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Episode Recap: Royal Flush

Inspired by Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland, the artists conceive a Burton-esque character based on a face card from a classic deck of playing cards.


Filmmakers have long sought the Normandie Casino for its old-school Vegas feel paired with its convenient Hollywood location, and now the artists find inspiration in its lucky halls. For their first solo challenge, they'll choose one of the figures from the royal court of a deck of cards and give it a whimsical makeover, a la the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland.

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

Jamie draws the King of Spades, a figure representing a David & Goliath kind of struggle, but she’s last to choose a model, and sees all of the males get picked off. Her plan to build a massive, regal king has to change! Anthony coaches her to a place where she feels better about her new concept of a female model playing a tiny man with a huge ego – but she's still a little shaken. Rob drew the Jack of Spades, and plans to sculpt an enormous, spade-shaped eye patch, but Mr. Westmore cautions him against going too much in the direction of horror.

Lest you think it's only the folks who drew spades that are bumping up against problems, contestant Anthony (not champion Anthony) is having trouble with his King of Hearts concept. Since the king on the card is stabbing himself through the head, Anthony creates a concept of an emotionally ruined king with a gory, bleeding heart. Rayce sees this, however, and knows that it won't work with the guidelines of the challenge, and though Anthony scales back, he can't quite reorient his concept.

Emily has a completely different kind of challenge: making an original Queen of Hearts! How do you reimagine something that's been imagined so many times? Her solution is to sweep the profile of the face into a dramatic wave, brush a wig into a stylized heart, and give the queen a collar of arrows with anatomical hearts on the ends. Scary and whimsical all at once! And Regina takes on the Joker by giving him a face in the front and another in the back, but the Joker jokes back by making it extremely difficult to affix the back face.

The judges, joined this week by effects artist/production designer/director Robert Stromberg, love Emily's concept of a wicked, ruthless queen, and praise both her willingness to go for a high concept as well as her technical ability to make it look great. Darla joins her in Top Looks with a Jack of Hearts whose hair and beard make the heart shape look almost natural but just extreme enough to fit the lens of the challenge. Julian is the third artist in Top Looks, with a wizened Jack of Clubs in cahoots with the god of the underworld; his highly imaginative idea impresses the judges, and his technical skills are on point.

All the Top-Lookers are on Laura's team, so Glenn gives her a special nod before declaring Emily the winner! She's elated to win the first solo challenge.

On Bottom Looks are Anthony, for his off-key concept and sub-par construction; Daniel, whose muddled vision resulted in a ho-hum makeup; and Jamie, whose king was not regal enough to carry his title.

Glenn finally calls Daniel's name, and though he's disappointed, he knows he's accomplished a great deal – especially for someone who’s only been at it for eight months!

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