Face Off Episodes

Season

12

Episode

1

Pack Leaders

We know you’re jonesin’ for some more Face Off, but worry not! We’ve got your fix right here. Before you settle back for some mano y mano, there’s something you should know: art is gonna imitate life this season, and the artists are gonna compete in teams.

In the real world, special effects artists work in shops with one person at the top running the whole job. So this season, the contestants will split in two groups and elect a forewoman or foreman every week. That person will have to stand and answer for the good or bad of the shop. Each week someone will be eliminated, and someone will win the top prize.

And though all of that is important, there’s one question burning in the contestants’ minds above all else: Why the frack are we in a dark forest in the middle of the night? McKenzie enlightens them: they’ll be grooming a werewolf pack with Alpha, Beta, and Omega wolves. Three wolves, two and a half days. Mush!

But before they get to sketching, McKenzie wants to make sure they have all the inspiration they need. She summons forth three real, beautiful wolves, one dark, one light, and one in between, in true fairytale fashion. An artist named Andrew heads up Ethereal Effects (the shops choose their own names) as they create a lumberjack Alpha and his barmaid Beta mate, waiting in the wings for her chance to seize power. The Omega is the town drunk, kept from his own power by the Beta’s constant provision of alcohol.

Twisted Six Effects, led this week by an artist named Al, choose the white wolf as their inspiration. Their pack is a group of genetically engineered albinos forced into a program to become super soldiers, and their leader is a sleek and sexy female who defeated the former, older Alpha. The Omega is the biggest of their pack, but he’s shy, slow, and more than a little deformed.

Seeing the models walk onstage is fun, but maybe not as much fun as watching the contestants snarl and grimace along with their characters like a bizarre group of stage moms coaching their werewolf kids from the audience. There’s so much to love, but since we don’t have all night, the judges call four couples forward.

The first pair is Joseph and Faina from Ethereal Effects, who collaborated on the Dark Omega. They did an amazing job with the visual storytelling, which is especially impressive considering this is the first challenge. If they had brought the stippling and veining from the arms up onto the face and chest, they would have had a true blockbuster on their hands. Next come Suzanne and Kiersten, also from the Ethereal shop, and though they had some great color choices, their anatomy is not telling their story the way it could.

The first duo from Twisted Six Effects is Nick and Laura, who handle their belly flop in front of the judges with grace and dignity. This was Laura’s first time sculpting a chest piece – team foreman Al gets some shade from Ve for allowing this – and her anatomy was way off. So, too, for Nick, who had a great idea in making the Omega look goofy, but couldn’t match the shapes in the clay to the story that needed to be told. Glenn dresses them down further for failing to cover the mess with fur – a relatively easy fix when they saw that their work was flailing. Seussian teammates Jill and Phil fill the bill with their Alpha-turned-Beta whose face has more versatility than your run-of-the-mill werewolf. The judges love the heterochromatic eyes, and a certain editor loves being able to use the word “heterochromatic”. *adjusts glasses on nose*

The winning team is Ethereal Effects, and foreman Andrew feels proud and relieved that he was able to lead his team to victory. There can be only one winner, of course, and this week that winner is Joseph! His sculpture really stood out, and you better believe this win is gonna fuel him for the rest of the contest.

Sadly, that brings us to our elimination portion of the evening. Nick and Laura step to the center along with their foreman, Al, to learn who will be sent home tonight. We’re crossing our fingers for one of those miracles where Glenn says no one’s going home tonight, but alas, instead of “No one,” he says “Laura.” This darling cake decorator and erstwhile corpse beautifier (she worked in the mortuary before the cake stuff, chill) is full of gratitude for this opportunity. She leaves with all the confidence she’s earned by making it to this coveted spot and throwing herself into the challenge full-on. Congrats, Laura! We’ll be keeping an eye out for you.