We were THIS close to a Gretchen-versus-Mondo-level judging catastrophe. But alas, all is right in the Runway world.

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October 28, 2011 at 05:30 AM EDT

After the crapfest that was last week’s competition, in which pretty much nobody was a winner yet no one lost, the four remaining designers — why there’s not three of them, heaven only knows — have $500 and a couple of days to whip their collections into shape before Mercedes Benz Fashion Week. Anya has so much work left to do after the previous night’s judging that it seems almost impossible that she can pull out one of her miracle wins. Kimberly and Joshua’s mini-collections also underwhelmed, even if the judges weren’t as hard on them as they could have been.

Tim swoops in after the judging and acts like the indulgent, “good cop” parent who undoes all the hard work that the “bad cop” disciplinarian parent has done. If the designers are toilet-training babies, Tim basically let them poop their diapers one last time, even after Heidi, Michael, and Nina spent all night teaching them to use the kiddie toilet. Tim pretty much tells them that their designs were perfect no matter what anyone says. Except for Anya’s. Hers were garbage.

But never count out this scrappy beauty queen with the half-shaven head. She’s like that girl in college who doesn’t start a term paper until 2 a.m. the morning it’s due and distracts you from writing your own by instant-messaging you all night. Then she ends up getting the A, and you get a B–. She can pull out the win at the last second, leaving everyone else infuriated. During the last-minute Mood run, she employs the perfect strategy for her: She pulls fabrics from the racks at whim, giving no thought to strategy or those pesky “shapes.” Alas, the judges end up LOVING her fabrics. Of course!

Meanwhile, Joshua has completely let the (undeservedly) positive judging from last week go straight to his head. Suddenly, he’s the Queen of Styling, and it’s his competition to lose — until the cloud of Fashion Week hangs too heavily over him, and he dissolves into a blubbering, face-fanning mess who just got “tackled” by a 58-year-old “linebacker” named Tim Gunn. Of all people, Anya, the recipient of Josh’s jealous glares and unadulterated Haterade all season, comes to the rescue. Awww, Anya really is a sweet person, even if she can’t make a damn sleeve.

Viktor, who so badly wants to be known as the catchphrase generator this season, leaves us with a gem worth cherishing. “Oh my Lord of the RING” is neither timely nor original, but it’s so Viktor. I also loved “You gotta stir the motorcycle. You cannot let go cuz that bitch WILL fall down.” (Okay, I added “that bitch”). Because it’s the finale and we’re feeling generous, Viktor, you get the Christian Siriano catchphrase seal of approval! Congrats, you Fierce Tranny Hot Mess!

NEXT: Maybe it’s the all-important styling, maybe it’s the lighting, but some outfits that stank up the runway last week look pretty good under the Mercedes Benz big top.

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Karlie Kloss and Christian Siriano guide undiscovered designers through the harrowing rites of fashion.
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Eli Holzman
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