First, let me just say: You guys, I don't even know anymore. If it was Tyra Banks's end-of-season goal to make us feel like we'd entered some sort of altered reality -- a really, really, really dumb one -- then mission accomplished. So, the whole episode is kind of told via flashback (to things that happened mere hours before the runway show), but the actual content of the episode is very similar to finales past. The three finalists have a shoot with Nine West, a company that happens to be a client of Kelly Cutrone. As such, Kelly is very, very, VERY involved with the shoot, and gets a little too up in the photographic grille of Jez Smith. They have quite a mutual smackdown, with Kelly micromanaging, and Jez snittily asking her if she'd like to take the photos herself, and each accusing the other of being rude, and both being right (and wrong!). Producers get involved, and eventually it is determined that Kelly is the boss in this particular situation, and from then on Jez shuts it. All of this fighting happens while Laura is having her photograph taken, and she feels that she has gotten shortchanged and cries about it a whole bunch.
There is also a photo shoot for Nylon, in which Leila flashes her crotch and is deemed the most Nylon-esque of all the girls. During the shoot, the girls are surprised by visits from their families. And yes, this includes Laura's soap opera actor dad and rather desperate, scene-stealing mother. Leila's mom is totally mellow, while Kiara's grandma is completely adorable even while being a huge fan of Tyra Banks.
And then there is the runway show. Sooooooo, it all happens in Rose Hall, which is an allegedly haunted mansion whose "mistress of the house murdered husbands, lovers, and any woman whose smize rivaled her own." (Note: in the actual legend, this crazy lady slept with and murdered slaves, which makes this whole scenario even more fucked up than it was to begin with. Also: voodoo.) There is a really priceless short film to introduce the runway show, involving Tyra as narrator and Rob as a hot guy and last cycle's winner Sophie as the ghost who kills all the other models and makes them ghosts too, or maybe zombies, just to get in the pants of Rob. And then we find out who Bloodyface is. (Tyra, obvs.) And then Tyra makes the fashion show audience put on scary masks and utters the words, "Now their spirit bodies must take to the runway to reclaim their mortal smizes." Subsequently, I heard a popping sound in my brain, which was probably some sort of spontaneous lobotomy.
The fashion show features the models in really over the top Gaga-esque ghost brides couture. Some of the gowns have a collar that basically covers half of your face -- I call them "face collars," which is really catchy I know -- and you know that trouble is a-comin'. The season's eliminated models march in the show (minus Victoria! ALAS!), but the real star is Leila, who falls not once (immediately upon setting foot on the stairway leading to the runway) but twice (immediately upon exiting the runway) due to not being able to see anything over her face collar. Her legs splay out just like a little baby dear. She manages not to fall on her second pass, thanks to the technique of walking reeeeeallllllly slow. Kiara is bar none the best walker and even rocks it with the face collar, while Laura is more or less fine.
At panel, the judges give Kiara the highest praise for the runway show, while Leila has the edge on the Nine West photo and is the favorite of Nylon. And yet it's Laura who wins the whole thing! The judges give each girl a numerical score for their performance over the entire season, which is added to their average challenge score and average fan vote. Laura's 41.2 handily beats Kiara (36.6) and Leila (35.2) and there are tears galore. And just when you think that Tyra is going to tell Kiara that, even though she came in second, she can have the scholarship money she earned during her challenge victories... she totally doesn't. That's SO Tyra!
It's the Top Model finale! And as it turns out, Tyra has been watching a lot of American Horror Story while also feeling "Ghost Brides" nostalgia. I mean, who isn't, really. But we'll get to all of that in a minute. First it's time to ask the obligatory question, "Who will become America's Next Top Horror Story?" Will it be Leila, the gap-toothed wonder who made the first ever Top Model comeback thanks to her high-fashion, fan-impressing look? Or will it be Laura, the "curvy" blonde bombshell trying to step out of the shadow of her marginally notable parents? Laura tells us that strong is the new sexy, and strong is the new skinny. I love how they make it out like she's some kind of genre-busting hoss. This is a very skinny girl! And body-wise, I can't believe she's "stronger" than Kiara, the sultry athlete with the hardscrabble past who is a real-ass bitch and probably the most interesting of these three all-around. Note that I didn't say the best model. These three will get to duke it out on the grounds of a haunted Jamaican mansion, for what is billed as a "terrifying runway finale like you've never seen before." Well, the terrifying part is true at least.
And oh my God, you guys. We start out with Tyra Banks addressing the camera directly in some sort of bejeweled bodysuit with an Elizabethan collar, and talking in a manner in which I suppose she believes ghosts talk. Seriously, what is up with her voice? The accent is vaguely that of a 1930s newsreel (but ghostlier), and her enunciation trumps even that of the typically over-enunciated "towards" in each week's elimination ceremony. I ask you this, seriously: What is wrong with her? We can also see her glancing to the cue cards at her right, which takes away a bit of the gravitas. Anyway, the story of Rose Hall Mansion: "the most famous...yet infamous...house in all of Jamaica." Legend has it, according to Tyra, that long ago the mistress of the house murdered husbands, lovers, and any woman whose smize rivaled her own. We see a flash of "pot ledom" written in red on a mirror, which I have to say is a nice touch. The real legend of Rose Hall is a bit more detailed and sinister, and worth a read on Wikipedia. Note that this lady was called the "White Witch," for obvious reasons. The legend involves voodoo, slaves, and ghost murders. And the White Witch herself only stood 4'8" tall, meaning she wouldn't have even had a chance on the short cycle! No wonder she was so murderous. Tyra instructs us to stay tuned for a creepy America's Next Top Model finale, as if this show is ever not creepy.