This week’s episode of Face Off doesn’t feature an explicit Star Trek challenge but there’s no doubt that it is a major influence to the point of having Jonathan Frakes and Michael Dorn appear. The Spotlight Challenge has a neat twist that I hope is used again in future seasons. Spoilers ahead.

Things kick off with a Foundation Challenge to make retro aliens that would fit in a ‘60s or ‘70s sci fi work. They only have two hours to work so the designs can’t be too complicated. Michael Westmore judges their creations and Evan’s blue alien wins. Yeah, it looks like a modified Na’vi but it would also fit in a TOS Star Trek scene alongside some Orions and Andorians.

The Spotlight Challenge builds on the Foundation Challenge. The eleven contestants must evolve their Foundation creatures for a more modern take. To illustrate the concept of the challenge Ve Neill and Neville Page join Michael Westmore. Ve worked on Star Trek: The Motion Picture which introduced the ridged Klingons. Michael worked on The Next Generation which gave us Worf and other Klingons with an evolved look. And Neville worked on the rebooted Star Trek with a different take on the ridged Klingons.

Movie and television director Jonathan Frakes (who has also done some acting on Star Trek) joins Michael Westmore when he visits the lab for mentoring. Frakes does provide advice with the eye of a genre director thinking about how the designs will look on screen.

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The judge are joined this week by Michael Dorn, who has some experience with alien make-up. He’s tempted to touch one model’s make-up but she tells him with a smile that it will cost him. (I guess he’s never been in the Champagne Room.)

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Stevie listens to the advice of both men and adjusts her design. The result is good enough to make Top Looks. Scott goes fanboy around Frakes and Dorn and also does a design that gets him into Top Looks. Ben took a weak Foundation design and evolves it into the winning Spotlight design.

Jasmine has a lot of trouble evolving her Foundation design with spike card bits and ends up a Bottom Look. Jordan does a lot of fabrication for the outfit but his actual design is barely evolved. He joins Jasmine as a Bottom Look. Jason’s evolved design is a mess and this week he is sent home.

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  • The top image is Evan’s evolved Spotlight version of his Foundation design. This week it’s worth it to check out the morph video to see the evolution from Foundation to Spotlight designs.
  • I liked the idea of having to refine a Foundation Challenge design for the Spotlight Challenge. I like to see how the contestants deal with being outside of their comfort zones. Ben rose to the challenge of “polishing a turd” as he put it while the Bottom Looks all had trouble evolving their designs.

You can see galleries of this week’s designs, the contestants’ previous work and previous seasons here.