In preparation for the final show, the final five designers are dispatched home and given six weeks to create ten looks for a Spring runway. One of the ten looks must use "unconventional materials," which seems to have been the theme of the season. Dom and Bradon will definitely get to show what they make, but Alexandria, Helen, and Justin are still on probation - though the judges have been deliberately vague about whether two or only one of them will get to be in the finals.
In any case, we get to have the "Tim Gunn home visits" partway through the six week period. With Dom, he is treated to a patio brunch in Philadelphia, and he urges her to go for the knit substrate for her Blade Runner retro futurism custom prints. Bradon, in LA, was inspired by crocuses pushing through the snow, and Tim gets to go to the beach with his dog. Cute! A bit further north, and even cuter, Alexandria takes Tim to the "Camp Couture" sewing room she runs for kids, where they've made caricature dolls of most of the Season 12 cast! For her collection, she's going for a neo-punk, modern nomad feel, and has already made around 30 pieces.
Helen, in New Jersey, has keyed in on capes and a print based on her boyfriend's iris as ways to convey her theme of "clairvoyance." And finally, after a meal in a very bright and busy dining room with Justin's family, we get to see how Justin is making use of a 3D printer for his looks. He is inspired by his own journey of being deaf for 18 years, and then adjusting to his cochlear implant.
Once the six weeks are up, everyone is summoned back to the workroom. They all suddenly turn into the world's least-subtle rubberneckers as they all try to peek at each other's clothes coming out of the garment bags while concealing as much of their own as they can. Finally Dom breaks the ice by running over to see Helen's. They all seem to like Justin's and think Helen is being overconfident. Bradon thinks that Alexandria's bounty of separates is in fact not an advantage - that too much choice is going to mess her up.
We get a confusing and jarring little interlude when a PR person for Tide (the detergent) comes in and tells them that the final challenge for the finalists will be to create one more look that is actually machine washable. So more on that next episode, I guess. The finalists will be chosen in the usual manner - the three probationary designers will pick three looks to show the judges.
When Tim comes back to check on this effort, he is shot mostly from his right side, as he had an unfortunate accident in the subway and has a busted lip and four stitches in his forehead. Yowch! He advises Alexandria to not put a bra top under one of her sheer looks, as it would mess up the proportions. Justin gets lots of little tips about construction and pressing details. Similarly for Helen - she's been focusing on the whole collection instead of her three chosen looks, so she's also behind on finishing touches. He also doesn't like a loincloth shape she has in some of her skirts, which she is reluctant to remove since she put a lot of work into it.
Alexandria considers this a sign that Helen doesn't have enough critical distance from her own designs, and still has a student mentality. For her part, Helen thinks that Alexandria's collection just looks raggedly and is not seasonally appropriate for Spring. Tim gets choked up as he leaves. Dom ends up helping Helen with some bias tape finishes, and Bradon helps Justin get his model laced into his unconventional materials look - a gown covered all over with little plastic test tubes.
Other than that test tube dress (which I would love to know what it sounds like being worn), Justin also sends out an all-white look of pants, shirt, and jacket, and a black dress splattered with white paint - and some unfortunately mushroomy bowl-cut hairstyles on the models. Alexandria sends out three looks of her mix of separates, but rather overpowering punky, feathery styling. Helen sends out a short navy blue dress with an oddly suspended handkerchief hem, a red cape dress, and a dress with a self cape in that eye print. Her styling mistake is chokers - made from each model's own hair.
Zac characterizes Justin's three looks as "chic" (the white), "too much" (the dress) and "wow" (the test tube gown). The judges like the 3D printed neck pieces as well. Heidi wants all of Alexandria's clothes, but Nina thinks the lack of color may make it "not show-worthy." Helen's is praised as "minimal yet feminine," but Heidi notes that the models look sad. They ask the girl in the blue dress if she can move her arms, and in response she flails around (only from the elbows down) in the funniest moment of the episode.
It's pretty clear from the judging that Helen is not going to make it. Indeed, she is out, and the other two are in.