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Episode Recap: Keep One Eye Open

The artists must create their own Cyclops monster, straight out of Greek mythology. Special Guest: Douglas Smith (Percy Jackson).


Dang, we're down to five artists, and all eyes are on them! Or, rather, all eyes are on their eyes as they attack a Cyclops-themed Focus Challenge. McKenzie ushers them into a steampunk apothecary shop where they choose the eye, floating in goo, that will inspire their own rendition of this classic monster.

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Rob's eye has a triangular pupil and an electric blue iris, suggesting something aquatic and dangerous. He tries to switch up the classic Cyclops formula by placing the eye lower on the face where the mouth should be, but then it just looks like he sculpted the face upside-down. Not a winner! Even though this eats up three of the sparse ten hours for the whole challenge, he has to scrape off all the clay and start fresh. He manages to get into the mold room before the proverbial bell, but cleaning it out is a different story –- the pressure washer is out of juice, bringing new meaning to the phrase, "No pressure!" He gets help cleaning it out and manages to run a piece that's good enough to get him into Top Looks.

Meanwhile, Mel has been struggling with crafting her dog-human-Cyclops super-soldier in a way that looks menacing and not goofy. Mr. Westmore discourages painting the nose straight-up puppy-black, and she agrees, but the dozens of decisions from there to the reveal stage devil her until she turns out a piece that feels more cartoony than she ever envisioned.

And speaking of deviling, Yvonne's Cyclops comes straight from Hell! He's Satan's blacksmith, sporting a classic red-demon/black-horn look. She struggles with the anatomy of a Cyclops and sculpts a brow that covers the eye rather than highlights it. Her clean sculpture, paint job and application keep her Safe, but the judges aren't clamoring over the panel with excitement over her work this week.

Melissa sees a reptilian image in her eye and conjures a dragon-esque twist on her Cyclops. The design of her face is incredibly detailed, but is this a Focus Challenge or is this a FOCUS CHALLENGE?! She gets those little scales in there and lays some dope color on top. Mr. Westmore cautioned against basing it too dark, but since it's inspired by a dragon, Melissa plays with fire and lays out some brown below her greens and whites –- and it burns her! She has to drag the paint job back from the muddy brink, but she winds up with a look that the judges are crazy about. The amount of work is equal to many Spotlight Challenges, with a super-clean application and details like a feathered hairdo that make the whole character sizzle. She's the clear winner this week!

Walter tried to go above and beyond by painting the arms of his Cyclops but his color schemes don't match and the effect is distracting. His sculptural choices feel choppy and unmotivated and he joins Mel on Bottom Looks. Unfortunately, Mel's venture into the world of cartoon Cyclops dog-human hybrids sends her home … OR DOES IT? The judges know she's done tremendous work in the past and use their one-time pardon to save her this week, allowing her to sculpt another day. She's gonna use this second chance for all it's worth. Go Mel!