Season 7 | Episode 707 | “Judge Match” | Aired Sept 2, 2014
We’ve seen a lot of awesome things since Face Off first premiered, but nothing as awesome as seeing the judges participate in a challenge. Yes, this week was the oft-promoted Judge Match. It’s one thing to hear the judges critique, but it is another thing entirely to see them down and dirty in the lab, creating instead of judging. Even McKenzie seemed a little weirded out by the whole thing. It felt like some sort of parallel universe, but in the absolute best way possible.
McKenzie begins the episode with six of Face Off’s best and brightest from previous seasons. Each judge will choose a team of two all-stars. The winning judge will get $5,000 donated to the charity of their choice. (And bragging rights, obviously.) In addition, their team members will also walk away with $5,000.
The challenge is to create a pair of living chess pieces that could live in a colorful, stylized fantasy world. And since the theme of the season is life and death (remember that theme from the first episode that we never spoke of again?), one piece must be pure and pristine, while the other is evil and twisted.
Charity: North Shore Animal League
Chess Pieces: King and Knight
Laura (season 3, season 5 winner)
Wayne (season 4)
Charity: A Window Between Worlds
Chess Pieces: Queen and Rook
Roy (season 3, season 5)
Conor (season 1 winner)
Charity: Orangutan Foundation International
Chess Pieces: Bishop and Pawn
Miranda (season 2, season 5)
Anthony (season 4 winner)
The judges and their teams have three days to complete their challenge, so they jump right in. Ve firmly believes that there can never be enough evil queens, so she heads that direction. Glenn is making a half-horse/half-human champion knight, and an evil, diseased king. Neville is a little concerned. He does mostly creative design, and works on a lot of science fiction, not fantasy. He decides to use this to his advantage and create an altar-boy pawn that is being turned by a dark bishop.
Ve still does a lot of applications, so she’s prepared for the latter parts of the challenge, but she hasn’t sculpted in 30 years. Welcome back to grunt work, Ve. Roy (one of my all-time favorites) is a phenomenal fabricator, and he is sent away to build a castle. On Glenn’s team, Wayne is an insanely fast sculptor, and he begins working on an ENORMOUS horse head for their knight.
Neville is creating a digital version of his sculpt to guide his team’s design. He is very focused on the detail work of the pieces. He nitpicks a lot, and his team slowly starts falling behind. They are racing to get their sculpts done in time.
The judges all are spending most of their energy on one character, and letting their teams handle the other. Glenn is working mostly on his king, and Ve on her queen. (Appropriate, no?) Ve decides that her queen must have long red hair, even though Conor created an entire headpiece. My thoughts are more on Ve’s hair, and wondering how on earth she spent the entire challenge with her hair down and in her face.
In true Face Off fashion, the judges wander around the lab and compliment each other’s amazing work. I love seeing so much of the judges’ personalities in this episode. The judges also get to learn how hard this show actually is. I think it’s great that they will have this understanding of the contestants going forward.
Finally the chess pieces are finished. They are being judged by Lois Burwell and Michael Westmore. But the winner will be chosen by Glenn, Ve, Neville and their teams (but they cannot vote for themselves). Lois, Michael and McKenzie will serve as tiebreakers.
All of the pieces are, unsurprisingly, amazing. Glenn’s knight is enormous. Ve’s queen is stunning. (Although I wanted to see more of Roy’s awesome fabricated castle.) Neville’s pair looks the most like chess pieces, but the least realistic. After a stop in a Survivor-esque voting booth, Neville is named the winner. (I am a little surprised, but really, how could you choose?)
What did you think of the Judge Match? What other competition show judges/hosts would you like to see participate in their show? (I’m hoping to see Jeff Probst, personally.) And who else wants Ve’s evil queen to get her own movie?
Face Off airs Tuesdays at 9/8C on Syfy.