The show begins with Heidi and Tim greeting the designers on the runway. Daniel is wearing shorts and a black turtleneck. There's a whole lot of look happening with him right now. Heidi says that each of them will get ten thousand dollars to create twelve-look Fall collections.
They all head to their homes and, I shit you not, my cable cuts out Patricia's home visit. This is completely off-topic, but it took all of my restraint not to break my DVR into a thousand pieces. Then, I would bury those pieces. Then I would scorch the earth where I buried the pieces. Then, I would cry. So, I'm only doing the last part. Tim visits Michelle in Portland. He says some really nice stuff about her in front of her family, like how she is authentic and unapologetic about her aesthetic. He also hints that he was at least partially responsible for getting a "do or die” moment instead of the boot. He warns her not to overdesign before leaving her.
He visits Daniel in Austin. Something has happened to his hair. It is… a problem. His sister looks like a movie star. Tim meets her and Daniel's buddies. Daniel tells Tim that Salvador Dali is his inspiration, which makes a lot of sense. Tim seems to be confused by the collection. He says a lot of nice things, but he also has problems with it. I can't tell if Daniel is absorbing the critique though. The critique is probably having issues making it through his hair. Tim then visits Stanley in Los Angeles and likes his work, with the exception of the color of one dress. Then, he has lunch with Stanley's niece and his partner. Stanley's niece is adorable. Wait, that's an understatement. She's gorgeous. We hear that Stanley has been devastated by the recent death of his sister, Belinda. Tim is so sweet to everyone, I'm assuming. He could have gotten into a fistfight with Patricia, but I won't know that until a rerun happens.
Four weeks later, they head back to New York. Daniel arrives first to their penthouse digs. Daniel is apparently still burning about the weird non-fight that he had with Michelle during the Lord & Taylor challenge. She notices and does a lot to bring down the temperature in the room. Stanley and Patricia get there and they have one of them champagne toasts.
When their stuff is revealed in the workroom, Patricia thinks that Daniel isn't trying hard enough, while Daniel thinks that Michelle is trying too hard. They are all stunned that Stanley still has a lot of work to finish. They get helpers again for this challenge. Richard is there for Stanley, Samantha for Daniel, Amanda for Michelle and Layana for Patricia. Layana is pregnant! Tim comes in for a consultation and it looks like Daniel is in trouble. Everything is too safe and old.
They have to present three looks to the judges, to decide who will continue to Fashion Week. Stanley is upset that Richard can't help as much with sewing because of his lack of knowledge, but Michelle says that it's Stanley's fault for having so much unfinished work.
Stanley's mini-collection is chic and beautiful. Patricia's is far out and, while the first dress is kind of not great, the other two are fantastic. Daniel's stuff is classic and safe, though beautiful. Michelle's stuff is tough and sexy. Her jacket finale is remarkable.
The judging is epic. Michelle gets a lot of praise, though Nina cautions her against overaccessorizing. She tells the judges that she worked with eliminated designer Joe to create a wolf print. Amazing. Daniel gets criticism for not having any color or volume. Heidi says that she is underwhelmed. People are split on Patricia. Zac, in particular, seems to be excited by her work. Stanley gets slammed for not being young enough.
The judges are all over the place. No one seems totally safe, except for maybe Michelle. The designers return to the stage. Michelle is in. So is Patricia! So, it's down to Stanley and Daniel. Stanley is…in. That means that Daniel is out. Surprisingly, he is composed and good-spirited about it. Now, onto Fashion Week!
Previously: All of the designers except for Michelle went to Europe for inspiration and textiles. Layana made the most ridiculous outfit with sleeves like Linda Gray would have worn on Models Inc.. That reference could be even older and it wouldn't do justice to the insanity of these sleeves. Much like not being able to see the forest for the trees, the judges were unable to see the coat for the sleeves. Thusly, Layana was eliminated.
Tim and Heidi greet the designers on the runway. Congratulations all around. They are all going to go home and make collections for Fashion Week. That said, only three will be actually showing at the big show. They will get ten grand to complete the collections. Also, Tim will be bestowing one of his famous home visits on each of them. He passionately reminds them that any of them could win. The collections are to be designed for the fall season. This makes Michelle happy because she loves Fall so much, like she even has to make a heart with her hands and put it over an area near her own heart she loves it so much. Heidi and Tim wish them a ton of luck and then send them on their way.
Later, we see them packing at the Atlas Building. Michelle asks Patricia if she plans on making all of her textiles. She says no, because it wouldn't be realistic for reproduction. Then, she interviews that she can't lose focus for a second, because she has a real chance at making it to Fashion Week. She is nervous because she never won a challenge. Wow, that's right, isn't it? Has anyone ever made it to Fashion Week without winning a challenge? I think maybe they haven't. Daniel interviews shakily that he is so proud of himself. He has gone through a lot to make it this far in the competition and making it to Fashion Week would be beyond belief. I really have to believe that Daniel's interviews were recycled a lot this season. If he seriously repeated through tears dozens of times how proud he was of himself, I find it unconscionable that someone didn't try to get medication for this man.
Michelle says that Stanley is her biggest competition. However, she thinks that he's probably a bit of a magpie and will keep adding to his collection. There will be more sparkle and more feathers until there is (jazz hands included) "a Bob Mackie moment!" It's interesting that we've never heard her say anything remotely as reductive and insulting to Stanley's face. That said, this show could use a fucking Bob Mackie moment. The thing about Michelle though, you can tell this little geek really feels special sitting there in front of the camera. Because, the germ of her argument is not incorrect. It's not out of the question that left with extra time and resources, Stanley might over-embellish his designs. But, she always seems like she can't help herself and she has to make it nasty and belittling. There has been NOT ONE MOMENT that would justify why she acts this way either, except that she is a nasty person. Maybe she's working overtime to come off as a "personality." But, there's no way that someone who can't even hug a person because she needs her "space" and all that bullshit would not think that the things that says in these interviews are horrible. I can't wait to see the backtracking that she does at the reunion special. Because, sure, Stanley was a bit of a taskmaster during the challenge where he worked with Tu, but he never denied it and he ultimately got praised for his management skills, so maybe he was right. Tu certainly never got that much done on his own. And, Stanley has always been magnanimous in his interviews. In fact, here he interviews that he is most interested to see Michelle's collection, because they are so different as designers. He says that she has been like the stepchild in the corner for most of the competition and it has been really hard for her. This is where I wonder if there is something off about my perception. Michelle was not in a position to win a lot of challenges in the beginning, but I don't feel like there was any question that she was surviving. Even the "do or die" moment was invented as a way to keep her alive after she royally screwed the pooch in the challenge. But, if she's been living with the feeling that she has to be this scrappy bridesmaid, maybe her attitude is based in defensiveness. I don't buy it at all, but maybe it's true.