The season eight finale of Syfy’s “Face Off” did not disappoint. Each year, it seems like the quality of work improves. This means a finale full of detailed and imaginative creations.

“Face Off”

Season 8 Finale
Season 9 returns in July

This season’s final episode brought the three final contestants: Darla Edin (28, Minnesota), Emily Serpico (18, Florida) and Logan Long (29, Utah) up against the biggest challenge to date. The three, along with a team built from eliminated contestants, were charged with creating four complete looks. The challenge was inspired by blockbuster movies such as “The Avengers” and “Guardians of the Galaxy.” This meant the four looks must have been the products of a cohesive team and fit within the genre of a film — certainly one of the most daunting tasks required of contestants to date. Additionally, their creations were put on display for the general public at a special viewing event. This is also unprecedented in the history of “Face Off.”

Darla was given the theme of “fantasy,” and created a set of characters based off of the four major elements. Emily received “post-apocalyptic” and decided on an imagination of “The Wizard of Oz,” choosing to fuse the characters with four different materials — wood, glass, leather and metal. Logan created a “Science Fiction” space team of humanoid animals.

The results were some of the most detailed and unique creations ever produced on the show, and certainly some of the best quality. Darla’s fantasy spirits were delicate and detailed with swirled filigree and attention to makeup. Emily, the youngest contestant to make the final round, shone in her color work. All her characters were well painted, and she demonstrated ingenuity in her creation of shattered glass by mixing plastic and silicon. Logan created the most cohesive and charismatic team. His animal teams each had their own personality and you could almost hear the witty banter that would ensue between the characters if given their own movie. He was praised by the judges for creating something that would inspire potential actors. Additionally, his team showed strong fabrication work on the shell of the armadillo character.

The most tense part of this “Face Off” finale was not any crazy lights or neon dance routines, but the way which the artists’ work was put under intense scrutiny, allowing us to get up close and personal. Unlike some seasons, there was no clearly superior or favorite work. This kept the audience in suspense. Additionally, another layer was added through this season’s implementation of alumni mentors. These mentors were the team leaders of one or two of the final three contestants, and were competing to become a two-time winner of “Face Off.” This meant that the audience was not only rooting for one winner, but for two.

The one aspect that lacked was the slow, underwhelming nature of the public gallery. It would have been more interesting to see these big blockbuster characters acting out scenes from their would-be movie. In the past, the costumes and designs have had to stand up under glow lights, battle conditions, circus performances and even water elements. The finale would have benefited from a little more grandeur, especially on a show all about pushing the limits of the imagination.

In the end, it was Darla’s team who won, though all teams were impressive this season. The judges picked hers in large part due to a standout piece which stole the show. Her wind fawn showed incredible finesse and thought. Her decision to include an element of a wind instrument into the design of the fawn’s horns was unprecedented, yet still integrated well in her design. It is impossible to fault the judges for choosing the team that showed the most technical skill, craftsmanship and imagination. She received the audience’s vote for a reason.

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