Originally aired on Monday, 06/18/2007
Episode Rating: *** (3 stars out of 5)
Episode Overview: Everybody does very well at this episode's services and Gordon Ramsay is endlessly cheerful, encouraging and grateful. Kidding! It's the usual Hell's Kitchen screamfest as once again the chefs struggle to get out their meals.
- The women's team hits some highs, but they also have some serious lows.
- One contestant is taken from the show in an ambulance - and doesn't come back.
- The men's team has an internal struggle for power.
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The chefs return to the house and decompress from the results of last episode. Rock Harper has some explaining to do to Josh Wahler regarding his nomination. Rock explains that he thinks Josh is trying to be a leader when he's not. Whatever, thinks Josh.
Meanwhile, Julia Williams knows she needs to step up her game. She knows that with her background as a short-order cook, the other women don't see her as having the fine dining knowledge needed to win.
The chefs try to get some rest, but are awoken by uniformed military personnel playing reveille. They are hustled out of bed (and we get yet another gratuitous half-dressed shot of pretty Bonnie Muirhead, who was conveniently showering when this started), and down to the kitchen. Ramsay tells the chefs that the restaurant Hell's Kitchen isn't ready for dinner service, so they are starting today with breakfast. The women's team will cook for the Army, and the men's team will cook for the Navy.
Julia is thrilled: this is what she does in real life, and so she is happy to finally take a leadership role. She is also touched, tearing up at the thought of the Armed Services and their contributions. For Joanna Dunn, it's more about the cute men in uniform.
Meanwhile, on the men's side, Aaron tries to step up after his recent weak performance by offering to make the omelets.
Under Julia's guidance, the women do well, with only a few setbacks due to Joanna's underdone potatoes. On the men's side, though, Aaron slows down his team and eventually has to be replaced on the station. The men eventually fail at the task, and so Ramsay declares the women the winners. They get to take a military chopper to an aircraft carrier with Ramsay, while the men have to prep hundreds of pounds of vegetables for the military.
While the men toil at the prep, Aaron collapses and has to be taken to the hospital. Despite his desire to return, it turns out he is too ill (with what, we are not told) to come back. Ramsay calls him in the hospital to break the news.
Based on the comments from Ramsay, and their undeniably poor performance, the men realize they need a leader. Problem is: they all want to be that leader. It appears there might be a stalemate, until Josh decides to throw his support to Brad Miller. This is a strategic move - he might not be the leader, but now he has a partner, and he has shut out his rival Rock from the allegiance. Brad will now take the lead at the next service.
But will it help? Night falls and it's time to find out.
During the service that evening, Rock comes into Ramsay's crosshairs as his profuse sweating creates a little winking problem when the perspiration runs into his eyes. (Rock, one word: HEADBAND.) Nevertheless, his quality risotto impresses Ramsay.
The women do not do so well on appetizers. Bonnie's scallops are sent back as raw. Then Joanna makes a nearly literally fatal error: she makes pasta with obviously rancid crab meat. Ramsay is apoplectic.
And he would be as well if he found out what Jen Yemola tried to do. She threw out some pasta that was then needed, so she retrieved it from the trash, rinsed, and thought she could kill and bacteria with the hot pasta water. Luckily, Julia finds out where she got it from and has her throw it out.
The men's team does better, but they are not without issues. Vinnie Fama attempts to send out a raw egg, which Ramsay helpfully returns by smashing it into his chest. And Josh miscommunicates some details, creating an issue for Brad at the meat station, and Ramsay accuses him of sabotage. But Brad is digging his own grave, trying to send out overdone Wellingtons, which Ramsay of course can spot from across the kitchen.
The women's team has their own problems with the Wellingtons. Set back by all the appetizer problems, the meat station (Jen) was pushed back and they are all overdone. There are not enough left to serve. Patrons begin to leave and Ramsay shuts it down.
Due to all around poor performance, Ramsay tells all the women to go back to the house and nominate together the two worst. Joanna is aware she's on the block so she speaks up first. Julia points out Jen's trash issues, but most of the other women are more concerned with Julia's lack of fine dining experience. So it is Julia and Joanna offered up to Ramsay. Jen, however, does the honorable thing and puts herself on the chopping block for the trashy pasta.
Ramsay agrees with Julia's assessment that she has potential and deserves to be there, and has her stay. He is torn between Jen and Joanna. Joanna asserts she deserves to stay because she would never serve trash (when that is the strongest thing you can say about your cooking skills, that is not saying a whole lot). Ramsay points out she might not serve trash, but she does serve dangerous rancid crab.
And that, to Ramsay, is worse. Joanna is heading home. Jen has another chance, and one assumes she is mortified enough by this experience that she won't even use the five-second rule any longer for food that falls on the floor.
Come back next week for the next installment of Hell's Kitchen!
- Leslie Seaton, BuddyTV Staff Columnist
(Image courtesy of Fox)