Project Runway Season 8 Episode 13 Recap

Well, this was an episode with the potential for so much drama… and yet it offered next to none. Until the last 5 minutes which were actually painful to watch.

The Final Four are competing for just THREE spots at Fashion Week. They get nine thousand dollars and 6 weeks (!!) to produce a 10 piece collection. This seems a tad ( a lot?) crazy to me as far as time goes. Remember when designers had 3 months to work on their collections?… those were the days.

Anyways, Tim has to drive a Product Placement Car to each and every designer’s house and oddly, the home visits seems shorter than ever, despite the longer show format this season.

We begin in Hawaii and I have to admit, I am totally drawn in. I was expecting beaches and bikinis and luxury. Instead we get Andy in rubber boots on his family’s sugar cane/catfish farm. Its so humble and quaint and it makes me genuinely curious about Hawaii for the first time in my life. The moment when Andy shows Tim the catfish, describing them as ‘chinese men’ and Tim completely flips out is PRICELESS people. Go watch it again. Price. Less.

We get to hear a bit more about Andy’s ‘immigrant story’ and the inherent challenges and then we get to see Andy’s mom again (kind of nice actually that the moms become like a ‘recurring character’ this season.) In Andy’s workspace it is revealed that he has spent most of his last 4 weeks gathering materials but producing almost nothing in the way of finished garments. He has fabric and metals imported from Laos which I think is kind of cool and is connected with his inspiration for the collection. Makes for something different and unique. None of the other designers will have the same fabric, obviously! Tim leaves Andy with only 2 weeks left to produce all ten looks! ouch.

Next up is Michael C in Palm Springs. He has been inspired by ‘the sky’ and has become attached to feathers and a particular color palette. Before we even really see any garments I am worried for him. I just doesn’t sound like a strong enough CONCEPT for a New York Fashion Week show. Tim gives him some feedback on the work but mostly I am just shocked that he has already made 18 looks! Its a process that works for some and not for others. Remember Seth Aaron did it last season – he made something like 24 looks altogether and then drew the strongest, most cohesive pieces out from that range. And then he won.

Its like creative vomit. You spew it all out, then decide what to do with it.

We get to meet Michael C’s partner Richard and hear a little bit about his family. I would have found this more interesting if this information hadn’t gone out on the internet a couple days before the episode aired.

On to Denver, where Mondo is working at mixing Mexican influences like The Day of the Dead with the circus. Its a perfectly Mondo-type inspiration and I love what I see on the rack in the b.g. of his chat with Tim. We get a hilarious family meal where mom and dad both talk about ‘trying everything they could’ to get Mondo to be macho and sporty when he was a kid. Mondo talks about trading participation in softball for piano lessons. Poor kid. Really makes you feel lucky if you have supportive parents who don’t force you to do anything you don’t want to.

Next we head to visit Gretchen who is completely broken down. No details are given, but it appears she is moving, was recently broken up with (? or broke up with someone?) and destitute. She says she is embarassed to have Tim visit under these circumstances and I feel a little twinge of sympathy for her. Sounds like life’s been hell for her lately and I don’t wish that on anyone. Her concept is to take her own western roots and combine it with other cultures around the world including Safari and Aztec. She has made some jewellery. I’m not especially moved by any of the pieces – looks pretty matronly/Amish/sad to me.

NYC!
The designers return to the Big Apple and convene at the Hilton. Andy is rocking a LONG mohawk that someone refers to as ‘Pocahontas’ and before we know it Tim is coming in with the Velvet Bag of Doom.

The designers all panic.
They start looking for the exits.
People are tackled and tied to chairs.

The Bag. of. Doom. is. opened….

Velvet Bag of Doom.

…and they all get free trips for two to other Hilton resorts! Awwwwww. how nice for them. (and how boring for us!)

The next morning Tim corners them all in the new workroom with the ACTUAL panic-inducing twist. They will each show 3 looks to the judges. 2 will be from their collection. 1 will be a new piece they make in the next 24-36 hours. They get 300.00 and a trip to Mood. But they do not get any help (which is weird because with all the Producer Influence you’d think they would jump at the chance for more Fabricated Drama.)

Anywhoodle.

Tim pops by and offers next to no actual advice to the designers. Oh yeah, except for ‘Michael C – Don’t Choke Sucker!’

What the @#$%^& is that? C’mon Tim, that was exceptionally awful advice. If that was me, I’d immediately be thinking something along the lines of ‘ohmygod. whatdoeshemean? ismycollectionbad? whydidnthesaythattoanyoneelse? whydidhesinglemeout? whydoesaeveryonehateme? whyisthishappeningagain? ineedahug.

Poor guy.

oh yeah, and Mondo has a sewing crisis. or something.

IT IS ZE RUNWAY DAAAAHLINGS…3…2…1…. and go!

Andy
Generally interesting but I don’t know if I like the hat things. The bathing suit isn’t really impressive enough, especially since the last time they saw him do a swimsuit it was gorgeous, effortless and an actual WOW. This seems like a throwaway piece.

Ha! The judges agree with me. They think he hasn’t shown enough range and held back too much by not showing more of his ‘great’ unseen pieces.

Michael C
The pieces are ok and sort of amorphously pretty and elegant but I HATE the pants and fringe top and I don’t really see anything innovative. I like Michael, but he is only convincing me of what I worried about when he had his Tim Visit. That he doesn’t have a strong enough concept to bring the collection together.

The judges feel he made a mistake showing all the same color (Ahem.. all black collection.. cough *Christian Siriano* cough.) Whatever. I do agree that he appears not to have a clear enough vision.

Gretchen
Oh holy mother of god.
Ug.
Terrible.
Dowdy!
Skanky and Dowdy!! How? Why? WHICH? (*mind explodes)

And the judges thankfully agree with me mostly. Although Nina has apparently had her brain replaced with a Jell-O Snack Pack because she actually LIKES the Skanky/Dowdy jacket-over-granny-panties-with-too-much-boobage.

Mondo
And thank the Mexican Lord Ringmaster Almighty for Mondo.
His looks are fresh and fun with a balance of whimsy and sophistication that shows he has grown. I will NEVER look at accessories the same way again after Mondo. (and dare I say I will never buy a black belt again? – color baby!)

The judges are mostly on board until Jell-O-Nina decides she has an allergy to polkadots. Talk To The Hand Nina. Polkadots Rock. Haven’t you ever seen The Polkadot Door?

In the lounge the designers are all pretty much speechless. They are all feeling like they could be the one to have their dreams ripped out from under them. They try to find some inner calm while Gretchen stares everyone down.

Decision Time.

Mondo is in.
Gretchen is in. (@#$%^&*@#$%^&*((*&^%$!@#$%^*&^%$#@@#!!!!)
Andy is in.
Michael C is OUT.

And here we arrive at the aforementioned PAINFUL TO WATCH MOMENT OF THE SEASON. Michael is so beyond devastated by the decision that he sleep-walks through his Auf with Heidi, whimpers on the runway, punches the wall, can’t breathe, can’t speak, and starts hyperventilating with Tim’s arms around him.

Oh Michael.

I wish your family, like all SANE families, would support you in your dreams and believe in you. If they did, maybe you would actually be going to Fashion Week because you wouldn’t have had to follow your dream DESPITE your family. You would have had love and encouragement and been able to hone your craft and your vision confidently. Please please don’t give up. So many people are sending you their love right now all over the Internet/world… let it in and let all the negative bullshit from your family go.

Michael finally seems able to pull it together and gets Tim to say the line that might have to replace ‘Make it Work’ and ‘Carry On’ as tried and true Tim-isms… “Give ‘em fucking hell!’

Yes please.