The show begins immediately after Christopher has left. Heidi tells them that she's sending them out on the town. They go to a suite at a swank hotel and have a champagne toast. They all hang out and discuss what the competition has been like. April gets really emotional about how empowering the experience has been for her. Mondo, naturally, feels that the show freed him.
The next day, Tim Gunn introduces the designers to Mayor Bloomberg. What? Their challenge is to design a look based on the city. They have a budget of $500! Other Michael chooses the Statue of Liberty. God, he's not helping me defend him. Mondo and April choose the Brooklyn Bridge. Andy chooses Central Park. Gretchen feels "underinspired." By New York. She's losing her mind, y'all. She chooses the Lower East Side, mostly, I imagine, because she wants the design to be "her" and that's probably where she sees herself the most.
Other Michael has a hard time executing his vision. He seems to have finally run into the end of his capabilities as a technician. Mondo takes a small nap that actually turns into a pretty long nap. Gretchen and Mondo coin the phrase "Cuckoo Couture" in regards to his design aesthetic. Pretty brilliant. April expresses her admiration for Tim Gunn and his mentorship, which I find refreshing with all of the bitchiness we've seen from these guys this season. Gretchen does the same thing! She tells Tim that it has been an honor getting to know him.
Christian Siriano is the guest judge! Other Michael's dress seems kind of... I don't know. I never know what they're going to say about him. Gretchen's look has a weird motorcycle jacket with it. Andy's look has a little bit of an Asian madam quality, as others mentioned, but it looks good. Mondo's is Mondo. April's look is very cool. Very edgy stuff. They love Andy and Mondo (except for Heidi on the latter). They hate Gretchen's, and she starts crying immediately. Heidi says that she was surprised to see Gretchen's look and thinks she's a better designer. Michael is brutal to April about how she makes the same thing over and over again. Nina says that she doesn't show any range. Christian's a lovely judge and says thoughtful, kind things to everyone. They LOVE Other Michael's dress.
Other Michael says he'd take Mondo and Andy to Fashion Week. Gretchen chooses Mondo and April. Andy says Mondo and April. Mondo picks Other Michael! And, he chooses April, too. April chooses Mondo and Gretchen. And the judges? They pick everybody but April. She's devastated and it's completely sad.
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Previously: The designers were enlisted to create activewear looks for Heidi's line for New Balance. Labor officials are still investigating to see if there was any sort of sweatshop related wrongdoing. The old designers came back and Ivy was a crazy bitch to Other Michael and called him a cheater. Tim put the kibosh on that thought. Christopher ended up getting the boot. We're down to the final five!
We're at Parson's, where we left everyone last week. Tim tells the final five designers that he has a surprise for them. Gretchen is already worried. He tells them that they are to meet Heidi on the runway now. Heidi greets them with her devilish smile. She says that she knows how much they "love" surprises. BUT, for this surprise, they want the designers to relax. So, they're sending them to one of "the most spectacular places in New York City." Other Michael interviews that he doesn't believe her -- there's gotta be a twist. Yeah, I could imagine going to some swank restaurant and being told I have to design the new china or something equally cruel. Heidi gets all serious and tells them to recharge, because this will be the last challenge with which to "wow" them.
And, you know what? Heidi keeps to her word. They walk into a swank suite at the Mandarin Oriental, an actually spectacular place. Everyone's super excited, of course. April interviews that it makes her realize they're all getting closer to Fashion Week. They pop some champs. Twist the bottle, not the cork, Gretchen. Someone apparently has not had to wait tables on her poverty-stricken road to success. Temp? I could see her doing some admin, for sure. This is my wheelhouse, people. Other Michael wonders in an interview how the hell he got there. Listen, I'm not trying to be rude, but I'm looking around that room and wondering how he got there as well.
Gretchen toasts to being proud of all of them, herself included. She interviews that this is nice, but she really wants to get to Fashion Week, which she considers the essence of who she is as a designer. I'm guessing she means presenting an entire collection, not the calendar aspects of the occasion. I'm not sure. They look around the suite in awe. Gretchen's psyched that she's going to have a good cappuccino in the morning. Later, as Other Michael is eating some sort of pudding-y goodness, Gretchen says another winding sentence about how she wouldn't be here if she hadn't set the intention of doing what she was passionate about for the rest of her life. Jesus. Breathe. I think she's talking about The Secret, no? More power to her.