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[S9E13] Still Water 'LINK'

The opening moments with the car careening into the water after narrowly avoiding Hailey and her diving in were intense. All you could think about is that they were in the water, in Chicago, in the middle of the freaking winter.

[S9E13] Still Water


The water scenes were the most gripping, and kudos to the stunt coordinator, Tom Lowell, Spiradakos, and her double, Kelli Scarangello, for those scenes. If you didn't get the chance to watch the behind-the-scenes footage for that, you should check it out.

The cold would've done a number on her and taken her out or down at some point, and she still would've had to exert herself to free Lisa's pinned legs from the car. Saving Lisa was beyond what a single person could do, and as much as this will stick with her, she has to remember that.

It was a really good case. Hailey's personal connection to it wasn't steeped in her traumatic past while still developing and exploring her character more. They also didn't use the hour to tie into Voight or Halstead, so it felt hers distinctly with the bonus of exploring some different dynamics, too.

In preparation for the big stunt, which was filmed over several days, she worked closely with diving instructors to learn important safety protocols like accessing the oxygen tank as well as how to look comfortable in the water while hitting her specific cues.

At a hot dog eating contest in Stillwater, Minnesota, as the winner is announced, a heated argument breaks out between the winner and the runner-up who accuses the winner of cheating. The winner leaves and gets into his car, where he is attacked by an unseen monster, who sucks all the fat out him and kills him.

At the police station in Stillwater, Sam and Dean pose as FBI agents to get the details about the victim, Wayne McNut, from Sheriff Donna Hanscum who shares her powdered sugar donuts with Dean. The boys then visit "Slim" Jim Morgan, the runner-up, and question him about the victim and their rivalry in the competitive eating circle. While there, Sam snoops around the bedroom and finds a Putsi bag that belongs to "Slim" Jim's wife.

Running a little late this week! Between Top Chef and powering through eight posts about China over two weeks, I needed to take a few days. But let's squeeze in some rankings before the new episode tonight.Can we just stop and take score right now? The four remaining chefs are my preseason 1, 2, 5 and dark horse 7. The return and survival of Bev or Grayson would make that look a lot less impressive :-)That could have been a lot worse. On a lot of fronts. Since I made such a big deal about it, I feel like Pee-wee had his moments, but there's definitely something odd about seeing such a grossly exaggerated character in a non-exaggerated context. It goes from good weird to weird weird. I suspect everybody missed the funniest bit, though... the look on his face for a split second during the "judges looking sternly straight ahead" shot at the beginning of Judges' Table. Priceless.Anyway, we got a nice, straightforward quickfire (not to mention a scintillating cameo by Mr. Breakfast -- pancake table, front and center), thematic but with plenty of room for creativity. The elimination was the one that rightfully gave everybody hives, and the fact that it wasn't a total disaster is as much a matter of blind luck as it ia a testament to the remaining chefs. The fact that everybody has to pretend this isn't all carefully laid out ahead of time is really stupid. As I've said before, all it does is undermine the show's credibility. And there's no reason for it. It wouldn't have been any less interesting if they'd just been forthcoming about how the challenge was set up. In any case, even though the actual structure of the challenge was far safer than the purported structure of the challenge, there's so much that could have gone wrong, so many stupid ways somebody could have been eliminated that had absolutely nothing to do with food, that we're fortunate it turned out as well as it did, I think.One thing I will stand up for, however... I suspect one of the driving ideas behind this challenge, liks some others this season, was to really get the chefs out and into the city, interacting with their surroundings. I mentioned it earlier in the season, and thing is something I think they've always needed to do more of, and I love to see them doing it... just perhaps not quite like this. Okay, hopefully it isn't too obvious at this point that I'm totally phoning this week in. On with the rankings.The power rankings are not purely a prediction of who is most likely to win, or an assessment of last episode's dishes, or a reflection of the contestants' historical performance, but rather a nebulous amalgam of all three, combined with a little bit of gut feeling, to provide a relative measure of current awesomeness.WinsTopBottom1PaulQuickfires234Last Week: 1Eliminations451Surprise... another solid week from Paul. His pancake recipe was mostly straightforward, with a little MG twist. I'm a little curious what tossing the batter in an iSi canister accomplishes... a little aeration to keep them light? I'd be curious to know if it achieves a significantly different texture than just pouring in the batter, or the move was simply one of convenience. The champagne dippin' dots (can we use that name now that they're dead and buried?) were simply champagne and agave blended up with liquid nitrogen to turn it into little frozen spheres. A simple but clever recipe, and I wonder how it stacked up against the others. His elimination dish looked fantastic as always -- red curry gastrique, yes -- and Gail notes in her blog that what kept him out of the winner's circle was balance. Everyone, Paul included, agreed that it was a touch on the sweet side. So Paul continues to cruise. Which is just how we like it.2SarahQuickfires041Last Week: 2Eliminations245This is the third week in a row that Sarah's ended up on the bottom with what it sounds like was essentially a very good dish, just not quite as good as some others. Though underseasoning is flirting with disaster, to be sure. Love the look of that salad, and there's nothing that doesn't sound awesome about chicken skin vinaigrette. Two chefs did a vinaigrette based on crispy rendered animal fat, and note that one chef did something a little different and interesting, while the other went to a grossly overplayed (if delicious) version. Just one of the reasons Sarah's still hanging in there at number two and Grayson's gone. But all of a sudden, there's somebody breathing down Sarah's neck... aaaaaaand it's not who I would have guessed a few weeks ago. 3LindsayQuickfires230Last Week: 4Eliminations251I'm still not sold on her, nor can I explain what the heck her style is, exactly (that can be a problem in the finals), but she's kind of forced my hand. However she's doing it, Lindsay's on a roll. That's five consecutive top elimination finishes, and she finally has a solid, solo elimination win to call her own. Her recipe is surprisingly straightforward, some braised beef cheeks with a little tomato rice, zucchini, greens and goat cheese, with the addition of some celery and carrot pickles for punch. But she apparently nailed it. I still don't see the kind of food that I expect will win this thing, but there comes a point where you have to recognize and respect when somebody is routinely banging out good dishes, and since the midpoint of the season, that's Lindsay.4EdwardQuickfires122Last Week: 3Eliminations145Ed's making this kind of easy, though. For the most part, I still feel like Ed's peaks have been more noteworthy. I like the look of his elimination dish, and as simple as his quickfire was, I love the idea of serving only the crispy edges of the pancakes. But this is now two weeks in a row that Ed's flirted with disaster. If he makes it to the finals, I suspect he'll be sharp when he returns. But man, he's teetering on the brink of oopsing himself out of a trip to Vancouver.5GraysonQuickfires233Last Week: 5Eliminations154Along with everybody else, I hate to see Grayson go. But you all know that in my opinion, this is the basement finally catching up to her. And her elimination dish was a great example of the problems that have dogged her all season. She made an odd choice to "go healthy" without actually going healthy, and though it didn't receive a huge amount of attention on camera, Gail's blog suggests they were really bothered by the fact that her recipe was at total odds with her concept. If you're going to try to do a lower-fat dish, after removing the beautiful chicken fat, why on earth would you turn around and smother it with bacon? There's just an odd disconnect there. Plus, we have more Flintstones portions, and though it went unsaid, I suspect there's a certain amount of feeling that a spinach and gorgonzola boneless skinless chicken breast just isn't enough interest to overcome some flaws. Again, I think this is what Tom was trying to get at with her last week. But this is largely speculation. In any case, maybe she's gone, maybe she's right back in it... we'll see!WARNING : MINOR EPISODE FOURTEEN SPOILERS AHEADNot so much with the spoilers this week, because the elves sure didn't reveal much in the previews this week. We'll find out if it's Bev or Grayson and then... who knows? Incidentally, I wouldn't read anything at all into the clip of a weepy Paul. That plays like classic elven misdirection. Unless it's the double head fake. But though I know there are many who disagree, I'm of the opinion that trying to decipher the "hints" is an exercise in futility. I'm happy waiting to see what happens. Gail notes in her blog, however, that episode fourteen is season nine's Ellis Island, so fingers crossed, maybe we'll have a nice coda for the regular season.Sorry again for the delay, folks... discuss!Posted at 08:54 AM Permalink 041b061a72

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