The Penguin honcho, Kathryn, gives them her input and then leaves. Which means it's time for the judges to call the artists for the crit: John, Judith, Peregrine, Mark, Jaclyn. So, only five this time. Everyone else is safe. They start with John, who tells them he thought of what his time machine would look like and came up with this. Jerry likes that it's the way a human head might look in the future. They like the title, and the small ladder. They ask Judith what hers is, and then they tell her it's not okay to make people feel stupid. She says she's a fine artist and doesn't work on assignment. They ask if she's better than everyone else, and she says she's not, but she totally thinks she is. Mark's next. He says he wanted to make it a contemporary image and not clichéd. Bill says it's the most commercial work, which was the challenge. They really like it, but think less blood could have made it more sophisticated and less pulpy.
Jaclyn's next. She lies and says she thought it was serendipitous she got this book because of its morally ambiguous characters. Wait, is Jaclyn saying she's morally ambiguous? And also, is she saying that Elizabeth is? They think Jaclyn backed out of showing the photo of herself, which would have been better. China also asks why she didn't double-check the spelling of Jane Austen, which she spelled Austin. They ask Judith's opinion, and she says it's "really not skilled at all." Well, of course, but that's because she knows she's in the bottom with her. Peregrine tells them about the shadow behind hers. They tell her it's a complete failure as a book cover, but is a nice object or cutesy wallpaper.
They send the artists back to the studio, where Jaclyn cries about how they are just trying to teach her by questioning her. The judges discuss the art, and point out that a book jacket is a respectable thing for artists to do, and people like Picasso have done it. They discuss the ones they like: Mark integrated the text well with the image, and will probably win. But they also love John's too, because it's instantly arresting. Maybe they'll both get Penguin book covers. They move on to Jaclyn, who they think is in middle school both because of her drawing and the misspelled name. They cringe about Judith's cover and think it's just her way of saying she's not going to play. Bill says if you're going to break rules, it has to be interesting. They think Peregrine just totally missed the point of the dark book by making it a happy, fairytale arts-and-crafts project. They've made their decisions, which means it's time for a commercial or three.