Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Rock - Hell's Kitchen Season 3 Winner

The stupid battle of the sexes continues on ‘Hell’s Kitchen’ this week, with both Rock and Bonnie picking teammates of the same gender. It makes sense, I suppose, since they’re used to working with each other, but it still annoys me. Back in the dorms each team organizes in their own, gender-stereotyped way, with Rock organizing like a military commander and Bonnie lounging on a couch and giving vague instructions. Rock has a game plan; Bonnie doesn’t even have recipes. On a happier note, though, Melissa is looking much better since her freakout-induced hair disaster days. Julia, on the other hand, is still half-crying and half-shooting death rays at Bonnie. Apparently they served bitterness with a side of hashbrowns back at the Waffle House.

They immediately head to the kitchen—no challenge this week, which makes me realize what a waste of time those challenges were to begin with—and Julia continues snapping at Bonnie. Rock, on the other hand, does a complete turnaround from his usual teamwork skills, pulling Josh aside to explain that he only needs confidence to put together a good dinner service. Where on earth did that come from? Does being in the top two come with a shot of maturity?

As the food starts to come out, Melissa is consistently burning the prawns, but pretty much everyone is on top of it. Bonnie and Rock present their dishes to Ramsay, and their appetizers and entrees—goat cheese salad and her signature fettuccine for Bonnie, surf and turf and then a rib eye for Rock—pass muster, but each dessert isn’t quite enough. Bonnie’s truffle assortment looked dandy to me at least, but Rock served a giant tall milkshake—anathema to the skinny L.A. women who usually show up in the restaurant.

The redesign of the restaurant that both Bonnie and Rock got to do turn out to be not all that exciting; if I hadn’t seen a side-by-side comparison, I never would have known they had renovated. Still, each of them feels a little fresher than the super-stuffy décor from before; simpler chairs, less carpet and gold embellishment. Bonnie’s idea for a “corner restaurant,” though, just can’t fly in that kind of huge, cavernous space.

Ramsay presents Bonnie and Rock with their own head chef’s jackets, and the race is on! Bonnie lays on the “master and commander” thing pretty thick, explaining that her teammates are not her friends, “they’re my brigade.” Julia continues to be the bad apple of Bonnie’s team—we barely hear a peep out of Jen or Melissa—ignoring Bonnie’s commands and saying she just wants to get through service. She may not be competing anymore, but wouldn’t she want to look good on national television for the sake of, y’know, real jobs?

Josh, in the meantime, continues to be the complete screw-up he was on every single other episode of the show—remember all that undercooked risotto? Every crabcake he puts out is overdone, and Rock is gentle with him for a while until Ramsay pulls him aside and points out the obvious—Josh is ruining everything, and Rock can’t let that happen. “I will work any station by myself to make sure that food is perfect,” Rock explains right before he pulls Josh aside to switch him to Vinnie’s section.

Bonnie’s section, whether from her lack of planning or from her team’s lack of communication, is constantly running out of key ingredients, like the fettuccine and prawns for the, uh, prawn fettuccine. Even though some of the dishes come back because they’re undercooked or cold, though, they somehow pull it off. Julia continues to wear her ass on her shoulders and pick fights with Bonnie, but at the end of dinner service she even concedes “You know I don’t hate you.” Not exactly an “I love you,” but for now it will do.

Rock, who eventually jumped in and started cooking dishes himself when no one else could handle them, used the talkback with Ramsay to point out that he would rather have not had Josh on his team. Um, duh. Bonnie on the other hand took the fall for her lack of ingredients, which is less dramatically fun but, well, true. Ramsay isn’t really willing to give substantial criticism to either of them, since that would obviously ruin the suspense, so all we’re left with before commercial is the knowledge that “You both came out with leadership qualities.”

Rock and Bonnie are sent back to the dorm while Ramsay makes his decision, and they behave and talk to each other nicely, which is more than could be said were pretty much any other contestants in the final two. Rock even tells Bonnie, while he appears to be half-asleep, that he thinks Bonnie won. They walk to the room where all the poor losers have had to hang up their jackets, and Ramsay compliments them both one more time before crushing one of their dreams forever. “I can see why you’re called Rock, because you’re rock-solid,” he tells Rock, which honestly sounds like the opening to a gay porn. Let the straight-to-video adult film parodies begin!

They stand before their respective doors—one will be locked, one will open “to their future”—and after a ridiculously-overedited and long sequences (it spanned an entire commercial break!), it’s…. ROCK!

He breaks down in tears as he walks out, and even Bonnie seems genuinely happy to see him win. As my boyfriend pointed out, she actually seemed afraid to win. There’s a veritable orgy of champagne being shot everywhere, champagne sticking to people, and more happiness than has been seen all season.

Even though I was rooting for Bonnie, I think the best man really did win. Rock learned to control his temper and actually work as a part of a team in the last few weeks, and he seemed more driven than anyone else on the show. If you can put up with Josh burning everything he’s ever given to cook, you can definitely run your own Vegas restaurant. Can’t wait to see him come back on season four!


Anonymous said...

Wow, Is this show fully staged or what... First it was a white guy, then a white woman and now an african american man and next will it be an hispanic or asian woman???

Also, it seems amazing that those who don't win the challenges, win the restaurants. This is a good ploy as the punishments teach the potential execs the real ins and outs of running a kitchen, just like the karate kid - wax on, wax off...

firewater said...

A bit late, but though I'm one to immediately jump up and agree with you on something like that, I don't think it's true. I think Rock was the best chef that night--even over all for that matter.

Julia was something else. Even though she said she believed in Rock more, I seriously didn't think she was willing to work for either one of them. What a selfish person.

As for losing challenges, I definitely agree with that. Even though it's tiring--sometimes disgusting--I think I would find the challenges pretty helpful practice and such.

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