'Hell's Kitchen' recap: Salvatore the Lobster goes for one last swim Season 7, Episode 10

Watching two hours of Hell's Kitchen per week makes me dizzy. And not because we're experiencing twice as many Chef Ramsay freakouts. If anything, this season has witnessed the arrival of a kinder Gordo, a gentler Gordo, a Lots-O-Huggin Gordo who smells of strawberries when he wishes you farewell on your journey through life. No, I feel dizzy because watching back-to-back episodes convinces me that I am losing grip on reality. Because I have absolutely no idea at any time whether a contestant is a great chef or a terrible chef.

Last night, two chefs who have been non-entities at best were suddenly revealed as legitimate contenders. Meanwhile, the two most talented chefs stumbled, stammered, imploded, exploded, and generally acted like caveman fifth-graders. (Also, maybe I'm hallucinating, but I could swear that Jay said, Jason has no talent in the kitchen about three seconds before he said Jason is a very talented chef. Well, which is it, Man-With-Blue-Hair?) I can understand when characters in a scripted show act differently from one week to the next, but when that happens on a reality show, the only response is to curl up into the fetal position and chant Life is Chaos, Life is Chaos until the spinning stops. Such existential uncertainty makes it hard to analyze the field of remaining contestants, but we're at the halfway point of the season now, so perhaps we should take a few moments to survey those who remain.

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