It’s down to the final six on Hell’s Kitchen, and the last episode to pit team against team. Despite the web of self-serving lies Elise spun around Tommy, Gordon allowed her to stay, and sent Natalie home. Now he’s faced with the task of eliminating the final extraneous contestant in order to form the ultimate quintet of quasi-useful kitchen help. Considering his options, he’ll probably have to resort to choosing the lesser of six evils, rather than the top five.
FYI, BLT Steak, you’re essentially screwed.
Since she realizes how fortunate she was in managing to slither past elimination yet again, Elise vows to move on and put her best foot forward in the morning. As she was climbing into bed, I caught a glimpse of her feet, and I don’t want to judge, but they bore a suspicious resemblance to demonic, cloven hooves. She may sound all humble and determined to make nice, but I’m betting all that will be forgotten come morning, and she’ll continue to make life a living Hell for her teammates, the other team, and the production crew in general. Sorry if that sounds negative, but this girl has given me no reason to believe she even has a best foot, much less one that moves forward.
The remaining cast members gather bright and early the next morning, starting the day off right with tension and cigarettes. Elizabeth vows she won’t get frazzled or possessed by zombies again, which means I can start my countdown clock to her impending meltdown. Jennifer says Elizabeth has a track record of panicking, which can’t be happening at this stage. She also has a track record of stupidity, but that’s not really enough to stand out in a crowd like this one.
Astrophysics is HARD!
They amble into the dining room to meet with Gordon, who somehow always manages to look exactly the same, regardless of the hour. Has anyone else noticed that? Maybe they keep him propped in freezer, trotting him out for the cameras and storing him away at the end of the night, Fratelli-style. Anyway, he informs the teams that the morning challenge will test their time management skills. Each team will make three dishes: one chef will make a 30-minute entree, one will make a 20-minute entree, and one will make a 10-minute entree. All dishes must be presented together at, precisely the 30-minute mark. Jennifer’s headache, which had slacked off during the night, promptly returns.
The boys huddle up, and Paul informs us that they assigned Tommy the 30-minute dish because “Tommy is more of a thinker.” Well damn, Paul, I guess you nailed it! I mean, if ever there existed, in the fabric of this universe, the single word one would instinctively belch out to describe a specimen such as Tommy, “thinker” is definitely it! Will takes the 10-minute challenge, and Paul is left in the middle. They sort all that crap out on the Red team as well, and the challenge begins.
Tommy and Jennifer get moving on the first dishes, and immediately Elise and Elizabeth start hounding Jennifer about the contents of the kitchen. I can see their logic, inasmuch as knowing what they have to work with would be useful in planning their entrees. Problem with that is that Jennifer is trying to focus on her own dish, and doesn’t really have time to fill out an inventory form. She’s starting to get irritated and distracted, while over in the Blue kitchen, Will and Paul are yelling at Tommy. Instead of asking him questions, they’re shouting instructions, but since Tommy never listens anyway, it doesn’t seem to bother him.
Elizabeth and Paul run in to start their entrees, then are joined by Will and Elise. With three minutes left, Jennifer discovers her lamb is underdone. Elise immediately yells at her to get it into a pan, and tells us that at this point in the game you need to be able to cook a dish. I totally agree, Elise. Why don’t you demonstrate the appropriate level of ability by presenting us with a perfect beef Wellington, you mouthy bitch?
Someone, someday, is just going to swing a two-by-four at this.
As the final two minutes tick away, Jennifer is frantically trying to coax her lamb to an edible temperature, and when everyone presents their plates, she just looks miserable and defeated. It appears the headache is back with a vengeance, especially when she sees Tommy has also prepared lamb. Gordon gives the accompanying egg a dubious side-eye, and Paul slaps his own forehead at Tommy’s apparent stupidity. Paul is not a subtle and supportive teammate. Tommy has the last laugh, however, because Gordon likes the dish, and says the lamb has a great sear on it. He also appreciates Tommy’s pairing of the lamb with a quail egg, which he himself had never thought of. This is why Tommy is still around, for those of you keeping track–even though most of his time is spent daydreaming in Tommyland, or wandering around in a haze of cigarette smoke and auditory hallucinations, he always manages to pull something successful out of his ass when the chips are down.
When Gordon asks Jennifer to describe her dish, she flat out tells him that it’s the worst dish she ever made in her life. He seems astounded, wondering how she managed to screw up a dish she had half an hour to cook, and probably wondering where all this melodrama is coming from, since Jennifer has been pretty quiet all season. Maybe she’s just been drowned out by Carrie and Elise. He then he cuts into…lamb that’s an acceptable shade of pink, and delicious to boot. So all her stress and hyperbole was for naught, especially since she won the point.
Paul presents a pan-roasted sea bass, which Gordon says is cooked well and has finesse, though the reduction is watery. Paul toots his own horn, informing us that he’s the biggest of big deals. He seems to be doing that a lot the past couple episodes–letting us know just how awesome he is. Sorry dude, but you’ll have to whip out something a bit more impressive than some watery-ass fish before I’ll jump on the official Paul Is Hot Shit bandwagon. Elizabeth pits her monkfish with couscous against the bass, saying her dish might have a “French or Mediterranean” feel. At least it’s not Hawaiian. Gordon says she nailed the monkfish, but her couscous is bland. Point to the Blue team.
And oh shit, folks, it’s all tied up! The final point and the win is down to Elise vs. Will. For once you can see Elise is really sweating it. She must have just realized there’s no one to pin the blame on if she loses. I mean, sure, there’s always the option of passing the team failure off on Elizabeth, since she failed to earn a point, but Elise’s personal failure is on her. I mean, Tommy wasn’t anywhere near her kitchen with his scoring knife, so there’s that cover blown.
Will presents lemony seared prawns, and informs us that everyone should consider him the biggest threat. Wow. Nothing like a humble man to dampen the sofa cushions, right girls? Gordon loves the shrimp, but says the vegetables have too much garlic and are overpowering the dish. Elise throws down some spicy calamari, and Gordon likes the flavor, but the calamari is undercooked! Will gets the point, despite his garlic issues, and the Blue team wins. Failure Loserface Elise immediately starts sniveling, and Gordon points this out to everyone. Under normal circumstances, I’d consider the open mockery of a woman’s tears to be cruel, but it’s Elise, so it’s funny. Yes, I am an asshole when it comes to her, and I highly doubt I’m alone in that.
Gordon sends the Blue team on a shopping spree, and they head off to a limo. Jennifer is grouchy because she loves shopping, and is rendered even grouchier when the Red team is tasked with reorganizing the dining room. Gordon announces that Hell’s Kitchen will host a very exclusive black tie charity event, with only two tables of 12 and a six course menu. It is a very important, high-end dinner, which means they will fuck it up somehow. He tells Elise to stop crying and bounce back.
The boys leave to get drunk and act classy in the limo, cruising to Rodeo Drive, which they pronounce as if it’s crawling with clowns and livestock. Meanwhile, the banquet table is too heavy for Elise and Elizabeth, which means they slack off and complain while Jennifer yells at them. In the store, they discuss Tommy’s stylish leather vest, which he apparently lives in, and there’s some metrosexual pontification concerning how Paul’s mauve shirt enhances the color of his eyes. I wish I’d made that up, but I didn’t. Then Tommy, under guise of shopping for his barely legal lady friend, eyeballs the salesgirl, who suggests that he select a size 1 dress as a gift, basing the estimate off Tommy’s assertion that his girlfriend looks like a stacked version of the salesgirl’s own size 0 body. Oh dear. This could play out one of two ways: either the girlfriend is smaller than a 1, and it’ll look like he thinks she’s fatter than she is; or she’s larger than a 1, and it’ll look like old Tommy was doing some wishful thinking. Either way means no beej in Tommyland. It’s sweet that he thought of his girl, though, especially since Will’s wife didn’t get squat beyond a passing mention. The woman buys and launders your foul undershorts, you fucking ingrate–the least you could do is pick her out a nice scarf.
In the dining room, the table arranging seems to be going nicely, until Elise starts micromanaging the candle placement. Her nitpicking is pissing off Jennifer, but then again I think by this point the sound of Elise taking in oxygen is pissing off Jennifer. The men return, and Tommy presents them with a handkerchief to wipe away their loser tears. Bahahahaha!
They begin the preparations for the dinner, and we learn each chef will be personally responsible for two courses of the six course meal. Elise calls a team meeting, outlining her plan for the kitchen. When Elizabeth mentions that she needs to be working on her chicken instead of helping with something else, Elise revs the nasty engine, like we’ve all been waiting for her to do. I’d been thinking this episode had sort of an eerie, quiet vibe to it, and now I realize what was missing: Elise’s cloven hoof! She barks at Elizabeth, and instead of rolling over, Elizabeth barks back. This leads Elise to blame her teammates for the fact that she’s never been a team player. Finally, she’s making sense again!
Right before the event, Gordon, who sounds much more stressed than I’ve ever heard him, reiterates that this is one of the most important dinner services ever, and that it will be the deciding factor in who gets the black jackets. They all act like this is big news, but didn’t they know that already? James throws wide the doors, admitting an elite group of filthy rich guests who have descended from their respective hilltop mansions to congratulate each other on donating more than $3 million to the American Humane Association and the American Cancer Society. WHAT NOW HOW MUCH?? For that amount of money, that dinner’d better include a special seventh course, complete with happy ending. Good thing we know these chefs can toss a mean salad.
Will, you’re on garnish detail. Paul, blow jobs.
Gordon tells Elizabeth it’s her moment to shine, and they start service. How many minutes until Elise starts usurping the kitchen? Elizabeth says that the presence of the diners is taking her efforts to a whole new level, which I guess means she tries harder to please rich people. I wonder if Gordon will scream his usual blue streak before a well-heeled group like this?
Paul is put in charge of the Blue kitchen to start, and as they send out their scallops, Gordon calls them on sloppy plates and over-watery salad dressing. Paul immediately screams at Tommy, and we see the rich people jump, their peaceful, diamond-crusted bubbles pierced and invaded by the howls of the working class.
In the Red kitchen, Elizabeth is starting to fold under pressure, so Jennifer takes over, and Elise lets us know that Elizabeth sucks and that she and Jennifer have to do everything. Gordon whisper-yells at Elizabeth, and she says she’ll step it up, but doesn’t. Elise takes over and they send out perfect risotto. Meanwhile, Tommy’s risotto has sparked a yelling fit from Will, and Tommy tells him to back off, that his risotto will be fine, thank you. But Gordon says the three pans of risotto have three different flavors, and Will jumps in to save the day.
“I could kill you myself, but not in front of the money.”
Jennifer is ready with the capellini, but the zombies seem to have returned and busted into the kitchen, because Elizabeth is slipping back into her own little world. To complicate matters, our very own shining example, Elise, is fumbling around. By this point, Jennifer is debating which one of them is the biggest waste of space. Personally, I think it’s a draw, depending on the exact happenings of any given moment, but I can tell you which one is the biggest pain in my ass. Elise says the capellini looks good to go, and since it actually looks like shit, Gordon mocks her and points out the sloppy sauce and uneven lobster distribution. He throws a fit, disturbing the wealthy once again, and Jennifer accuses the other two of trying to sabotage her. Elise says she’s messing up badly enough on her own, then Miss Self-Starter-Take-Charge herself proceeds to stand around waiting for instructions. Jennifer instructs her to get the hell out of the way.
These hands want so badly to start the smackin.
Will is leading the Blue kitchen to success, and after harvesting and milling the wheat, forming the noodles, and boiling them in carefully collected elven teardrops, the Red kitchen FINALLY sends their pasta out. Paul starts driving on the chicken course, and it appears Elizabeth already done drove that bitch, because her chicken is finished, sitting around waiting for a course that hasn’t started yet. Gordon tells her she cooked it too early, and she keeps explaining to him over and over that she wanted to give it a chance to rest. He yells at her that it’s perfect at the moment, and it doesn’t need to rest, but goddamn it, the diners are still eating the capellini. He’s not getting through to her at all, because she just keeps opening her mouth and exhaling the same useless words. He almost takes a crap right there, but manages to hold it in. After some recooking, the chicken goes out at long last, from both kitchens.
In a beautiful twist on last week’s main dramatic protein-based catalyst, Elise is in charge of the lamb Wellingtons. She doesn’t trust anyone else to breathe near them, and instructs Jennifer to work on the side dishes. Since Elizabeth can’t be trusted at all by this point, Elise instructs her to heat the sauce and stir the potatoes, safe in the knowledge that there’s no way she can screw that up. Right? In the Blue kitchen, Paul and Will are at the mercy of Tommy’s blank stare. He’s supposed to be driving the course, but is just standing there not talking to anyone. Gordon screams at him to get it together and lead the team, and we viewers bear witness as a fire sparks in Tommy’s belly. He starts firing orders at Paul and Will, who just stand there in shock for a moment, then roll into action. Tommy reassures us that he’s not as stupid as we think he is, and then proves it by rocking the faces off the Wellingtons and redeeming himself in the eyes of Gordon. I mean, he may still be plenty stupid, but at least he’s smart enough to know we’ve noticed.
Three million dollars worth of salad.
Elise is driving the Red kitchen, and feels all is going well, until Gordon calls everything to a halt and makes them all come over and taste the unsalted potatoes. Then he asks Elise why she’s ruining the course on a night like tonight. Elise instantly accuses Elizabeth and Jennifer or trying to sabotage her. Gordon is just gaping at her. I know he’s had an ass full of her at this point. Jennifer wants to know why she would bother sabotaging someone she doesn’t even think is that good, and is insulted Elise is questioning her ethics. I’d agree, except Jennifer herself was the one who started with the sabotage talk earlier, so it’s a bit hypocritical to get all huffy when it gets turned around on her.
Jennifer is starting on the dessert course, instructing Elizabeth to make the sauce and Elise to sauté the apples, and to specifically make sure they’re cooked all the way through. Will’s desserts are already getting sent out, and the Blue team is resting easier than Elizabeth’s chicken. When Gordon checks the apples, however, he finds out they’re “rawr!”
Elise, you done fucked ‘em up. Jennifer is just pissed as can be, especially when Gordon accuses the girls of not caring about each other’s work. Elise says she did exactly what Jennifer told her to do. Except for making sure the apples were supposed to be cooked through, of course. Otherwise, she’s basically telling the truth. Jennifer says she suspects this is a payback for the potato incident, and Elise acts all shocked. Jennifer tells her she’s petty, and that the war is on. Jennifer tells Elise she doesn’t want her help at all, Elise says Jennifer will regret trying to make her look bad, and Gordon just looked disgusted.
After service, Gordon congratulates the Blue team for getting its shit together and knocking out a good night. The Red team got off to a better start, but everything came crashing down with the capellini course. Sadly, this means Jennifer has to shoulder responsibility for it. She tells Gordon that even if she goes home, at least she has her integrity, and she never tried to sabotage her teammate. Elise immediately turns around and starts yelling that she, herself, tried to lead the team and that she’s more of a leader than the other two put together. Jennifer scoffs, and Elizabeth stands there staring into space. As per usual.
Elise’s rant continues, and she said they would have been fine if she had taken over everything, because she’s clearly the best performer on the team. Gordon tells them that they should get ready to plead for their lives, because all three are on the chopping block. In adherence with custom, he then tells them to fuck off upstairs.
Elizabeth tells us that Elise is psychotic and delusional, and if Elizabeth is calling someone out for that shit, it must be true. She says Elise is convinced she’s the team leader, and they can’t wait until she’s gone so they can shine. She and Jennifer bitch together in the kitchen about how Elise has been up for nomination five times, yet still thinks she’s the strongest on the team, and they don’t know where her crazy attitude and delusions of grandeur come from.
Meanwhile, Elise is making sure she leaves with exactly zero friends, biting the head off Tommy when he asks her what went wrong in their kitchen. “You’re safe, so why do you care?” she snaps, showing us exactly why her husband was so supportive of her decision to appear on a reality show 3,000 miles away from home. She tells us she doesn’t trust anyone on the entire show, which should make for some fun shenanigans next week, should she manage to squeak by and onto the final team with everyone else. She thinks everyone is out to backstab her, and there’s no reason she should be in jeopardy tonight. Everything she cooked was perfect! Except for the potatoes! And the apples! And the capellini presentation! Tommy tells her not to stress too hard, and she snarls at him some more. Don’t be mean to Tommy!
At elimination, Gordon announces that the Blue team gave a performance worthy of the Black Jackets, and calls each one of them up to get theirs. He even hugs Tommy and congratulates him on his redemption. Now there are only two jackets left, and a maybe few new assholes to be handed out, God willing.
Gordon wants to know what the hell happened in the Red kitchen this fine evening, and Elise says it was lack of leadership. Jennifer cuts her off and says it was a lack of communication and teamwork, and the two of them start squabbling about what happened. Jennifer says that at least she can say she’s always worked hard for the team, and Elise can’t say that, and Elise asks her of she can lead a team, and starts screeching at Jennifer about how hard she tried to lead the team. Jennifer says Elise’s problem is that she doesn’t listen to or respect anyone else, and Elise says it’s not about respect. At least she didn’t deny it.
The Blue team is rolling their eyeballs, and Elizabeth is playing the Switzerland card, except neutral never looked so vacant on Switzerland. She then appeals to Gordon, telling him this henhouse squabbling is what she deals with all day. Gordon makes everyone shut up, then asks Elizabeth why she thinks she deserves to stay. Elizabeth says she’s a great cook and lives and breathes cooking all the livelong day, and wants to be there til the end to cook her ass off. That’s one way to lose weight, I guess.
Jennifer says she knows competing against the best would make her confident, and confidence is the trait Gordon always says she lacks. He then asks Elise why she should stay. Elise says she’s a great cook and a great leader. She tried to rally the team, she said, and wanted to nail the service.
Gordon makes his difficult decision as Will clutches Paul’s sleeve in suspense…
“The Black Jacket really brings out your eyes, bro.”
Gordon tells Jennifer to take off her jacket, which she does, all the while trying to keep it together. He tells her this was her worst service yet, that she fell apart…but he believes in her, so has ordered a Black Jacket just for her! Yay! She almost punches him, but doesn’t, and the boys all hug her and reassure her she deserves the Jacket and they’re happy to have her there. I wonder if they’ll feel the same when she sends them home one by one, ultimately claiming the grand prize for her very own.
Elise and Elizabeth are both crying, and Elizabeth is literally begging for another chance. Gordon tells the girls they are very passionate, and makes them take their jackets off. He calls Elizabeth forward and reassures her she’s very talented and there for the right reasons, but she’s not ready to take command of a kitchen. He shakes her hand and kicks her out! What?!? Does this mean ELISE is in the final five? MOTHERFUWHAT?
Elizabeth gives a solid exit interview. She isn’t weeping everywhere like the rest of them did, just says it wasn’t her time, but she’s confident in her kitchen skills. Now she just needs a geography primer, and she’ll be all set for big girl life.
No, I will not let that go.
Gordon calls a weeping Elise forward and tells her she’s caught in a downward spiral, but he sees talent and success in her. He hands her a Black Jacket, and she screeches in triumph. Everyone else just goes fuuuuuuuck. They applaud halfheartedly, but no one is hugging her or offering congratulations. Elise feels she deserves to be here, but Paul lets us know that if Elise thinks she’s going to come in with an attitude, she’s in for a surprise. Jennifer wishes the guys luck in their team-based dealings with Elise.
Next week the Black Jacket crew celebrates, and Gordon announces they will be competing against past Hell’s Kitchen cast members. And of course, there’s plenty of bullshit from Elise, and everyone is done with her already.
So, do you guys agree with the final five? Did Elizabeth really deserve to leave, or is production under contract with Gordon to keep the main bringer of drama on the cast as long as possible? Will someone actually kill her? Medusa will let you know how next week’s episode shakes out.