Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy! It's time for Fashion Week! Or at least a whiff of Fashion Week, because it's part one of the finale so we're not all the way there yet, but at least we're close. Althea, Carol Hannah and Irina are getting ready to duke it out which should be all kinds of good TV, and I'm bracing myself for those tedious Very Special Home Visits we usually get subjected to, but hey, you've got to take some bitter with the sweet, I suppose. I'm hoping it will all be worth it because Irina will somehow make a horrible misstep and design total crap, though I know that's about as likely as Carrie Prejean doing a sex tape... hey now, wait a minute!

[Full recap of Thursday's (Nov. 12) "Project Runway" after the break...]

Anyway, there's no messing around in part one of this finale. Heidi is all smiles and congratulations to the final three now that Christopher and Gordana have been properly humiliated and sent home. Tim Gunn comes out to tell the lucky girls in his adorably avuncular way that he's very proud of them, and he's going to visit them soon in case there's any doubt that the show is going to go hella lot of crazy and mix things up with a NASCAR race instead. And then he and Heidi go boogie behind the white screen, which is somewhat disturbing because I don't like to think of Tim Gunn working his groove thing, at least not in one of those nice, crisp suits.
 
And because it's three girls in the finale, things get catty before anyone even catches a cab to the airport. Althea says she's going to forgive Irina for making jabs at her for stealing her sweater idea, but she's not going to forget it, which is what women who kill their husbands usually say on those Lifetime movies, so at least it fits the network. Irina says she can tell Althea and Carol Hannah are intimidated by her greatness, so she intends to run over them with a tank or some such crazyass nattering on.
 
Five weeks before Fashion Week, Tim Gunn jets off to visit Carol Hannah in Huntington, New York. Carol Hannah reveals her collection was inspired by Duke University, which is about as good as designing crap from the Getty, so more power to her. Tim isn't as excited about her pants as she is, but he thinks she's done some risk taking and some pushing. I'm surprised that Tim seems so bleh on her collection, because I kind of love it, especially once she ditches the capelet over the long gown at his suggestion.
 
But there's not a lot of time for fashion chit chat, because now it's time for Carol Hannah to “surprise” Tim by telling him her family has flown in to cook him a great big Southern dinner! And he has to help! Wow, this has never happened before! Tim puts on a little flowery apron which is so cute of him I could die. Then he makes biscuits, and I so want to be Tim's best friend right now.
 
Then, it's the usual tip toe through the photo album. Carol Hannah wore glasses. Carol Hannah had monkey arms. Carol Hannah found confidence by designing stuff. I like Carol Hannah. Then her dad says how determined she is and how much he loves her and Tim looks touched. Maybe this series is right for Lifetime after all!
 
Irina lives on the Upper East Side of Manhattan with a yippy, nasty little poodle named Princess. I am not surprised Her inspiration was Coney Island. Great, hope she makes a Shoot the Freak dress that smells like pee, sweat and unwashed children, that'll be swell. She's from Georgia, not the state, but the republic. And she doesn't have goofy pictures from her childhood, because she probably burned them.
 
She wants to do T-shirts. Horrible, awful, cheesy T-shirts. Tim thinks this is edgy. I think Tim has lost his friggin' mind. Tim doesn't love the fur she's using. He tells her it shouldn't look forced. She's disappointed, because she really wanted Tim to get down on his hands and knees and tell her she's a goddess. It's time for Tim to meet the parents and the friends at a restaurant, which is very New York but makes Carol Hannah's family look loads better. Irina reveals she has to achieve her parents' dreams, but she doesn't explain where she got her crap attitude and general hatefulness, as her family seems quite nice.
 
Finally, Tim's off to see Althea in Dayton, Ohio. Her inspiration came from sci-fi movies, which sounds pretty good when you remember Irina thinks a pee-stained beach with broken-ass carnival rides is muse material. Tim finds one outfit way too costume-y, but he thinks she's done some good work and tells her to edit, edit, edit. Tim isn't saying a whole lot of anything to anyone, I'm realizing.
 
Then, it's time for the family visit. Althea has cute kid pictures. Her mother got her a sewing machine in fifth grade. Her family loves her and it's all very heartwarming and fuzzy and has nothing at all to do with fashion.
 
Then, finally, some drama to cut through the sap. Ten days until Fashion Week and Tim is calling Irina. She can't use her Coney Island imagery, because it's trademarked. Irina is tired. She thinks she'll handpaint a Ferris wheel. I think Tim is saving her from her inner tacky self, because that Coney Island graphic was all kinds of ugly.
 
Then, it's time for everyone to check into the Grand Hyatt in Manhattan. Things are tense between Irina and Althea, but all smiles. Irina still likes everyone who was on the show, really! Because she's  had just enough time away from them to forget they all hate her. Irina and Althea are worried because Carol Hannah hasn't shown up and it's been, like, hours.
 
Tim comes to visit to tell the girls Carol Hannah has a stomach flu. And she needs to rest so she can resume the competition, which makes Althea's smile tighten up just a smidge because she was hoping Tim would say “and she's disqualified” but he doesn't.
 
The girls get champagne from Heidi. Tim proposes a toast to Carol Hannah, and Irina and Althea smile and choke down their bubbly through gritted teeth. Irina says she truly feels bad for Carol Hannah, then starts laughing. Yes, she is pure evil, just so you know.
 
Time for the work room! Carol Hannah finally arrives and immediately notices everyone seems a little disappointed she's shown up. Irina again says she feels really bad for Carol Hannah, because if she says it often enough, she thinks she might develop a form of empathy like what that these strange humans have. Maybe she should have done the sci fi collection instead of Althea.
 
Tim comes in to critique. He tells Althea one shirt is frumpy, another belt sucks and her stuff isn't cohesive. Oh, and one pair of pants looks borderline Hilary Clinton. Althea looks crushed. Irina notices Althea has knits and gets all bitchy about it. I think Althea is starting to have doubts about her collection. I think Althea might be in trouble.
 
Time for Carol Hannah's collection. Althea thinks Carol Hannah's designs aren't intimidating. Tim worries her collection isn't (let's say it all together!) cohesive.
 
Tim says Irina's collection is too much black. He thinks her finale dress looks precious on top, modern on the bottom. Althea thinks Irina's finale dress needs a hella lot of work. Irina is starting to psyche herself out. Yay, I see meltdowns coming in the workroom!
 
Time to pick models. Everyone seems happy with their models and their general lot in life. Until Michael Kors and Nina Garcia show up. Michael tells them he needs to see who they are as a designer. Nina says anything familiar should be taken out. Michael tells them they need to take the audience on a ride that goes down and up and down and up, which probably makes Carol Hannah want to throw up a little.  
 
Tim and Heidi come to visit and tell the girls they need to create a 13th look. But just as their little faces start to fall, he tells them they will have help from Logan, Christopher and Gordana. Althea picks Logan, Irina picks Jordana and Carol Hannah gets Christopher, and no one seems unhappy about it. After some sketching and some percolating self doubt, it's off to Mood.
 
Mood is, of course, Mood, and after that everyone cuts and sews and works very very hard. Finally it's time for the girls to go back to the hotel where Carol Hannah promptly starts throwing up. And not because Irina tried to be nice to everyone, although that certainly happened. Not that it seemed fake at all. Poor Carol Hannah. She's a trooper, though. I so hope she makes final two!
 
Oh boy, previews of next week. And it does not look good for Carol Hannah. I think she's the blond sobbing that she doesn't want to go this way (presumably with stomach flu?) and then we see Althea and Irina walking around with Carol Hannah nowhere in sight. Dammit, I'm so rooting for Carol Hannah, even if she's untrained and has an unfortunate crush in Logan. Then we see Althea crying and it's just looking like Meana Irina right into the winner's circle. Nooo!
 
 
Do you think Irina is going to win? Do you think Carol Hannah's stomach flu will get the best of her? And who got the better partner for their 13th design?