I concluded at the end of last week's Hell's Kitchen that Robert, the lovable lug who left last season with pericarditis only to be invited back this season and end up in the hospital again after – horror of horrors – being made to exercise, was not long for the show. Spoilers below, beware.
Robert has never been my favorite chef on the show – either this season or last. He's grown on me as a character, but as a chef he's never really conveyed any sense of authority or, perhaps, confidence. He hasn't been the worst guy the show had either season, far from it, but he really hasn't been the strongest either. I tend to think that he lasted as long as he did last season because Ramsay had referred to him as "Bobby" and that brought up memories of Robert's less than stellar father and Ramsay felt really bad about distressing the guy. Ramsay was then in a position where he couldn't get rid of Robert immediately and then another opportunity never presented itself… until the pericarditis forced Robert from the competition.
Fast forward to this season. Ramsay (or the producers) brought Robert back as kind of a stunt – a way to help out the newbies and bring back someone who could, hypothetically, be a fan favorite. Robert couldn't instantly be fired because it would show that he never should have been brought back in the first place and that he probably shouldn't have lasted as long as he did last season either.
Of course, Ramsay couldn't have Robert win the show just because of Ramsay's mistake last season either, could he? No, Ramsay had to wait for the right moment and jettison the guy for good. It almost happened last week when Robert ended up back in the hospital. It would have been so clean and easy for Ramsay had Robert been not truly sick, but just sick enough to have to leave the competition again. Ramsay could then promise Robert a spot in the contest in the future when/if Robert was healthier and we'd never hear about him again (it's happened before on the show).