Project Runway: Return of the Mack

One day, you're in. The next day, you're out. Then maybe you're back in -- unless you decided to throw yourself out. Then you can't get back in, but someone who was out is now in. Somewhere, there's a blonde barking in German. Tears, so many tears. No day but today, and so forth.

Runway rubberneckers, this is the episode you've been waiting for.

So much happens this week, and while it doesn't unfold with quite the blatant hysteria that the previews suggest, it's still epic. We begin on a somber note, with the remaining six contestants mourning the departure of effervescent Anthony, whose pink slip for the textile challenge last week seemed pretty hollerin' unfair. In a bit of forced foreshadowing (keep in mind, most Runway episodes cover one-day challenges, so any example of prophetic statements come, like, five minutes prior to the actual explosion), Maya talks about how she feels overwhelmed and very young, at the ripe age of 21.

Heidi Klum announces the challenge: to create a look for a "difficult" celebrity. This turns out to be...Heidi. Never mind that the designers already designed garments for Heidi; Anthony won, and his sky-blue cocktail dress currently drapes Klum's shoulders on the cover of Marie Claire.

During the 30-minute sketching process, Maya is noticeably absent; she returns with Tim and announces that she has decided to leave the competition because she doesn't feel ready for it. This cuts to clips of Nina Garcia calling her "very referential" and, minutes prior, Tim beseeching Maya to stay for just one more challenge. But she refuses, packs her scissors, and cuts herself out of the running.

We're inclined to side with Emilio on this one. "That's a cop-out," he says. "Say, 'I'm gonna design my ultimate dress, and let them kick me out.'" Seth Aaron then tells everyone at home to "fuck off" because if we don't understand the pressure, well, it's harder in the Runway room than we'll ever know. Which is, in itself, a cop-out, because most of us watching never busted our tails to be there in the first place. We suspected as much about Maya's resolve, though; of the endless ringers at the Bryant Park finale show, Maya was the only one of the top 10 contestants not to show.

So Maya's gone. Hope she finds her voice and her confidence. In her place glides back...Anthony! A more than acceptable trade-off, given the delight of the other contestants (and us). He has an even tighter time crunch than the rest, though, but is stunningly serene: "This time around, the one person I need to impress is myself," he explains.

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