It's time to give thanks in the middle of the Los Angeles summer. To get them in the mode of telling everyone around the dinner table what they are thankful for, the cheftestants have a fifteen-minute Quickfire to prepare tasty meals from canned goods. The big twist is when Colicchio names five winners who have immunity from the Elimination challenge. The rest -- Marcel, Betty, Carlos, Michael, Elia -- have to prepare a "cutting-edge" Thanksgiving. And all without D.B. Sweeney or Moira Kelly. The losers have to serve the new-fangled Thanksgiving to the judges and the five Immunity-drenched cheftestants. Elia, after the Quickfire, is just about ready to give up on the whole damn competition, but agrees to make the soup portion of the Thanksgiving feast. In the middle of prep time, she has a literal meltdown and gives herself a ganache facial. She treats Carlos and Betty to one as well. After a little straightforward talking with Colicchio during his usual Sniff 'n' Sneer, Elia regains her confidence in Colicchio and decides that it's okay for him to be her judge after all. However, I continue to remain unconvinced. Tony Whoredain (tm heebie jeebies) shows up as guest judge and has a few calculated but surprisingly hysterical judgments to toss with the salad. The way it all shakes down is that pretty much everyone sucks except Elia. Marcel gets props for actually taking the whole cutting-edge approach seriously and trotting out a few foams and gelees, but his turkey roulade was dry. Funny thing is, Bourdain ends up loving what Michael tried to accomplish even if it was "Flintstonian." Funnier thing: I didn't end up hating Bourdain as much as I expected. Not only does Frank run off at the mouth on how much he hates Marcel while judging his Thanksgiving dish, but earlier in the process, we get the whole "if you touch my stuff again, I will beat you so bad your mother won't even recognize you" bit that the Bravo promo monkeys have been taunting us with since the very first episode. What's he so apoplectic about? His toothbrush was on the floor. Funny thing is, the cameras specifically showed us that the toothbrush was SPECIFICALLY in the Dopp kit, so Frank can just suck it hard and lose the whole tired Goodfellas act. At the Judges' Table, Betty shows her true colors (yet again for me, but maybe for the first time for others) when she screamingly throws Carlos and Marcel under the Top Cheffian bus and blames those who actually lended a helping hand in her failed brûlées for those failed brûlées. Elia is declared the winner with Marcel a sort of afterthought second. As they all await the fate of the next-eliminated in the back, Betty and Marcel get into it. Betty gets all Scanners with her tendon-bulging blue neck and calls Marcel "selfish" (even though he helped her, unselfishly, and she didn't offer to help him), and he FINALLY calls her a bitch. Because she is. Sadly, the tender-hearted Carlos is sent home because his salad was really sort of pathetic.
FINALLY! An episode that got me so riled up, I was hurling pens, notebooks, and cocktails at the TV! This episode really kicked all sorts of interesting ass. Also, I truly and deeply hate someone at long last. And it wasn't Bourdain, which really surprised the ever-living fuck out of me, quite honestly.
Mia, Elia, and Betty remark how quiet the girls' quarters are without Josie and Marisa. Yeah, especially Josie, I'll bet. Mia is shocked that someone as talented as Josie was let go already. Josie completely agrees with you.
Over in the boys' den, Ted Ilan snickers over Marcel's business cards and shows them to Michael. On one side, the card has Marcel's name and says "Culinary Entrepreneur" over a line drawing of a mushroom. On the back it looks like someone has written: "Marcel Vigneron" and under that, "The Next Top Chef." Michael wonders how many of them Marcel has handed out. So, I'm confused -- did Marcel give the card to Ted Ilan or did Ted Ilan dig through Marcel's stuff, TOUCHING his stuff, to find it? Maybe Marcel should beat him so bad his mother won't recognize him. Sadly, thinking of Marcel's tiny body, he could probably only beat him so bad that his second cousin wouldn't recognize him. Once again, Elia stands up for Marcel to us, explaining that she had known and worked with him before. Marcel tells us, "I don't really know if they all, like, got together one night [cut], throwing, like, darts at a board, like, trying to figure out: 'Oh, it landed on Marcel. Let's hate him!'" Marcel laughs rather forcedly. He reminds us that the competition is about the food and he just doesn't care about anything else at this point.
Quickfire. Padmadala and Colicchio are standing in the Krapmore Kitchen in front of a large display of canned food. Padmadala explains that Colicchio will be their judge for the day. Colicchio says, "With the holiday season upon us [In AUGUST?], we typically do a can drive in our restaurants. We ask our guests to bring canned goods that we distribute to community food banks. Not everyone has access to fresh foods, but that doesn't mean that they can't eat well." Colicchio tells them the Quickfire is to take an "unexciting ingredient" and "turn it into something fabulous." They have to use at least three cans and they have fifteen minutes. Mia weighs in with us, "You know, when my family was homeless, the food bank really helped us a lot, so I'm not scared to cook out of a can." That comment was juxtaposed against Marcel thinking how difficult this challenge will be.