If ever there was an indelible image of whimsy and hope, of all things good and jovial in this world, it was the one we saw last night. I am, of course, referring to a be-suited and be-helmeted Tim Gunn riding a tandem bicycle in Portland with mousy hipster Leanne. It just sends shivers of joy down my spine and a funny/sad lump to my throat. The semi-host of the fashion competition series consistently proves himself a national treasure. As for the rest of youse people on the show? Well, I'll get to you now, I guess. Our four self-satisfied semi-finalists were Jerrell, Leanne, Korto, and the nefarious Kenley—as strong a collection as this weak ass season could hope to assemble for the storied finale. Of course Heidi came hopping onto the runway and trilled like a Bavarian songbird that oops! there was one final challenge (which turned out to be a lie, but I'll get to that later). Yes, all four fools had to design a wedding dress for their collection, and it would be assessed upon their return to New York in two months to determine which of the four would get the boot, sending the other three to competition in Bryant Park. Everyone was kinder pissed off by the idea, but of course they had no choice. So off they went!, enormous suitcases bumbling behind them. And off our intrepid Tim sailed, as he does every season, to visit the finalists in their natural environs. First was Korto, who was working at a studio in the middle of a snake infested wood outside Little Rock. The idea of Tim Gunn in Arkansas is just... sort of beyond. But anyway! Her collection was fun and bright and "ethnic" and Tim was happy with it. He met her charming family and friends and little be-skirted daughter. Tim talking to little kids as if they were adults is also very fun. Next up was Leanne (I think, whatever), who mucked her way back to Portland, Oregon where she lives with her cute boyfriend and her cute tandem bicycle. So she showed Timbo her collection—soft, aquatic girly waves of things. It was pretty, though the wave motif was a bit literal. Tim seemed less enthused than I thought he would be, but then he and the animal took their charming velocipede adventure and they were the bestest of friends again. Then Jor-El who was in Los Angeles, his collection was garish and hideous and Tim met his nice family and Jor-El cried about his pop who is a truck driver and rarely home and it was a touching moment. But, again, the collection was urgly and poorly made for the usually tailor-savvy dude. Finally Tim trudged across the East river to some enclave of north Brooklyn where Kenley was holed up. What a cute apartment, Tim remarked. To which Kenley replied: "I know." Grr. She showed him her girlish, Katy Perry-esque collection of cutesy short poof dresses and it was just sort of... yeah, all right, figures. She also revealed that her grandmum was a 40's pinup which informs so much about her aesthetic. Then it was back to midtown and some awkward moments when everyone arrived at the swanky penthouse condo. Kenley, blasé and nasally as ever, weakly apologized for "being a bitch or whatever." The rest of 'em gamely accepted her truce and got to work on the business at hand. Which, hah, as it turned out involved another challenge. They had to make a bridesmaid dress to go with their wedding gown; those two looks would determine who went on to Bryant Park and who didn't (even though, um, everyone through Joe got to do a show there). But they all persevered and no one's was really a trainwreck and Michael Kors said Kenley's dress was the "cutest damn dress" he'd ever seen and they made Korto cry and then Jerrell was sent packin'. Honestly, it wasn't much of an episode. I'm sorry I can't be very funny about it; it's just... not much happened. It was conflict-free. The designs that we saw in full really weren't that bad. So... sigh. The really good moments came from Mr. Gunn, especially when he teared up and wished them all luck and urged them to work hard and said that he really did care about these four folks. You could tell he meant it and you just wanted to give him a big ol' hurrrg. So yeah, I feel kind of warm about this episode. The bicycle, the crying, the exciting spirit of wedding dresses and happy occasions (and sad ones too), and new chances and new beginnings, and the largeness and sprawl of our country and the loveliness and variety within it and all the different silhouettes and shapes of people who roam it, people who can sometimes, under the strangest of circumstances, tumble together and make something wonderful, and the thrill of coming to New York and the thrill of leaving New York, and bursts of creativity and passion and the bittersweet joy of what it means to be fully alive—arms open, heart racing, chasing down big dreams alive. Which I guess, at its red satin core, is what the show is all about. That and the Saturn family of cars. What fine automobiles.