What would you do if you found out that you were related to your arch nemesis? You'd probably cook up a big steaming plate of Italian food and serve it to some gushing judges. Everything last night was about family, and being nice. Boring!
We started out the hour with the chefs reclining in their lair in DUMBO when the door opened with a loud creak and a rustle. In sauntered Padma, clearly pissed off. "Ugh, so this is what Brooklyn looks like? This place is disgusting. I can't believe they forced me here to see where you jerks live. I left my penthouse in the West Village so that we could peer into the East River? That's just fucking filthy. Look, there's garbage just floating in it. Gross! Anyway, assholes, because the producers seem to think that I'm some sort of chaperon on a seventh grade field trip, I have to take you to Ellis Island. And because they think you are a bunch of seventh graders, you have to make a meal out of the junk food you find on the ferry. Now get me the fuck out of Brooklyn!"
They get to the ferry and the chefs leap over the counter and assault the ingredients.
Tiffany makes nachos, which, duh. A fluttering specter of a dead seventh grader once known as Antonia makes a grilled cheese, which, duh. Mike Isabella uses sour cream and juice and pork rinds and Gummi Bears to make a soup and thickens it with hot dog buns, which, gross. Carla, the Owl Princess of Yosemite, cuts up an orange and puts rosemary on it, which, OK. Richard Blais, the prepared little soldier that he has, has MRE bags in his knife kit where you can just pour water in and some chemicals or magic or something boils the water, which, crazy. He uses this to make hot dogs. OK, why is he reaching in his magic chef Scooby sack and pulling out MRE bags of magic to make hot dogs when there is a hot dog rolling grill thing right there. Isn't that like wasting your one magic bean to hop over a shallow puddle? He makes a banh mi sandwich with his hotdog. Nothing can be simple, can it, Richard?
After being airlifted to Ellis Island on a personal helicopter and carried to the ferry on a Roman style litter, Padma gets on the boat with Dan Barber and says, "Get outside, assholes."
Now, something totally crazy happened that was edited out. It was probably one of Padma's epic rants, but we have no clue what it was about. When they were on the boat, it was broad daylight. It might have been late in the day, but it wasn't even twilight (and I don't mean the shitty vampire books). When they were on the grounds of Ellis Island, it was pitch black. Maybe the producers wanted to give them the full Ellis Island experience, so they trapped them on the boat with hundreds of starving Irish, Italian, Polish, and Russian immigrants huddled in blankets and suffering from exhaustion, dehydration, and all sorts of communicable disease. They made them all wait there, cheek to boil-infested jowl waiting at the gateway to America, staring at Lady Liberty on the horizon and dreaming of their new life, but stuck in the bowels of that filthy ship. Maybe that's what happened.
Anyway, Carla wins for her orange slices, because Dan Barber loved putting them in his mouth and using the rind to make a giant orange smile. He, too, is a seventh grader on a field trip. If Richard had any discernible personality at all, he'd be pissed.
It was time for the challenge. "Alright, dickwads, listen up. We were curious how the universe created such a bunch of idiots as you so we hired a genealogist to swim around in your polluted gene pools. Here are the results. You have to make a dish that is inspired by your ancestors. Oh, and here are your mothers, so go cry to them, you whiny babies."
Oh, this is the emotionally manipulative "family comes to visit," episode. This always makes me cry. Out comes Mike Isabella's mother, who drove up from New Jersey; Tiffany's mother, who flew all the way up from Texas; and Antonia's mother, a very posh woman wearing all black who flew in from Beverly Hills. She was still in mourning for her daughter, who died several years ago and is now a fluttering ghost that she can only communicate with through a crystal ball. Richard Blais' wife was there and she is hot. Like way-hotter-than-Richard-deserves hot. And she's pregnant. And her name is Jazmin. With that spelling it is inevitable that she would either be a drag queen or end up on a reality television program. We guess the the second finally occurred. Carla, the Owl Princess of Yosemite, is greeted by the Owl Prince of Yosemite. The fly around each other for a moment before wrapping their long, lustrous wings around each other. It was like the Royal Wedding all over again, but with more feathers.
Everyone sits down and finds out where their family is from. Richard, apparently, is a human clone created by a bunch of Meat Chemists who worked out of England before being exiled to Ireland. After being hatched in a lab he has been wondering all around America, cooking his sustenance in magic bags, and in desperate search of the human characteristic they call emotion. Either that or he is the son of Doctor Doom and hails from the small European nation of Latveria where they combine science and magic. Either one. Carla, as we know, is a royal member of the Owl Clan of Yosemite, defenders of the Jellystone, heir to the waters of Sierra Nevadas, and enemies of the Chicken Army of Perdue. That's a no-brainer. Tiffany, as her name used to denote, is black. Her family is from all over the south. Also, we bet her mother is spectacularly awesome. Mike Isabella is as Italian as the left-over cold cuts at the Bada-Bing. We learn that he had a grandmother he was especially close to and ever since she died he has been unable to cook Italian food. His long and storied family line was started by Aeolus, god of the wind.
Finally, there is the glimmer in the twilight known as Antonia. Her mother is gazing into her crystal ball and looking over the material. She starts to explain to Antonia where she's from and she said, "Mom, you don't have to tell me. I met our entire Sicilian family on the other side. They're great. But know what they told me? That I'm related to Mike! Can you believe it? He's from Dad's side of the family."
"Oh no!" Antonia's mother said. "Does that mean he burps and farts a lot?"
"How did you know?"
"They get that from their ancient ancestor the wind god. It's disgusting."
They part from their loved ones and go back home and sleep the sleep of a million immigrants, safe in their tenements. When they wake up in the morning, there is a DVD sitting on the table and it says, "Play me." Mike is very upset, because the last time this happened, it was a sex tape of his first wife getting porked by another man. That was how she told him she was leaving, and he's never been able to cook sex tapes again. Because there is no DVD player in the house they rush downstairs to plop it in the DVD player in their car. Apparently all cars come with all sorts of screens in them now because they do not at all create accidents. No sirree. Padma is on the DVD.
"Listen, fuck tards, I was supposed to come tell you this in person, but I was not about to go to Brooklyn two days in a row, so I just made you this video. Whichever one of you assholes wins this challenge will also win this car that you've been driving around all season and already smells like duck fat and Mike's farts. Congrats, losers. Are we done now? How do you shut this thing off? Oh...."
Shop, shop, shop; boring boring, boring; cook, cook, cook; boring, boring, boring, boring (that extra boring was for the boring extra 15 minutes they tacked onto the show for no particular reason). And now everyone is arriving to eat dinner. Padma, Tom Cohostio, and Gail Simmons are there along with all the family members. They are at John Doe on the Water, which I always thought was the code name police use when the body of a homeless guy washes up under a bridge. Anyway, Tom Cohostio is explaining to the family members how the evening is going to work when a slight breeze blows through the patio. "Get me a wrap!" Padma shouts at no one in particular. Suddenly a gorgeous green shawl is trotted out by a sweating PA.
Mike brings out his dish and he made gnocchi, which he says is a recipe that his grandmother used to make for him. That's just like Mike to go stealing someone else's recipe, tell everyone about it, and take complete credit. Somewhere in sequester, Fabio is steaming mad. Naturally Mike's mother loves it. Tiffany is up next and she made short ribs with okra and Lady Marmelade. Apparently Tiffany thinks that she is related to Patti LaBelle. This was a very risky move because Tom Cohostio is notorious for hating okra, but Tiffany did it anyway. Tom loves it. Actually everyone loves everything. Even the other mothers and family members are saying nice things about the other contestant's dishes. Boring! If I was on Top Chef I know Momma Moylan would be at the table going, "This slop is fucking disgusting! They need to lose." Instead Antonia's mourning mother says, "Maybe there should be a final five." As soon as she said it, I knew there was going to be a final five. All the praise they were heaping on everyone and it being the All-Star season, it just made sense. Thanks for setting it up, editors. Spoiler a-motherfucking-lert.
Then Antonia flutters out with her floating trays of veal and risotto. This ghost is just crazy for making risotto. It's one of those things—like desserts and comments about Padma's outfits—one just does not make on Top Chef if they have expectations of surviving. Antonia's mother just loves her daughter's risotto, because it reminds her of happier times before she died. While eating the food, she has an emotional moment and quivers a bit, which makes her drop her fork. Since she is sitting next to Padma, the fork brushes against her shawl, leaving a bit of a risotto stain.
"What did you just do?" Padma asks.
"Sorry, I was just thinking about my dead daughter and I..."
"And you, what? And you decided you would ruin my clothes. Do you know how much this cost? You may be from Beverly Hills, but I still have more money than you. I have a motherfucking Emmy. What do you have? A restaurant that closed down, a husband that farts on you, and a dead daughter. That is what you have. Someone come and take this!" Padma ripped the shawl off her body and held it with two fingers, like it was dirty diaper. "Take it! Get this soiled disgusting thing away from me. I hope you're happy. Now I'm going to freeze out here on this fucking patio. I'm going to die surrounded by a bunch of nobodies and a bunch of nobodies' mothers. Thanks for ruining my outfit, now you killed me. Just like you killed your daughter!"
Richard brings out his science experiment that is based on the cloning procedure which created him. He calls it Automatons with Snogwarts or something gross like that. Everyone seems to like it though. While waiting for Carla's dish, we discover that she did not marry the Owl Prince of Yosemite through an arranged marriage like we believed. No, they found each other on Match.com, because apparently owls know how to use the internet. When he, just a peasant from the Owl Collective of Yellowstone, the navigators of Old Faithful, saw his perfect woman on the computer it was love at first site (get it?!). He flew all the way to Yosemite to meet her and kneel before the princess. He was far superior to all of her suitors, but she couldn't deign to marry a commoner. Through an arduous courtship process that included feats of strength, a race through the clouds, and the theft of one of Ranger Smith's pick-a-nick baskets, he was finally allowed to wed his owl love. Oh, what a moment! Then Carla brought out a giant stuffed owl with comfort food surrounding it and it was just like their wedding reception high among the treetops.
Everyone loved it, everyone loved everything. And then they were at judges table and all they could talk about was how awesome everything was. We know, we know, there's going to be a final five, just do it already! Antonia wins and gets a car. Mike Isabella talks about cooking his grandmother's food for the first time since she died and he starts to cry. He cries so much that the ugly giant eye he has tattooed on his hand starts to cry too. Even his neck fat gets a little verklempt. Fuck you, Mike, you came in second. Padma does the bait and switch on Richard making him think he's going home, but we know he's not. Blah. Everyone wins. Final five. Hurray, hurray, hurray; boring, boring, boring.