amanda valentine project runway workroom Rome, home, then the runway: Crunch time for 'Project Runway's' final designers

The episode before Fashion Week is always a tough one for “Project Runway.” It tends not to know what to do when simply killing time before the grand finale, losing focus on any particular subject and instead bouncing between the contestants and their false-sounding assertions of confidence. 

Sending the final four designers and Tim to Rome before they go home to plan and execute their final collections is an interesting choice. On the one hand, they get the unique opportunity to buy Italian fabrics for their collection if they so choose. On the other, none of them have planned out a collection piece by piece at this point and spending a lot of money on fabrics they would then basically be forced to incorporate has the air of irresponsibility. 
So of course Amanda spends the most money, which she starts to regret before they even leave the store. She may not be the designer with the most promise left in the competition but she definitely thinks she is, and spending more than a thousand dollars before thinking about what it will turn into is a move that reeks of blind confidence in yourself. It works out for her in the end but she is noticeably nervous ringing her purchases up in the store. 

Thank Goodness for Tim addressing the elephant in the room (aka “How is Char still here?”) when he asks her how it feels to be the only one that never won a challenge. Her response is measured but is also dripping with concern about her place in the game even if she doesn’t outright admit it.  Tim defends his decision to save her ably, but doesn’t even sound fully convinced with his own explanation. 
Most of the visits to their homes and studios are about what can be expected from each of the designers. None of their aesthetics changed between the time they left for home and Tim’s visit and each collection is in approximately the same state of completely. Even Char looks like she has a fighting chance to surprise the judges based on what she presents to Tim. 
The only real worry is Sean, who may be overthinking things by forcing together two distinct styles into one collection. He also openly invites the wrath of Nina by using fringe which is bold and hilarious. It also will assuredly work out the exact opposite of the way he hopes. 
One of the most telling things about this season is made obvious when the designers are back together in the workroom with their collections. Even though they all have comments on everyone else’s work, no one is rude or judgmental about the work, proving this season ends without a villain in the final for the first time in at least a few seasons. Amanda never developed into the drama factory the show tried to make her and everyone else is more or less toothless. 
The much-fretted over preview for the judges could be beneficial for all of the designers in various ways, but it doesn’t seem as if anybody is keen on listening to a lot of feedback. As expected, Nina shoots down the amount of fringe Sean has in his collection. More unexpectedly, the judges go at Kini hard in a way he probably wasn’t expecting based on what he sent down the runway for critiques. The garments each designer sends out does prove that they all at least have a cohesive idea of what they want to come across from their collections, even if that desire might not pan out in the long run. 
Who do you think will take home the crown? Are you worried about any of the designers heading into the home stretch of the season? Let us know in the comments! 
Posted by:Whitney McIntosh