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Episode Recap: Deadly Dolls

The artists select from several different dolls from Bob Baker's famous Marionette Theater to concoct the next Chucky or Annabelle.


The final five is such a great place to be: You made it! So exciting! But it's also flipping horrifying, because one false step and BOOM. You're cut. Which makes it exactly like the creepy marionette theater where McKenzie meets the final five to give them their latest challenge: It's really cool to be among all these spooky, demented, dolls – but you never know when you'll get cut.

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Lest the contestants think their assignment is to create something whimsical and magical, McKenzie introduces them to some of the freakiest dolls you've ever seen and makes it totally clear that, in the vein of Chucky and Annabelle, these toys are not to be played with. Because they'll cut your cute li'l throat right out!

Logan goes right for the voodoo doll (good choice, we say) and crafts a concept of a child who was traumatized by voodoo so much that he became the doll that mocked him. Emily chooses the straight-up rag doll but works some magic in the lab by taking the kind of yarn that looks like the doll's hair and molding around it to make an anonymous yet emotive face. She just saved so much time! Almost enough time to make a flat mold for the shoulders, break it, and make another one right over. Almost, but not quite; she's pretty bummed out that she lost that mold, but on Application Day she whips together some dirty cotton and "sews" it with heavy thread, making it look like the stuffing is coming out at the seams.

Darla is perfecting the shapes of her porcelain doll's head with such finesse that her coach, Laura, only offers encouragement for the already brilliant idea of a neglected, broken doll who seeps bitterness and evil to the family that forgot her. She carves fine cracks into the chest and face, then grabs a wig and distresses the bejeezus out of it, keeping the big curls and flowing shape that reads "doll" at first glance.

Adam, on the other hand, is not seeing eye to eye with his coach – Rayce tells the artist that he’s not going "doll" enough with his soul-sucking, tentacle-sporting baby doll, but Adam is loving pushing the limits. It's kind of his thing, and he decides to lean into it, despite both Rayce's and Mr. Westmore's caveats.

Julian is getting very worried that he's not going to make it to the finale and is putting extra pressure on himself to win for his brother, who has NBIA, a neurologic illness. He didn't do well with last week’s whimsical "Imaginary Friends" challenge, so he's digging deep to make this week's makeup shine. He chose a ventriloquist's dummy and conjured the concept of a witch who carves a doll out of a sacred tree. Mr. Westmore gives him tips on how to make the jaw work like a dummy's mouth, and Julian does excellent work sculpting both wood texture and hair for the first time. He's happy with the concept, but during Last Looks he realizes his paint job is too flat, a notion the judges agree with. They also note that the shapes of the face are not angular or menacing enough to really carry out the concept he was going for, and he winds up in Bottom Looks.

Joining him there is Adam – the elemental force that he was hoping to have transform the wee baby doll looks totally at odds with the original form, and thus the challenge. It's a huge concept to have pure evil pour out of a little plastic doll and stretch it into a grotesque shape, and Adam just didn't have enough time to do it well. His final product is almost completely devoid of doll, and he goes home this week.

By contrast, all of the judges – including guest judge Don Mancini, creator of the iconic Chucky – love what Emily has done with her rag doll. The overall shapes, innovative molding and long, dreadlocked hair make her character sinister and pathetic (in a good way!). She’s in Top Looks along with Darla, who did such an amazing job with her sculpting and painting that the judges really have no negative feedback. Not only is it an astonishing technical feat, it really does seem as if pure evil is seeping out of the broken bits of the "porcelain." To win so near to the finale has Darla feeling confident and inspired!

See all the looks from this episode's Spotlight Challenge.