On “Face Off” Tuesday night, fans witnessed a shocking elimination, but not so much who was eliminated, but how. And even those of us who did watch it still haven’t figured out why.

Intrigued? Confused? Good, then I’ve done my job well. And you should be scratching your head like the rest of us who watched it Tuesday night. This is the episode hereafter known as a big steaming pile of “WTF?”

For the five remaining contestants, tonight’s spotlight challenge was creating a dark elf character. The makeup artists had to choose different symbols with runes in the center, without knowing what they meant till after the selections: Miranda’s rune meant chaos; Roy’s meant psychic ability; Laura got occult powers; Tate drew regeneration; and Laney’s rune meant immortality.

Laura, on the other hand, felt this was exactly in her wheelhouse — being somewhat of an elf expert — but was afraid that because she knows so much about the subject and it was so perfect for her, that it might psyche her out.

Yeah, yeah, yeah… you know you’re going to do another great makeup. Or if you don’t, we do.

Roy was having trouble deciding how big to make the ears, so he called in the expert on whether he should go bigger or smaller.

“I think the smaller one,” said Laura. “There’s a fine line between goblin and elf.”

Geek status fully confirmed. And, for the record, that’s a good thing here.

But the person that seemed to be struggling the most from the get-go was Laney, who wasn’t bouncing back from being bottom two last week. She went from uninspired to crying in the bathroom in the first few hours of the challenge. She even sent Tate away when he tried to console her and cajole her back out. When Tate can’t pull Laney — or anyone — out of a tailspin, that’s one big problem.

(WTF number one.)

Then Roy went back and put some fatherly love on her and told her to get out there and get to work. And it worked, where Tate had failed, even though it was clear she was not her usual bubbly self and the crying episode had put her seriously behind.

(WTF number two.)

Miranda created a sort of Mayan-inspired elf based on the actual design around her symbol. It had a round, Mayan headdress, but then the pointy ears characteristic of an elf. But was that enough to make it elf-like? Miranda started second guessing herself again, despite having the most spotlight challenge wins this season, and was eating up the clock fussing over minute details on a sculpture that looked pretty good, at least to untrained eyes like mine.

(WTF number three.)

So then Miranda ended up so behind she had her model helping her open her mold, then working on applying latex into part of the mold, holding the hairdryer to dry it quicker, and even painting his own legs… prompting Roy to comment that her model would be a contestant on Season 8 with all he was learning that day.

(WTF number four.)

Laura did the most elegant, pretty makeup of the night, which is her forte. Tate did a creepy dark elf with crackled skin like a snake who sheds its skin (regeneration) with wonderful detailing. Judges placed the pair as the top two looks and heaped praise on them both, but crowned Tate the winner in the end.

Roy, on the other hand, caught all kinds of holy hell for the proportions of his oversized head and the judges felt his makeup wasn’t elf-like enough. Judge Neville Page called it a “Dullsville action figure.”

But, oh, poor Miranda. She ran so short of time she didn’t even come close to finishing her paint job, and some of the base paint was even incomplete — the very bright green paint. No hiding the unpainted spots with that color. Watching her scathing critique was a miserable experience, even tempered with her knowledge of how bad things went this week (and there have been artists over all the seasons who did makeups as bad or worse that didn’t realize how far they had missed the mark). I don’t even want to quote the judges and relive it, or you may find me curled up in a fetal position sucking my thumb.

So Roy and Miranda were the bottom two. Now, you may notice something missing here… two top + two bottom = four. Where was contestant number five, Laney? Well, about this time in the show, I’d venture she was a few thousand feet over the earth, on a flight back home.

Why? Because after that first day, Roy, Laura, Miranda and Tate got up the next morning to find Laney gone.  She had packed up and left during the night, with nothing but a note left behind. It said she would gladly pay $100,000 to see her family again (the prize is $100,000), and she hadn’t expected to make it that far. And just like that, she was gone, one and a half challenges from the finale.

(WTF to infinity.)

So, the judges had Roy and Miranda in the bottom two, and judge Glenn Hetrick told them, “The person going home tonight is… no one is going home tonight. In light of Laney’s departure, you’ll move forward this week for one reason only… you did not give up.”

(Everyone’s head officially explodes with the insanity of this episode.)

So Miranda lives to fight another day, and I hope she sends Laney a really, really nice Xmas gift this year.  Next week, we’ll have our final three unless there’s an unexpected twist. Please have mercy on us fans… we’ve had enough madness this week to last us till Season 6, which was confirmed this week.

By the way, after the show, I sat down and recorded a podcast with Season 4’s Eric Fox which will go up Thursday, so subscribe for updates already, will ya?

“Face Off” airs Tuesday nights on Syfy. Check out photos from this episode below.

Enhanced by Zemanta