Padma wonders if anyone's oral defense has changed the judges thoughts on the absolute worst. Colicchio cites Ryan's ignorance about piccata as a turn-off, which turns me on, and Bourdain laments the fact that Ryan is an inarticulate boob, or, as Rocco says, "It's not only his gnocchi that were dense." Nimma's dish gets dinged for egregious salt and the flamble, or scran, as she regales a terribly bored-looking Lisa with deep insights into how she, Nimma, "let the nerves get the best of me," and how she, Nimma, needs "to know how to zone that out, and I need to learn fast." And then Lisa starts scraping at her wrists with a butter knife.
Back at the table, the judges dissect Erik's soufflé, which in this close-up pan looks like a muddy doo-doo garden leading to a soufflé covered with tortilla chips. I don't think he's going home, though. Like Erik, Mark gets an abbreviated critique -- a poorly thought-out dish poorly executed, but it's obvious that it's going to be either Nimma or Ryan. I find it hard to believe Nimma's going to get sent home, since the kind of person who can drive someone to sleep, violence, or both (see Ambien reference) has got to be an asset on a reality show. She could be deployed like a heat-seeking energy drain. Ryan's cluelessness makes him a good candidate, but I'm not sure we've seen enough of his crazy, and it's eleven years old...I mean, there. Nimma is also the only one in the bottom four who was also a loser in the Quickfire challenge, and if those results do indeed count in the Elimination round, then she's toast.
Seventy-seven percent of people who take the time to text in to Bravo polls believe that Jennifer and Zoi will not enjoy an advantage because they are a couple. Just FYI.
Back at the judges table, Colicchio tells the losing cheftestants that he and his cohorts would like to ascribe the performance of the bottom fourth to "opening night jitters," no, really, they would, but they can't. He cites Ryan's lack of knowledge of the classics, Mark's failure to "echo back" to his given dish and to synthesize the disparate ingredients, and Nimma's across-the-board botching her fairly simple dish (and her overpowering salt). He tells Erik that, while soufflé is undeniably difficult, anyone competing for the title of Top Chef should know how to make one.
Ultimately, it's Nimma who gets the knee-high, calf-skin, stacked-heel boot from Padma -- apparently we got all there is to get from her one-note crazy. Or, almost. After vowing to keep on cooking, Nimma laments that "no one will know that I'm a very good cook," and claims to be "passionate' about cooking. I beg to differ on both counts. Getting selected for this show lets everyone know you are a good cook. Snarfing a challenge lets everyone know you are a good cook who lost a contest. And apparently "passion" stayed home while Nimma went to Chicago. Stick with the cooking, Nimma, because reality TV is not your forte.