Top Chef All-Stars - The pre-finale breakdown

Poor Richard. He flamed out so hard in his first finale, and his attitude was so frank and contrite; did the "I fucked up, and can do nothing right" complex start then? And then the one criticism he receives in the first Bahamas episode (occasionally undercooked lobster), he doesn't believe?

Dude, are you trying to scare me off of my odds-on pick for you to win it all? Because this has all the makings of another spectacular crash-and-burn.

Regardless: I nailed the final three with my last revision of the betting lines. I'll admit, though: I didn't see Mike Isabella's ascendency coming. No way, no how. Whether he's got the judges bamboozled, or he's in Richard's head, or he's just on, dude is a serious threat to puncture my predictive balloon in the next two weeks.

And what to make of Antonia, once again becoming the Black Hammer? Her defense of straightforward cookery in last week's episode was honest, fair, and convincing. But is there a good enough justification to propel her past the developed flavors that Isabella's bringing lately? Or the creativity and daring of Richard Blais? Personally, I doubt it. But she's capable, I won't take that away from her.

The promo for this week's episode reveals some confusing drama; I honestly don't know what to expect. This season has, almost without fail, lived up to its promise. I hope the last two weeks continue to deliver. Or at least show more of Padma's model-walk in a bikini and sarong.