Thursday, June 13, 2013

S4E8: Stupid, Evil Plans

The cliffhanging is quickly over with as we move along to the second hour of MasterChef.

Luca, Kathy, Natasha, and Beth are the four losing Home Cooks from the last episode, and now they’ll battle it out among themselves to see who goes home. The challenge is in Las Vegas where something will happen, resulting in one of them staying. It started as an advertising campaign, but now it's law.

They go to Burgr at Planet Hollywood Resort where I’m guessing the food doesn’t come from Wal-Mart. The Home Cooks seem surprised to find out that Burgr is one of Gordon Ramsay’s restaurants despite standing underneath a giant poster of Gordon looking very excited to have hands.

The Cooks are split into two teams of two and have to cook for diners at the restaurant. The losing team will then have a cook-off between the two of them to see who is the loserest of the losers. The judges pair up Luca with Kathy and Natasha with Beth, who despise each other much to my delight.

After telling us that Beth learned her lesson about opening her mouth, Natasha graciously gives her the role of leader, prompting Joe to give Beth a healthy portion of side-eye. Luca pops his collar and announces himself as the leader of his group. With a tell like that, let’s hope he stays away from the poker tables. Gordon will be expediting, because he’s been dying all season to yell at some idiots.

Luca decides to do a caramelized onion burger with no cheese. He feels like making a less delicious burger will really make their dish stand out. Beth wants to do a hangover burger, involving prosciutto, a fried egg, and aioli. Natasha reveals her strategy to let Beth hang herself by allowing her to make all of the decisions. Apparently, Natasha wasn’t paying attention when the judges said that the losing team would have a cook-off to decide who goes home. She is so intent on being evil that she’s over evil-ing her own evil plans.

The judges discuss how no one wants to taste egg in the meat of the burger, and we immediately cut to Beth cracking an egg into her beef. Luca tells Graham “we got this” but his collar is down now, so I’m not so sure.

Natasha is destroying the fried eggs (on purpose?). Beth asks her for other suggestions, getting none. She’s onto Natasha’s evil plans about throwing her under the bus, but she thinks the plan is a dumb move because she’s handicapping her team. And she’s right, what with the upcoming cook-off that no one seems to remember.

Luca abandons his sauce, because Kathy can’t cut onions for shit. Beth and Natasha’s eggs look terrible and so do their patties, but they’ve dressed their salad, so no big whoop.

The doors open, and Joe welcomes some ladies. I think he likes what he sees. At least, that’s what the hilarious smile frozen to his face would seem to indicate.

Beth and Natasha abandon the egg and substitute goat cheese and arugula as prep time comes to a close. Finally, service begins and the Cooks start to work frantically.

Luca falls behind on the grill and tries to put up a couple raw burgers, and Gordon refuses to serve them. Meanwhile, we’re encouraged to tweet about this development with the hashtag, #itsraw. These specific hashtags have been popping up all season, and I have neglected to mention them. Sorry about that. Please feel free to tweet about my disappointing performance with the hashtag, #badrecap.

Beth has issues with her buns, and Gordon don’t want none unless she got buns, hon. Raw burgers come back from one of the tables, and it’s Luca’s Red Team again. Shame on Gordon, though, really. He is the expeditor, after all.

Some VIPs arrive, and of course, it’s the other Home Cooks. “This is a huge deal, the fate of our fellow cooks in our hands. It’s a little bit of an intense responsibility,” says James jokingly. Wait. He was serious? Bime is wearing a new tan fedora, and Johnny B is donning a stupid argyle sweater.

Luca decides to get strategic and shit. He rushes his burgers, hoping to catch the other team moving too slowly. It works as four of the VIPs don’t get to taste Beth and Natasha’s food.

Everyone votes for their favorite burger by placing a blue or red casino chip into a Plinko board with no prizes at the bottom. Krissi tells us she does not like goat cheese. She was offended by the amount of goat cheese that separated her from her precious meat. Later that evening, she sneaks off into the wilderness and murders a family of goats in retribution.

The winning team is revealed to be Beth and Natasha, who celebrate with a passionate embrace. The amount of hate they hold for each other only serves to make it that much hotter. It is Vegas, after all.

It’s time for the final cook-off, and Kathy and Luca face off against each other on the rooftop of Caesar’s Palace. It must be cold, as Luca is dressed like the captain of a Russian submarine. The judges present them with a Butter Poached Lobster, the dish they will have to replicate. They taste it and both being to weep uncontrollably, knowing that they will never taste anything better for the rest of their lives. They certainly won’t be cooking anything as good.

They have 45 minutes to cook. Luca thinks he has an advantage, and Kathy is hoping her fighting spirit can carry her through. Luca’s game face is on. He doesn’t look happy, because he isn’t. He won’t be ready to go home until he gets the title of MasterChef and promises Gordon that he will produce the best lobster ever. It’s looking more and more like Luca is going home at the end of this. I hope not. He’s super entertaining.

Gordon says Kathy appears to be in the zone. She’s so much in the zone that she seems to have forgotten that she needs to cook an actual lobster. Luca grabs his and the judges marvel over his technique at preparing it – until he butchers the tail. Joe says, “When he put that knife to that lobster, that could have been the moment that Luca said goodbye to the MasterChef kitchen forever,” followed by Luca staring dramatically into the distance before him. Commercial break. That’s MasterChef Theatre at its best.

Luca admits to never cooking lobster before, making his earlier promise of producing the best lobster ever a tad presumptuous. Meanwhile, Kathy may never cook a lobster ever.

Finally, she grabs one and doesn’t butcher her tail. She’s moving fast, and the judges are impressed. But then she struggles getting the meat from the claws, and the judges are no longer impressed. “She’s in a tailspin,” says Joe. “A tailspin,” agrees Graham. “A tailspin,” adds Joe.

The dishes are plated, and Kathy’s looks suspect in comparison to Luca’s. She’s missing a lot of lobster. Gordon cuts into it and notes that it’s cooked perfectly, despite the slightly exploded knuckles. He gives it a taste, and he loves it. Graham agrees on the lobster. He then tries the salad, and his face tightens into a sphincter. It’s a little acidic. Joe tells Kathy that she has one of the biggest hearts they’ve seen in the competition, though Graham’s personal physician is at home furiously shaking his head.

It’s Luca’s turn. The plating is perfect, though the lobster itself looks a little bland in color. Gordon cuts into it and tastes. He says the cooking is 30 seconds off and that he left the lobster sitting too long before cooking it. Graham says the seasoning is perfect, but the temperature while cooking was too low. Joe asks Luca what happens if he has to go home tonight. Luca says that it isn’t in his plans to go home. He will stay in Vegas, joining the cast of Thunder from Down Under.

The judges confer. Kathy is scared and nervous all at once. Luca thinks he has a better dish but can’t be 100% sure.

The verdict is in. “The winner – by the narrowest of margins – is – Luca.” Luca breathes a sigh of relief as tears pour down Kathy’s cheeks. Joe gives his first I Didn’t Believe In You At First speech of the season. Gordon has never seen a fighting willpower like hers before. He believes she’s going places. I believe she’s going back to the Bronx.

The storywriters pleasantly surprised me with this one. I really thought they were setting up Luca for the fall. Good job, guys.

Farewell, Kathy. You didn’t make it as far as I thought you would, but maybe you’ll take Gordon up on his offer to have one of his kitchens teach you how to really cook. Please do. The world could do with less neon tripping monkey shitcakes.

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