Oy. Ouch. Ick. Ugh.
When I watched this episode, I was humbled. HUMBLED! Because my crystal ball has been sick and wrong two weeks in a row. SICK AND WRONG! Never in a million years did I think Ted Ilan of Saffronapolis would win this whole thing. Never. You want to know the greatest thing about being humbled? When someone comes along and screws up so bad that you no longer feel like the stupidest person in the living room. That moment came on Monday when Food & Wine posted an article on their website (for all of an hour) that revealed the winner. Um, oops?
Back to the show: I hate it! So, the episode begins with Marcel and Ted Ilan acting all shiny and happy with each other as they clamber over the rocky Waikoloa beach and snack on fresh uni (sea urchin). However, Marcel pulls a Glark and gets stung by the fresh uni. To assuage the pain in his finger, he reaches deep into his Friends trivia and realizes he's going have to pee on himself. You know what's screwed up? Ted Ilan is more than happy to volunteer his streaming services, he even says, "I would have loved to pee on Marcel." Water sports much? Luckily, Marcel turns Ted Ilan's sexual advances down and takes care of it himself in a fairly graphic (for a food show) scene. I'm beginning to think Bravo's been watching far too much Survivor. I just hope he remembered to wash his hands.
In the time-honored tradition of competitive reality shows everywhere, former cheftestants are brought back to be cherry-picked by Marcel and Ted Ilan. We got Elia, Son of Sam, Frankie the Bullshit, Mike, Betty in all her loud glory, and Mia. The ex-cheftestants are asked who they would prefer to work with and, well, there's very little to surprise here. Betty, Mike, and Elia all express a preference for Team Saffronella. Ted Ilan disses the panty-sniffer and goes with Betty and Elia. As Frankie the Bullshit announces that he like to help Marcel in order to teach him some humility, it's no surprise when he's left out in the cold. Mia also prefers to work with Marcel, but Marcel chooses Mike and Son of Sam.
While I still despise Ted Ilan for everything he did throughout the course of the entire season, I understand, BASED ON THIS EPISODE ALONE, why he is chosen as the winner. His performance in the final dinner -- the theme is the usual "Meal of Your Life" -- is head and shoulders above Marcel's, who seems to have no end of problems getting his food out. The humidity foils one of his more impressive molecular gastronomy attempts, which, duh, it's Hawaii, dude! The fish for his fish course goes missing, and his dish goes out sans poisson. Hmm, I wonder how long before the shout of "SABOTEUR!" rings through the Wide, Wide World of Web.
Also -- and this might just be me -- but Marcel's uni consommÃ© sort of grosses me out. I mean, he says it's inspired by his walk on the beach with Ted Ilan and, well, not to put too fine a point on it, but consommÃ© is of a color that sort of, well -- pee, okay? It looks like pee.
Anyway, both Marcel and Ted Ilan have dishes that don't wow the judges, and all the judges agree that both are very worthy chefs; however, Ted Ilan puts out a more solid service. At the Judges' Table, Elia once again embarrasses herself as she tries to sell Marcel down the river. When she blithers on about how she knows Ted Ilan's food tasted better, the judges force her to admit that she never even tasted Marcel's food. I'd feel sorry for her if I weren't busy cackling maniacally at her complete discomfiture.
My instinct was to say the finale was a letdown, but really? The last three eps have been such a letdown that this season-two finale was really just a leveling-off of mediocrity.
Yeah, so Ted Ilan won. Color me indifferent. Bottom line: From what we were shown, Ted Ilan put out a much stronger service than Marcel did. If we were to base the whole competition on this meal alone -- and I believe that's how Top Chef has been playing it, given their cooked-up basis for sending Sam home -- then yes, he is the clear winner.
Looking at the meal dish by dish, we know that the judges were fairly unimpressed by Ted Ilan's first course of stuff on toast; however, they loved Marcel's uni. Then they were unimpressed by Marcel's green salad but loved Ted Ilan's moi. So at this point they're even. The judges really liked Ted Ilan's squab and shrimp, but they also really liked Marcel's fishless fish dish. We could call it even, unless we have to give weight to how the judges felt about Marcel explaining that he lost his fish. You'll have to see the "damned if you do" part of the recap for how I feel about that. Moving on: the judges really seemed to prefer Marcel's beef dish over Ted Ilan's beef dish. Finally, the judges really liked Ted Ilan's dessert, but the only negative comment they had for Marcel's was when Roy Yamaguchi said it didn't have enough color.
There it is in black and white. Maybe with all those finer shades taken into consideration, Ted Ilan deserved to win. Maybe considering what Marcel's sous chefs said about him, Ted Ilan was the better chef that night. Maybe it doesn't matter that Elia cooked Ted Ilan's fish, squab, and beef, because that just shows Ted Ilan knowing how to delegate and use his team to the best of their individual abilities.
We open with many reminders that we are still at the Hilton Waikoloa Village. Taking advantage of some much-needed downtime, Marcel and Ted Ilan go for a walk on the beach. Wait, are we suddenly in Ted Ilan's fantasy? Ted Ilan tells us, "I just wish I was there was a beautiful woman." If you really do have a girlfriend, wouldn't it behoove your nads to say, "I just wish I was there with Carolina"? Otherwise, I think she's going to be pissed that you said on television that you were wishing you were on a beach with some random beautiful woman. By the way, this is all to convince us that Ted Ilan is straighter than a pee stream. Oops -- SPOILER! Ted Ilan and Marcel grab some spiny uni (sea urchin) out of the shallows, crack them open, and proceed to sup on the poor little suckers. Marcel tells us that they "just were able to put all the Grudge Match stuff aside" for that moment as they sucked down unsuspecting sea critters. Is that legal? I mean, if they found spiny Kona lobster off Waikoloa, would they be able to eat it? I think fishermen actually own land and traps and rocks and sand. I don't know. Nor do I really care, actually. Marcel goes on about not being able to be in a bad mood when surrounded by "such natural beauty."
Marcel then walks out on some rocks, and Jaws-like music starts up. I'm totally expecting some tiny shark to flip up and bite his ass, but instead, when Marcel reaches into the water and yelps, it's because he stabbed himself on another sea urchin. Revenge for breakfasting on his brother, I think. Marcel hopes his finger doesn't fall off. Ted Ilan smiles at the camera, clearly panting to show us that he does in fact hope Marcel's finger falls off. So much for putting the Grudge Match aside. "He stabbed himself with the spines, and to lessen the infection, he was advised to pee on his hand," Ted Ilan tells us. I consulted a doctor on this theory -- big cocktailian shout-out to Dr. SistaKaren -- so I am well within my rights to scream, shout, and sing BULLSHIT!