Top Chef (Texas) - Keep the hot side hot

After a first round of the finals wherein the chefs were inexplicably dropped in Vancouver (y'know, where they had the Olympics once?), chefs ran biathlon (poorly) to win ingredients for a very important dish, Beverly's luck finally ran out, and Paul and Lindsay returned at the end of the episode both wearing white like indoctrinated cultists -- after all that, we started tonight's action with our three remaining chefs twiddling their thumbs while Top Chef Masters loosened the lids on their pickle jars.

This, my friends, is a snapshot of this season.

But hey, Paul made it to the final finals like we all knew he should. You could make equally valid arguments for either [Lindsay's repeated low degrees of difficulty] or [Sarah's willingness to make a shitload of fiddly pasta] being the main reason why Sarah's moving on and Lindsay's going home.

Either way, Sarah's got her work cut out for her. In a challenge where Paul has no choice but to focus, his nattering creative monkeys are likely to be silenced. No stray arugula -- as it that could possibly have sent his dish packing this week over raw kale randomly slapped on Lindsay's halibut.

And tonight's Elimination challenge: was it giving anyone else flashbacks?

So next week is the real finale, I think. I have to hand it to Sarah; she's got more culinary chutzpah than I expected out of her. She's kind of a competition chef after my own heart, trying things on a whim when she's got zero experience with 'em. But I can tell you, you run a strong chance of flaming out with that philosophy. Paul's only got the Coco Chanel rule to remember; his kung fu is strong.

Every season, one judge says that that season's finale is the best one ever, so I don't put a lot of stock in the preview snippet from Tom Colicchio. Still, I'll be sticking it out just to see if he's not putting us all on.