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Hell’s Kitchen – Marco’s last sacking

So, I’ve missed a couple of episodes! What’s happened? Well, thank god Claudia’s here to tell us. “Three have left Hell’s Kitchen (shots of Jody, Grant and Bruce). Tonight, Marco picks his final four!” At this early stage, I’m going to predict that he gets rid of one of the women, just to balance things out, but I’m still keen to know what Grant and Bruce did to get the arse.

Our contestants get up to find that the backyard has been converted into a petting zoo. Ade is the first to discover them, when he investigates the source of some bleating. Naturally, precedent leads him to speculate that they will have to “slaughter them in cold blood”, a suspicion shared by Niomi. Actually, the mission is not to slaughter them, but to bottle feed them. Linda and Danielle get the lambs up on their laps and Linda even gives hers a kiss. I hesitate to point this out, but do the celebs think that because they got to feed, rather than kill, the lambs it means the lambs are – ahem – off the hook? Perhaps they really will be sent to a lovely farm to frolic and… well, you know the rest.

Are the lambs safe?  Find out, after the jump.

Having bonded with the lambs and removed the ribbons from their necks, the celebs file into the kitchen to discover that their ribbon equates to a lamb body part. Niomi sees that she has the loin chop, but everyone’s attention is focussed on the testicles (“I have to say, those are a big pair of bollocks” says Ade, noting that they haven’t been colour tagged – probably to the relief of all). Danielle has scored the kidneys.

Marco appears, wielding his knife with menace. He confirms that Ade has the fillet and Linda’s “got the chop”. I wonder if he’s revealing his thoughts on sacking, here? Anthea asks Marco whether people eat the testicles and he doesn’t really answer the question – he seems more interested in their size. She notes that they are much bigger than its brain, which is both surprising and true. Enough bollocks – Marco tells the contestants that they have 30 minutes to cook with their bit of lamb.

Our celebs seem to be getting more confident – the kitchen is calm and the celebs seem unfussed by their challenge. Danielle’s kidneys get Marco’s approval. Anthea has topped her chop with a parsley butter and served it with peas and potatoes. No comment from Marco. Ade’s reduction of currants and red wine gets a “very nice – I’m glad you used your imagination”. Marco notes their confidence, concentration and efficiency before giving Danielle’s kidneys the nod. God knows what Niomi and Linda cooked.

At this point, I’ve got to say that the atmosphere in the kitchen is just as Marco says, and this is to the detriment of the drama. Still, Niomi has apparently been saying she wants to go home and we are now privy to her meeting with Marco. During this chat, I discover that Bruce chose to go. Is this another match-throwing scandal in the making? Hmm. Back to Marco and Niomi, and any potential for tension there is quelled by Marco’s superior confidence building abilities. Damn.

Claudia is with Antony Worrall-Thompson who says the food is good, but undermines this compliment with “I had to season my tartare… and I do better chips”. Strangely, he doesn’t object when Claudia refers to him as “a king of food”. He also thinks Marco’s “on something”, he’s being so nice.

We focus on a constantly babbling Anthea, who – to Ade’s distress – doesn’t have “an off switch”. From the clip package, it does seem as though she might be Belcebron. We see that it’s not only Ade who is irritated by it, although he’s the only one reduced to blocking it with “blah blah blah” and making yappy-mouth gestures with his hands behind her back.

It’s time for service, and Marco is holding out a highly exclusive carrot for the contestants: the four remaining celebs will be allowed to wear his bandanas. What a special man. Marco explains his theory of wildlife to Niomi – he’ll release a butterfly or a bee that finds its way into his house, but a wasp? “I’ll kill a wasp.”

In a sign the action in the kitchen must be snoringly boring, we are treated to a clip package of the celebs getting visits from their loved ones. Danielle’s reaction to seeing lover-man, Gary Lineker? A rather tepid peck on the cheek and the voiceover that “it’s nice… just to see a familiar face”. Whoa, somebody tamp down that passion! This is a family show! It’s quite sad to see Linda’s interview, though – she says how nice it is to watch the others greeting their friends and family. Claudia puts a call out for any Dynasty people to drop by and visit Linda. After a long sequence of Anthea greeting a stream of people, Ade comments that “she knows nearly everyone in the room. I, on the other hand, no practically no-one. I don’t know what that says about either of us”. We then see him race over to hug Gary as he takes his leave of Danielle and I can’t shake the feeling that Anthea really doesn’t get the joke.

“There is a quiet before the storm… and then it all goes manic.” Niomi’s almost-cliche starts off the service rush. A couple of blondes approach the pass to gush over Marco and he ignores them. Danielle tries to shoo them away but Marco’s noticed their over-enthusiastic application of fake tan: “she should knock off the Vitamin C, that one”.

Ade feels he’s made “several major errors” tonight: undercooked turbot; overcooked tuna; an upended bottle of olive oil. He brightens, however, when Niomi drops a steak on the floor just as it’s being plated. She feels that she’s up for sacking; Ade’s confident of being in the bottom two.

Sacking table! Marco keeps reiterating his relief that it’s his last sacking, but he fools no-one. Such a control freak would never be pleased to relinquish power to a television audience. It’s time to reminisce about the early days. Ah, when Danielle seemed on the verge of tears all the time. How nice. She thinks she should stay because she’s improved the most. Easy to do, coming off the lowest base. Linda wants to stay because she’s having so much fun – it’s “magical”. Anthea says she’s learning how to learn from Marco, that in the beginning she resisted “falling under that spell”. Marco’s eyebrow flick betrays some disappointment with that comment. He believes that everybody should know that he’s irresistible. Ade reflects that he had a good night the previous night but that he’d understand being sacked after his performance tonight. Marco reveals that his decision is based on “every single minute” they’ve been there, not just one night. Phew – the show needs Ade far more than it needs perfectly cooked fish.  Niomi and Marco rehash their earlier conversation. And, after the break, a sacking!

“Anthea, I’ve enjoyed working with you. You’ve been very consistent… but you’re exactly the same as you were the day you arrived. Consistent. There’s been no growth and that’s why, Anthea, you’re sacked.”

Wow. It really is a bittersweet symphony, so thank you, The Verve! Danielle, Niomi, Linda and Ade will be rocking those bandanas tomorrow.

Before we go, however, we see a highlights package of Anthea. Does she really think that the simile is “… like a blue horsefly”? Is the simile “… like a blue horsefly” and I’ve just been wrong all this time? Answers on the back of a stamped, self-addressed envelope, please.