Barbara Nitke

The final four designers prepare their 10-look collections

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December 16, 2016 at 04:36 PM EST

Welcome to the filler episode of season 15! In the finale’s first half, the designers took their time working on their collections, having flashbacks of their season, and hanging out with Tim Gunn and their family and friends. Then they had to pick up the pace when they headed back to New York to show their collection and do one final last-minute challenge. Wait, what? No last-minute challenge, you say? This season just keeps surprising me.

Although the episode wasn’t the most thrilling, it was kind of nice to let the designers spend time on their 10 looks and not have to worry about a throwaway last-minute design. With the judges giving tough critiques to all four of them, the designers can definitely use the extra time.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s talk about the episode first.

Heidi tells the designers they’ll have six weeks and $9,000 to create a 10-look collection. They all head home and get to work. Well, let’s be honest, they all probably slept for about 24 hours straight and then got to work.

With only two weeks left until New York Fashion Week, Tim heads to L.A. to check on Laurence. She tells him her collection is about the story of her life, how there’s light at the end of the tunnel. Similarly, her collection begins with dark and finishes light. She tells her touching story to Tim, who tears up along with her (okay, and me, too, even though we’ve heard her story).

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Looking through the collection, Tim can’t believe there’s no black. There’s lots of white — who is this designer?? Tim’s “wildly enthusiastic” about it and has no worries she’ll finish in time.

Then, Tim takes a short trip across L.A. to go to a bowling alley to meet Rik, his mom, Delia, and cousin, Mayra. I have no idea why they picked this location, but I love seeing Tim Gunn in a bowling alley.

Rik and Tim go to his studio, where he shows his paisley-on-denim looks…and his leather looks…and his black-and-white print looks. Tim tells him there are at least three collections there and one woman wouldn’t wear all of it. Rik is obviously freaked out about making this cohesive in time.

Someone who’s not freaked out about time? Erin. Tim goes to see her in Boston with only 10 days left and she doesn’t have a single garment to show him. Honestly, why is Tim shocked by this? That’s our girl Erin — saving everything until the last minute. She has lots of textiles, fabrications, and ideas to show him, though. Tim calls it a “fashion cacophony”; he likes how she’s breaking the rules.

Shortly after, Tim heads back to New York to meet up with Roberi. His collection is based on travel, so he has different pieces from different moments from different places. Tim says that’s an excuse to have a collection packed with too much stuff. Roberi isn’t too worried, though.

Once they’re all back in New York, they unpack their looks and prepare to show three designs to the judges. Every time Tim walked into the workroom, I was sure he was going to spring another challenge on them, but they were able to focus on just those three looks instead.

NEXT: No sleep till runway

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