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Episode Recap: Open Sesame


Some people think the magic word is "Please," but it's actually "Open Sesame" - OK, that's two words, but the point is, these two words open the door to the mysterious and dazzling Magic Castle in Hollywood. Inside, the contestants find McKenzie directing them to their next challenge - to create a wizard inspired by one of the many wands that lie beside her. Tyler is abuzz with excitement - he LOVES Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and all that fantasy goodness, so he's ready to win! He picks a wand that has the look of a gnarled tree branch and starts designing the Protector of the Forest, a wizard who looks much like a tree, himself.

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Niko and George both choose mechanical-looking wands, but their designs are quite different from one another - Niko creates a man being surrounded by metal and machinery, while George's wizard is morphing into the copper of his wand. The only human element is a nasal mask that's still flesh, but not for long. George is flowing through his work, but Niko gets stuck on how mechanical he wants the makeup to be. When Mr. Westmore does his walk-through and notes that it's looking more Neanderthal than robotic, Niko knows he has to shift his concept, even though he loses some time.

Graham and Daran also have wands that are in the same world (vodou, in this case), but Daran expresses that element with missing eyes and an emaciated frame, while Graham opts for teeth piercings (the Westmores LOVE this) and a powerful skull shape. Cat's design is totally different from everyone else's - she chose an orange, floral wand and is building giant, orange petals out of vacuform plastic. She's loving the way her work is turning out. Chloe is having a tough time: She chose the golden filigree of her wand to incorporate into her makeup, but this pattern is incredibly time-consuming, and it's not even looking how she wants it. She just has to move forward if she wants to have something to present on stage.

Application day is its usual frantic rush - Cat needs to paint nearly her entire model, Niko's piece is not staying glued down, Corinne strains to keep her cool as she flies through her precise application, and George has to switch out the face mask on his model, since the adhesive he used - Telesis - causes an allergic reaction in his model. In a glorious twist of fate, he made a backup mask! He switches them out and keeps rolling.

Tyler, who had a sense he'd be in top looks all along, is indeed up high this week. The judges love the way he transitioned, the green, healthy tree at the bottom to the ashen, burnt branches at the top - and the sheer amount of work he did to cover his model from top to toe! Also in the clouds is Corinne - the judges think her minimal makeup is impeccable, and her makeup most closely matches her wand. George joins these two - Neville says the transition from fleshy nose to metallic brow is "f*#^ing gorgeous." This work wins George his first challenge of the competition, and he's feeling pretty hot!

In bottom looks are Chloe, who really bit off more than she could chew this week, Niko, whose metallic surfaces are too bumpy to be convincing, and Cat, whose paint job is just too orange and features too many cutesy flowers. She and Niko are in a tug-of-war of emotions - not wanting to go home, and not wanting the other to go, either.

At last, Glenn pronounces Cat's name. The monochrome paint job and artsy-craftsy feel of the makeup was overwhelming, but she's grateful to have made it as far as she did, and hopes Niko will continue to the end, making knockout makeups.

Everyone's sitting in the makeup room after Cat's departure, longing to go home and recover from the day's events, but McKenzie pops her head in - there's one more thing. The artists feel a collective groan, but Big M has good news: She's taking them to JAPAN!!! They better pack their bags and get some sleep, cuz they're on their way to the other side of the world for some international inspiration!