Actual Title: The Finale Challenge
As we draw the curtain back this week on the Final Five Cylons (oops, wrong show -- just wanted to make sure you're still paying attention) Josh is nattering on about how sad it was to lose Bert since they finally figured out who he was, and his roomie Viktor (only a few notches down in the Bitchy Queen sweepstakes I've been unofficially running this season) opines that Kimberly could have gone before Bert. Josh is also sniping like crazy about Anya and her (lack of) sewing skills, he's still burned about losing last week since he's the only one on the show or Manhattan or the planet for that matter who needs or deserves an extra $20K (didn't you get the memo?).
They go off to meet Heidi who tells them in her charming accent that a fairy will take them to meet Tim at Governor's Island to hear about the final challenge which will separate the men from the boys. Or something like that. After a somewhat idyllic boat ride up the Hudson the Final Five are bestowed with the knowledge of the Finale Challenge and bequeathed a golf cart to drive around the Storm King Art Center to gather inspiration for three looks. They will have two days to complete their mini-collection and a budget of $500 to spend during their final trip to Mood.
After they return from Mood and are laying out their purchases to start work, Uncle Tim enters the room brandishing the black velvet bag of doom. He thinks they might benefit from some extra help on this particular challenge and invites into the room the last five eliminated designers: Bert, Anthony, Becky, Olivier, and Bryce. Noted: Becky's still wearing the dripping spider earrings. Tim pulls their names one by one from the bag and it all shakes out as they would probably wish. Kimberly is first and chooses Becky; Viktor takes Olivier; Laura chooses Anthony; Anya picks Bert; and Josh ends up with Bryce.
Tim looking maniacal with the Black Velvet Bag of Doom
The workroom atmosphere has dramatically changed since some of these folks last set foot in it. Bryce observes how tense everyone is, unlike when he left. Olivier has morphed into Bertzilla, complaining and muttering that "slave is the correct word - we're working for somebody else and not getting paid." He tries to foist changes on Viktor's vision and you know Miss V. is not having any of that sass. Bert and Anya are a good team; he thinks (or says he thinks) that she is the most creative of the bunch. Meanwhile Josh is sniping to Bryce that Anya stole last week's win from him. It's like high school all over again.
Tim comes by at some point for check ins and Laura is first. He uses the phrases "novelty item" and "scaled back" to her, neither of which is a good sign. With Kimberly, he feels there is too much going on and wants to know what the Statue of Liberty is doing there. Viktor is praised for his "profound sophistication." Tim tells Josh he's a risk taker - so take some risks! He seems to like Anya's palette of ivory, black, and rust and advises her to keep an eye on all the moving parts. And with a final "work work work - make it work!" he leaves and sends the models in for a fitting.
Kimberly's pants are not...quite...done
A few other observations of our final workroom: Olivier is complaining once more about boobs not fitting so well in the garment (some things never change). Josh continues to obsess over Anya and her skillset to the point that finally Bryce tells him to focus and stop thinking about it. Laura, who is clearly off her game today, is dressed like Xena the Warrior Princess with a gold metallic belt and a black one shoulder gown. Kimberly is changing her mind every half hour about what to make, and Becky is trying to keep up with her.
In case you thought I was kidding about Xena the Warrior Princess
The next morning Kimberly and Laura both decide to can one of their garments and start anew (bear in mind they only have two hours at this juncture before the runway show). Viktor feels that he and Josh will make it to Fashion Week, and one of the three remaining girls. Josh believes he and Viktor will make it and the third spot is up for grabs. Anya's behind, as usual, and one of her models has her dress on inside out as they're all rushed out the door to the runway. Heidi greets them wearing a sparkly black dress and introduces them to their very special guest judge, actress Zoe Saldana.
The Sparkle Queen
All five designers are brought out onto the runway and one by one the judges speak to them to hear about their inspiration and their collections. Josh is first and somehow he's not laughed out of the room with the horrible skirt and vest ensemble that even he knew didn't look quite right. Not to mention the Star Trekky silver mesh gown draped over what looks like a black bathing suit. MK says he showed a huge amount of diversity - "maybe a little too much." Zoe doesn't like the silver gown ("she looks like the Statue of Liberty") but likes the white dress. Heidi likes the silver gown (of course, she is the Sparkle Queen) but thinks the fabric looks inexpensive. Nina agrees. MK calls Josh a magpie because he is attracted to shine and glitter. Josh has another potential hissyfit when Heidi asks him why he was attracted to the lurex, was it because it was nice and shiny?
Kimberly is next. The judges all agree that the silver brocade cocktail dress is her strongest piece and Zoe praises her for pairing it with hot pink shoes. Heidi finds the collection un-cohesive, she sees three different girls: one is a hot girl in a cocktail dress, one is an exchange student from Holland in a coat and scarf; and one is a crazy partygirl in Las Vegas. MK says the coat looks like it was tailored out of an orange paper towel, like the soufflé collapsed, kind of like "disco Halloween." Nina loves the cocktail dress but isn't so sold on the skirt and wishes she had left it alone instead of bunching it up. Kimberly says she doesn't mind their criticisms, it's all a matter of opinion; she is getting a bit testy, but not as bad as Josh.
Laura is a bit of a basket case, very emotional. Heidi tells her she seems very nervous. "I've wanted to be a designer since I was eight," Laura says, wiping away tears. To this comment Heidi exhibits that Germanic back-to-business side, "okay, let's talk about your outfits." No one thinks Laura's garments work as a collection, especially the third dress which doesn't match the others (and looks like a nightgown btw). Of the three garments, the judges most like the lattice-worked gown. They immediately suss out that the skirt in the second look was made that morning, because it looks it. Zoe thinks the third dress looks like a pillowcase with black tape around it. Ouch!
Anya is up next. Nina says hers looks like a concise collection and feels very modern. MK says Anya understands women's bodies, from the styling and which model she put into each garment. Zoe likes the asymmetrical cuts of the garments, giving them a futuristic tone (obviously an Avatar reference). Her only caveat was that the long white gown looks like a condom (what?!).
Viktor's the last to speak to the judges. Heidi declares that in terms of sewing he's probably one of the best here but there are not enough ideas in the looks he presented today. Nina likes the little touches of orange in the garments but also feels he could have turned up the volume a little more. MK says Viktor's outfits are the most commercial they're seeing for this challenge, "these are the clothes that are going to sell." You can see from Viktor's face he doesn't really consider this to be a compliment.
Before the judges break for their chat, they ask each designer why they should go to Fashion Week and who should go with them. Josh picks Viktor and Anya; Kimberly picks Anya and Laura; Anya picks Josh and Viktor; Laura chooses Viktor and Anya; Viktor chooses Josh and Anya. I pick Larry, Moe, and Curly but no one asked me.
During the judge chinwag, it's quite obvious Anya's a shoo-in. Heidi says she's been one of her favorites since the beginning. They continue to be impressed by Viktor, and Nina admits she was on the fence about him way back at the casting but he's really evolved and paid attention. They loved the white dress Josh made and though his taste is "questionable," per Nina, they know he has plenty of ideas. As for Laura, Nina rules that technically she's good but she has no range. They believe Kimberly to have a lot of potential but they're not that impressed by her work today.
No surprises here. Anya is the first to be told she's in and they can't wait to see more from her. Viktor is in but is advised to pump up the volume. Josh is warned to avoid over-working a garment but he's in. Laura's out, Kimberly is in. So four designers are now left and we know what will happen next week - they'll be thrown another curveball in order to fell one more from the group so it's just three that are given the opportunity to present at Fashion Week, n'est-ce pas? And sew it goes...until next week! By the by, our long national nightmare ends on October 27.
Next week: Tim's Home Visits! Champagne Toast! Anya cries!
Coda: After the Runway followed the show again and may I say it would have been great to have this talk show on all season but c'est la vie. Zanna Roberts Rossi hosted the dishfest again, this time with all five designers from tonight's episode. I love ZRR, I have to say; she's so much fun (I wish she was on the actual program itself). A chunk of tonight's dish was about how Kim feels that Laura is dishonest and not real because she never said anything to her face, only behind her back to the confessional cameras. They're joined by Becky and Olivier for a rehash of the old Becky-Josh Drama, and Becky tells Josh that his bullying kind of pushed her over the edge and contributed to her losing her mojo. Josh, for his part, wishes he could put it all into a little box and bury it deep within the earth (yes, these are his words). He actually has the grace to apologize to Becky (and she has the grace to accept) and they hug. For the final part of the dishfest they're joined by Season 2 designer Nick Verreos, who's being blogging about the season on the Project Runway website. Papa Nick lays it on out there as the voice of the viewers, asking Olivier what's with the accent (thank you!) and why does he have such a problem with breasts. "I don't have a problem with any of our body parts," says Olivier and launches into the longest speech we've heard from him all season. And what else did we learn, kids? That Anya can't make a jacket to save her life. See you all next week!
Project Runway airs on Lifetime TV Thursdays at 9pm.