Two months have passed. No, really -- that's what the caption says. I know that the typical episode of Top Design feels like it runs for two months, which might explain your confusion. Anyhow, Matt and Carisa have gone back to their separate villages and now returned to L.A. for the final five-day sprint to Top Design glory. Can you stand the tension? Yes, I can stand it too. Perhaps we should get on with it, then. Carisa arrives at LAX and boards the GMC We Paid Good Money For This Mobile before letting us know that she's spent the last two months thinking about nothing other than her loft -- "lots of thinking, mostly, and planning and changing and conceptualizing." Perhaps she should have set aside 15 minutes to consider her wardrobe, because that green and blue billowy blouse she's wearing for her return visit to L.A. looks like something Ringling Brothers should have three rings underneath. Meanwhile, Matt has spent his two month layoff with less thinking and more doing -- he's talked to the PDC vendors whose overpriced furniture he's likely to use so that everything's priced out and he has samples. Even if I didn't know who won here, I would guess that Matt probably wrapped up the competition with what he did during the past two months. He formulated a plan of attack, whereas Carisa, for all her thinking, still seems up in the air about what she's planning on doing. On smaller points have empires been won and lost, let alone crap-ass reality show competitions.
As it has been a good 30-seconds since a sponsor got name-checked on this show, Carisa hips us to the fact that they'll be able to "design the kitchen of our dreams" using GE Monogram appliances: "GE -- we put the same quality and attention into our appliances that we do into fine programs like Thank God You're Here and The Real Wedding Crashers and Studio 60. GE -- we bring things to life. Wait... where are you going? C'mon -- buy some of our crap!" Anyhow, they've got $25,000 to spend on appliances. Me, I'd turn one end of my loft into the Wall of Microwaves, as a tribute to Jack Donaghy.
If there's a bright side to winnowing things down to two relatively uninteresting contestants -- besides the fact that it means we're in the home stretch -- it means an extra dose of Todd Time. Todd Oldham is waiting for both returning Top Designers in the Santa Fe lofts, and he wants to hear about each of their plans one at a time. First up is Carisa: she shows Todd a sketch where the loft is organized so that anyone who enters will get a full-frontal view of the three windows that brighten her space. That's good. Carisa's going to paint the whole loft white. That's, um, less good, unless Carisa has always harbored dreams of living in a West Elm showroom. All the trim will be black, and Carisa has bought extra cork flooring from the lumber-supply company that paid big money to get named during Top Design but forgot to cut me in on the deal -- that cork board is going up on the walls. As for Carisa's floor dilemma, the ensuing two months have produced this solution: "Hand-carved five-inch wooden planks with this beautiful texture. And they're going to get refinished so they're going to be ebony black." Todd asks what she's planning on doing to the windows; Carisa says if it were up to her, she wouldn't do anything. Todd reminds her that it sort of is up to her since, you know, she's not just the designer but the client as well. Carisa does that annoying thing of hers where she agrees 100-percent with what Todd said even though, 30 seconds earlier, she was going in an entirely different direction. Carisa Perez-Fuentes, ladies and gentlemen -- as unchanging as the tides, provided that Todd Oldham holds no sway over tidal patterns.