"Face Off" Season 3: Here there be dragons

Posted by Eric Rezsnyak on Wed, Sep 5, 2012 at 12:08 PM

What an unusual and fun challenge! Last night's episode of "Face Off" was a good example of precisely what I like about this show. It's creative, it focuses more on the work than interpersonal drama, and the output of the contestants was so wild and imaginative that you will absolutely not see anything else like it anywhere else on television. I actually liked almost every look, and even the losing team's creation was far from a total disaster.

This was a team challenge, as the remaining 10 artists were split into duos and tasked with creating a modern interpretation of Chinese dancing dragons that also incorporated each of the designers' Chinese zodiac symbols. Beyond that, all of the looks had to participate in a choreographed dance number (I'd rather they did that now, instead of in the finale like in Season 2), so the make-ups had to stand up to heavy physical movements. Complicated, yes, but also really cool. Here's how the teams shook out:

Nicole and Rod, whose signs were snake and rat

Eric and Sarah, who were monkey and boar

Alana and Laura, goat/rat

Derek and Tommy, ox/monkey

Jason and Roy, rabbit/snake

Interestingly, almost every team had a really strong member, and a fairly weak member, the exception being Derek and Tommy, who at this point seem fairly evenly matched. Unlike the first team challenge with crazypants Joe, the drama was fairly minimal. If the designers had issues with one another they dealt with them professionally and I felt that every team put out some strong work.

The main bit of interest to come from the design phase was, again, freaking Alana, Queen of the Spazzes. She hurt herself AGAIN - third episode in a row, I think - by slicing her finger open so badly that she needed to go off campus to get stitches. This girl, I swear. My thoughts were best summed up by the following exchange:

Roy: "That girls an accident waiting to happen."

Rod: "Waiting?!"

Exactly.

At presentation, we discovered that Rod and Nicole went in a different direction, integrating the birth signs into the make-up by having the animals on the face (I had a hard time making them out, to be honest). The judges liked it, and the fabric details around the head gave it movement. But New Judge didn't see dragon at all in the look.

Jason and Roy were praised for their concept and the fabrication, but Jason's red-and-black splotchy paint job was critiqued, as was their failure to really push the dragon aspect, which should have been a slam-dunk with the snake face.

Alana and Laura got props from head judge Glenn for their "persistence of vision," as the goat/rat look really held up from the sketches. It was creepy, moved well, but as Ve pointed out, did not read "dragon" in the slightest. It looked so different from everybody else's, but I loved it (minus the goofy teeth).

Eric and Sarah's creation reminded me powerfully of shitty Marvel Comics villain The Mandrill. There were issues with symmetry in the make-up, the flimsy and unnecessary horns, and the paint job. It was obviously the judges' least favorite.

Derek and Tommy's work was called "one of the strongest collaborations" in the show's history by Glenn. Glenn also really liked the Japanese aesthetic, brought in by Derek's tattoo background. It was a cool-looking creation.

Unsurprisingly, Tommy and Derek were the winning team, while the bottom team was Eric and Sarah, which was pretty clear based on the judging. While Derek got the individual win, his brother Eric was given the boot. My question was if Sarah, who won last week, had immunity to begin with. That was never addressed.

Next: "Alice in Wonderland" is attacked by zombies. Two great tastes that hopefully go great together.

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