MasterChef AustraliaSun 7:30pm; Mon-Fri 7pm, Ch10
Tonight on Masterchef, the beady eyes of elimination look into the hearts and souls of the red team who lost again to blue in the great “ruin a hotel” challenge. Tasked with making lunch, dinner, breakfast and all the meals in between in a five star hotel, the red team could only offer three star services and two star foods. As a result, lifelong friends and newly formed acquaintances face off in a dour battle for the right to participate in future dour battles.

The sun breaks over the Masterchef house as Sam explains why everyone is so sombre. “It’s elimination”, he explains jovially, before remembering that he’s one of the nine facing elimination and tones down his joy suitably. The prospect of losing one of the favourites weighs heavily on viewer and contestant alike, though the odds of losing a favourite are pretty slim, what with Tregan, Emma, Deb and Mario amongst the nine. Tregan says “eliminations suck” as the point of competition finally dawns on her. “Every time I go into the kitchen it’s a chance for me to show the judges I’m worthy of being here” says Mario, who has been to the kitchen a number of times yet failed to take that chance so far.

They arrive in black, the colour of death and despair and also fashion, so it’s a mixed message. It’s morning, confirms Gary without even needing to look at his watch. Sam handles the disappointment of his situation well, saying “you’ve got to take it on the chin” which is either an indication of his stoicism or a suggestion that he thinks he’s about to start in some triple x porn with a heavy focus on oral stimulation.

“Three rounds”, says Gary out of the blue, with rules eerily similar to all the other eliminations on Thursdays so far. “Cook whatever you want”, says Preston, tired of the charade, no longer caring who wins or who dies. But they must do it in twenty minutes. “If it were making love”, says Mario, “twenty minutes would be fine. But cooking I struggle with an hour”. “No bells and whistles” says George, unfairly introducing another rule at this late stage. “The heat is on” says Matt, unnecessarily performing a Glenn Frey impersonation, as Deb gets flustered in the pantry.

Gary says the worst thing you could do is do something you’ve never done before, even worse than defecating on the plate, so Mario is in with a chance. Emma continues to thrive beanie less, but does say she’s going to make her soup “textual”, which may mean she’s going to send it sexy text messages. Filippo is cooking something he hasn’t cooked for many years, before a career in serial killing got in the way. Gary tells Deb to “wack it on the gas” as he rolls another “dooby” and hands around a “spliff”.

After a break Filippo is nominated to explain to viewers what today is all about. Julia says the 20 minutes has been the fastest of her life, much faster than that time when she accidentally walked in on Mario having a shower and stood rooted (figuratively) to the spot with fear and loathing. With one minute to go Deb starts talking about the integrity of her flavours as they hand in a wallet dropped by a passerby. The judges count down from ten and it’s delightful to see the look of disappointment on a number of contestants’ faces.

Filippo makes a rookie mistake when he pronounces bruschetta incorrectly, but that’s the least of his worries as George finds a beak, but no bird, like when you bite into an apricot and find only half a worm. Notwithstanding this George says it makes him salivate, as his ornithological desires threaten to bubble to the surface. Kylie and Amina seem to have succeeded with whatever it is they cooked, whilst Deb has a gorgeous flathead, according to George. Julia’s vegetarian Ton Kha is all Kha and no Tom, while Mario makes outrageous claims about the judges asking them to cook from the heart, but I think that was about three weeks ago.

Tregan says her Maltese “froga” was a dish she grew up on, as her family couldn’t afford a real house, boat, caravan or tent. Gary believes she could have sexied it up, maybe with some lingerie. Sam, the big racist, makes a tasting plate of white fish, with hoods and burning crosses included. Unfortunately, Emma cries when Matt points out flaw in her cucumber gazpacho before the flames engulf her.

When we come back, it’s time for the blue team to take their punishment in the form of a Neil Perry master class. Neil Perry’s journey from quality chef to Steven Segal lookalike seems to be going ahead as planned, before we’re back with the elimination. Emma has left a hair in the dish, but is criticised for only leaving one when there are three judges. Matt says he prefers things hairless as Emma surprisingly bursts into tears.

The safe names are called out: Kylie, Filippo, Amina and Deb, leaving Mario, Tregan, Julia, Sam, Emma to battle it out. Same rules, but less time, in fact only 10 minutes. Best three safe, worst two, something involving Neil Perry maybe. They rush to the pantry and waste time grabbing shopping baskets. George, Gary and Matt all agree that heat is their enemy as Sam cooks lamb cutlets. George walks around asking questions, wasting everyone’s precious minutes with his banal views on the value of a good lawn. Tregan is sautéing mushrooms, Mario is cooking an omelette, and Julie is making French toast, which surrenders the minute it’s on the plate.

The obligatory countdown occurs as a fireball engulfs the room. When we come back, Gary explains the rules again for the hard of thinking. Emma comes up with her squid gremolata, which frankly sounds disgustingly sexual. George says “yum”. He decides now to say so little? Sam arrives with his lamb cutlets but Matt things he’s done too much. Mario comes up with his Thai salad, and he explains that he wanted to show them he can do other flavours, and also mercilessly criticise Filippo at the same time. Gary says it’s missing something “textual”. There’s that word again. Tregan is next with her mushroom crostini, and Matt says “darn it’s good” disappointed that she probably won’t be eliminated. Julia is next with her honey caramelised figs, but George thinks she should have taken it to the next level, perhaps the mezzanine.

After the tasting, Tregan is through, with Sam and Emma. Matt tells Julia and Mario to harness their anger and tears respectively, but with only 5 minutes to cook they shouldn’t waste time harnessing anything. Masterchef continues to give them real life cooking experiences as professional chefs are often called on to cook food urgently; they’re not called the emergency services for nothing. Of course, when you think about it they’re not called the emergency services at all.

Julia and Mario waste time collecting ingredients instead cutting off and cooking a body part. Julia is making a breakfast parfait, while Mario is making another salad. Julia bashes nuts while Mario delicately tastes things. The judges are concerned Julia is going to run out of time, and with one minute to go this is very likely as she takes a luxurious toilet break. But she comes back just in time to martini glass up as the judges do the county down thing and count down. Mario and Julia hug for no other reason than to see if their aprons are Velcro. Disappointingly, they’re not, and Mario and Julia separate with ease.

Mario’s salad is fresh and “a good example of what you can do in 5 minutes” says Matt. Mario offers to show them another good example of what else he can do in 5 minutes, but they mercifully take a rain cheque. Julia’s parfait is quite the hit, and George calls it smart cooking. Mario says if he loses it would be to an unbelievable opponent, while Julia says if she loses it will be to a bald opponent, as a fireball snuffs out any chances of finding out who is going home.

When we come back, Julia is, obviously, declared the winner, as Mario is sent home to resume his career sucking the chrome of tow bars, or something. Preston tries to glorify Mario’s brief stint on the show, but we all know he did nothing of note. He rattles of names of other contestants providing evidence that he was actually present for some of the time. He passionately kisses the judges goodbye and shakes Julia’s hand one final time.

Julia returns to the house as no one cares about Mario’s absence, his usefulness far outweighed by his danger to modern society. Mario arrives home to his wife and his clone, whose brief but bright reign as Mario has sadly to come to an end. The real Mario still threatens to open a restaurant but there are health laws to protect us. The end credits tell is that Mario is opening his own sauce business, called Lube Mobile, providing mobile saucing services. All profits will be donated to charity for the homeless, or if there are no profits all the sauce will be donated to the homeless. Perhaps they will be able to wash in it.