After a brief hiatus (Portland Fashion Week, vacation), I'm back on the Project Runway horse, just in time for the last, best few episodes. To recap: Bert got done in by a bird, Portland designer Bryce Black was briefly resurrected (along with other eliminated contestants) to referee between former besties Joshua and Anya, and then Laura finally bit it after an exhaustion-driven experiment with circle prints. So! We are left with four: Anya, Joshua, Viktor, and Kimberly. With one more designer set to be eliminated before the final three, it was time for the traditional home visits with Tim Gunn, from Joshua's tiny studio in Queens to Anya's palatial estate in Trinidad. Doop de doo, business as usual, right? WRONG. Last night's episode ended in scandal and bullshit. Don't know what I mean? Don't hit the jump.

Anya: Not her first scandal.


In an unprecedented move, the judges chose not to eliminate anyone, despite the fact that the designers' sample preview of their NYFW collections were all pretty disappointing. We knew Viktor would be safe with that ridiculous giant pearl-crusted jacket (a co-viewer's observation: "They looks like warts."), but no one was looking all that great—and the judges told them so, which makes the move look all the more like something that came down from the producers just to shake up some drama. Resentment is already shoring up toward Anya and her increasingly obvious lack of construction savvy—having sewed for only a few months—in comparison to the designers who have been working at their trade for most of their lives. (Not to mention that her having been rewarded an arguably undeserved cash prize when she's clearly loaded and all the other designers are starving has got to smart.) It's hard not to blame them. I like much of Anya's aesthetic in general, but for the most part she's a one-trick pony (despite the false hope of an early exception in which she more or less successfully made her first pair of trousers).

The thing is, none of them stand out as that great. Viktor makes a technically impressive jacket, Kimberly makes a sexy blouse, but Joshua is all over the place, and none of them seem like they're on the right track. It would be one thing if everyone's collection was just looking so good that it was impossible to vote one of them off, but the judges had plenty of criticisms; it would have been easy for them to choose who got voted off the island. Maybe the producers enjoyed the outrage that followed Gretchen's win over Mondo (even though many fans swore the show off in protest—or at least they said they would)? But it doesn't quite reach that level of passion. It just seems like bullshit. If nothing else the question of what is really being judged on this show—ideas or construction—is more muddled than ever.

Portland designers, I implore you: Consider another career tactic when Project Runway comes knocking, if for no other reason than it would prevent us locals from feeling obligated to watch it.

For now, it is what it is. Let's just finish it. To prepare for next week, the Project Runway web site fairies have handily recapped the runway history of each finalist: