Mallika Rao
March 24, 2011 AT 01:29 PM EDT

Last night’s intro was all about working us into a state over Mike Isabella’s chances. Will he or won’t he? The odds say yes, but his opponents tried to persuade us otherwise. Antonia pooh-poohed the “boys’ club.” “They’re just expecting to dominate, but that’s not gonna happen.” Blais, a notorious worrywart  (/worryglasswort), claimed he wasn’t worried at all about Mike’s winning streak. “Good for him!” he said, in the tone of voice that means exactly the opposite.

The Quickfire Challenge seemed like a chance to even the playing field. The chefs had to assign each other a “classic” Top Chef challenge. Translation: capitalize on each other’s weaknesses. Mike got first pick. His dream was to win the final against Blais, which meant he needed to psych Antonia out enough to send her home. Boom! Canned foods and dry goods. Anyone who’s lived in a dorm knows turning canned foods into a delicious meal is the Gordian Knot of cheap eating. Adequately screwed, Antonia chose Blais as her victim. She threw him a softball. Hot dogs? Pssh. Hot dogs are amazing even when they’re terrible!

But Blais did the worst job of the bunch, handing Mike a “one pot” challenge that allowed him to cook anything so long as it was prepared in a single pot. According to Blais’ reasoning, because Mike once used “six or seven” pans for a fried-fish challenge, he’d by stymied by one. This was a classic example of the unlimited pans/limited pot fallacy. In actuality, even the most extravagant pan users can limit themselves if the challenge demands it. Look it up! If you find this page, that means it’s a very real counter-fallacy.

In the middle of the cooking, Padma strolled in, grinning from ear to ear, insisting on interrupting everyone. It all screamed “Twist!” in the most obvious, untwist-like manner possible. This time, the chefs had to dole out another round of “classic” maneuvers, some worse than others. Here they are in numbered form!: 1) cook with one hand, 2) cook without knives and hand tools, or 3) cook while attached to another chef by the apron. (That last one seems almost helpful, as far as twists go, since another set of hands, eyes, and taste buds are always with you.) Blais got to go first since he’d gone last previously. This was his chance to sabotage!

But he didn’t! He took away Mike’s hand tools instead. Mike spent the rest of his cooking time congratulating himself for not really needing tools anyway, and laughing. It was frustrating to witness, because Mike laughs like this: “Aheeheeheeheeheeheehee.” The only thing he seemed to have to recalibrate was how to break and squeeze a lime, which he dealt with pretty painlessly on the end of a metal rod. He used two, count ’em, two hands. In stark contrast, Blais tried desperately to cut a lime with one hand. Two > one. The lime wobbled in defiance.

NEXT: When is a currywurst not a currywurst?

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