China calls Abdi, Nicole, Peregrine, Ryan and Jaclyn for the crit. So Miles and Mark are safe and get to say good night. They start with Ryan. He says he began drawing how he drew when he was young, and the memories started hitting him. Will says Ryan's experience was the most intense part of this, so he has to think about how to translate that. Then he asks Ryan about the stuff on the floor (discarded construction paper, pencils, and other children's art supplies). Ryan says it's the first drawing he made. They all think it sucks and looks like a kid did it, and nothing more, that the process is more interesting than what it looks like. Peregrine explains her crazy childhood and how the people around her died of AIDS. Bill says he teared up, as a parent, seeing the drugs and candy together. They all love that it has details that tell the story. Jaclyn then explains her piece, and how she felt about trees as a child. Jerry and Bill have no emotional reaction and see nothing of her backstory in the work. Nicole explains her vignettes of her memories, and what each one means. Jerry likes that it created mystery for him. Will thinks the level of obscurity of what she put in it is just right for him. They all love it. Abdi explains being called on to draw these things, and feeling useful. They ask him which pieces he feels drawn to, because what's missing is editing. They think he's removed himself from the exercise. The artists have to go back up and wait to be called while the judges discuss.
The judges discuss. Bill says it's a fine line to create something inspired by childhood versus something that comes off as amateurish. They loved Peregrine's piece, and felt she was a natural with this material, and she took a risk. Will says making it personal made it universal. They love the mystery of Nicole's piece, and how she used these materials in her own vocabulary. Moving on to the pieces they didn't like. Ryan's first. Will wanted to know him more from those drawings, and wishes he could have seen more of Ryan's anecdotes in them. China wonders if they're getting through to them. China says Jaclyn's most successful work has been leaving herself open and vulnerable, which she didn't do here. They don't understand it and think she just threw something together with no idea development. They were very disappointed by Abdi's dull and safe piece. Weird. I sort of liked it. Definitely better than Ryan's, even though I think Ryan's has more heart behind it. They think Abdi's weaknesses are showing, and he's too self-satisfied. They've made their decisions, so it's obviously time for commercials.