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26 January 2016 @ 06:39 pm
"Hell's Kitchen:" Season 1 Episode 7  
 In this episode, the contestants stopped being two separate teams and each became one team, with the understanding that it was everyone for themselves. The first challenge involved learning to make a flambe dessert. Jimmy won the challenge, much to everyone's surprise, and so he got invited on a helicopter date with Gordon Ramsay (shhh...!). He invited Michael to come along, seemingly to pay him back for not eliminating him earlier when he had the chance. However, Elsie somewhat cynically remarks that Michael only passed over Jimmy for elimination in favor of Chris because he knew Chris was his biggest threat. And I have to wonder a little bit if Jimmy knew this, and that's the real reason why he chose Michael--to protect himself from Michael if he's ever in a position to eliminate him again.

This dinner challenge was the first time they were cooking without the help of the sous-chefs, so it was pretty hard going. Elsie was relegated to the dining room, preparing salads and flambe desserts for the diners. She struggled a bit at first but eventually got the hang of it. Meanwhile, both Jessica and Jimmy got into fights with Gordon Ramsay because he was dissatisfied with their performance. As such, when Gordon Ramsay called upon Ralph to pick people for elimination he picked Jimmy and Jessica, with Jimmy being the one who got eliminated. I wasn't terribly surprised, but his departure was genuinely heartwarming, with a reflection on how much he's grown as a chef, and how Gordon Ramsay really is proud of him for getting that far.

Interestingly, Elsie displays some signs of flagging, and has begun to question whether this is something she really wants. She even asked Ralph to put her up for elimination at one point! I guess, realistically, she doesn't have much of a chance of winning either, seeing as she already has a job and kids to worry about.

I also can't help but wonder if the show is trying to ship some of the contestants a little bit. I'm sure it's all pretend, but it's pretty funny to see Michael and Jimmy going on a helicopter date together, complete with champagne (for example). Jessica also has a conversation with Michael while the contestants are waiting for Ralph to select people for elimination, in which Michael seems to question what Jessica's relationship with Ralph actually is (she insists he's just a mentor, of course). I wonder just how much of that is deliberate, but I can see it adding another layer of drama if it's ever played up at any point.

Speaking of Michael, it's implied (but never outright stated) that he hid some steaks Jessica was supposed to cook, which slowed her up and caused her to get in trouble with Gordon Ramsay. They really do seem to be setting him up as a villain, don't they? Between the group psychology of the game and the fact that audience members don't like players who turn on or sabotage their teammates, I wouldn't be surprised if Michael ends up eliminated the second he drops the ball (if indeed he does).
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