With MasterChef down to the top five, this week marks the big two-hour MasterChef special and the contestants’ families are coming by. Plus, the cooks have to work with some strange protein and there’s yet another team challenge. But in the end it all comes down to Leslie and Cutter. They’ve been butting heads for a while, and they finally get to face off. It feels like this has been building for weeks. By the end of the night, five will become three.

Family Mystery Box

The judges have the cooks lift up their mystery boxes to find nothing underneath, because the most important ingredient is behind the huge box they’re standing in front of. It’s their families, and Courtney starts crying. Her 6-year-old brother’s there. She hasn’t seen him in almost a year and she doesn’t get to see him that much. Christian’s fiance is there too. He says that she motivates him. Elizabeth’s been married for five months and her husband’s there, as well as Cutter’s dad. He says he’s his hero. Finally, Leslie’s wife is also there. She says it’s so quiet at home and she and the judges bond over the fact that Leslie has no off button.

The cooks and their families are going to make the loved ones’ favorite dish. Paula, Leslie’s wife wants Leslie’s herb-crusted rack of lamb; Dave, Cutter’s dad, wants steak; Elizabeth’s husband wants meatballs and grits; Christian’s fiance wants seafood gumbo; and Cooper, Courtney’s brother, wants mac and cheese, which I totally called. They have to make an elevated version of the dish. “I think we’re gonna beat ’em,” Cooper says.

The judges are worried about Christian because gumbo takes a long time, but Courtney’s mac and cheese might not be elevated enough. The judges don’t really understand Elizabeth’s dish. 

Courtney’s called up in the top three first, and of course it goes over really well. Cooper’s also adorable the whole time. I’m actually rooting for Courtney now. Christian’s called up next and it’s great, especially since he got it out so fast. Finally, Elizabeth’s called up and it taste great despite the complicated components of the dish. In the end, Elizabeth wins and is officially in the top four. “It’s amazing. I’m so proud of her,” her husband, Ross, says.

Protein Elimination Test

The cooks say goodbye to their families, then Elizabeth goes to find out what her elimination test advantage is. She sees the other four cooks’ faces on plates. She has to put a protein on each plate. The choices are between an ox heart, veal brains, lamb’s tongue and buffalo testicles.

“Elizabeth, Elizabeth, Elizabeth,” Christian says when he sees the four choices. He tells the chefs he’s not excited. He’s never cooked any of that before, but he’s “gonna do what I’ve gotta do.” The cooks rush to the pantry to find that Elizabeth gave Christian the brains. He’s super squeamish. Cutter gets the heart, Leslie gets the tongue and Courtney gets the balls. “This is my chance to serve her back a little bit and get revenge,” Elizabeth says. 

Christian tells the judges about his dish and they do not seem impressed. “I’d be nervous if I had brains,” Leslie laughs. He has to redo his pasta and is freaking out. This could be the end for Christian. “This is like a dream come true,” Elizabeth says. He decides to try again. Courtney’s confident, though, but Elizabeth’s smiling from the balcony. The judges are worried about Cutter as well, while Leslie’s feeling good. “If I don’t make the final four, they’ve got no taste buds,” Leslie says.

Christian’s up first with a veal brain pasta and it did not work out. He even put his pasta in ice water. The brains are delicious, but the rest doesn’t work at all. The sauce is especially terrible. Courtney’s up next with fried buffalo testicles, and it looks and tastes great. Leslie comes up next with a braised lamb tongue. It looks clumsy, and the tongue wasn’t cleaned enough. Finally, Cutter brings his seared ox heart. It’s Cutter on a plate and tastes great. “It’s like finally you’re arriving. I’m excited,” Graham says. Even Joe’s impressed. “Finally, the old Texas boy impresses the Yankee,” Cutter says.


Courtney has the best dish of the night. She and Cutter are safe. In the end, Christian is sent home. Gordon says that this was their toughest decision yet. They tell him to keep cooking and Gordon says he’d invest in his food truck. Christian says he thinks Elizabeth’s going to win the competition.

State Challenge

The final four come up to the judges and learn that they’ll be cooking in teams of two. The losing team will have to go head to head with their teammate. Courtney had the best dish and gets to pick first. She chooses Elizabeth, so it’s girls versus boys. “I get Cutter and boom — there goes my dream turned into a nightmare,” Leslie says. Cutter’s not any happier.

There are boxes from each state that the cooks are from. Courtney and Elizabeth have to choose from Pennsylvania and New York, while Leslie and Cutter choose from California and Texas. They have to make an appetizer and an entree. They try to figure out what’s in the boxes, then the girls choose Pennsylvania, while the guys choose Texas.

Then they get started on their meals, but suddenly Cutter cuts himself. Gordon and a medic rush to help him while Leslie keeps cooking. “Living up to your name,” Gordon says as he walks Cutter back to Leslie.

Courtney and Elizabeth start disagreeing and get irritated with each other. They’re being passive-aggressive, but Leslie and Cutter aren’t doing any better. They all start arguing. Courtney and Elizabeth make the same stuff. Gordon goes to talk to them and actually spits Courtney’s puree back into the bowl and tells Elizabeth to stand up for herself. Leslie’s sauce is all fat and Cutter has to save it.

The red team’s up first with a pan seared rainbow trout as the appetizer, which Gordon doesn’t like at all. He says it’s a weird combination and is underwhelming. Courtney takes responsibility for it, but Elizabeth should have spoken up. The blue team has ribs, and Gordon is not impressed. The judges start laughing at Cutter when he says there’s salt and pepper on the corn. The ribs taste good, “but we’re not a barbecue house. It’s the MasterChef kitchen.” Cutter and Leslie start arguing over whether Cutter mentioned a biscuit or not.

The red team then brings their venison medallions up, and the venison is great, but the mash isn’t good and needs a vegetable. They didn’t collaborate. Then the blue team comes up with their ribeye steak. Leslie and Cutter argue about whose fault the sauce was. They both say the other needs to take responsibility, but they’re both being ridiculous. They always say the worst things about each other. The mash isn’t that good and the steak is undercooked, but it’s not bad. In the end, the red team wins and Elizabeth and Courtney are in the top three.

Pressure Test

Leslie and Cutter have to face off in the pressure test. It feels like these two have been against each other the whole time and now they’re finally facing off. Cutter starts laughing when they talk abut Leslie being a stay-at-home dad and they immediately start arguing.

Now they have to use the California state box, so Leslie has a clear advantage. They have to make all three dishes that the judges show them. “This is one pressure test that I’m dying to witness,” Gordon says.

They rush to get started on their three dishes. “This is their finale tonight,” Gordon says. Courtney starts cheering Cutter on, but Cutter starts his risotto too soon, so Graham goes up to him to give him a pep talk while Leslie laughs. He gets pissed that Courtney keeps cheering Cutter on, but he’s his own cheerleader. 


The cooks finish, but Leslie suddenly realizes he forgot his eggs in one dish. Cutter’s feeling great, though. The risotto’s up first and Joe says that Leslie wins that dish, but Cutter wins Graham’s chicken teriyaki. It all comes down to Gordon’s salad, and Leslie forgot his eggs. Cutter’s tuna isn’t that good, though. Throughout the judging, Cutter and Leslie both comment on each other’s dishes. In the end, Leslie wins and Cutter is sent home. Cutter starts tearing up when he talks to the judges. He even says that he appreciated Leslie’s competition.

The MasterChef season 5 finale airs next Monday at 8pm on FOX.

(Image courtesy of FOX)

Robin Lempel

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV