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Episode Recap: Twisted Trees
Guess what? We have a Foundation Challenge today, hooray! The contestants walk into the lab to see an array of models striking their very best “save the world” poses. McKenzie tells them they’ll be basing an entire superhero, backstory and everything, on the costume that their model is wearing. To add to the excitement, makeup legend Mike Elizalde, who nabbed an Oscar nomination for his work on Hellboy II, is their guest judge! His two favorite looks include Rachael’s alien assassin, thanks to its sophisticated contouring, and Vince’s dark hero, with its deep, complex paint job. Because of its complete feeling and integrated backstory, Rachael comes out on top! She wins immunity, which is suuuuper exciting.
The next day, they get to pair off – with a partner of their own choice! – to create a tree person. But wait, there’s a twist! Each partnership will have to include a malady common to trees. Stella and Sasha choose the white birch, and the malady is burls. They’re loving adding eyes to the trunk (the birch is known as the watching tree) and getting the curl of the bark just right. Damien and Vince aren’t jibing quite as well – Vince wants to go with a more ashy palette for their sequoia with rot, while Damien leans toward the tree’s more natural browns and reds. George and Keaghlan are having a merry old time, as are Dina and Rachael with their banyan with fungus, but when Mr. Westmore comes in for his walk-through and tells them the sculpt looks like fire rather than banyan, they know they’re in trouble. They’re both worried, and both for Dina’s sake – if they’re in bottom looks, Dina will go home since Rachael has immunity.
Doc and Jason, both of whom have been on bottom looks a LOT, team up to make the bristlecone pine with a lightning strike, they’re bent on making top looks. So when Mr. Westmore tells them they’re not pushing their concept far enough, they push harder, darnit! They decide to mold legs and arms as well as the usual suspects (cowl, face, etc). It’s a lot of work, but they know this is what it takes to get where they want to go. Even when the arm molds don’t come out, they make lemonade: Jason finds a robe and some green foliage that can hide what they can’t paint, and they devote their time to making what they have look excellent.
Cig and Drew also had some molding issues – they got everything out, but lost some time with a big mold that meant they had to skimp on fabrication and save applying the branches for last looks. They manage to get the gorgeous canopy applied, but when the model appears on stage, all of the branches are gone! It’s a definite WTF moment, and lands them in bottom looks. Joining them there are Vince and Damien – the sequoia form, with a trunk for the head, feels clunky, and their concept of “zombie tree” didn’t read. Since Vince lead their team in concept and shape, he is sent home tonight.
Jason and Doc are in top looks – huzzah! – for their detailed sculpture and careful way the form language draws the viewer’s eye through the makeup. Sasha and Stella’s birch character was a full story with a great integration of the essence of the tree blended with the malady. The top honor goes to Jason and Doc, who are beyond excited, and Jason wins the overall challenge. This new confidence will drive him to keep turning in excellent work and not be afraid to dream bigger.