But first, a little humiliation, I mean fun, for the designers. They get paired up to run an obstacle course: three-legged race, then a tire run (before which they have to untie their legs), wheelbarrow race, and then a search for a flag in a pile of random cloths. The winning pair will get to pick from the available fabric first, and get an extra hour of working time for the challenge.
Bradon and Helen had an early lead, but they forgot the wheelbarrow portion and just ran to the flag pile, so they had to go back and redo it. That gave Dom and Justin enough time to take the lead and win! Strangely they still made everyone else finish the course and root through to find the flag, even though there was nothing to be gained from any further places. Alexander and Jeremy were the very last, and still had to keep sheepishly tossing the fabric around until they found the last flag.
Then, each designer gets to pick a total of ten yards of fabric from the varieties available from Heidi's collection. There was never a mention of the quantities being limited, or anyone not getting the ones they wanted, so I'm not clear on what the advantage of being able to pick first was. Back in the workroom, they are each given an outfit from the existing collection so they can see how the style looks (though they are not allowed to cut them up and use them in their garments).
The big dustup of the episode occurs when Helen goes out in the hallway to ask Tim whether they can use the existing garments to help them make patterns - so that nobody else can hear. He says yes and she returns to the workroom, and smugly declines to tell anyone what she asked. Which seems a little silly since wouldn't anyone glancing over easily be able to see her doing so once she gets started? The other designers are annoyed, since they say she always comes around and asks for advice. But instead of calmly calling her out on this hypocrisy, they fume in mostly silence, until Ken finally "tsks" enough that Helen rolls her eyes and says "well fine, if you're going to be CHILDISH about it, what I asked was..." But OH NO Ken can't possibly bear such a CRUSHING insult and starts yelling at her, which escalates until he's just shouting "shut the f*** up" at her over and over. When he finally makes a vague threat of "going over there" Helen again ducks out and tells Tim what's going on and that she feels unsafe now. In general I would consider that the right move, but she did it in a very self-conscious way that grated at me. She seemed like she was relishing her role as the "victim" here far more than she should have, had she actually felt afraid that Ken was going to escalate further to physical attacks.
Fortunately, Ken takes a break at this point, talks to some people back home on the phone, and calms down a little. Tim also talks him down a little further, until he can go and calmly apologize to Helen. Helen doesn't do any better accepting this apology than she did with Sandro's, but at least that's the end of it. Yet more examples of how sleep deprivation and intense pressure to perform can make people into the worst versions of themselves.
Heidi joins Tim for his workroom visit. They urge Helen to make sure her as-yet unstarted jacket is a wow piece, and Alexander to make his trim narrower. Justin is adorably nervous and blushing around Heidi, who makes fun of Jeremy for having gotten sunburned at the obstacle course. Tim is concerned about Alexandria making drop-crotch pants (again) but Heidi likes them, unlike Karen's outfit, which Heidi loathes - it is impossible, crazy, Martian, nobody would want it. So Karen has to completely start over. Ken also starts over after Heidi compares his to a scuba suit.
The funniest moment of the episode comes at the model fitting, when the seam at the crotch of Helen's pants pops open on the model, who quips, "I don't think this was the kind of wow piece Heidi wanted!" Karen's model is second guessing her second attempt as fast as she can - should it be this baggy? sure you don't want to make shorts? and grimacing mightily all during the fitting. Karen convinces herself that there are other outfits worse than hers.
On the runway, it was hard to believe that this was filmed in the summer, as everyone except Justin made full- or capri-length leggings. Nearly everyone used the same vernacular for workout gear - black and grey for the most part, with angled accents in neon colors. So I'll just list the differentiating factors.
- Kate: A-line sweater with a zipper in the back that can make it more form-fitting
- Bradon: got the most flattering lines down the legs
- Alexandria: drop-crotch pants, slashed detail on shirt
- Helen: black mesh jacket with drawstring waist
- Dom: Tron-like red accents and matching hat
- Justin: shorts!!! Looked like something on the cover of Women's Health, though the bra top was too busy
- Ken: too-long purple tank, model looked like she wanted to kill someone
- Jeremy: mixed purple and green accents
- Karen: the loosest fit - banded capris and awkward sweatshirt
- Alexander: made his leggings with no seams on the outsides of the legs!
Bradon, Dom, Justin, and Jeremy are in the middle. Dom is irritated to not get any feedback, and Jeremy is relieved, as is Bradon who think that Michael Kors, back for this challenge, looks ready to spew his trademark one-liners.
The judges aren't completely unanimous on which are best. Heidi doesn't like Kate's back zipper, but the others do, and they like it even more up close. Heidi and Zac like Alexander's, but Nina and Kors don't - Nina says the piecing make the model's butt look too big, and Kors finds it unmemorable. Up close they like it less, as the mismatches in the graphic piecing are more apparent. Zac calls out Alexandria for using drop-crotch pants again, which Heidi defends because she likes them. Nina hates them and considers them impossible to be active in. Kors hates the, uh, "suggestive" placement of the pockets on the front and deems it creepy. They all like at least parts of Helen's look, and they all love the jacket, especially Nina. She's about ready to run up on the runway and steal it for herself that second.
Ken tries to play up the functional elements in his (long top to avoid cameltoe, black around collar & armholes to camoflauge sweat) but the judges like it less the more they look. It doesn't have enough fashion, the top is so long it just looks like Tina Turner's dress rode up, and the complicated straps in back just make it look like the model is wearing seven bras. Karen's is also disliked by all, including the model wearing it. It's not athletic and it is badly sewn.
Helen is named the winner, and Karen is out. Next week, the teaser makes it look like they all do so badly on the challenge that they're all given a re-do. Looking forward to that one!