A Happy Ending in 'Hell's Kitchen?'
Wednesday, December 01, 2010
We've seen shocking moments before on Hell's Kitchen. Chefs carted off in an ambulance, chefs threatening violence and unexpected eliminations. But tonight's episode beat all. Because tonight, this late in the game, Gordon Ramsay delivered a happy ending.
Huh? Someone should check under his bed for a pod, because this just ain't right.
It all began with a trick challenge. Ramsay told the final four that they had to pair up to create one great dish between them. But when it came time for tasting, he told them to go mum in regard to ingredients. That's because he had a special demonstration in mind. With only a few bites of each meal, Ramsay listed off the main components shocking the foursome with his skill.
Then it was their turn to do the same. They each had to recreate one of Ramsay's dishes and knowing that he made it should have been a big clue. For example, Trev and Jillian went for pork over veal, but come on. Would Gordon Ramsay use something as mundane as pork? Russell and Nona both got the protein right but then it was down to bacon or pancetta in the greens. Again, it's Ramsay, so pancetta is it and that gave Nona her first individual win. Her prize was a trip to the spa and she chose to take Russell with her leaving behind a very annoyed Jillian. For Nona, the move was about making a strategic alliance which did work in her favor.
Left behind the do the laundry and prep, Jillian and Trev made a pact to put the other two up for elimination no matter what. Yeah, remember those words.
You Got Served
When it came to dinner service, the final four got off to a great start but not until after Ramsay scared the heck out of Jillian by calling her into his office for a talk. She feared it might be an early elimination but it was just a pep talk which did her a lot of good.
The first few appetizers flew out of the kitchen then Nona broke the spell with peppery risotto. Russell failed on a couple of fish dishes but it was Trev who got most of Ramsay's attention in an oddly mentorial way. When Trev got flustered and messed up on the meat station, Ramsay decided to help him out, teaching him the proper way to slice Wellingtons (13 episodes in!) and sear steaks. When Trev continued to flounder, Ramsay calmly asked him to step outside of the kitchen for thirty seconds to take a breather.
Come on! Halloween was weeks ago. Who is this impostor?
With Ramsay actually helping in the kitchen, the dinner service was completed with minimal fuss and then he praised them all for having a very good, not perfect, but very good service. This is starting to feel like a setup.
Upstairs, Nona voted to put Trev and Russell up and Jillian agrees in spite of her promise to stick with Trev through thick and thin. Trev also named Russell and it turned into a war of words like we haven't heard before from the usually in control Russell.
The men stepped up at elimination time and Ramsay did his usual song and dance, asking each why they should stay. Then he called Trev and promptly finished the thought by sending him back in line. What? Russell going home? Can't be! I thought for sure he was going to pull an override and send Nona home, instead he opens the doors and family members pour in.
The service was so good that not only is he letting everyone stay, but they all get to spend time with their loved ones. Seriously. This is not the Hell's Kitchen I know and snark about. It's upsetting to my world and it's silly, really, because next week, two chefs have to go home, so what's the point? Does Ramsay think that things will be different in a week? That one of these four will suddenly out shine the rest? And think about the planning here. He must have known that no one would be eliminated because all of the families were there. Would he really be cruel enough to can someone while their parents or husband waiting in the lobby?
I don't get it. We're down to the wire and this was the most boring episode to date. What did you think of the kinder, gentler Gordon Ramsay?
CR: Patrick Wymore/FOX