We don’t often write in superlatives on CarterMatt, but we’re probably going to standby the title of this MasterChef review for a while. We’re a somewhat cynical viewer as someone who’s watched thousands of hours of reality television as a journalist (and probably thousands more before that); it takes a lot to get us feeling something in a way beyond a whimper.
Nonetheless, MasterChef season 8 episode 13 legitimately choked us up at the end, probably because Adam became a case study in relatability. We’ve all been where he was in this episode, striving for greatness and reaching that moment where he thought it was all starting to come together. Then, out of the blue, something went terribly wrong and it was over. He wanted this to be his comeback so badly, and the odd thing is that even though he lost tonight, he somehow still won. He probably had the most heroic exit in the show’s history for someone who accidentally served raw chicken. We felt for the guy, desperate to impress by replicate a signature Gordon Ramsay chicken dish. It was the first time all season we really saw him broken down, and that was a side of him that actually allowed him to access his true skill.
As we said in the first review tonight, challenges that are recreations of someone else’s dish typically are not all that exciting. Yet, this was magnetic and incredibly intense up until the moment that we saw Adam’s chicken. Even with that, there was a prevailing sense of dread until Gordon cut the knife into it, given that we saw him make one key mistake that cost him his future on the show: Letting his chicken sit and for some of the heat to leave it rather than wrapping it up in a way where it be more insulated.
We know that we’ve made this all about Adam so far, but kudos to Caitlin for being focused and determined during this, especially since there were two different occasions where it looked like she was also careening towards disaster territory. She managed to deliver a great dish that was as close to perfect as anyone could expect in that time.
The Team Challenge beforehand
This is the sort of challenge we’d love to see the show do more: Pair off the home cooks in a way where they’re both working at the same time and trying to get the job done together. Jeff and Dino, despite being polar opposites, actually hunkered down and made a really good dish using the chosen ingredients of chicken and potato. (Reality show pitch: Jeff and Dino running a restaurant together all the time. Culinary odd couple if there ever was one.) Their performance was surpassed even more so by Eboni and Cate, who won this and established themselves more as favorites to go very far in this competition.
For the record, Gabriel and Yachecia also struggled, and Gabriel looked more unhappy than probably anyone we’ve ever seen around Yachecia. (Doesn’t she seem like one of the most pleasant people in existence much of the time?)
This was the episode that MasterChef needed to drum up excitement for the remainder of the season. Even if there wasn’t much drama after we learned that Adam undercooked his chicken, the show developed him as a person enough that it didn’t matter. This was the most compelling exit of the season, though in someway the emotional exit of Adam almost exacerbates the show’s mistake in completely omitting Newton’s departure in the first hour. Grade: A-.
If you missed it, you can read our review for the first episode of the show Wednesday night over at the link here. (Photo: Fox.)