TV Recap: Hell's Kitchen- The Penultimate!

It's the finale-- psych! Despite all evidence to the contrary, this is in fact the second to last episode of 'Hell's Kitchen.' Though no one is eliminated at the end, it's naturally full o' drama.

The episode opens with a full recap of the season, which takes about 8 minutes, and, frankly, is just embarrassing. They recapped in 8 minutes what I’ve spent two months working on? Granted, they have the benefit of video, but honestly-- a link to my recaps on the screen would have done nicely, right?

We start back where we left off last week, with Bonnie and Rock hanging out with their families (so cute!) and then Rock’s kids show up. I had seriously just sent an e-mail to our editor, Josh, saying that I was rooting for Bonnie, but when the kids came out... how can you root against a family man? If any of you watched ‘Project Runway’ Season two-- though that show really has nothing in common with ‘Hell’s Kitchen’ at all--it was like when Santino hung out with his godchildren in the second-to-last episode, and suddenly became human!

Rock and Bonnie are put in charge of separate halves of the kitchen, everything from the menu to the waiters’ uniforms-- Bonnie compares it to a dollhouse, which might finally be taking the whole “cute Barbie girl” thing too far. Contrasting Bonnie’s and Rock’s visions is hilarious, as Bonnie wants mismatched china, simple decor and a romantic feel, while Rock wants black and white, contemporary, but also “warm, Southern, conformity”--um, what? What about Southern food says conformity, other than a uniform commitment to deep fat?

Dividing the teams by gender always seemed silly to me, but ‘Hell’s Kitchen’ is sticking with the conceit until the end. Meeting with maitre d Jean Phillippe, Bonnie wants the women to look good (having been a waitress, I say yes!), whereas Rock wants everyone to wear jeans. Looks like women like clothes and men don’t know anything about them! Who would have guessed?!?

Taking a break from planning their menus-- Bonnie wants nanny food, grilled cheese and tomato soup, and Rock wants Southern-fried food-- they all head off to Vegas! Flying there in a private jet, Ramsay gives them hell about their initial foibles-- remember Rock’s frozen gnocchi?--and we all get to remember how good Rock looked when he was clean-shaven. Once in Vegas, Ramsay promises Bonnie and Rock a quiet drink in a VIP lounge, but this, of course, is ‘Hell’s Kitchen,’ and no one gets days off. They walk into a roomful of people ready to taste each of their signature dishes, including seven of the “best chefs” in Vegas; two of them, naturally are former ‘Hell’s Kitchen’ winners.

Bonnie makes a seafood linguine, which she’s said is her signature, while Rock sticks with surf and turf. In true ‘Hell’s Kitchen’ fashion, they’re tied three and three until the end, when Bonnie is the winner! What the prize is doesn’t become clear until they’re back in Los Angeles, after some fancy drinks on a rooftop in Vegas and a “last supper” between Bonnie and Rock, in which Bonnie asks “Who’s Jesus and who’s Judas?” Suppose she was fed that line?

Turns out that as the challenge winner, Bonnie gets first pick of her kitchen team-- and her choices are Jen, Julia, Melissa, Vinnie, Brad and Josh! Who would have guessed? Bonnie predictably picks Jen first, but then Melissa over Julia-- ouch! Rock goes with Brad and then Vinnie, which leaves Bonnie with Julia and Josh, picked last, on Rock's team. I was being critical of that whole gender divide, but I guess it’s pretty self-imposed at this point.

And that’s all we get! I was honestly expecting the series to wrap up tonight, though I guess why would they wrap something up when they can drag something out over a series of weeks? For the record, I’m still rooting for Bonnie, both due to the former-nanny pride and her combination of humility and total desire to kick ass. Can a blonde nanny defeat a male executive chef? Will Gordon Ramsay snap during the final dinner service and go back to screaming like we’ve come to expect? Because honestly, I kind of miss that.

Katey Rich

Staff Writer at CinemaBlend