The strangeness of the MasterChef Mystery Box is one of most captivating elements of the show: outside of one paid segment hocking big box steaks, the Mystery Box has consistently delivered some of the most compellingly atypical challenges of the series. This week’s secret ingredient is sea urchin: Gordon demonstrates how to kill and gut the creature for its “uni,” or creamy innards, then leaves the rest up to the contestants.
Felix is the first selected for presentation, offering up a bold sea urchin risotto. Josh earns equally high marks for his sea urchin pasta; he doesn’t actually know the formal name of the pasta he selects, but he earns commendation for his stellar instincts. Stacey rounds out the top three with an excellent sea urchin sushi platter, while Felix is declared victor of the round.
This week’s post-mystery elimination challenge features a different fresh fish for every contestant. As the winner, Felix is allowed to choose everyone’s fish: she ambitiously selects halibut for herself, while giving more challenging fish to her top competitors.
Nearly all of Felix’s choices backfire — encouraging and then punishing strategy has become a weekly ritual here — as her halibut is roundly panned while Monti’s John Dory and Frank’s Indian catfish earn accolades. But, however Felix may feel about her botched halibut, she at least gets off better than Tali and Christine. While Tali happily takes his “delusional jackass” archetype to its logical conclusion — he writes off the judges as too “old school” to comprehend his “genius” — Christine gets her first taste of harsh criticism.
Though Felix had hoped to help Christine by assigning her salmon, she is roundly criticized by the judges for her uninspired presentation of the relatively simple dish. Monti and Frank win the round, while David joins Tali and Christine in the bottom three.
After Gordon milks the requisite number of tears from Christine through misdirection, Tali is revealed to be this week’s elimination. Say what you will about Tali, he at least never lacked for confidence. His constant claims of genius in the face of dismissal and criticism were some of the most fanciful moments of the season, and MasterChef will be a far more mundanely realistic place without him.
(Image courtesy of FOX)
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