Of the carnage and recriminations, the filth and the fury that followed, I will speak little. Antonia, once again, became the repository for all the world's sins, left, it appeared, to cook nearly everything single handed. What a Trojan! She's like John Shaft -- always willing to help her brotherman, demonstrating a generosity of spirit that nearly doomed her. Had her own shrimp toast not been delicious, it might well have been her head on the block. For much of the show -- whether because of the edit or not, it looked like she was the only person moving in a kitchen full of stunned carp. As at the aftermath of a violent bar fight, the others present creeped slowly and stealthily away from the horror, unwilling to get blood or hair on their shoes. But she hung in. And at Judges' Table, when confronted about her central role in this greatest of face-plants, she stood up under brutal interrogation like a hard case career con refusing to put the much guiltier Casey in the soup. She made Sammy the Bull Gravano and Whitey Bulger look like punks. In the same situation, I suspect, the guys would have been jostling each other to drop a dime on each other.
It was so bad that teacher had to show up. Tom Colicchio, in a rare appearance in the kitchen, Ramsay-like, descended into the fray to see what the major malfunction might be and chastise the guilty. But there were too many offenders to single out one offender. Guilt was everywhere.
He looked around the beleaguered crew and saw only the faces of the doomed.
Who among them emerged from this sea of ordure unscathed? No one. Even Dale, the winner of the day, whose sticky rice impressed the customers, the judges and even guest judge Susur Lee, was heard to comment: "I feel like I robbed a bank." Yes, Dale. Yes you did. And good for you.