“Face Off” Mini-Cap (7.15): For One Knight Only

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Welcome to your very special bonus finale recap. While our gal Stella may have been eliminated in episode 13, we all knew she’d be back for the big finish to help the three finalists. As is tradition on Face Off, the recently eliminated past contestants return for the last episode. So we knew we’d be seeing Stella again, the only question was who would she be helping? Dina, Drew or Cig?

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THE CHALLENGE:
The last challenge is for the three finalists to create knight characters based on a fantastical crest. One knight must represent the light and the other the dark in this world. Dina picked a sea crest (no, not Ryan–sorry, had to), Cig picked a gargoyle-ish crest and Drew picked a stag crest. Oh, and their makeups will have to withstand a real knight battle. So, you know, glue them edges down, kids.

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THE TWIST:
Besides getting a past contestant from this season, each finalist also gets a past winner from a previous season on his/her team. Which is pretty sweet. Team Dina was Stella and Season 3 winner Nicole; Team Drew was Sasha and Season 6 winner Rashaad; and Team Cig was George and Season 2 winner Rayce.

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THE GOOD:
Let me say right out front that, since Stella’s ouster, I have been 100 percent on Team Dina. So I was thrilled to see a) how strong her team was and b) how ambitious her concept was. Her unconventional underwater knights were unlike any knight we’d seen before. Maybe everything really is better down where it’s wetter. Her evil crustacean knight was particularly impressive. But it was her scope, creativity and attention to detail – down to the bumps on her starfish breastplate–that sold the concept. Plus, her finale win is the perfect bookend to her win the first week. Symmetry, my friends, symmetry.

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THE BAD:
Cig, my man, you’ve been delightfully off the wall all season. But your alien skull cap of tricks ran out with your poor concept of your kinda-sorta gargoyle knights. Also, can someone explain to me why his good knight’s face was red? Anyone, anyone?

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THE RANDOM:
While I was totally Team Dina, I was almost convinced Drew would take it for his incredibly cohesive stag knights. His light and dark were beautifully rendered and felt complimentary while still being distinct. I think in the end it was the ambition of Dina’s work that put her over the somewhat more conventional nature of Drew’s designs.

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THE WTF WERE THEY THINKING:
I always think it’s a tiny bit unfair for the judges to only take a closer look at the finalists’ makeups after whatever crazy athletic/acrobatic/adventurous activities they will put them through in the finale. In this case the pieces had to withstand a battle royal. And it seemed to last forever. But, kudos to them for all creating looks that withstood the onslaught. And at least they didn’t have to dive into water like the finalists’ creations did a couple seasons ago. But, hey, it must feel that much better for the contestants when they survive.

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THE GAY:
Please, like I wasn’t going to root for the all-lady team. Dina, Stella and Nicole were more than formidable. Still, one of the things I have loved since the beginning about this series is the sense of camaraderie between all of the contestants. I can’t think of another reality competition where rivals help each other more. When the other teams pitched in to help Dina, Stella and Nicole finish their molds it was just another reason this is the most underrated reality show on TV. Also, how cute was Stella swinging Dina around after she won? So cute. If Stella couldn’t win, at least she was on the winning team.

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Congratulations to the finalists and all the contestants this season. They worked hard and created wonderful things. And they did it with a sense of friendly competition, emphasis on the friendly, where they genuinely wanted to see everyone do their best. Leave it to a bunch of artists to be the best sports.

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So, did you agree with the judges’ decision? Happy to see Team Dina crowned as champ? Thrilled to see Stella help with the win? All of the above? Good, me too. Thanks for reading along this season.

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