Last week on Hell’s Kitchen, a double elimination (FINALLY) cut the field down to Nona vs. Russell, NoNeck vs. Blondula in the battle for LA Market.
It has been a long season, as the announcer illustrates with a recap of all this season’s “personalities”. By personalities, of course I mean, mental illnesses. There was Sabrina, the sociopath, Trev the self-loathing cynic and of course Raj, the mentally challenged ADHD case.
In a thick field of inept and crazy, Ramsay has been able to narrow the field to two decent candidates, “Underdog vs. Mother Hen,” as the announces classifies it. Russell has been consistent, but aggressive and obnoxious. Nona was inconsistent at first, but has proven to have the “fight back” and the refined palate that Ramsay is looking for.
Now only the best of the terrible stand before him. Ramsay sends Nona and Russell back to the dorms tonight to work on their menus, when Hell’s Kitchen reopens it will be their restaurant.
They return to the dorms to a bottle of champagne. “Bring on the hookers,” Russell says. But the albino bad boy doesn’t get his wish, and instead spends most of the night alone in the dorm, writing his menu, with nothing to keep him company for the lingering undertones of Trev’s BO.
Nona is in the girls room putting together her southern masterpiece, she aims to make the menu “well flavored, Southern through and through.”
The next day Nona and Russell meet with Ramsay’s sous chefs to work out the ingredients, presentation and prep for their respective menus. After spending the day with polished professional chefs, they’ve locked in the menus that they’ll leave for their baboon ex-competitors to prepare in less than 36 hours.
If I ask for Shake and Bake, can Boris handle that?
For now Ramsay has called for both the finalist to meet him off-site. When they emerge from the SUV they’re a local air field ready to take a little jaunt with Ramsay.
… by helicopter.
Russell thinks they’re about to catch a curve ball, so when they get out of the SUV at an airport and receive news that they’ll be taking a tour of LA from a helicopter they’re excited, but not surprised. They are surprised when they pass over the JW Marriott hotel and see the rooftop full of people. Ramsay points to the on-going party and tells NoNeck and Blondula that’s the site of their next challenge.
“What? I thought we were just hanging out,” Nona whines, because nothing is better on prime time television than watching Blondula eye his most difficult (no-necked) prey.
They land the helicopter and Ramsay, taking a page from Richard Branson, has parachutes to hand to each of his finalists. They’re going to base jump to the challenge. Russell shits his pants as Ramsay says, “The parachute will open automatic.” Nona waddles to the edge of the building and she’s seconds from taking the jump…
“I have fight in me chef,” famous last words.
When Ramsay ruins the potential for a wonderful TV moment and tells the finalists he’s just kidding. With a racing pulse and full diaper, Russell descends the stairs with Nona and they head to their challenge.
Nothing like getting on stage after an “Oops, I crapped my pants moment”.
The finalists join Ramsay on stage where he announces that the final challenge will be one hour to create a five course meal to be judged on stage. One hour for a soup, salad, pasta, fish and meat dish — which is the new standard for an Olive Garden business lunch special — they race into the kitchen of LA Market and create their dish. As the hour ticks down, Nona finishes her contemporary Southern meal and Russell puts his last sweaty seconds into a classic menu with a Californian twist.
The dishes aren’t that interesting, and this segment is lacking Top Chef Masters cameos, but of course the judges are evenly split. Soup goes to Nona, salad goes to Russell. Pasta is won by Nona, fish is won by Russell… all the judges are established chefs and Russell is in awe. “It’s like cooking for Kobe then cooking for Lebron…” — one day he may cook for Kobe…’s latest conquest who is also a Denny’s hostess…
Russell has tied to competition 2-2, and getting sassy in confessional…
Why does he look like he’s competing in ‘Little Miss Hell’s Kitchen’?
For the final, tie breaking round, the judge is Kerry Simon, executive chef at LA Market and Gene Simmons stand-in.
KSim chooses Russell’s dish and Russell wins the challenge and an unspecified advantage.
Ramsay says he has one more little surprise for the finalists and then sends them back to HK. When they return to the dorms, the lights are out and they tip toe in…
They ignore the instinct that tells them to turn and run.
…and are SURPRISED! by the eliminated contestants hiding in the bedrooms.
I’d rather find Gary Busey hiding in my living room…
That gets Nona and Russell thinking about who they want and who they don’t on their teams… cough cough cough *Boris* cough.
They’re given a couple minutes to squawk like they actually missed each other before the phone rings and Ramsay calls them to the kitchen.
Once assembled downstairs, Ramsay has a moment to curse his luck for structuring the show with an “eliminated contestants return” element, it’s time to pick teams.
Personification of HERPES
Russell won the challenge so he can choose first, he takes Jillian, who I assume Nona would have chosen first if given the chance. Nona takes Gail instead. Next Russell wants to take Vinny, but Vinny doesn’t seem to interested in selling himself as a brilliant addition to the Blondula team. Vinny is pissed about his exit from the competition and would rather be impaled on Russell’s widow’s peak than have to help him win.
I would rather eat Raj’s cooking, than be on this set another minute.
Russell asks Vinny if he’s psyched up and Vinny shrugs, so Russell chooses the PetitJumpstreet. Nona takes Big Mel, Russell takes Sabrina and Nona takes Trev. Chef Blob and BorisBulldog are left – Russell chooses Rob and leaves Boris for Nona.
Nona says she has “a work horse of a team,” and she’s confident. She has a loyal team. Russell is also confident, “he’s not even going to look at the competition.”
I wouldn’t make eye contact with any member of this cast either.
The next day Red and Blue start to prep. Nona says she planned her menu in a simple way, not simple enough for Boris. She says he’s slow, “like mentally.”
Lesson 1: Fire. Hot.
In the blue kitchen Vinny is staring out into space and is about as excited to work for Russell as I am to sit through a 3 hour health insurance seminar. However the plate of cookies HR puts out is probably less likely to get me sick than having to eat an HK entree.
Blondula is always a lot of talk and tells Vinny to get the f*^& out of here if he’s not inspired to work for Russ. But as soon as Jumpstreet eyes the door Russell backtracks, “I want you to f^%$ing fire up.”
Life of the party.
Russell and Nona are summoned in front of Ramsay who gives them both new chef jackets, the finalists run and change and come down as the head chefs of their respective kitchens.
I hope those jackets came from Stark Industries…
“It’s go time,” Russell says as James opens the doors to Hell’s Kitchen. Nona’s Southern menu is feeding the red side as the classic menu is on blue.
The appetizers tickets come in. In the blue kitchen Vinny struggles with the scallops and on red Trev overdresses the salad. Russell starts screaming at Vinny as Nona takes a less obnoxious, but equally authoritarian stance and approaches Trev and says “Let’s talk about this.” Both kitchens now have appetizers going out. They’re neck and neck. Or neck and Noneck… bah-dum-dum.
Both kitchens are ready to start sending entrees. On blue, Ramsay discovers that NaughtyChef Sabrina has been adding stock to the pan when she’s supposed to be dry roasting the beef. Russell starts to whine and sweat as Sabrina makes excuses as to why she was “helping”.
I just care too much.
On her second attempt the meat is raw. Russell decides to switch Vinny and Sabrina. Ramsay thinks that it’s a prudent decision. Vinny gets the properly cooked beef to the pass.
Meanwhile Boris has brought raw halibut to the pass. Three times. He keeps telling Nona that he had it in the oven for four minutes.
After she’s told him five times its five minutes in the oven.
Trev jumps on the fish station and the two boneheads battle for control of the station. Nona jumps in and tells them both to shut up. Ramsay calls a time out to tell them all to get it together. The duo finally get a cooked piece of fish to the pass.
Looks like a 3-legged race to failure.
Meanwhile Blondula is so driven to stay ahead of the red kitchen that he calls two tables at once. Which is against protocol and sends up an alert to Ramsay. Gordo warns against it, but Russell get the food out… only for the food to come back because the beef is raw.
I at least wanted the butcher’s paper removed.
In the red kitchen Nona is trying to get a well cooked piece of beef out to her husband’s table. BigMel is on the beef station and she brings up raw beef. Mel thinks she’s better than the rookie mistakes she’s been making and pledges not to f’up again.
I can cook beef, or at least I can die trying.
Nona stays on her before she has enough time to cook all the filets in the red kitchen and repeat her last performance in Hell’s Kitchen.
Russell is pushing out entrees as fast as possible. Rob is trying to keep up the pace and has run out of tomato water. Russell gets aggravated with his brigade and gets up in Rob’s face and shoves him.
“I’m going to slap the shit out of you bitch,” he tells the camera, in reference to his poorly chosen teammate. Russell tells Jillian to hop onto Robs station, and Russ proves to Ramsay that he’s just a bully by continuing to bitch at Rob without contributing to the solution.
Both teams have plates coming out and they finish service. The two finalists are sent back to the dorms to wait for Ramsay’s decision. Gordo will review the customer comment cards, and take that feedback into consideration when making his decision.
Ramsay studies the cards, we know that because he sits at his desk with a pencil behind his ear. That is also his method when writing open letters to in-laws, critics and Mario Batali.
Then gets up and walks to the flame retardant wall to stare at their photos, Bachelor style…
On HK they burn the photos, on The Bachelor they’re sure to burn the sheets.
He has made his decision and he calls NoNeck and Blondula to his office. They enter and hear from Ramsay that their customers’ scores are very close, but he’s made his decision. They take their place at the two doors situated as multiple entrances to Ramsay’s office, which overlook the dining room. Then can also use this set for when The Cowntess arrives.
The winners door will open…
On three… 1-2-3… it’s NONA!
Russell is so broken up he doesn’t even look at Ramsay as Gordo tries to leave Russell with some parting words. Outside the office Nona comes downstairs to meet her husband and baby and the other contestants, most of whom seem happy to see her defeat the vamp’r.
When Russell makes it to the dining room, he hits the bottle and tells the camera that he’ll be blackballing every one of his team members, they made him lose.
I have to admit, seeing Nona win made me smile. I didn’t think she could beat Russell until Blondula performed his Britney-esque meltdown in the kitchen.
What do you think — did you think Russell could be defeated?