Project Runway Season Twelve, Finale, Part One: Do Decoys Dream of Electric Runways?
|This is a leitmotif. Or maybe it's just an eye. Either way, it's gross.|
Early in the 21st Century, the Project Runway Corporation advanced robot evolution into the Nexus phase -- a designer virtually identical to a human -- known as a Decoy. The Nexus 6 Decoys were superior in strength and agility, and at least equal in intelligence, to the genetic engineers who created them. Decoys were used Off-world as slave labor, in the hazardous exploration and accessorizing of other planets. After a bloody mutiny by a Nexus 6 combat team in an Off-world colony, Decoys were declared illegal on earth. Special fashion police squads -- Blade Runner Units -- had orders to stop, upon detection, any trespassing Decoys. This was not called execution. It was called elimination.
New York, November 2019
|This week, at Parsons|
Tim Gunn, the most decorated member of the Blade Runner Unit, has been taken out of retirement because the chief of the fashion police has an important assignment for him.
Chief: “Tim, I need you back. Some Decoys have escaped from the Off-world colony of Parsons and we fear they will try to show at Fashion Week.”
Tim: “How embarrassing for you.”
Chief: “No. Not embarrassing, because nobody will ever know they were here. Their collections won’t show up in the finale. Your job will be to hunt them down and determine which designers are really Decoys. Will you do it?”
Tim: “Do I have any choice?”
Tim: “Alright. Give me the details.”
Chief: “Five Decoys escaped. One of them -- Ken -- got fried trying to run through an electrical field, but the rest are attempting to create final collections.”
Tim: “Well, I don’t get it. Why risk detection by trying to show a collection at Fashion Week?”
Chief: “That’s what we were hoping you could find out.”
So fashion police detective and amateur origami artist Edward James Olmos flies Tim around the country searching for these Decoys.
|Tim and Edward James Olmos making home visits|
After discovering and eliminating Jeremy and Alexander, he visits Dom in Philadelphia:
Dom: “2019 is awesome! I’m totally digging this retro-futurist world we live in! And I love your flying Delorean!”
Tim: “Oh, get serious, Dom! You're thinking of Back to the Future. This is reality. I drive a 2019 Toyota Prius; it’s just like the original Prius, except it’s 100% electric. And, obviously, it flies.”
|The 2019 Toyota Prius|
Dom shows Tim her beautiful prints and he tells her to use more knits in her collection. He determines that she is not a Decoy.
But he finds a clue in her bathtub. It looks like a fish scale. He has it analyzed by the oldest street vendor he could find in Chinatown, because that’s how detectives work in 2019.
Street Vendor: “I think it was manufactured. Look: finest quality, superior workmanship. There is a maker’s serial number. Interesting. Not a fish scale. It is a plastic test tube. Try Justin. He’s making a gown out of these.”
Tim visits Justin and he likes the test tube dress and the 3-D printed accessories and he determines Justin is not a Decoy.
|Justin is inspired by his journey from silence to sound|
Tim excuses himself because he’s just been informed that there may be Decoys at the Bradbury Building in Los Angeles, where Bradon lives with his fiance and their pet owl.
Bradon: “I’m totally excited by crocuses.”
Tim: “That’s the silliest thing I’ve ever heard anyone say. That proves you are not a Decoy. See you at Fashion Week.”
In the next scene, Tim has a bloody lip and forehead. What happened?!
|Ooh, that looks bad|
Tim: “Oh, it was just a silly accident. I fell on the stairs in the subway. Clumsy me.”
Be honest with me, Tim. What really happened?
Tim: “Fine. Daryl Hannah beat the crap out of me.”
|Daryl Hannah wearing Alexandria's neo-punk look|
That’s what I thought. Well, I’m glad you’re willing to go on with the mission. Your next stop is a visit to Alexandria at her sweatshop.
Alexandria: “Don’t worry. I don’t use illegal robots to manufacture my clothes. I use adorable children.”
Tim: “Well, I think that’s the best use for them. Carry on.”
Alexandria tells Tim to go to a nightclub owned by Taffy Lewis, where he finds Kate working as an exotic dancer. He decides she’s a Decoy and he chases her out onto the street. Kate asks why it has to end this way:
|Kate wasn't ready to be eliminated|
Tim: “What seems to be the problem?”
Tim: “Time? That’s a little out of my jurisdiction.”
Kate: “I wanted more time on Project Runway.”
Tim: “Ah, the facts of life. To make an alteration in the evolution of an organic life system is fatal. A coding sequence cannot be revised once it’s been established. By the second runway day of incubation, any cells that have undergone reversion mutations give rise to revertant colonies like rats leaving a sinking ship. Then the ship sinks.”
Kate: “What about EMS recombination? Or a repressive protein that blocks the operating cells?”
Tim: “We’ve already tried ethyl methane sulfonate as an alkylating agent on a potent mutagen. It created a virus so lethal the designer was eliminated before he even left the runway. And a repressive protein wouldn’t obstruct replication, but it does give rise to an error in replication so that the newly formed DNA strand carries the mutation and you’ve got a virus again. But all of this is academic. You were made as well as we could make you.”
Kate: “But not to last.”
Tim: “The light that burns twice as bright burns half as long. And you have burned so very, very brightly, Kate.”
Kate: “I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. C-beams glittering in the darkness at Tannhauser Gate. Michael Kors trying on all the shoes on the Belk accessory wall. All those moments will be lost in time like tears in the rain. I know I’ve done questionable things.”
Tim: “Also extraordinary things. Revel in the time you had, Kate!
There is only one more Decoy out there. It’s the most difficult assignment of all.
|Tim: "I'm getting too old for this shit!"|
Finally, Tim gets a lead that sends him to L.A. Eyeworks, a company that creates fashionable eyeglasses and genetically engineered frozen eyeballs. The eyeball is obviously a clue. He visits Helen in New Jersey and it turns out she has used an iris for her main print and she thinks it looks good. Tim administers the Decoy test:
|This could take a while|
Helen: “Tim, can I ask you a personal question?”
Helen: “Have you ever eliminated a real designer by mistake?”
Helen: “But in your position that is a risk, isn’t it? Is this to be an empathy test? Capillary dilation of the so-called blush response? Fluctuation of the pupil? Involuntary dilation of the iris?”
Tim: “We call it the Voight-Kampff for short. You’re walking in the desert...”
Helen: “What desert?”
Tim: “It doesn’t matter. It’s completely hypothetical. So you’re walking in the desert and you see a tortoise...”
Helen: “What’s that?”
Tim: “You know what a turtle is? It’s the same thing.”
Helen: “I’ve never seen a turtle because by 2019 most animals are extinct and also I’ve been trapped at Parsons for most of my life. But I know what you mean.”
Tim: “The tortoise is on its back and it can’t flip itself over. What do you do?”
Helen: “Do you make up these questions, Tim?”
Tim: “It’s science. Just answer the questions.”
Helen: “I’m going to be in the finale and I’m going to win this season of Project Runway.”
|Helen had a little issue with the shoulders|
Tim leaved Helen and talks to the judges:
Tim: “My God! Helen doesn’t know! She doesn’t know that she’s a Decoy! How is that possible?”
Judges: “Commerce is our goal here at Project Runway. More human than human is our motto. Helen is an experiment, nothing more. After all, these designers are emotionally inexperienced, with only a few weeks in which to store up the experiences which seasoned professionals like you and I take for granted. If we gift them the past we create a cushion or pillow for their emotions and consequently we can control them better.”
Tim: “Memories. You’re talking about memories.”
Judges: “Yes, she has memories of creating a final collection because we implanted those memories.”
So Helen is the final Decoy. But Tim has grown too fond of her. He sneaks her out of Parsons and they escape north to safety.
Edward James Olmos: “Too bad she won’t make it to the finale. But, then again, who does?”
Tim picks up an origami unicorn that Edward James Olmos has left on the floor:
Tim: “What the hell? Is he trying to tell me that all those memories of Timothy and his stupid unicorns were implanted in my brain? That this season didn’t really happen? That my whole life has been a lie? And what does it actually mean to be human, anyway? Are we all really just Decoys?”
Tune in next week for the finale, when those and many other questions won’t be answered.