, costumes, etc. And when the wooden archways all came in wrong, it could have all fallen apart at that moment. But she was able to work a fix with other pieces, and in the process gave the room a more ornamental look.

Yes, her story was the best.  I loved her entrance into her room to begin her presentation.  It was all very sweet and perfect. I love anything involving time travel.  Now, you’re going to roll your eyes at me, Jason, but when I saw her living room all I could think of was…oh my gosh, that’s so much crap to dust!  You have to take down the curtains to clean them properly, so much work.  I couldn’t get past the housework!  I really had to forget that, rewind and then really take in her room.  It was cluttered.  I couldn’t get past that fact.  I loved the colors, the items she picked, and the fabric, but I it was all too much for me. Steampunk overkill.


It did feel a little cluttered, especially on the wall above the clock. It’s almost as if Morgan needed to go all out with the re-purposing and the use of timepiece-related gear to make sure it carried the idea across.

And I also liked the splashes of red in the room.

What’s interesting is — as the judges noted — this is really the first challenge where we got any kind of clockwork anything. It’s one of the hallmarks of the steampunk aesthetic, and it doesn’t show up in any room until now. We’ve had steam, we’ve had re-use of found elements, but no clockwork other than the occasional gear as a decorative piece on a costume.

Yup, I don’t remember seeing any sort of clockwork.  I wasn’t expecting it, though, since I’m new to this.

In the end, Morgan and Eddie both had very strong designs, while J.W. just couldn’t deliver. Which actually flew in the face of my prediction that J.W. and Eddie would be the top two left standing at the end. Didn’t quite work out that way.


I was SHOCKED when they called out J.W.’s name. I thought he’d done enough all season to put him in the top two regardless of this last challenge. That wasn’t the case, it was this challenge that put him third. The only derogatory comment the judges made about his room was the fabric, right? Everything else sounded positive.  It wasn’t until he was revealed as the third place maker that he even admitted that he didn’t do his best.

Oddly enough, Morgan used J.W.’s woodworking technique better than J.W. did this time. Even though she messed up on the math, she worked out a better design in the end.

Yes!  That’s right!  She did!!  I giggled at her math mistake, but they fixed it, I couldn’t even tell what had gone wrong in the first place.

It looked like she didn’t make the arches wide enough for the walls, so they ended up cutting them in half and putting them up with that insert between the pieces.

Okay, and then with all all the stuff in her room and those big curtains hiding the secret doors (which I loved, too) it didn’t make much of a difference anyway.

Ultimately, all the pieces in her room didn’t make enough of a difference, because Eddie walked away with the win.

He sure did.  His room was my favorite.  Many of his rooms in the manor were my favorites.  He’s never disappointed.  He deserved the win. I loved the reveal.  His living room appearing in the manor with his son was a great way to tell him he won.  


That was a nice touch. And a well-deserved win. And I think he got a little thrill out of having Dita Von Teese as the guest judge this week. Not only is she a perfect choice for her throwback designs that complement the steampunk community, but she’s a burlesque icon. Probably the best way to round out the show.

So, with that, the first season of Steampunk’d is in the can. Eddie takes home money. Everyone else goes home with experience points they can use to level up in their neighborhoods. And hopefully Ladyhawke is out of the hospital by now…

Thanks for playing along, everyone. It’s been an interesting ride. Feel free to start speculating about season two.



Jason P. Hunt

Jason P. Hunt (founder/EIC) is the author of the sci-fi novella "The Hero At the End Of His Rope". His short film "Species Felis Dominarus" was a finalist in the Sci Fi Channel's 2007 Exposure competition.

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