Another week, another chapter in the drama that is Project Runway. Our Portland champion Michelle's contribution to the challenge:


That's right, it's a women-of-a-certain-age challenge! Spoilers ahead:

We are introduced to this week's challenge via Jazzercise. Rather than material or circumstantial, this week's challenge is all about the models, in this case non-models of retirement age. It's interesting to see that some designers fall apart when presented with a departure from a specific form, and of course this kind of client adaptability is crucial to a design career. I didn't see it coming that the one to cave would be Benjamin, who has actually succeeded in annoying me somewhat less in the past couple of episodes:

As much as I HATE his fabric choice here, and the fit issues and all, I didn't think this was as shameful as the fact that Tu's dress was fastened to the model with a last-minute belt. Speaking of Tu, he's gotta do something fast. He's sailed through so far in the middle of the road or the bottom, and I've got him on watch as going home soon. Gotta agree with Michelle's assessment that "He can't sew for shit."

As for Michelle, she was able to pilot the nose upward on her trajectory this week. Her dress was completely sufficient for the task. I wasn't wild about the print selection, but whatever, she did fine. Heidi loved it. Of more concern is Patricia, who Michelle was partnered with alongside Layana as the sole threesome among the other paired off designers. Michelle has consistently dissed her, repeatedly stated that she doesn't want to work with her. Yes she has crazy eyes and yes her process is often a mess, but she's done some of the coolest, and some of the only, detail work on the show. She's definitely vibe-ing out the others, but I'm still rooting for her, if for no other reason than the fact that she's one of the only really interesting points of view in what is shaping up as a season of largely meh designs.

The nature of the challenge, while practical and important, demanded a certain level of conservatism that made for a touch of boredom for the viewer. (Cue Daniel being praised for a relatively plain black suit.) But the models were great, from the lady who goosed Stanley in the workroom to the one who advised Kate to "be a slut" while she was still young. Add to that the proper judging of Joan Rivers and her perpetually coattail-riding daughter (plus Rachel Roy sitting in for Posen), and we'll count it as a close save on the entertain-o-meter.

This time Stanley took the prize, for yet another... black pantsuit, albeit more stylized:

Other notes:

—What was up with Amanda's breakdown? I can't help but think it was more the product of the fact that she was really shaken when her teammates pointed their fingers at her a few episodes back combined with the usual exhaustion-related rigors of reality TV. There was way too much angst devoted to that dress than it called for.

—Make note: "First wife" is a bad look. You're going for "second wife." Good to know!

—Layana may be the sleeper hit of the season. For all her childlike whininess, she is shaping up to be ruthlessly confident and proficient.

—Richard's dress was astonishingly overrated. Samantha's was underrated.

—Still waiting for Michelle to get to the top. It slightly worries me that she is so quick to dis on the other contestants without having produced any winners herself, and seems to be blaming curses, potentially kicked bunnies, bad luck, and her teammates. Sure she's been on teams where her look wasn't the one that caused them to lose—and Heidi was explicit about using this particular instance as a teaching moment for the importance of teamwork—but she's never lifted her teammates out of disfavor either. I still think she's going to turn it around, though. I hope.