'Hell's Kitchen' Season 9, Finale Episode Recap - '4 Chefs Compete, Winner Chosen'

'Hell's Kitchen' Season 9, Finale Episode Recap - '4 Chefs Compete, Winner Chosen' Before the final episode begins, we get a clip montage giving us a look back at the season that was: chasing chickens, Medieval Times, Elise's obnoxiously smug attitude.

We also get a look at our four remaining contestants, who now have snappy nicknames: Paul is "The Pit Bull," Tommy is "The Wild Card," Will is "The Machine," and Elise is "The Fighter." I would have gone with "The Annoying $&*#" for her, but hey, that's just me. Seriously, how did we all get this far while having to deal with her every week? For that matter, how did nobody on the show murder her?

The judges for today's challenge are the contestants' families, which leads us to a surreal moment in which we see Elise's husband, son and aunt, who all seem very nice and normal. It's sort of impossible to imagine Elise in any setting other than this one, isn't it? It's like trying to picture Ramsay picking daisies.

Tommy is joined by him mom and his girlfriend, who is actually pretty cute. But it's gross when  Paul's brother is here, and the two of them share a rather enthusiastic hug, and Will gets to see his wife and mother. Poor Paul is all alone, and Tommy keeps making out with his girlfriend, who is apparently only 19. Gross.

It's "Taste It, Now Make It" time, and the winner will get to spend the day with their family. It's a fish of some time, but Elise can't figure out if it's halibut or cod. Will and Tommy are pretty sure it's monkfish, and Paul is at a toss-up between monkfish and cod. Everybody agrees on the other ingredients, except for Tommy who thinks that the fish was wrapped in serrano ham instead of prosciutto.

Tommy's up first, and Ramsay really seems to like it. He's mostly quiet about Elise's halibut, and looks a little disappointed with Paul's cod. Tommy was incorrect with his serrano ham, so he's out. So now the question is which fish is correct: Will's monkfish, Elise's halibut or Paul's cod? As it turns out, it's Paul, who gets to go to a Dodgers game with his brother. A fitting reward, though it's kind of a bummer that the three couples don't get to see each other.

Elise starts crying. Too late for anyone to feel bad for you, jerkface.

Paul gets to meet Don Mattingly, a big plus for the Yankee fan. Not only that, but Ramsay throws out the first pitch, which is kind of hilarious. But hey, it didn't bounce. And he didn't try to pitch it like it was cricket or anything.

Dinner service begins, and Paul is the first to run things. Tommy serves him up some raw fish, which distracts him long enough to Ramsay's lackeys to put shrimp in the capellini instead of lobster, which Paul misses. First test: failed. He doesn't win many more points when he screams at Tommy for not talking.

Tommy's up next, and he's a bit mixed up at the start. He also fails his sabotage test, as he reads off a filet that isn't on the menu. Oops.

When Elise's turn comes up, she misses her sabotage test as well, as she plates potato puree instead of cauliflower puree, but catches the parsnip that gets subbed in. She really starts rolling, once she stops crying. Props to "The Annoying $&*#," that was pretty solid.

Will's finally up, and catches the lamb substitution right off the bat. Elise seems to be trying her own sabotage tests, putting raw pasta in the spinach and black pepper in the potatoes. Will gets understandably upset, which causes everyone to stop trying. He recovers enough to get everything back on track, but there are questions of his motivational skills.

When service finishes and the contestants face the music, Ramsay already has one elimination picked out before he even hears the arguments. He says that he's come to understand Tommy, but he's not quite ready. That might be the most genuine goodbye we've seen from Ramsay thus far.

Elise is already almost crying. Good lord. She gives her speech, and Ramsay calls it "passionate as ever." Will is the first one in the finals, which is no surprise.

PAUL IS THE OTHER ONE! People, I can't tell you how happy I am to know that at least, for the last hour of this show, I won't have to deal with Elise. Finally. Finally. Ah, I relish in her tears.

So, the final service will be a true heavyweight bout. I think we've known since the beginning that it was likely to be Paul and Will in the finals, and it should be a close one. As they plan their menus, Paul talks about losing his mother, who passed away right before he came here. It'll be a long shot, but Paul definitely has the sympathy vote today.

The contestants' families are there to ride in limos to a new "restaurant," but when Ramsay takes the two of them into the "kitchen," it turns out that they're actually in a theater with a cheering crowd. Actually, it's a pretty nice touch...remember that opening episode, where all the contestants were met with an empty theater? We're seeing the reverse. It's a nice full circle.

The judging of the challenge begins in front of the cheering crowd. Will gets the first point for his scallops over Paul's mussels, but bother were determined to be delicious, but Paul gets the second with his salad. Will overcooks his fish, which gives Paul another point, but Will's ribeye with gruyere gives Will a point to tie things up at 2-2.

So it's down to one last dish, and Paul pulls out the truffles again, which the last judge calls superb. He's equally impressed with Will's filet, but he gives the slight edge to Will, giving Will the win.

When they get back, the past contestants are hiding in a big present. Remember just about 20 minutes ago, when I was so thrilled that we didn't have to deal with Elise? Well, now I'm disappointed. The teams shake out like this: Will gets Tommy, Natalie, Jennifer and Krupa, while Paul gets Jonathon, Elizabeth, and Carrie and Elise. Paul is straight-up f***ed.

Ramsay tastes the contestants' two menus: Will's red team puts together a nice set of dishes, but Paul's blue team makes some major mistakes. If Paul wasn't shaken before, he is now. But he gives his team a great speech before they start, telling them how he promised his mom before she died that he would win this thing. I'm not sure if that can magically make Carrie not suck, but it does seem to have touched them.

Elise is already off to a terrible start, having to re-do her shrimp twice, and Elizabeth doesn't help when she screws up her scallops twice as well. Things are going much better in the red kitchen...that is, until Krupa screws up the fish. Why wasn't she put on apps? Oh yeah, because she can't cook risotto.

But it seems almost nothing could get the blue kitchen to recover, as Jonathon serves up raw steak. Elise gets on his case, and Paul tries to turn things around by pulling Jonathon off and putting Elise on meat. That seems to get things going.

Meanwhile, Will makes his first major error...Krupa gives him undercooked fish, but he misses it and sends it out...and it gets sent right back.

Paul sends Elise over to garnishes to help Carrie after she saves the meats. Really, it seems like Paul and Elise would be better off running the whole kitchen themselves.

And the red team would be better off completely without Krupa, as the fish is still held up, even after sending Natalie over.

"I don't think I won, dude," says Paul to Will. "I don't think I did," says Will to Paul. But Paul has a good point: "I'm the only person that got Carrie and Elise to work together," he says. That in itself is reason enough for Paul to get a job as an executive chef.

As Paul and Will pace and wait for the call, Ramsay goes over the comment cards and dramatically looks at pictures of Will and Paul.

Finally, it's decision time: the chefs step up to the doors and place their hands on the handles...and (after a commercial break) Paul's door opens! "Holy $&%* $&#*!" is, I believe, what he says. It's a great moment, what with Paul dedicating the win to his mom. Well deserved, even though Will sort of got screwed with a terrible service.

The blooper reel is fun, with Ramsay cracking jokes about Tommy's teenage girlfriend, and telling Elise with the final line before the end of the credits: "Take this, and run with it...just stop being such a bitch!"

Winner: Paul

 
 
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