In the back, Howie goes on, "It's a competition, guys, you know, I'm not here to hurt anyone's feelings." I hate that argument. I had a friend in junior high who prided herself on her obnoxious bluntness. She ran with the whole "I'm not afraid to tell the truth to your face," like it was some major character flaw to be polite, consider someone's feelings, and realize that maybe NOT always speaking your mind took more strength of character than being lazy and saying whatever the hell you want. ["And with that, Keckler, you officially fail Reality Television Ethics forever, as a result of receiving an F in The History And Culture Of Just Keeping It Real." -- Miss Alli] It's the same with Howie -- he's not there to hurt feelings because he's there to win, and he somehow thinks that because he says it's not his AIM to be an asshole that it excuses him when he is one. Again, it should take more discipline not to be an asshole than to passively allow that natural assholishness within you to flow free over everyone and excuse it with, "I'm not here to do that, but I did, so deal." Or the "I'm not here to hurt anyone's feelings, so if I hurt yours, it's clearly your fault." Sara N. tells Howie he becomes more of an asshole every day. "Fair enough," Howie says, "Then maybe I have to be an asshole sometimes, you know?" Well, being an asshole worked for Ilan.
Judges' Table. Colicchio wonders if "they all" are just sitting there allowing someone else to crash and burn. It's hard to know if he's speaking specifically about Team Orange or generally about all the cheftestants, because the thought could probably apply to both groups. Padma brings Team Orange back, and after Colicchio does his usual rundown of how each of them failed, and specifically telling Howie and Sara N. that they are ultimately responsible for Team Orange's failure, Padma tells Sara N. she's going home. Colicchio did manage to note that Howie has had conflict on every team challenge, which doesn't bode well for his future in this competition. I think that Colicchio had already decided that Howie is more of a Top Chef than Sara N. will ever be at this point, and that's why she's the one going home.
In the back, Sara N. cries and hugs everyone except Howie goodbye. Howie sits down, far away from the remaining cheftestants. Sara N. tells us that she's too nice to be as competitive as CERTAIN OTHERS WHO SHALL REMAIN UNNAMED. "There's a really fine line between being competitive just being an asshole." Best last line ever. ["She also gets an F. You're both hopeless!" -- Miss Alli]