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'Face Off' recap: One, two, tree, go!

Season 7 | Episode 4 | “Twisted Trees” | Aired Aug 12, 2014

In Face Off’s fourth episode, it was all about tree people and superheroes. Wait, that sounds like an awesome idea for a movie! For their foundation challenge, the contestants have two hours to create a superhero based on a costume. The winner will receive immunity. There is a mad dash to choose the best costume as super-inspiration. Mike Elizalde, a makeup artist for movies like Hellboy and X-Men: The Last Stand, is the guest judge for this challenge. He chooses Rachael as the winner.

Now it’s time for the spotlight challenge. And what wood you know—this week, they’re making trees! McKenzie explains that great films like The Wizard of Oz and The Lord of the Rings trilogy have featured living trees. (Um, she totally forgot Pocahontas.) The contestants will create a larger-than-life tree creature based on a specific tree species. And, since there always has to be a twist, the trees must also incorporate a common arboreal malady.

The artists are working in pairs again this week, but this time, they get to pick their partner. The groups are as follows:

Stella and Sasha: White birch tree with burls

George and Keaghlan: Silk floss tree with choking vines

Drew and Cig: Weeping willow tree infested with bugs

Doc and Jason: Bristlecone pine tree struck by lightning

Dina and Rachael: Banyan tree with fungus

Vince and Damien: Sequoia tree with rot

The contestants really branch out with this challenge, and there are lots of different ideas. George and Keaghlan are creating a creature that formed when a tree and a human merged together. Sasha and Stella are making a sacred Native American tree. Dina and Rachael take the challenge a little more literally, and sketch out a concept for an actual twisting tree.

When Michael and McKenzie Westmore come around, Dina and Rachael find out that they are barking up the wrong tree with this concept. Mr. Westmore thinks they need to rethink their sculpt. Dina is understandably nervous. Her partner has immunity, and this setback could end up sending her home. But they don’t let Mr. Westmore’s criticism sap their creativity, and they rework their sculpt.

George and Keaghlan are way ahead of schedule. They get to spend all of day 2 working on their fabrications. (I’m hoping George sticks to his pattern of running around the lab in part of his costume.) But first, the partners take a moment for a 30-second dance party, Grey’s Anatomy style.

Drew and Cig experience mold crisis No. 2 of the season: They have a lot of problems getting their mold open, which results in lots of cracking and breaking. Eventually, they get it open and avoid too many major calamities. Meanwhile, Jason is working on the biggest mold he’s ever done. He and his partner, Doc, then become the proud owners of mold crisis No. 3 when their creature’s arms keep breaking.

In fact, mold issues are popping up all over the lab this week. Sasha and Stella’s hands don’t come out as well as they’d like, and they are conflicted about whether or not to use them. Vince and Damien’s piece has a second skin, which under normal circumstances would not be good. But since they are creating a rotting tree, they decide to embrace it and make it work in their favor.

Doc and Jason’s mold crisis proved too big for them to overcome. Their creature is sans arms, so they embrace the creative use of a sheet. Cig and Drew’s tree creature is largely dependent on its branches, but where there’s a willow, there’s a way! We get a glimpse at Cig and Drew’s completed weeping willow on her way to the stage, and she looks great.

But when the weeping willow comes out onto the reveal stage, there are no branches. The branches were too heavy for the model to wear, and she had to remove them backstage. Now Cig and Drew are left with an incomplete tree on the reveal stage.

After examining all of the creations, George and Keaghlan’s silk floss tree and Dina and Rachael’s banyan tree are safe.

Top Looks:

Jason (Winner) and Doc

Sasha and Stella         

Bottom Looks:

Vince and Damien

Cig and Drew

I was rooting for Sasha and Stella, but their boxing glove hands (which Stella wanted to drop) held them back from claiming the top prize. Vince and Damien were stumped by this challenge. Their makeup wasn’t cohesive, and Emmy-winner Vince was, shockingly, sent home.

Did you expect Vince to stay in the competition longer? How many of my terrible tree puns did you find in this recap? Who else want to go see Guardians of the Galaxy (again)?

Face Off airs Tuesdays at 9/8C on Syfy.

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