I'm clearly late in getting this posted, but I suppose it's better late than never. The previous episode found our qualified competitors in the champions-only field at the first of two events that make up "the World Series of Barbecue" -- The American Royal. This episode featured the "open" event at the same venue.
This event is called "the open" because anyone who wants to enter can go up against the other nearly 500 teams. This is clearly the largest barbecue competition in the world. I've never been to the Royal, but I have seen a lot of pictures, and the sheer scale of the event is a spectacle in and of itself.
Throughout the series we've seen the teams deal with various forms of adversity, and this episode added yet another. Because the open is, well, open, it lends itself to large parties and rowdy crowds. Imagine a huge MTV spring break party with meat and smoke. In the midst of all that, the teams who are there to seriously compete have to keep their eyes on the ball and take care of business. Harry Soo struggled a little with crowd and sleep management in the midst of all the craziness.
Also in this episode, the hapless Pablo Diablo, Paul Petersen, gets to put his newly-acquired Johnny Trigg skills to the test. Johnny was obviously concerned with how this would play out; so much so that he used fellow competitor, Jamie Geer, to keep an eye on Paul. In true chef style, Paul just couldn't resist the urge to tweak things.
The stress of being on the road in a string of competitions becomes clear in the demeanor of Lee Ann Whippen. Things were more than a little stressed between her and her boyfriend/teammate. In the end there is an ironic twist that helped him redeem himself, at least in my eyes.
Myron showed a little of what might be described as his "softer side". He was set-up next to a the Holla-N-Swalla team who used the opportunity to humbly ask for his advice. I really enjoyed this fresh aspect of the show. It was really nice to see a bunch of relative new guys do well.
I rescind my comment in my last review that episode 4 was the best. This is the new best episode. I hope the shows continue to improve, because the trend is great so far.