After the formerly hopeless chef Matt switches to the women's team, he helps them defeat his former tormentors on the men's team, and Ben goes home

By Whitney Pastorek
May 14, 2008 at 11:42 PM EDT
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  • TV Show

Television program! Redeem thyself!

I wanted so badly for tonight’s continuation ofHell’s Kitchen to be a return to its former donkeylicious glory, pepperpots, but eh. It was okay. Kind of uneventful after the first few moments, when fireworks were still flying from Matt’s transfer to the women’s team last week. ”You put me out there to dry!” he bellowed at Ben, before going back into his room to rustle through some plastic bags. ”He’s a nutjob,” Ben responded, claiming the women didn’t have an inkling what they were in for. Frankly, the women seemed to have a decent handle on the situation. ”It’s not fair!” said Corey. Everyone pretty much gave the portly birdman a day or two to live, and then it was morning, and the challenge was upon us.

Chef Ramsay, always thoughtful, had gotten up early to cook three dishes for the cheflings: chicken parm, beef stew, and ravioli. All three dishes were missing one crucial ingredient, and he asked them to name what it was. Despite Louross’s constant assertions that someone had left out the salt and pepper (uh, that’s why it’s on the tables, dear), the big shocker turned out to be that each dish was devoid of meat. Yes, Chef Ramsay had secretly replaced the flesh in the cheflings’ awkward breakfast with soy. (Not cat, as Matt suggested, thereby fulfilling his weekly vomit-induction quota. Not that he ever ate cat before.)

So Ramsay was now disgusted with everyone, but it was time for the annual blind taste test anyway. The women basically cleaned up, as Petrozza thought nectarine was pineapple, Louross couldn’t ID turnip (despite Petrozza’s having planted the idea in everyone’s head by misidentifying sweet potato in the previous round), and Bobby missed truffles (hey, if he hasn’t been on a boat…). So the girls took a commanding lead into the final battle, where Matt and Ben strode to the plate to name all 10 ingredients in the clam chowder before them. Given the men’s massive point deficit, it mostly came down to Matt hanging in there, which he did, and the challenge was won. Matt got hugs, Ben was speechless, and the dudes were sent to clean the dorms.

Meanwhile, the women (we’ll include Matt in that term, even without the aid of a push-up bra) were given spa treatments out on the deck. They lounged about in their robes, getting what Bobby called ”therapeutic-rub kinda things” and drinking champagne. Matt opted for the chocolate facial (”Don’t eat it, Matt,” Jen helpfully told him), and Ben had to snarkily serve everyone iced tea. Also, the women straight up told Matt to his face that he was the next to go. After all the supposed manipulation and Survivor-esque game play, this was maybe the most direct statement of the season.

NEXT: Shellfish concerns

Hell’s Kitchen opened its doors tonight with a newly focused Rosann, a Matt determined to win, and a Ben who was more laid back than…well, I’m not sure what Chef Ramsay said. (Ironing board? Dining board?) But it wasn’t long before things started to break down: Rosann cooked the scallops unevenly (”Do it for Staten Island!” Matt said to encourage her and make me wonder if anyone since the Continental Army has ever used Staten Island as a rallying point before), and Louross was having a hard time with the eggs. Once the Red Team got its entrees rolling out, Jen said something to the team about not firing something, and Ramsay yelled at her for calling tables. Or at least I think that’s what went down — I’ve never cooked in a fake restaurant, so I don’t know the lingo — but regardless, Jen did not take well to being chastised. She collapsed inward, accusing Ramsay of being on his period, and then moped around for the rest of the night. ”I’ve always known Jen would undo Jen,” Christina said. Oh, Christina. Is there anything you don’t know?

Rosann undercooked the langoustine; Ramsay threw the poor dead shellfish at Matt and screamed at everyone. Next door, the men weren’t communicating, a fact Ben blamed on his not being used to the ”brigade system,” despite the fact that this is their seventh dinner service and his biggest problem seemed to be the inability to cook meat in a timely fashion. It was around here that I decided my favorite part of this show is the calm right before the storm of Gordon really letting the spittle fly; he just sort of squints and cocks his head, as if he couldn’t believe the donkey in front of him had the audacity to say whatever it said, and then he unleashes hell. It’s fascinating to me. I still can’t believe this dude doesn’t have more health issues. ”You’re so f—ing sad,” he screamed at Ben, as Matt quietly taunted his nemesis from the other kitchen. Then Ramsay said something about Dr. Phil I didn’t catch, but I get the idea he doesn’t like Dr. Phil much.

A couple people did things right: Christina cooked perfect beef. (”Thank you, chef!” she chirped. ”F— the thank you — just concentrate,” he replied. ”Don’t start peein’ your f—ing knickers.”) Matt somehow pulled it together to make the best risotto in the history of HK. (!!!) But the diners on the Blue side were eating granola bars to stay alive, and Ben was still struggling (+1 for his use and possible coinage of the term ”flusterf—ed”). The final straw? Rosann sent out more raw stuff (thus disappointing her daughter, and possibly all of Staten Island), Jen got accused of having an attitude (and started bitching about being disrespected), and Ben’s Wellingtons came back bloody. Chef Ramsay kicked a trash can and SHUT-TIT DOWN.

NEXT: Matt’s revenge

Ramsay gave the women the win and told the men that everyone had to nominate someone tonight. Originally, Ben wanted them all to nominate themselves, but when Louross (rightfully) refused, Bobby tried to get everyone to nominate Louross. Petrozza — dear, sweet Petrozza — refused to do that, and it came down to spite and venom back in the dining room. It also came down to this quote, from Louross, as to why he nominated Ben: ”Today. It was a rocky start. But. I still held my ground down. I’m not being heared out. And that’s how I feel. You know what I’m saying? I won’t sugarcoat anything, I don’t even fake the funk. It just felt like, every single time, I’m just like, yo, you know? Anyone gonna listen to me? That’s — I don’t even got nothin’ to say no more, Chef, I’m sorry.”

Still no doubt reeling from that insight, Ben nominated Louross, Bobby set up Petrozza, and Petrozza took the high road: He nominated himself. And started crying. See, Petrozza couldn’t possibly nominate any one of his teammates. They all work too hard! And Ramsay, in a bizarre and possibly tumor-induced display of empathy (I’ve been watching some Grey’s Anatomy) told Petrozza he was mature — a gentleman, even! — and fired Ben. Gotta say, I didn’t see that guy going so fast. I also have no idea what he said in his parting quote: It seemed like he promised he’d never blow smoke up anyone’s ass just to get into a kitchen, but the word where ”ass” should be was bleeped, and ”ass” isn’t a word they bleep on this show. So who the hell knows?

I’ll tell you what I do know: Bobby is most likely not going to win it all, as he keeps claiming. Also, if Matt would rather be called a woman all day long than go back to the Blue Team, I am happy to oblige. Finally, I do not want to watch any part of next week’s apparent finger severing. DO NOT WANT, as your LOLcat might say. God, I wish I could do these recaps in all LOLcat format. Would take a hell of a lot less time to just put up a picture of Ben and stamp FAIL across it.

What do you think, turkey burgers? With Ben gone, who’s your favorite to win? Will you join me on the Petrozza wagon? Is Jen capable of swallowing her pride long enough to put up with Ramsay’s yelling? Would you rather see the Pistons face the Celtics or the Cavs? What are the chances Barry Bonds is finally going to jail? And should I stop watching SportsCenter while writing?

Episode Recaps

Gordon Ramsay verbally abuses wannabe chefs. Bon appetit!
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