After three months of charming profanity from Gordon, scowls from Joe, and generously donated steaks from Walmart, we've at last arrived at the MasterChef
finale -- I'm not sure how a penultimate episode airing one week before the season's actual conclusion gets away with calling itself a finale, but whatever. Only Christine, Josh and Becky remain, and tonight they cook dishes that reflect their own personalities.
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One More Mystery
This week's episode kicks off with a final mystery box challenge. Rather than ingredients, each box contains a blank MasterChef cookbook, with the symbolic implication being that each contestant gets to write their own recipes tonight. They're allowed free access to the pantry, the only requirement being that they must create an entree.
Josh leads with a Curried Cornish Hen, earning a hasty verdict of "beyond delicious" from Gordon. Christine follows with a beautifully plated Vermicelli Stir Fry, and amiably fields the judges' latest round of questions and comments about her blindness along with their enthusiastic praise.
Becky presents a compromised loup de mer fish soup--she had initially hoped to present a fillet plate, but her portions were criticized for being too meager. Her contribution is roundly damned with faint praise, and her third place position is revealed even before the suspenseful commercial break.
Getting a Leg Up
Christine is declared winner of the final mystery box challenge, and is therefore allowed to pick which ingredient she cooks with. The theme this week is legs: Christine picks chicken legs, Josh is allowed to choose leg of lamb, and Becky is saddled with frog legs. The previous MasterChef contestants are brought back to cheer the competitors on, their final MasterChef dish presumably being all the resentment they're swallowing.
Christine leads with her own rendition of classic Southern Fried Chicken alongside creamed kale. She draws praise for her seasoning choices of blood orange and buttermilk on the chicken, but her kale is criticized for being too creamy.
Christine's chicken is quickly overshadowed, however, as Josh presents a sophisticated Panamanian lamb in three distinct sauces. His contribution is unanimously praised, and his place in the real finale seems assured.
Becky rounds out the three dishes with garlic frog legs and wine-cooked potatoes. Like Christine, she nails the entree but screws up the side: her frog legs are great, but her potatoes are dubbed too soggy.
Down to Two
After some apparently heated discussion, the judges announce the MasterChef final two: Josh and Christine. That leaves a "devastated" Becky for elimination: in spite of her many victories throughout the competition, she unfortunately tapered off at the end.
Between their respective triumph over disability and comeback status, Christine and Josh make a compelling reality competition pair. Though Becky was undoubtedly talented, it's easy to trace her diversion from front-runner status in retrospect. It's unfortunate that she seems to take her defeat so hard--the question of who will win was either avoided or edited out--but Gordon tells her that his kitchen doors are always open.
We'll see who's crowed 2012's MasterChef when the actual finale airs on Monday.
(Image courtesy of FOX)