For better or for worse, one of MasterChef’s defining characteristics is its disorienting, ever-changing competition rules. This week’s mystery box challenge brings two surprises: there’s an added chef as Graham cooks alongside the contestants and a subtracted one as they face a surprise double elimination.

Ingredient-wise, the mystery box centerpiece is rabbit. While the amateurs ponder how best to prepare their meals, Graham confidently manages his station at the front. He prepares an artful Rabbit Five Ways, complete with desert on the side.

Frank is the first to present tonight, netting rave reviews for both plating and taste. Cowboy Mike is second to be called up, with his perfectly cooked leg of rabbit elevating him to the top three for the first time. Becky rounds out the upper echelon with a braised leg of rabbit, drawing praise for her glaze and winning the round.

Tonight’s elimination challenge is centered on tools of the trade: the judges present Stacey with a pizza stone, a wok, and a deep fat fryer. Though she isn’t granted immunity this week, Becky is allowed to choose her own tool against a different tool for the others. She picks the deep fryer, while everyone else must use a pizza stone.

While Becky leads the round with fried shrimp, the others get creative with their stones to varying degree of success. Surprisingly enough, very few people elect to make pizza. Cowboy Mike and Chicago David both prepare oven-roasted lobster dishes, and neither do very well by it–Joe is so disappointed by David’s soupy submission that he throws its innocent bowl in the trash.

Tali faces harsh criticism on two fronts tonight, as his work station is just as sloppy as his undercooked three-cheese duck pizza. Tanya presents lamb cutlets, drawing equal criticism for disappointing flavor.

There are some standouts, particularly Christine’s Indian flatbread and Monti’s humble offering of soup and bread. Though she nearly burns her bread beyond repair, she ultimately wins the round.

Tanya, David and Cowboy Mike are left in the bottom three. In a surprise move, the man whose food wound up in the trash is the only one to make in through: David is saved, while Cowboy Mike and Tanya are eliminated.

While David doesn’t appear to be the most popular contestant on the show, nearly all of Mike and Tanya’s screen time lately has focused on their inability to keep up. Whatever goofy rules may change week to week, the fact remains that every disappointing dish could easily be somebody’s last.

Ted Kindig
Contributing Writer

(Image courtesy of FOX)

Ted Kindig

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV