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Last week on Hell’s Kitchen, Sweaty Tom was finally sent packing….much to my relief and to the relief of diners everywhere. Even though Tom was clearly the one who needed to get the boot last week, it’s not really as if he stuck out as the only crappy cook in a field of Paul Prudhomme cookalikes. This show is shaping up to be the culinary version of a presidential election. Right now it looks like Chef Ramsay is going to have to choose the person who sucks the least and then come up with some crappy “prize” to give them instead of the big deal restaurant in Vegas. I vote for a Hot Dog on a Stick Stand in Barstow.

Now that Tom has gone (surely leaving a sweat trail in his wake) the chefs adjourn to the dorms to vow retribution upon each other. Virginia is still beating the dead horse fish, harping on Sara’s scheming about the turbot (which Virginia is still calling “tur-bo”). It seems that Virginia has really worked herself up and now she tells Sara that it’s all business now: they are not friends. When were they friends? Sara tells us that Virginia needs to grow up and stop being a baby and I just want to smack her even more. I’m not a violent person and I want to reach right through the TV and give her a good, solid bitch slap.

While the red team is airing their grievances in the dorm kitchen, the blue team is out on the patio rejoicing in Tom’s departure. Keith says that Tom was a great choice to leave and now the blue team is the strongest.

Trailer Park Cuisine
The next morning, the remaining six chefs line up in Hell’s Kitchen to hear about the new form of torture Chef Ramsay is about to inflict on them. Ramsay presents them with a table full of gourmet appetizers for their enjoyment. Today’s challenge is all about taste as the narrator tells us that the fondue is made from spray cheese, the caviar from catfish, the kabobs from a TV dinner and the pate from mashed hot dogs.

Let the show of pretension begin! They all taste this stuff and act like big freaking experts. Virginia says that the fondue is rich and creamy. As a connoisseur of aerosol cheese, I would probably love the fondue as well. Keith loves the pate and Virginia deems the caviar, “amazing” and not fishy at all. Ramsay sits there smirking as they go on and on. He finally breaks it to them that they have no idea what they’ve been eating. The “caviar” Virginia loves comes from catfish and they won’t even sell it: it’s given away free. Keith shrugs off the pate thing: hot dogs are slammin’, so he doesn’t see the problem. Ramsay compares their palates to the hind end of a cow.

Since they’re all doing so well with the tasting thing, why not throw in a challenge to really embarrass everyone? The teams will compete in blindfolded taste tests. Team members will go head to head, trying to identify four items in each round. Since the red team has four members, Rachel will sit this one out. Ramsay informs them that the losing team will clean the kitchen from last night’s dinner service. Everything has been sitting out all night and it is nastay.

First up are Maribel and Keith, who are not only blindfolded, but fitted with headphones as well. Ramsay yells insults at Keith to make sure the headphones really block out sound. Either the headphones work or Keith is so used to Ramsay's insults now that he doesn't even flinch. Chef Ramsay feeds both Maribel and Keith each of the foods – potato, seared tuna, oregano and pear chutney. Both guess right on the potato and wrong with the oregano. Keith thinks the tuna is salmon and Maribel has no clue about the chutney, even though they use it on the Hell’s Kitchen menu.

Virginia and Heather face off next with sea urchin (neither guess right), chicken, hot dog (both got these two right) and Swiss cheese, which only Virginia can identify. Cut to Sara acting all smug even though she didn’t do anything.

Now it’s time for Sara and Garrett (who is way overconfident and you know what that means) to take their turn. Sara brags about her refined palate: she even ate dirt as a child. I would like Sara to eat dirt now. Both Sara and Garrett correctly identify scrambled eggs and fresh spinach but stumble on fresh kiwi (Garrett thinks it’s a pear, Sara the Dirt Eater guesses plum). We’re down to the final food and Garrett has to get this one right or the red team will win. The food is braised short ribs and Garrett guesses….turkey. Um…..dude, that’s not even close to the same animal. With that, the red team wins the challenge and the blue team gets ready to scrub some pots.

Stinky Fame Whore
Chef Ramsay informs the blue team that the kitchen must be spotless when they’re done. While the blue team prepares for a date with dishpan hands, the red team gets gussied up for a TV Guide photo shoot with Gordon. They all pile into a limo and head off for a day of fame-whoring.

Back at the kitchen, we get shots of the nastiness that is the aftermath of last night’s dinner service. Everything is baked and caked on….just like in a Dawn commercial. Meanwhile, the girls are getting their hair and makeup done. Cut to Garrett reminiscing about scrubbing pots in jail. Good times. Sous chef Scott interrupts Garrett’s misty, water-colored memories, ordering him to deliver more champagne to the photo shoot. He runs his ass off down the street shaking the champagne as he goes and I wonder who’s going to open those bottles. Please let it be Sara. Virginia talks about the positive vibe at the photo shoot as they all get sauced. When Garrett arrives the girls all call him a loser….and I want him to shake those bottles some more.

Now that their hair and makeup is finished, the girls all hit the set and are posed with Chef Ramsay. Just when you thought Sara couldn’t get more annoying – and to Ramsay’s horror – she rips a huge fart and then announces it. She even fans the fumes behind her. Everyone else just looks mortified.

Garrett returns to kitchen and everyone is still scrubbing pots. They all seem surprised that he had to deliver champagne to the red team. Where did they think he was? Keith says that he wishes he was at the photo shoot: he’d like a pedicure. That would probably require hazardous duty pay ‘cause I’m sure those toes are nasty.

Welcome to Hell’s Kitchen. May I take your order?
As the dinner service looms, the pressure of competition is back for Maribel, who is crying again. The competition doesn’t seem to have hurt Rachel and Heather’s friendship and Sara says they’re being unprofessional. She’s not here to make friends…..that’s good ‘cause no one likes Sara. Rachel and Heather talk about the power struggle in the red kitchen. Rachel boasts that she could just beat Sara’s ass. Yes, please.

Prep begins for the dinner service and both teams are determined to impress Chef Ramsay. Rachel tells us that tonight will determine who will be the leader of the red team. She says that she and Sara are the yin and the yang….or the Beavis and the Butthead. Keith is positive that one of the girls will be going home tonight. Chef Ramsay is hell bent on no one leaving the restaurant hungry. This is the fifth dinner service and it has to be the night that they finally complete a dinner service. Still, if I was coming to eat there, I’d have a Power Bar in my bag.

Dinner service begins and the chefs are eager to get started. Some are too eager – Heather has already started boiling spaghetti even though no orders have come in yet. Ramsay yells at her: Hell’s Kitchen isn‘t a drive-thru and she should not be preparing food ahead of the orders. Heather is clearly blindsided by Ramsay’s attack and Garrett tries to buoy her up. No dice: she’s ready to snap and Garrett just needs to keep his hands away from her mouth.

In the red kitchen, the girls promise to keep up their communication. In contrast, the blue team isn’t talking at all and Chef Ramsay is feeling a little nervous.

Fire and Hairs and Whining, Oh My
Dinner service has barely started and already things aren’t looking so great. Rachel is in charge of the meat station and she’s apparently goin’ Cajun with some blackened duck. Things are going no better in the blue kitchen and Heather is in trouble again. She sends some risotto to the pass that turns out to be a little crunchy. Any crunchy is bad, I’m guessing. Ramsay has decided that the red team needs encouragement. Are you ready for his motivational speech? Here it is: “Move move move move move move your asses!” Surprisingly, it works and appetizers start coming out of the kitchen. A gleeful Virginia gets her first compliment from Chef Ramsay and she practically humps his leg in ecstasy.

With Heather an emotional mess tonight, Keith is running the blue kitchen. He’s communicating well with both his team and with Chef Ramsay. Things seem to be going well in the blue kitchen but the red kitchen is in trouble again. Here comes Jean-Philippe with a fois gras appetizer. It seems that this dish has a special, added ingredient: a black hair. I gag. Immediately, Maribel denies that it’s hers because it isn’t curly like her hair. Ramsay blows up at her. The point isn’t to blame someone: the point is that a starter went out with a hair in it.

In the blue kitchen, Heather is trying to redeem herself by helping Garrett with his meat (*snicker*). Garrett’s not having any of it. Heather trying to help has actually slowed things down and Garrett is now off his pace. In the red kitchen, Rachel is in trouble again. The quail she sent to the pass is dry and burnt. Not only that, but she tried to hide the burnt part under some sauce. This earns her another dressing down from Chef Ramsay, who asks her if she wants to go home. Rachel doesn’t want to go home and promises she won’t let him down. Too late.

The red team is regrouping while the blue team has already served half of their diners. Soon enough, Jean-Philippe brings back a dish to the blue kitchen and immediately, Keith starts making excuses and arguing. Ramsay isn’t putting up with the excuses. The dish cold and it's swimming in bread crumbs. Ramsay says the customer has a valid point and tells Keith to grow up. He adds that the kitchen should be renamed Donkey’s Kitchen based on Garrett and Heather’s cooking.

Paint it Any Way You Want To
As if things couldn’t get any worse for Rachel, here she is blowing it again. Rather than tell Chef Ramsay an accurate time for the Wellington, she sends it to the pass underdone. Things aren’t going any better in the blue kitchen: Heather’s attempt at helping has Garrett so messed up that he’s only prepared one portion of quail, rather than two.

Three hours into dinner service, the blue kitchen only has a few tables left to serve. Unfortunately, those diners are getting a little impatient. I’m always amazed at how long these people sit and wait for their food. Of course, we know this isn’t about eating, it’s about getting some face time on TV. Finally, after a little more yelling from Chef Ramsay, the blue kitchen gets all of its entrées out. Things aren’t going so well in the red kitchen. Rachel is at it again. This time, she overcooks the Wellingtons and paints them with sauce to disguise her mistake. Naïve little girl. Doesn’t she know that Super Chef Ramsay can simply touch the meat and tell if it’s overdone? Of course, he does and of course, Ramsay chews her out again. At this point, even Rachel thinks Rachel sucks.

Apparently, this is the limit for Chef Ramsay and he stops everyone. The kitchen is shut down and the dinner service is over. The dinner service may be done, but Ramsay isn’t done with Keith. Surprisingly, Chef Ramsay proceeds to give Keith his version of a pep talk. He says that Keith has a lot of talent, but it hasn’t been nursed properly. He can definitely cook, but he made one stupid mistake tonight. If he can get rid of his attitude, he’ll shine.

The Lesser of Two Weevils
The warm and fuzzy moment is over and now the tongue lashing will begin….and not the good kind either. It was an equally brutal service in both kitchens and Chef Ramsay has to pick a winner. He tells the teams that his back is killing him from carrying the weight of both kitchens on his shoulders. Jeez Gordo, dramatic much? Heather admits that no one on the blue team, including her, performed to their potential. Still, she doesn’t think that any of them should go home. Keith is immediately pissed off: he says he killed it.

The red team was two tables short from serving entrées to all of their tables, while the blue team served all of their customers. This dinner service was the best so far, but it was still painful. The losing team tonight is the red team. They had one more chef in their kitchen and they still lost. Virginia was very close to going home last week but this time, she was the best on her team. She’ll have the dubious honor of nominating two of her teammates for elimination.

Suddenly, Rachel’s all über-Southern with the accent. Back in the dorms, she says that the red team crashed and burned and that she sucked. She compliments Maribel, but she also lobbies to stay and to get Sara out instead. Virginia, who has now made glue out of the horse, decides to have another fruitless talk with Sara about Turbotgate. She then asks Maribel who she should nominate. Maribel says that Rachel should go, but that Virginia should do what she needs to do.

Rachel seems to know the score at this point. She tells Heather that she needs to take Sara down and that, if she is indeed eliminated tonight, Heather had better win this thing. The red team files back into Hell’s Kitchen while the blue team observes. Cut to Keith sitting slack-jawed. Not only does he need to fix his attitude, he needs to work on the whole mouth breathing thing.

Seven Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed…
Virginia steps forward and tells Chef Ramsay that she is nominating Rachel – because she let the team down tonight – and ……it takes for-e-ver for Virginia to get to the point as she once again rehashes the whole stupid thing with Sara and the fish. Ramsay’s eyes glaze over. So do mine. The short version: she nominates Maribel. Maribel’s head snaps around (oh no she di-in’t!). Virginia tells Chef Ramsay that she didn’t like the way Maribel argued with him over the hair in the food. Ramsay agrees with her choices.

Rachel tells Ramsay that she knows she should be there but she wants to stay – she brings a maturity to the table. Like when she hid her mistakes under sauce? Maribel says that she comes from a humble background and doesn’t feel she is a chef yet. She’s there to get better.

As if you had any doubt, Rachel is gone. Heather looks anguished. Ramsay compliments Rachel: she busted her ass and worked harder than anyone there (…and still it wasn’t enough). Rachel tells us that she’s sad because she’s never failed at anything. Through tears, she says that her dream won’t end because of one night.

Ramsay tells the chefs that this is only going to get harder now. Heather vows to fight. Maribel – Miss Do What You Have To Do - fumes and calls Virginia a bitch. Garrett brags about his “testicular fortitude” (read: he has balls). Chef Ramsay says that Rachel couldn’t handle Hell’s Kitchen. She buckled, panicked and screwed the whole kitchen

Next week: There are only six chefs left and Chef Ramsay has them running for their lives. At dinner, it’s a battle of the menus and chaos ensues in the kitchen, including a major, dramatic – and bloody – cooking accident. Plus, one team makes history and Chef Ramsay makes a shocking elimination.

Making hot dog and spray cheese hors d’oeurves…Critical@fansofrealitytv.com