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Episode Recap: Queen Bees

The artists devise their own queen insect and companion character in this daunting team body-painting challenge. Plus – the return of Lois Burwell!


There's a very special guest returning for this week’s Foundation Challenge. Guess who it is! We’ll give you a hint: she has a crisp, bobbed haircut and the British accent to match. Yep, it's Oscar winner Lois Burwell! She's sporting a snappy hat to go with the Foundation Challenge of creating a character based on various outlandish headdresses and hats. Emily chooses a towering, pyramid-shaped structure and coats her model in rhinestones and shimmery colors to match the headdress, which Lois loves. Rob creates an alternative Pinocchio from a version where he doesn't make it out of the whale and just gets older and older, which Lois loves as well. Emily wins the Challenge and immunity for this week – cloud nine!

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Next thing you know, the contestants find themselves in the wooded landscape known as Canyon Ranch, a shooting site for such shows as Sons of Anarchy, The Office, and True Blood. Adam and Logan, not fans of the outdoors, start to get twitchy and wonder when they can go back to the safety of the lab when McKenzie invites the models to join them – and they're all nude.

McKenzie then tells the contestants that, for this body painting challenge, they'll be in the Great Outdoors the whole time … Gulp! For Logan, it's almost as if someone crafted his worst nightmare challenge, though some slight relief comes when McKenzie announces that they'll be working in teams of two – misery loves company. They'll be creating the queen of an insect family, and a companion - whether that second character is a blend into the background, a consort, or a rival is up to them.

Logan matches up with Julian and the two of them decide to create a queen Cuckoo Wasp protecting larvae, with the male model embedded in the sand. When the coaches swing by, Laura suggests it might not be super clear or compelling and suggests that they turn the woman into the wasp's thorax and the man the abdomen. They work out the positioning of these two bodies to make one insect, and it's looking pretty good. Julian is keenly aware of how well this will need to photograph, since all the judges will be seeing is a snapshot and not a 'live' reveal.

Kelly and Ben wind up working together, which is not the greatest combo – you may remember their little spat in the mold room earlier this season. Kelly has the idea to create one insect from two bodies, but Ben is determined to make his character camouflage into the trees. Since they only have five and a half hours to complete this challenge, there's no time to fight – Kelly goes ahead with Ben's plan and paints the queen European Hornet while he does his thing.

Darla and Stephanie want to turn their male model into a burned log to complement their Jewel Beetle, but Laura suggests they make him into the wings of the beetle instead. Darla is very nervous about this, since she has already based out the male model in log style, but she runs with it. She takes fake banana leaves, hot glues some veins onto them and stipples tinted latex over the whole operation. Using this makeup magic, she manages to turn an opaque leaf into an iridescent, translucent wing. Ta da! But she's still a little worried that the judges will think they underutilized their model ...

Adam and Rob chose the Ladybug and aim for a classic art approach by mimicking the God/Adam portion of the Sistine Chapel, with the queen in the God pose and the male larva in the Adam pose. Their queen's face design winds up harsh and clownish rather than elegant and regal, a point that the judges just can't get past. They're also disappointed in Ben and Kelly's teamwork, or lack thereof, and while their individual work was excellent the overall look is as disjointed as their partnership.

Ultimately, Rob's lack of vision and elementary execution of the face work on the queen sends him home. He returns to his family knowing himself and his craft so much more than he could have imagined.

Emily and Jamie, who chose to amplify the curves and contours of their Bee duo (drone and queen), are in Top Looks, with special praise to Emily for taking the time to paint the honeycomb texture onto her queen's chest. Logan and Julian join them – the structure of their models works so well, and the highlighting in the paint work brings out dimension that are truly visionary. The judges award the win to Logan for that element – he overcame his worst nightmare challenge, and won it!

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

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