'Face Off' Recap: 'The Gauntlet'

All photos courtesy Syfy.

Last week, Jason got the boot because he never, ever blinked but no one seemed too broken up about it. Things are about to get real-er as we're down to nine contestants remaining. They've promised us an insane episode so let's do this.

Because 'whimsy' and 'beauty make up' don't cause the artists enough angst on their own, McKenzie decides to throw in another twist: to advance in the competition, you will need to run the gauntlet - a series of three challenges, each testing a different skill set and becoming progressively more difficult. At the end, the contestant with the lowest cumulative ranking will be eliminated so don't peak too early. I can't help but be reminded of the Dauntless initiation activities in "Divergent". Just me? Very well, carry on. McKenzie are you guys sure about this? Let's just say that this isn't the most impressive cast we've ever seen. Artists ready? On your mark, get set, pick your model!

Stage 1 - Man vs Nature
Stranded either in a desert or in the Arctic, the artists will create a make-up for elemental exposure grounded in realism. Real skill tested here: following directions. You have two hours. And go!

Everyone has the same plan to inhabit the top half of the ranking to which I say 'No kidding.' It's blisters and sunburn and blackened skin all around. Oh my! No guest judges this week, just lots of personal time with Glenn, Ve, and Neville so guys? Pay attention.

They seem to like Jordan and Nora's work but are really not feeling Evan or Kevon.

Top looks: Nora, Jordan
Winner of Stage One: Nora. She had the most accurate portrayal of exposure. You know, like they were directed to do.

Stage One Rankings:
1) Nora
2) Jordan
3) Scott
4) Meg
5) Ben
6) Jasmine
7) Evan
8) Stevie
9) Kevon

Stage 2 - Incredible Paint Jobs
The models already have prosthetics applied. Their job is to complete the characters but make them look real. Glenn tells them to avoid big blocks of color. Who shall listen? Evan whines that painting isn't his strong point. What, pray tell, is your strong point then Evan? Ben doesn't really 'do' beauty make-ups but his model has him thinking 'beauty' so go big or go home. In this case, literally.

Ben's beauty make-up worked and Kevon got some raves on his character. They were not thrilled with Jasmine's decision to couple body paint with airbrush techniques and Stevie left a lot of opportunities on the table.

Top looks - Kevon, Ben
Winner of Stage Two- Kevon! In a stunning move, he went from worst to first, showing that it's still anyone's game.

Stage Two Rankings

Evan is distraught and we really want to tell him to just suck it up.

New Overall Rankings
Stevie (tied)
Evan (tied)

Stage Three - Main and Supporting (I guess. They never actually said what the primary focus of Stage Three was to be.)

The artists walk into the lab filled with models. So. Many. Models. Stage Three is about not forgetting the background characters which will make or break the main character. In this challenge, each artist will create one hero in featured make-up and two background make-ups from pre-assigned groups of three. Easy peasy.

Meg  - witches/warlocks
Scott - goblins
Jasmine - angels She's been lurking near the bottom and really needs to put out something special here so she goes with the Fallen Angel motif. Alas, the bad boy angel is looking like a refugee from "The Jersey Shore."
Stevie - goblin
Jordan - witches/warlocks
Evan - angels, He hates angels and doesn't want to do beauty make up blah blah blah. He too goes with the 'fallen angel' theme.
Ben - witches/warlocks,
Nora - goblin
Kevon - angels. He also didn't want them and their stupid beauty make up. Seriously guys, get over it.

Last looks
Stevie is highlighting the hell out of everything, Nora is having fun, spraying her classic goblins with jelly to make them appear...moist and Jasmine's only hope right now is that at least a couple of the others completely choke

Reveal Stage
Ben - He went with the Rorschach look for his main warlock but worries it reads as too subtle.
Evan - The first thing that came to mind was the new hit band 'Zeus and the Gladiators.'
Nora- Her goblins read perfectly as goblins.
Jasmine - Shiny, happy, very orange angels holding hands.
Kevon - His angels sport some interesting feather choices, I'll give him that.
Jordan- He went with classic green Halloween witches. It's fun and fits the challenge.
Stevie - Eh, her goblins are nothing special.
Scott - Good enough.
Meg - Her witches read more nature/wiccan but oh, that third eye did not work. At all.

The judges were not thrilled with all of the green Stevie used but they really liked Nora's goblins. The headpiece and angles on Kevon's angels were too far down but nothing horrific about it. They really don't like the third eye on Meg's witch and wonder why she didn't put the male as the main as that would have lessened the negative impact. Plus she duplicated the paint scheme from the previous day and as we saw with Jordan, reaching too often into the same bag of tricks is an unforgivable sin.

Scott, Ben, Kevon

The judges didn't really follow the usual pattern but the looks they like the most were Nora's and Evan's with mild praise for Stevie's and Jordan's. Underperforming were Meg and Jasmine as Meg showed too much redundancy in her painting style and Jasmine's bronzing was too street-performer intense that just did not fit the challenge. At least Meg is back in her comfort zone of bottom looks but no horns will save Jasmine now.

Winner Stage Three - Evan! And with that win he pulled himself out of the basement.

Drumroll please, it's time to crown the first Gauntlet winner....

1) Nora!!!!
2) Evan
3) Scott
4) Kevon
5) Jordan
6) Ben

The bottom contestants were (to no one's surprise):
7) Meg
8) Stevie
9) Jasmine


McKenzie was only kind of sad this time.

Whew! That was quite a ride but there's no time to rest on their laurels as next week the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse charge into town. Join us on Tuesday, September 22 at 9 p.m. ET for 'Judgement Day,' only on Syfy.