Wow. So the reaction to this episode is the most mixed I've ever seen. The boards at TWOP, comments on the blogs at TVGuide and on Bravo, everyone's all over the place. People who hate Mia, people who felt sorry for her, people who thought Cliff was an ass, people who thought he was justified, people who thought Elia should go home, people who thought Mia should go home, people who thought Michael should have gone home, people who thought it was lame of Mia to quit, people who thought it was gracious...are we really all watching the same show?
So what did I think? The Black team's decision to only do four dishes and to do most of the cooking on the spot was just bizarre. I remember Elia saying something like "200 people, 2 hours, 800 hors d'oeuvres, that's perfect" and I was thinking, are you kidding? That's one of each per person. Not everyone's going to like all of them, and some people will want seconds or even thirds. I understood that Elia wanted to go for quality over quantity, but for a cocktail party that's just all wrong.
So obviously the Orange team was going to win, even if their dishes weren't as high-quality. What I didn't like was Marcel's little proclamation that he didn't need leadership. Obviously a stupid attempt to try to get the win instead of Sam, which really just made him seem petty. I love that Ilan was all like, "that's just how Marcel talks." Some people seem to dislike Ilan because of some nasty comments he's made about Marcel, but I don't know, Marcel's annoying. I mean, I really don't think he's as much a villain as the show is editing him to be, but he's definitely got an arrogance and attitude about him.
Now, onto the Orange Team. I thought Cliff was being an ass. Obviously it's all about the edit, but I didn't see Mia bitching and moaning all that much, and I fail to see how that was the biggest factor in the team's loss. She was justifiably angry that food wasn't coming out of the kitchen fast enough because she was out there with the party guests who were asking for food. Cliff, I thought you were cool, but I'm not so sure.
As for Mia's decision to go home? I'm not really bothered by it. Usually I'm not a fan of reality show contestants who quit, but she wasn't doing it because she couldn't handle the competition or whatnot, she was doing it because she didn't want Elia to leave. Elia's young and talented and definitely has a chance to win this entire thing. That said, all of Mia's rambling about being homeless and selling drugs as a kid and all did sort of scream "martyr" but I'm not about to knock her for it. And Tom Colicchio did say in his blog for this week that they were ready to send Elia home, so it's not like she did it for nothing.
So there are 7 chefs left. Betty and Michael aren't going to make it much further (although I have to admit that I have this irrational love of Michael and was super glad that he did well in the Quickfire this week). That leaves Sam, Cliff, Ilan, Elia, and Marcel to fight it out for the title. It's weird, this season I'd been complaining about the fact that we weren't seeing as much good food, but there really are five strong, viable candidates for the win. I definitely didn't see that last season, nor on many other competitive reality shows. I can't really say at this point who I'm rooting for but I think the rest of the season's going to be really good and we're going to start seeing some great food.
Oh, and I have to mention that I LOVE Ted Allen!