By all accounts I thought last night was going to be the “Hell’s Kitchen” season finale, but it turned out to be mostly a fluff episode, setting up the meat and potatoes of the big showdown between Danny and Paula next Thursday. The show began with a 10-minute recap of the season, followed by the two finalists enjoying way too much champagne together and then feeling like crap when they had to wake up early the next morning.

They met with a designer for their restaurants, and had to pick a name…Paula picked something like “Sunshine” though I don’t quite remember exactly what…and Danny picked “The Velvet Hammer,” saying that was his high school nickname, because he “was smooth but could lay the hammer to the ladies.” Did he really just say that? Did I really just write that? Yep. Freaking hilarious.

Then they traveled on a private jet with Gordon Ramsay to the Borgata in Atlantic City, where one of them would run Ramsay’s new restaurant. Meanwhile, Paula and Danny each had two “advisors” left to keep an eye on the design progress, and those were family members, or Paula’s stripper sister and mom, and Danny’s dad and girlfriend. They were able to communicate with each other via webcam to make sure everything was running smooth.

Then back at the Borgata, Ramsay was introducing Paula and Danny to what would be one of their future co-workers and employers, including the CEO. But little did they know, when the CEO asked what he would order from their menus, they were asked to cook those items on the spot in 45 minutes’ time. Yikes. It was a pop challenge. It was tied after the first two rounds, and then Danny edged out Paula with his seared beef filet over her sea bass. This would be a huge victory and we’ll tell you why in a minute.

Then it was back to Cali and Ramsay and a bunch of his cohorts told Paula and Danny that they were about to find out what six key ingredients would help them in the finale, and when they lifted the covers off the plates, the heads of six former contestants from this season were underneath…..Ben, Giovanni, LA, Carol, Lacey and Andrea. Danny had first choice and already you could sense that winning that challenge was huge, because that meant Paula would get stuck with Lacey. Danny wound up with a team of Ben, Giovanni, and Carol; and Paula had Andrea, LA, and Lacey. Look at those teams….Danny already has a huge advantage, not just because of Lacey, but because Paula picked the fiery but mistake-prone Andrea first.

That is where they left us hanging, and so we really didn’t learn much at all last night. But next week, we will learn who wins…..who do you like? Despite the teams, I have to think Paula has the overall edge, but not by much.