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Episode Recap: Twisted Tales
The final four contestants feel the pressure closing in as they face their ultimate challenge. They meet McKenzie with apprehension and eagerness as she tells them that their task this week is to reimagine two characters from a fairy tale, placing them in an entirely foreign world. As the winner of last week's challenge, Sam gets to choose first, and from the list of tales and worlds that McKenzie provides, Sam combines The Little Mermaid with psychedelia. Tate sets Little Red Riding Hood in a post-apocalyptic land, Gage works Hansel and Gretel into an industrial milieu and Conor blends The Frog Prince with ghost stories.
The artists dig into their mountain of work to build two characters and envision an entire movie-scape in which they would exist and leave that night exhausted. When McKenzie shows up the next day, they brace themselves for a hellish new twist, and she stuns them all by bringing in help. But not just any help: The eliminated contestants, friends and enemies alike, cruise through the lab's double doors. Everyone picks two people to work under them. Conor, notably, does not pick Megan - but Sam, who has already picked Jo, does. Will this be the undoing of her project?
After two days with their respective teams, Conor, Sam, Tate and Gage bring their concepts to the reveal stage, the site of a cocktail party honoring the finale. The party guests include not only the judges, but also by some of the industry's most respected artists, many of whom were guest judges on this show, such as Michael Westmore, Filippo Ioco, Greg Cannom, Mark Viniello and Sean Cunningham. Tonight, the contest is not the only thing on the line for the competitors - their reputations are at stake, as well!
The party winds down and the final assessment begins. Although the judges felt that Sam's work is worlds ahead of what she delivered earlier in the competition, it's just not as ambitious as Tate's full werewolf with vigilante Riding Hood, striking as Gage's half-machine industrial Witch and doomed Gretel or as masterfully executed as Conor's earth-made Witch and Prince-transforming-into-Frog. She is dismissed, and the race is tight between the remaining three artists.
The piece with the most impact - dynamic tension in the face, creativity in the approach and ambitious scope - is Conor's. The judges are impressed by his consistent technical acumen, and proud that he was finally able to take the note to take a big risk. He aimed high and it paid off in the biggest way. All of the finalists have many pieces to be proud of, and experiences that will be with them for a lifetime.