Wait, this isn't the last episode of the worst season of Project Runway? Sigh. Fine.
The three finalists have spent several weeks work on a 12-outfit runway show with a $9,000 budget.
Tim visits each designer at their home and offers his critiques on their in-process collection.
He starts with Carol Hannah, who has moved from Charleston to Huntington, New York for some inexplicable reason. A nice surprise for us down here: Carol Hannah says she was inspired by the architecture at Duke University when she visited with her friend. That's kind of cool, right?
Her clothes look pretty good, and she's finally designed pants and shorts to round her our usual repertoire of pretty dresses. Tim likes some of these but worries other pieces are matronly. Afterward, Tim helps make biscuits with Carol Hannah's family, which is sort of adorable.
Tim then visits Irina on the Upper East Side. Irina is inspired by Coney Island, where she grew up, and she plans for her collection to be an homage to New York City. I've got to say that her boyfriend tees are pretty nice looking. Tim isn't too keen on some of the fur choices but says she's taking admirable risks. We learn more about Irina and her family, who are from the Republic of Georgia. It was nice to see a bit of the more human Irina, as brief as it was.
Lastly, Tim visits Althea in Dayton, Ohio and loves her knits. But not the "Wild West' purple dress which is, again, too matronly. (Matron-like is the most popular criticism on this show.)
Everyone's pumped moving forward, though as a regular viewer of the show, it was disappointing to see such mundane collections. Christian Siriano really was cutting edge and even Chris March's use of human hair in his clothing was at least something to talk about if not terribly appealing. These clothes were attractive but uninteresting.
And then, the first brief moment of drama. Tim calls Irina to tell her the images of Coney Island on her t-shirts are trademarked by another artist and she must use a different design. How did Irina not realize she couldn't use someone else's designs on her shirts? I'm glad she got caught.
The moment of panic seems brief, though, and Irina decides she'll hand-paint her own birds and ferris wheel.
We're finally at Fashion Week and Carol Hannah is missing, leaving the two sorta-enemies alone with plenty of awkward tension and lame allusions to copying one another's designs. Turns out that Carol Hannah has got a killer stomach virus, Tim says, and won't be able to join the others right away.
This is a real bummer (Carol Hannah is my favorite) but the other ladies think this might work to their advantage. She does show up the next day, looking frail as ever.
Tim visits the collections, warns Althea that some of her pieces are "borderline Hillary Clinton."
Irina's entire collection is black, which also draws criticism from Tim and Nina, who also stops to visit with Michael a few days before the show.
Tim, Heidi, Nina and Michael all visit the designers before the runway show to offer critiques - an unprecedented move that leads me to believe that everyone knew the collections weren't where they needed to be before the runway show. Nobody's that good, period.
We leave the penultimate episode with a few cliffhangers: the designers must create a thirteenth look (this is supposed to be a shock, but c'mon, they do this every time - and always bring back some of the runners-up to help) on the fly and from the look of next week's preview, Carol Hannah might be really, really sick.
But don't worry, Carol Hannah! (And everyone.) After next week, it'll all be over.