It’s the second hour of MasterChef for the third week in a row, and my stamina is being put to the test. My notes are sparse; my patience is wearing thin. Do we really need to see clips from the previous episode? We just fucking watched the previous episode! Next week better be just one hour, or else I’ll…do nothing. My threats are anemic.
We begin the episode with mini-interviews from Malcolm and Kathy, meaning one or both of them are fucked. Classic reality storytelling says that the characters you see at the beginning will be the characters you see at the end. I once won a $5 bet with a roommate using this rule while watching the short-lived Greatest American Dog.
A special guest will be cooking the Mystery Box with the Home Cooks today. Gordon has all of the chefs turn around to the main doors, and as they stand there, they dream of every famous TV chef they can think of. Bobby Flay, Mario Batali, Anne Burrell, Rachel Ray, Wolfgang Puck, Chef Boyardee? Nope. It’s Gordon Ramsay. Haha! How pleasant.
In the Mystery Box: black cod, black and white sesame seeds, shitake mushrooms, baby beets, ginger, cauliflower, soy, rice wine vinegar, and miso paste. Natasha is excited by the soy and rice wine vinegar because she likes to make Asian fusion for her family. Her son is always bragging to the neighborhood kids about how his mom makes the best Asian fusion. Right before getting his ass kicked.
The 60 minutes begin, but Gordon showboats by waiting to cook. He has a chat with the other judges. He takes a stroll upstairs. He drinks a cup of tea in the library. That’s what it’s for! With 30 minutes left he finally begins frantically cooking like a madman.
Luca isn’t sure about his Miso sauce, so he probes Joe for information. Joe tells him it can either make or break him. That Joe. What a big help he is. Joe moves on to Howard whose station looks like a disaster. He’s just putting himself on the plate, Joe.
Once time is up, we see that Gordon made sesame-crusted black cod with caramelized cauliflower. He calls all of the Home Cooks up to taste his masterpiece, and one-by-one, shoves their noses into his immaculate creation. “Beautiful sauce on it, beautiful texture on the cauliflower, beautifully seared,” says the poetic Bime. “Wow!” exclaims Jessie. “Inspiring,” adds Graham. Once the Home Cooks have been appropriately shamed, the judges examine and taste their dishes.
Before the three top dishes are named, someone needs to be reamed for plating raw fish. Everyone looks around, trying to determine who has the gall to disgrace the venerable MasterChef Kitchen with his or her uncooked cod. Gordon tells them. “Yep. It’s you (commercial break), Howard.” What a disaster Howard is.
First in the top three is James. His cod is moist. It’s glistening. It’s one of the best things they’ve had in a long time. “Is it a fluke?” asks Gordon. “No, it’s black cod,” replies James.
Next is Beth. Her cod is also glistening. It’s also one of the best dishes tasted in the competition, an accolade that sure does get thrown around a lot.
Lastly, it’s Luca’s dish. What a laugh this guy has! His (now revealed to be) delicious miso sauce represents the culmination of his journey here in that it’s…Asian? Maybe he went to Japan before the auditions.
And the winner is Luca! Bravo! Grazie! Huh? High five!
To become MasterChef, first you will have to master the art of desserts. But not you, Luca, because you have immunity. The other Home Cooks will have to either make 24 “spectacular” cookies, 12 “beautiful” cupcakes, or one “classic” layer cake.
Beautiful cupcakes it is. Luca gets to take the electric mixer away from one Home Cook, and he chooses Jordan, who has been kind of a jerk lately. Jordan will be fine without his mixer, though. No one given a disadvantage in MasterChef has ever gone home because of it. The producers love to have their characters overcome adversity, so this subplot is merely a device to possibly build a little more animosity between the Home Cooks.
Bethy says she can do cupcakes. Wait. Who? Bethy? Is this girl new? I’ve never seen her before. Bime don’t do no baking and is stumped. Meanwhile, Jordan’s right arm is a blur. He has become a vortex of rapid mixing action.
Malcolm is planning on injecting some special banana goop into his cupcakes. Graham tastes it and has to immediately fight back against the grip of a paralyzing sadness quickly growing inside him.
Jessie has six giant chocolate cupcakes and six itty-bitty vanilla ones. After Joe looks into her soul, she starts over. She doesn’t have many ingredients left, though. Couldn’t she just make six new vanilla ones instead of all 12?
Kathy is putting peanut butter, cookies, and peanuts on the bottom of her cupcakes, because no one cares about the tops of cupcakes anymore.
Cooking time is done, and it’s time for the selects.
Uh Oh Howard and his vanilla bean cupcakes are first. He decided to cook them this time, and Joe likes them. Good job, Uh Oh Howard.
Next is Malcolm. He made buttermilk cupcakes with mascarpone frosting and sadness-inducing rum banana goop inside. “They’re gross,” says Gordon who feels like Malcolm kicked him in the cupcakes.
Bime don’t do no baking, but his beautiful vanilla and chocolate cupcakes could sure fool me. Graham tries to make him cry by mentioning his daughters, but Bime holds strong this time as he has already forgotten them.
Kathy’s cupcakes “look like a neon, tripping monkey took a shit on them,” according to Jordan. They really do. Joe gives her the dreaded “I hope this doesn’t send you home,” and a single tear rolls down Kathy’s cheek.
Bethy (her?) is next. She made bananas foster, raspberry limeade, and almond chocolate cupcakes, and they are “visually stunning.” Not bad for her first day on the show.
Jessie brings up her micro-cupcakes, which according to Graham, look like Whac-A-Mole in the box. It’s her worst performance of the competition as they’re too solid, though Graham does like the frosting.
Arm in a sling, Jordan brings up his cupcakes. Gordon invites Luca, the man who tried to fuck him, to taste them. He says that Jordan is “100% safe. They’re delicious.” The producers fail at brewing some bad blood between them, because Luca is just so damn lovable.
After the tasting, it’s obvious that the bottom three is Malcolm, Kathy, and Jessie. Second place goes to Bime, and the winner is some chick named Bethy.
Kathy mutters, “Can we get this over with?” It was between her and Malcolm, so he’s in some serious trouble now.
The usual subjects are brought forward. Gordon asks Kathy if she’s ready to go home. She isn’t. “We don’t think – you’re ready – to go home either. Back to your station.” Only Malcolm and Jessie are left now, aaaand it’s Malcolm who is going home. That’ll teach him to lead off the episode.
On his way to the door, Malcolm and Johnny B share a tearful hug. Johnny tells him he’ll see him on the other side, which is an allusion to the afterlife. All losing Home Cooks are immediately slaughtered and ground into MasterChef Sausage, available at your local Wal-Mart.