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Episode Recap: Feral Fungi

The six remaining artists create victims of a fungal virus that turns people into zombies.


What a ride it’s been, huh? But for anyone who knows Face Off, you know it’s just gonna get bumpier the closer we get to the finale. The artists feel the pressure and the joy when they find the lab filled with hospital beds, bloody handprints, and a quarantine zone. This can only mean one thing… ZOMBIES! For normal people, zombies are the stuff of nightmares. But for makeup artists, zombies are a dream come true.

How to Watch

Catch up on Face Off on Peacock or the SYFY App.

If the undead aren’t enough to make your skin crawl, maybe this week’s inspiration will be: the cordyseps fungus, which burrows into its host’s brain (usually an ant), forces it atop a tall perch, and explodes onto all the unsuspecting ants below. Each shop will choose a fungus as the zombie infectant and craft zombies at the one-day, seven-day, and thirty-day exposure levels.

Andrew is back in charge of Twisted Six, and chooses the 30-day zombie for himself.

Their fungus is the Brain mushroom, which looks how it sounds: like a twisted, slimy brain. Their narrative is that a hiker ate the mushroom, which traveled to his spine and turned him into its slave. This hiker is the one-day zombie, and Phil has to check his design plan after Mr. Westmore visits and tells him his face sculpt looks more like burns than a ridged, brainy fungus exploding from his skin. Andrew, however, is totally on the right track with a skeletal, stretched face, and KC’s passion for zombies is guiding her to some truly killer shapes and textures.

Kierstin, who knows alllll about the cordyseps, is leading Ethereal Effects this week, and her one-day zombie is looking fierce. Mr. Westmore notes that the Octopus Stinkhorn fungus (yes, it’s as disgusting-looking as it sounds) could look like it’s bursting out of her victim’s eye, and she builds out her sculpt accordingly. Faina, with the seven-day, and Nelson, with the 30-day, are right in step during the sculpting phase.

But when it comes time to apply and paint, Faina notes that their color palates are wildly divergent. Ethereal tries to get them on track, but Nelson’s is already so dark that it’s tough to get everything to match up. Looking at Twisted’s zombies, they see a clear difference between their competition’s infected, and their own.

At the reveal stage, the judges are joined by Neil Druckmann, a creative director of some of the finest zombie video games this world has to offer. KC, who is a huge fangirl of said games, recognizes the name instantly, and, as she’s feeling confident AF about her makeup, is SUPER excited to have him see her work. Her instincts are spot on: he loves it. Finding the balance between human and undead isn’t easy, but her attention to detail, and her sense of viral patterning from skull to foot makes this concept come to life. Andrew’s companion piece also tells a vivid zombie story with his stunning understanding of anatomy. You better believe this is a top look!

Kierstin is doubting her abilities, even though she turned out another gorgeous, gooey, freaky makeup. Faina fared less well, spending more of her painting time detailing the legs than the face. Nelson perhaps went overboard with the clay and didn’t pay enough attention to the details of texture and gloss in the paint, and so Ethereal Effects is the bottom team this week.

Even though Twisted is on top, Phil is still in bottom looks – he tried to take Mr. Westmore’s advice and retexture his face sculpt, but he just couldn’t bring the brain into the clay to the right degree. He’s done amazing work on this show, and as we bid him farewell, we know he’ll continue to impress with his imagination and skill. In reward for her passion and ability, KC wins this week’s prize. The judges saw how much she has studied and appreciated zombie mythology, and she brought it forth in her work in a gorgeous way this week. Brava!