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'Hell's Kitchen' recap: Scallops, sprains, and surprises

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Hellskitchen_l

Hellskitchen_lTonight’s elimination had a surprise (and aggravating) twist. After a series of catastrophes in and out of the kitchen, Colleen and Lacey ended up on the chopping block and seemed all but certain to be packing up their knives and headed on their not-so-merry way. But wait! At the last minute, an injured Ji stepped forward and sacrificed herself! Gordon Ramsay, in a moment of genuine tenderness, accepted Ji’s resignation, allowed her to keep her jacket (awwww), and bid adieu by telling her “you, madame, yes? Have been phenomenal.” I know the guy’s a certified ass, but am I the only one who was touched? The moment was somewhat marred, however, by the fact that this meantthat Lacey and Colleen will bearound for another week.

Colleen demonstrated her ineptitude in the very first challenge of the day, which required the teams to dig scallops out of gigantic wooden crates and transfer them to the appropriately colored tubs for their team. Colleen, in a true demonstration of grace, somehow managed to flip over the edge of the crate into the smelly, scallopy water. The next step in the challenge was to shuck the scallops without harming the delicate meat inside. My fascination with the fact that the term “shucking” applies to shellfish and not just corn (perhaps my Midwest upbringing?), quickly turned to horror at the revolting process that occurs when one is shucking a scallop. If I ever had any doubts about my vegetarianism, this show squashes them all. However, the challenge did provide some of the night’s best quotes: Ramsay’s so-bad-it’s-good “Un-shucking believable!” (for such a cantankerous crank the man sure loves his puns), and LA’s puzzled declaration that she didn’t even know that scallops came in shells. I mean, as a, you knowchef, isn’t information like that somewhat necessary? Even I, despite a fear of all things aquatic, knew that much. And Seth lived up to his nickname “Forest” when Ramsay asked why one scallop was reduced to half its size and he responded by matter-of-factly saying “I’ve got the other half right here chef,” prompting a perfectly timed and (I thought) hilarious “yeah f— yourself” from the Brit. Ultimately, the men won in a tight 36-35 victory.

The women were sentenced to spending the day preparing the raw bar(blech!) while the men shoved off to an island for a day of…fishwatching? Did anything else happen on that trip, aside from thenot-that-creepy revelation that Seth knows lots of personal informationabout Ramsay? Although I did love the way J said “that’s weeeeeird” tothe camera. Robert, the big, goofy, lovable, cuddlebug that he is, wastoo heavy to fly in the helicopter and ended up missing the entire tripriding the ferry to get there. A plot point with no real significanceto anything, unless it was Fox’s attempt at a statement about thelimitations of being overweight. Meanwhile, the ladies got to work inthe kitchen -– with the exception of Lacey, who continued to grate on mylast nerve by laying around in bed dramatically blowing her nose forthe camera. Then suddenly, hours later, she decided to quit being auseless waste of air time and joined the rest of the women in thekitchen. Surprisingly, the ladies reacted rather indifferently to hersudden surge of team spirit. I would’ve hurled whatever slimy, fishyfood was within arms reach.

The next day before dinner service Ji  tripped and injured herankle, shed a few tears, and got back to business. During the dinner service, Robert waited tables and charmed theguests, Ji pushed through the pain with no complaints, and Seth and Charlie forgotto put lobster in the (get this) spaghetti lobster. Then theinevitable happened. Colleen managed to simultaneously burn and under cook the salmon, resulting in an epic fit from Ramsay in which hescreamed profanities at her and called her a thief for charging $300for cooking lessons. Then he made her leave the kitchen. Boo-yah! But,ever the peppy Polly, Colleen vowed not to let it get to her (and Imust admit, I admire her spirit). We shall see, oh optimistic one, weshall see. The dinner service was neck-and-neck toward the end (what was with Lacey’s enthusiastic “We can do it!” after allher self-indulgent whining earlier?), but ultimately ended in anothervictory for the Blues Brothers. The women nominated Lacey and Colleenfor the guillotine, but the aforementioned sacrificial act from Jimeans another week, at least, with the duo.

What did you think of last night’s episode? Did Ji do the honorablething, or will the team suffer more without her? Who do you think willbe the next to go home? Next week’s preview shows the chefs tussling with a big, juicy slab of meat. Who else is pumped?!