Top Chef: Texas Recap
By David Mumpower and Kim Hollis
February 22, 2012
1) Paul - Paul has won more often than the 1995-1996 Chicago Bulls. The final three episodes give off the vibe that everyone is simply waiting for his coronation, particularly now that Edward is gone.
2) Lindsay - After several consecutive strong rounds, Lindsay was an eyelash away from elimination last week. She is still well positioned to be the fallback option if (God forbid) Paul chokes in the finale.
3) Sarah - The only reason why Sarah is positioned third is because she has never been eliminated from the competition. While she can hang her hat on the fact that 29 players began the season and she is one of only three to reach this round of the competition sans elimination, she is a weak overall performer and kind of a punk. The “kind of” was us being polite.
4) Beverly - While she doesn’t deserve to be here over Edward, Beverly makes for a better story as a finalist than Lindsay or Sarah would. Even though she is selfish and a bit underhanded, I am rooting for her if Paul doesn’t win (God forbid).
Previously on Top Chef, Beverly edged Grayson for a spot in the final five. This turn of events surprised Lindsay, Sarah, Paul and Edward. Those chefs had been led to believe that they comprised the final four. For her part, Beverly was unapologetic about her re-entry; she was also taken aback by the icy reception received from the other chefs. Even Ed, someone she considered a role model, struggled to hide his dissatisfaction with the return of a previously eliminated participant.
As we have stated innumerable times over the years, any reality show competition that engages in such a practice needs for the production team to be forthcoming with the players ahead of time. If everyone knows the rules as has been the case with recent seasons of Survivor/Redemption Island, there is no reason to harbor a grudge. Conversely, if this bit of potential sabotage sandbags the participants, as was the case with Survivor: Pearl Islands, the possible result is an unsatisfying conclusion.
This is exactly what came to pass last week on Top Chef. Beverly, clearly the inferior of Ed based on performance this season, earned a spot in the final four. Even worse, Sarah was given a free ride to the final four thanks to a Quickfire victory. She didn’t even have to cook in the challenge, a rarity in the nine season history of the show. That meant that one of the best three players – Paul, Lindsay and Ed – was in danger of elimination. In the end, Ed was the one sent home in order to allow his inferior protégé could advance.
This is great news for Paul, who seems like a mortal lock to win the season. Then again, he probably was anyway, even if Ed had survived. The only way this situation could change is if we witnessed a similar turn of events as in season 7 (Washington D.C.). Kevin Sbraga won exactly one individual challenge prior to the finale yet he claimed the title of Top Chef thanks to some inspired cooking in the finale. Sarah and Beverly would need such a miracle to win since they are clearly a notch below their counterparts. Lindsay is hot enough down the stretch that she is the only participant with a realistic chance to achieve an upset. The others would be Buster Douglas/Mike Tyson level shockers.