Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Hells Kitchen Episode IV Recap

Ok, this one will be a little, well, shorter than the last one as I once again failed to take notes, and my memory is a little hazy.

Opening. Gordon Ramsay is the bad boy of the culinary world. You can tell because he talks on his cell phone while driving!
He'll take twelve contestants and blah blah blah. It's a little crazy to think of any of these people winning their own restaurant, I'm just glad the herd has been thinned of the Jeffs and Wendys.

Show opens with everyone returning to the dorms after Wendy got cut. Jessica, surprise, deals with it by crying. She says Wendy was such a sweet girl. Jimmy teases Andrew for dodging the chopping block. Pot, kettle all that. No one is sad about Jeff. Elsie says he was more in the way than anything else.

Ramsay decides the teams need a wake up call, literally of course. So he sends in the sous chef at 8am with air horns to blast them out of bed. Chris manages to get down to the kitchen with the rest of his team this time.

J.P. the maitre'd has a table for six fully set up in the dining room. As everyone stands around he proceeds to drone on and on about how the table is set up. "And we....hold the glass...by the stem.....mhmmm..." Fortyfive minutes roll by as the people struggle to stay focused. Or awake. Finally J.P is finished and Ramsay steps forward to ask if everyone paid attention. "Yes Chef!" Good, says Ramsay and yanks the tablecloth out spilling the setting on the floor. Oh, that would have been great if he had accidentally done a magic trick there. He tells the teams to turn around, where two empty tables and all the settings are waiting. Whichever team sets up their table the best within five minutes wins. (By the way I have no idea what the technical term for those interview clips they have of the contestants talking about the action afterwards is; I'll just call them asides) Anyhow, in aside Elsie is shocked! "He took away our cheat sheet!" Elsie is apparently easily shocked.

Everyone hurls plates around while Jimmy wrestles with a napkin. Aside, Chris says that Jimmy is a big lummox. It's funny because he's saying what we're all thinking. Andrew keeps moving his plates around upsetting the silverware. He and Mary Ellen argue! Who will set the table better? Who? Commercial Break!

The challenge ends and everyone steps back. Red team is up first. The lip of the plates are hanging over the edge of the table. The napkins? Look like they came from a ladys bathroom. Eh. Some chairs are in, some are out. Not so great.

Blue team? Some of the wine glasses are to close to the plates...and thats about it. Three mistakes to one Ramsay announces. So the winner is...well, why are you bothering drawing it out? It's blue team of course. This the first challenge they've won, so they're pumped. Jessica looks ready to cry with joy. They are sent back to the dorm to collect their prize. Red team gets sent to the back for their punishment- Polishing all the stemware and cutlery for tomorrow.

Blue team rushes down the dorm hall where Sous Chef Scott hands them robes and ushers them into a room to recieve...oh, spa treatment. How nice. Ralph struts around like he accomplished something bigger than setting the dinner table. Oh hell, I'd be strutting too. Everyone sacks out for massages and such.

In the kitchen red team is polishing away. Jimmy drops a glass but it doesn't break.
J.P. who is watching this all tells Chris to go deliver some champagne to blue team. Oooh. Chris enters the blue team room where Ralph is reclined, getting a pedicure and Jessica has cucumbers on her eyes. He forces a "I want to puke" smile while pouring them all champagne. Ralph asks him to move the bucket closer before he leaves. Heh.

In the kitchen, Chris tells his team mates whats going on. "They got cucumbers on their eyes and everything!" Elsie seems sad. Well, as the screen text reminds us she's a mother of six, she would probably appreciate it more than anyone else. Jimmy drops another glass and this one breaks. "I told you it would happen!" God, as a fellow large klutzy individual, I can't help but sympathize.

That night everyone hangs out at the smoking table in the backyard. Elsie notices something up above and calls everyone over. It's a Hells Kitchen billboard with Ramsays face positioned to be watching over them. Everyone freaks out over it. Jeez guys its a flippin billboarrd. Everyone acts all creeped out, like Ramsay himself is standing on the roof with a pair of binoculars. Well. Maybe he is.

The next morning at lineup Ramsay informs the crew they have two new dishes- frogs legs..and pigeon! He produces a pigeon that looks like it was just clubbed off the street. He shows them how to defeather and clean it. Elsie doesn't think she can do it.

The crew grinds through twelve hours of prep. Elsie winces her way through cleaning pigeons. Come on, it can't be worse than giving birth. Six times. Aside, Michael confides that if Elsie screws up on meat station tonight he'll send her home. Wow, thanks for showing up for this Episode Mike. And he's pretty sure of himself that he'll be the one making the nominations if they lose, I see.

Half hour to opening and Chef calls them over. He wants them to turn it around tonight, so the first team to clear all their tickets automatically wins. Also as the second part of red teams punishment...they have thirty minutes to set up the entire dining room. Ohhhh. Having set up tables for fine dining I can say; four people setting up fifty tables in thirty minutes is gonna be...rough. They all get a moveon though and, as the editing would have you believe, work as a team. Blue team meanwhile calmly sets up there stations. Leading to the most unintentionally hilarious line of the show- "With less than half an hour till dinner service, Ralph is still feeling insecure about Andrew." Hey, just do what you feel.

Actually he's talking about Andrew having a handle on the veg station. He quizzes Andrew on the garnishes. Andrew dosen't remember half of them. Ralph takes a roll of masking tape and makes several impromptu post-its for Andrew as a cheat sheet. Gwen thinks Ralph is helpful, I think he's condescending. Well, gotta win I guess.

Red team finishes up with five minutes to spare and rushes back to their kitchen to set up their stations. Here come the guests! Argh!

Everyone gets rolling as the first orders come in. No apparent problems on either side. Andrew does get into it briefly with Chef but knows to zip his lips right away. Both teams have 15 tables to clear tonight. Blue side bangs out three tables quickly...they're feeling it tonight but Ramsay yells at them to look at the remaining twelve tickets.

Red side, Elsie is bursting with pride when Chef tells her that her meat is 'spot-on'. Jimmy though, serves up some cold veggies. That earns a hollering. He vows never to do it again.

Problems for blue side. They have only five tables left, but one sends back their risottos. Chef is furious. The whole kitchen is brought to a halt as Mary Ellen redoes the risotto. Andrew is yeleld at some more for not remembering orders. Mary Ellen is yelled at again for leaving a whole dish off of an order. Things are unravelling fast.

Red side is humming along though. They're down to two tickets and everyone is feeling the rush. Chris exemplifies this by making funny faces and pointing with his tongs. They clear the last tables! Everyone is jacked. Jimmy hands out water bottles to the rest of the team. Then, in a moment I'm not ashamed to admit totally got to me, Elsie tearfully gushes about how proud she is of herself and her team, and how her team and even Chef are proud of her. "He said my meat was spot on!" I feel you Elsie.

Blue team is STILL stuck on five tickets and Ramsay tells them to shut it down.

Red team wins of course, but here's the surprise. At the post meal lineup, Chef calls Ralphs name...but only to tell him he won't be making the nominations tonight. Blue team found a new leader...in Jessica? Huh? Yeah, look how well that worked out. He tells them to disperse and for Jess to take half an hour to make up her mind. Jessica...well, she copes with it by secreting fluid from part of her body. No, she doesn't drool all over the place, or say, bleed from her palms ("I was just so stressed about who to pick, I came down with stigmata!") Mary Ellen finds her and asks her to stop crying. "I can't! This is what I do!" Yeah, we know. Outside Ralph is nervous, but Andrew thinks he has no reason to be. Andrew doesn't think he'll survive the guillotine twice. Aside, Jessica wonders if she should nominate Ralph since he's the strongest competitor. She thinks she should maybe employ more strategy. She does want to get rid of Andrew though. Duh, nominate Ralph and Andrew. Chef won't send Ralph home. Oh wait, nominate yourself and Ralph. That would get Ralph out of the way and gurantee you never win a dinner service again! Wait.

Back inside and Chef asks for Jessicas picks. Pick number one, of course is Andrew. Pick number two? Mary Ellen. She did bring the kitchen to a screaming halt down the home stretch.

Chef asks them why they shouldn't be sent home. Andrew says he kept his mouth shut tonight "and became a learning machine."
"A learning machine?!?" Chef looks disgusted.
Mary Ellen doesn't have much to say. Chef gives Andrew the staredown...then asks for Mary Ellens jacket. Jessica is visibly stunned. Good planning there! Mary Ellen wanders down the hallway of shame and wonders what might have been. Jessica closes the show by running the joke into the ground.

Next week! Michael trys to sabotage the blue kitchen. Damn, maybe he won't win after all. He had one whole line and no face time, and now they're casting him as the bad guy. Huh.

Great episode this week. Maybe Elsie will win after all.

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