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In medieval times, knights would prove their mettle by traversing 'the Gauntlet,' a path flanked on either side by their betters in the field. Enduring the strikes and blows from the other knights, they would demonstrate their worthiness to fight alongside them.
If you take away the corporal punishment and factor in cool paint jobs and the possibility of aliens, you have Face Off's Gauntlet. The competitors will face three challenges that will, as always, determine a winner and a loser. Unlike the first FO Gauntlet, the top two looks of the first two challenges won't have to compete in the following phases. Instead, they get to have a lovely dinner at a fancy restaurant! Whether it will have jousting and a utensil-free meal remains to be seen.
Stage One is all about laying hair. Inspired by famous ships of yore –- the Manjet Barge, which carried the Egyptian god Ra across the sky, the Viking Naglfar, made of bones and nails, and the Flying Dutchman, the pirate ship manned by ghosts -– the artists create their interpretations of the captains of those ships ... and their formidable beards. Melissa, who often lays on her own beards for her elaborate costumes, gets right to setting down a realistic chin braid for her embodiment of Ra. Her subtlety and expertise earn her a top spot (and a yummy meal!). Walter, whose Naglfar captain's beard has a realistic hairline and color variation, will be her date. Mel, who hates hair so much she doesn't even want it on her own head, wants to punch this challenge in the nose and is relieved that whatever they face next won't involve icky hair sticking to her fingers.
But when McKenzie delivers Stage Two, Mel is wishing for the bygone hours of sticky hair! Using the chaos of Pandora's Box as a jumping-off point, the artists will open mystery boxes of ready-made prosthetics –- ears and noses and such. The thing is, they can't use the prosthetics as they were intended but must find a new home on the face for them. When Robert takes his elf ears and uses them as demon horns, he can smell the surf 'n' turf already. Rob throws the nose upside-down on the chin, the cheek pieces on the forehead, and the eyebrow as a jawline for an alien smuggler that is WINNING. Kaleb, Mel, Anna and Yvonne gird their loins for what will surely be a b-buster of a Stage Three.
And indeed it is. In only one day, each artist must create original looks for three models through a horror lens based on the adage, "See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil." Anna immediately thinks 'zombie' and builds a trio whose eyes, ears and mouth have been consumed by the undead. Mel, who doesn't gel with horror, is starting to feel like these challenges are tailor-made to drive her insane! She sticks with what she knows –- anatomy –- and carves off flaps of skin to cover the sense organs, creating a trinity of acolytes who have sacrificed their senses to their pagan deity. Kaleb inverts the challenge with his demon team bent on tempting humans to see, speak and hear as much evil as possible, while Yvonne whips up ghostly torturers who died in the manner of their metier.
The cohesion of Yvonne's looks –- color palate, costuming, concept –- rockets her to Top Looks. Mel regains hope when she hears the judges commend her attention to anatomy in her makeup and is stunned when she wins The Gauntlet! Anna, in her haste, added necrotic tissue instead of having it disappear from her zombies and winds up in Bottom Looks with Kaleb, whose swing for the fences fell short –- the judges find he didn't meet the challenge, and his aesthetic feels too simple. He goes home tonight.