Guess what, everybody? It's SOLO CHALLENGE time! Most of the veterans are super excited to show off their skills, particularly Miranda and Frank. The newbies are a little more daunted by the weight of the challenge being squarely on their shoulders, but they're not going to let that slow them down. McKenzie calls them all to an abandoned power plant where she introduces Jordu Schell, a creative force on films such as "Avatar" and "300". He's an inspiration to many of the artists present.
McKenzie and Jordu tell the competitors that their design will be inspired by underground dwellers, and Jordu reminds them that color – or lack thereof – will be a key factor in the makeups they deliver. No light = no flashy patterns, as far as nature's concerned. They head down a dark shaft to several rooms below, each decorated with a unique theme. Alana goes right for a room strewn with fishing nets and seaweed, and starts sketching a "sexy-scary" mermaid. Adolfo is drawn to a room with chains, and dreams up a prisoner who was made superhuman by electrocution.
Back at the lab, Miranda discovers that she, RJ, and Laura all have concepts for what she calls "naked mole rats" because, well, what else are you gonna call it? Miranda is verging on angry and scared that they all have such similar concepts, and Laura's shaken, too, though she shows it differently. She decides to move forward with a character that's more rat, and leaves Miranda to do what she will with the mole. RJ takes the armadillo as an influence, as well, and they all create different concepts as they move forward.
Most people are making good time, getting into the mold room and keeping on schedule, including Roy – despite the hundreds of pounds of clay and plaster he's sculpted to create a full-body tentacle piece. He enlists the help of some of the burlier dudes to get the thing off of the table and onto a dolly to wheel outside. He cleans it out and starts pouring in the foam, but too late he realizes that he grabbed hard foam instead of soft. This is an epic, game-changing mistake. The tentacles were the focus of his work, and now they'll have to be scrapped. He does what he can to save the rest of the makeup by fabricating a squid head and long arms, but he's frazzled and certain that he'll be in bottom looks – he's right.
On application day, Adolfo, who thought he had a good thing with his makeup, chooses a color that comes out far more orange than he anticipated. He doesn't have time to change it – the best he can do is modify it. He darkens the eyes, but that only seems to exaggerate the orange-ness of the rest of the head. The judges, including guest judge Jordu, like the lopsided silhouette he's created, but the color covers a rough sculpt, and the overall look is like a mask. He winds up on bottom looks along with Roy, who cops to the wrongness of his makeup before the judges can, and Scott, who had a decent sculpture, but finished it with an illogical paint job that does nothing to carry the concept through. For a few tense moments, all three men pray for their sins, but it's Adolfo who winds up going home. He thanks the judges for this opportunity and leaves with a sense of pride at having made it this far and learned so much.
Frank landed in the top looks with a creature whose eyes had disappeared through evolution (a touch Glenn LOVES) and had several sets of interlocking teeth. Laura's rat prisoner was cleverly handled and had a beautiful, clear story in her pink skin, pronounced forehead, and Spock-ed hands – Jordu falls in love with this look. Miranda rounds out the top three with a stunning mole king – her color choice of pale tans and pinks was masterful, and the costuming for the piece set the whole thing alight. She wins this challenge and accepts the honor with humility and the hope that she can keep it up.
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