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Episode Recap: Puppet Masters

The remaining teams must create life-size puppets inspired by different types of tradesmen.

Off of the last chance the artists got last episode to save themselves from elimination, Keaghlan & Melissa thoroughly weather their paint job and get rid of the distracting gold-painted bone protruding from their character’s arm, while Logan & Adam clean up their far-too-dusty face paint to reveal the tattoos and scars underneath. Despite Rachael ripping off her scarf and using it as cover for the chest application (Paul said he wanted more left to the imagination), she and Gage can’t make the necessary fixes to stay in the game. They pack up their kits, incredibly grateful for each other and proud of the work they did in this Thunderdome of a competition.
From the dusty road of the apocalypse, we move to the memory-laden attic of the toymaker. Much like Geppetto brought Pinocchio to life, makeup artists bring characters to life. It’s only fitting, then, that they should have a challenge like that fable, where they choose one trade to create an inanimate character that takes on a life of its own. Keaghlan’s dad is a metal worker, so she’s really excited to glean inspiration from said trade. She and Melissa imagine an automaton built to be the smith’s assistant, and fit him out with glowing coal eyes, a glowing furnace, and a steam release valve. They clash a little over how to paint the metal, but it doesn’t hold them back – they’re on top looks this week!

Last time he was on the show, it was a doll challenge that sent Adam home, so his nerves are running the show this week. He and Logan choose stonemasonry as their trade, and try to dispel their nerves by taking a humorous route: A stone statue who dreams of being a sailor. Sadly, their proportions are way off, and their lack of knowledge of masonry is evident. They sink to bottom looks.

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Ben and Evan are also in the dark about their trade – goldsmithing – and it costs them in the concept and execution of their solid gold dancer. The judges like the ballerina’s joints, but the transition between those prosthetics and her skin (obviously a very different texture) is starkly apparent.

Leather work makes George think of rodeos, and rodeos make Cig think of clowns. These dudes stitch together a clown so replete with details (rivets, tiny stitches, embroidery) and texture (wrinkling and creasing on the cheeks, sueded strips of hair) it would put your saddlebag to shame. The concept of a rodeo clown that came to life to save the human clowns from getting hurt spurs them into top looks.

But when Emily and Tyler’s tailor-made ballerina dances onto the stage, she takes everyone’s breath away. Guest judge Suzanne Todd, producer of such fantasias as Alice Through the Looking Glass, says she wants to watch the film starring this dancer. Each detail, from the cotton batting coming loose at the joints, to the aging of the tulle tutu, is exquisite. The piece de resistance is the method Emily invented to make the latex face look felted: she shaved the fuzz off moleskin, glued it onto the prosthetic, and tapped it down with a brush. They truly created a living doll, and the backstory of a toy doomed to dance forever is evident in the appearance. Brava! They win immunity – if not immortality – for next week.