It's Thursday, and that means "Project Runway" is galloping back into our living rooms. Hopefully not on stilts, but you never know. Today's challenge is dressing Nina Garcia, and I really don't see her wearing stilts no matter how high heel trends go. 

Anyway, Heidi informs the designers of what we already know from last week's preview: they'll be designing a look for Nina. They are excited! They are terrified! They are excited and terrified! Do the designers ever get a challenge and say, "eh, this should be fine"? They always seem to collapse into Scarlett O'Hara faints and swoon for the cameras about the absolute shock and horror they feel about… designing an outfit each week. Yes, sometimes that outfit needs to be made with paper cups, but still, they don't really change up the show that much from season to season, people. 

Nina explains to our designers that she's going to be tough on everyone, because she hates everything. Well, not everything, but most things. Really, she should just have Tim Gunn design a little Liz Claiborne outfit for her, slap a wrist cuff on it and declare it good. But seriously, Nina seems like an ideal (if not pleasant) subject to design for, in that she clearly articulates what she likes (classics with an edge, streamlined looks) and hates (color, prints, volume, fun). 

Bryce, however, thinks hating volume screams cowl neck and loose, drape-y tops. Bryce may actually be learning disabled or, if he's lucky, deaf. But I'm going with plumb stupid. How is a cowl neck not volume? Bryce is circling the drain, I think. 

The designers get a half hour to sketch, then Nina levels her critiques. She likes Anya's outfit. She hates Bryce's cowl idea. Shocker! She hates Josh B.'s ideas. Kimberly wants to design a dress. Nina wants pants. Kimberly can't understand why no one will let her do a skirt! I'd say Kimberly should just be happy she's being recognized for doing something difficult very, very well. Nina declares Cecilia's look a little "Dynasty." Oof!

Before she goes, Nina tells Tim she doesn't want a runway covered with gray garments, and she doesn't want boring. Which almost guarantees someone will make something boring and gray. I don't know why that is, but I think some designers either subconsciously want to go home or they're involved with something else at that moment and think, hmmm, Tim said she wants gray and boring! 

At Mood, Becky and Anthony Ryan discover they're using the same fabric. Anthony Ryan thinks Becky is copying him. Anthony Ryan is a wee too impressed with himself. Cecilia discovers all her fabric is too expensive. Zoinks!

Back in the workroom, we discover it's just one big designer lovefest. Josh M. and Anya are buds. Julie and Cecilia are buds. Cecilia thinks Julie is a real artist and a great companion. I smell wedding! It is New York, after all. Just kidding, but hey, this is the first season when that could actually happen.

Nina returns to the workroom to see how everyone's doing. For the most part, she's not impressed. At. All. She hates Danielle's outfit. She hates Danielle's suggestions on how she can improve it. I think she might actually hate Danielle. But Danielle doesn't care. She feels confident. Danielle? You shouldn't. That is one mean, ugly green. What part of Nina hating bright colors didn't stick with you?

But I have to say, Nina is a rough critic (although, honestly, the time to get rough criticism is when you still have an opportunity to make changes). She hates Cecilia's fabric choice. She hates Anya's fabric choice, which is, admittedly, a baby poop colored print. She thinks Laura is going to make her look like a Christmas tree. She thinks Kimberly is going to make her look like a prisoner.

The good news is that Nina must like something she saw, because she reveals that the winning outfit will also be worn in an editorial inside Marie Claire

The designers get back to work or, in some cases, back to the drawing board. Josh M. suggests Anya dye her ugly fabric. Anthony helps her mix dye. I notice no one's suggesting the same thing to Cecilia. Is it that Anya asked for help or is it that Cecilia is generally disliked? I can't imagine telling people you're going to war with them with your mighty spear is a great way to make friends and influence people. Time for a mushy moment! Anthony Ryan Skypes his fiance, Matthew. They might get married in New York. It's all very cute and sweet and it's time to get back to work, people! How does Anthony Ryan have the time to Skype anyone?

Oh goodie, we've reached a point in the competition when designers feel perfectly comfortable saying crappy things behind their fellow designers' backs. Becky thinks Anya's lack of experience is going to show at some point and she's going to PAY. Becky is clearly jealous. Green, as we've learned throughout this episode, is not a flattering color, Becky! Kimberly thinks Viktor can give her a run for her money. Um, anyone can give you a run for your money, Kim if you're going to make that ugly blue pantsuit. 

Laura actually gives the make-up artist the best direction in the make-up room -- make her look like Nina. 

Cecilia, who has given up all hope of fixing her hideous dress, helps Julie sew her outfit. Laura helps Anya put together her outfit. Viktor thinks this is cheating. Viktor just wishes someone liked him enough to help him on something. 

Our judges are Michael Kors, Nina, Marie Claire editor-in-chief Joanna Coles and actress Kerry Washington. 

Josh M.

Color blocking. She looks like a waitress. It's a decent little shift, but isn't that a loud color? With gray? Nothing interesting here as far as actual design. The cut-outs in the back do nothing for me. 

Bert

A little black dress. The neckline seems a little plunging for day. I like the front slit. But Bert's right -- this won't photograph well. 

Olivier

Good pants. I like the jacket, too. Very elegant, and the monochrome palette will appeal to Nina, I'm sure.

Anthony Ryan

What's with the bunched up skirt? I don't think having the lightest part of the outfit running across the widest part of the person is a great idea, either. 

Becky

I actually like what Becky did more than Anthony's outfit. But neither one is particularly spectacular. Maybe they both should have kept looking for another fabric. 

Kimberly

Shocker -- I like this. It's much better that she did the gold top than the endless wall of blue. As usual, the pants are solid. I usually feel that Kimberly is pretty taste challenged, but this seems to work. 

Cecilia

How do you make a model look frumpy? Well, this is a start. I can't believe Cecilia just gave up and spent time helping Julie instead of doing something, ANYTHING, to salvage this. The neckline looks like she just pinned it on. She may be going home. 

Anya

Talk about a save. This looks so good with the dyed fabric! And Becky can suck it. Anya may not be a zippy seamstress, but she has great design sense. 

Danielle

This has to be the ugliest green Mood had to offer. The pants are fine. But the top is just obnoxious and yet exceedingly dull at the same time. It screams department store sales rack, housewife division.  

Julie

What's going on with the neckline? This looks horribly put together -- and she had help. This looks like she works in automotive repair. 

Bryce

The hem is a mess,  as Bryce admits, but it's not a bad dress otherwise.

Laura

Oh, wait, this is the other ugly green Mood had for sale. Too much is going on here. Either pick the design elements OR the disgusting color. It's just too busy.

Viktor

It's a sharp little dress. I like the shoulders and the neckline. But I think Bert's comments about black not photographing well are valid. 

Danielle, Kimberly, Anya, Viktor, Julie and Cecilia are called out. Everyone else gets a pass to next week. 

Viktor is first up. Nina thinks he did a great job. She likes that he made separates. Michael thinks it's very well-made. Kerry thinks the skirt is very youthful. Joanna thinks it's elegant and beautiful.

Next up, Julie. Nina does not like the open collar. It's not her favorite. Kerry doesn't understand it. Michael thinks it looks like a housecoat. Heidi thinks it doesn't look clean. Julie stands by her design. Why, Julie? Even you must be able to see it looks like a maid's uniform. Joanna says it's unwearable, and if Nina wore it to the office she'd assume she was there asking to be fired. I love Joanna. She's a little mean, which would be terrible in a boss but is great fun in a reality competition judge. 

Cecilia takes her turn. Michael thinks the colors are tough and it's not for Nina. Kerry doesn't think it could be worn to an office. Nina doesn't think it would survive 12 hours of her life and she doesn't understand why Cecilia didn't dye her fabric. Cecilia says she didn't have dye. Hmm, why did Anya have dye? Oh, yes. Anya has friends. Cecilia has… Julie. 

Kimberly talks up her outfit. Nina thinks it's great and she could easily wear it from day into night. Heidi loves it. Michael loves that she made separates. Joanna thinks it's a special top and it would make you feel great about doing your expense report. I don't think there's a top in the world that can do that, but nice try. 

Anya describes how she dyed her outfit. Nina is amazed by the transformation. Heidi loves it. Joanna likes the shape of it. Kerry thinks it's fun. Michael thinks it's beautifully tailored.

Danielle makes excuses for her outfit. Michael thinks it's very pedestrian and looks 80s. Nina admits she steered her into it, so I think Nina is going to give her a pass. Kerry thinks it's pretty but not for Nina. Joanna thinks it makes her model look depressed and if Nina wore it, she'd think she was ill. Me, too. 

Meanwhile, Viktor is pissed that Anya didn't confess she got help with the outfit. Really, Viktor? To his credit, he doesn't call her out on the runway. And while I will say that Anya will need to manage her time more effectively in the future and can't count on that happening again, she does have a vision and the design is hers. Every season at least a few designers help one another out, so I don't think Viktor can suddenly declare this cheating. 

The designers leave and the judges judge. They don't like Cecilia's attitude. Heidi tells Michael that, despite his constant assurances that Julie's a great designer, she's consistently delivered crap. So true! You tell 'im, Heidi! They love that Anya is so quick on her feet and that she dyed the fabric. I wonder how they'd feel knowing it was Josh M.'s suggestion. 

Nina declares the winner is… Kimberly. Viktor skulks off the runway. Anya is also in. Danielle is… in. 

It's down to Julie and Cecilia. I think Julie should go home, but it's probably Cecilia. Cecilia is… in. Wow. Julie is going home. 

Cecilia feels terrible, in that she would have given her space on the show to Julie, since Julie needs it more. Laura thinks Cecilia should have told the judges this. Laura, don't be a bitch! Cecilia tries to change the subject, but Laura keeps on prodding, suggesting that if Cecilia doesn't want to be on the show someone else could use her spot. Now I remember why I dislike Laura! Thanks, Laura! 

Julie is sad about going home, as she doesn't know where she's going to go now. I'm worried this means she literally has nowhere to go, and might be sleeping at the Amtrak station. I feel bad for her, but from a design perspective, her work was bad for three weeks and just seemed to be getting worse. But hey, there's always bar tending.

 

Kimberly goes to the Marie Claire offices to see Nina in her outfit. And let's just say it looked a lot better on the model. It looks a little… snug. But Nina seems happy, and that's all that matters, right?

Do you think Viktor has a point about Anya? How much should other designers help one another, and do they have to confess that to the judges? And why do you think Cecilia didn't dye her fabric?