Last night's Top Chef episode was one of the most horrific, and horrifically watchable, in the show's four-year history. The cheftestants divided into two teams to create two instant restaurants: Stephanie, Antonia, and Richard got along swimmingly and created a smooth-running middlebrow gastropub; Dale, Lisa, and Spike created an Asian-fusion restaurant. With Spike safely in the front of the house, Dale and Lisa gave the audience a demonstration of bitter hostility and backbiting worthy of the Inferno. Since Dale was chef, it was he who got the boot from guest head judge Tony Bourdain, and chastened at this reminder of the sinfulness of mankind, we walked with a heavy tread back to the computer to IM Adam Platt.
Ozersky: God, that was terrifying.
Platt: She is indestructible. The moral of that show was, don't mess with the Gorgon! Ozersky: The moral of that show was Man's Inhumanity to Man. Dale and Lisa's pas de deux of hatred was like some nightmare vision of human enmity and loathing.
Ozersky: It was hugely enjoyable, of course — but deeply demoralizing.
Platt: I hear you, Cutty! But Team Buddha's food actually looked like it would taste vaguely interesting. That pallid gastro grub the other team cooking up looked barely edible. They played it safe, which was probably wise.
Ozersky: But the "original" stuff Team Buddha did is all ripped off. I just ate Sam Mason's miso-butterscotch sauce tonight, and it was great. Dale just screwed it up. But that's not why he lost.
Ozersky: What chance did he have when his whole "staff" consisted of the Gorgon?
Platt: Dale was doomed, and he knew it. They both knew Spike was useless, of course. Ozersky: It was truly a hatefest. But at the end his tears showed that Dale, too, was just a man.
Platt: He deserved to stay, but the fates were against him! Now it's fairly obvious who's next for the chopping block.
Ozersky: It is? Who?
Platt: Antonia's talented, both with food and with people. The same with Stephanie. The Gorgon, obviously, will survive. But how many times do we have to see her standing with her arms crossed, staring hatred and bile at the quivering judges?! I say Spike.
Ozersky: Maybe not. Look how Bourdain gave Spike a free pass this week.
Platt: Bourdain was his usual cool, louche self, but he lacked Don Colicchio's gravitas. The Don wouldn't have been afraid to send the Gorgon off to the glue factory.
Ozersky: Yes, he would have. No man can face the wrath of the Gorgon.