When it comes to pressure testing, this removal really takes the cake.

The time has come for MasterChef to whip its audience into gentle spikes of excitement. For tonight, a favorite will go home, and not a favorite in the sense of previous favorites: tonight it will be someone we really like. Mindy, Billie and Julie are staring oblivion in the face. When they get to the kitchen, they reveal that they have made a pact. It’s not clear exactly what the pact is, but it involves being strong women and loving each other, though not to the point of not trying to destroy each other. “It has to be about girl power,” says Mindy, referring to the process of kicking another woman out of the kitchen.

The news gets worse when Kirsten Tibballs walks into the kitchen. Not that Kirsten’s presence per se is a problem (although I’m not saying she isn’t), but she’s well known for forcing people to make ridiculous desserts that exist only to cause pain. Andy welcomes Kirsten. “You’ve got your fingers in so many cakes it’s not fun,” she says, posing the question: at what point does the number of cakes a person has their fingers in stop being fun? I can’t imagine: fingers in cakes seem to be pretty fun in triple figures.

You better believe Kirsten Tibballs has one of her famously difficult desserts under that hood.

You better believe Kirsten Tibballs has one of her famously difficult desserts under that hood. Photo: Supplied

Anyway, the reason Kirsten is here is to present a black brick with black balls on it. When you cut through black brick, there’s brown and yellow, and cherry gel oozes out like the blood of a freshly stabbed victim. She thus combines decadence and murder as only the best desserts can.

The three power girls have three hours and fifteen minutes to replicate the black brick. Billie is stunned. “Three hours and fifteen minutes isn’t even enough to watch the entire Titanic movie,” she protests. As someone who finds it impossible to cook without watching Titanic beforehand, she immediately finds herself at a disadvantage, especially compared to Mindy and Julie, who can cook after watching relatively short movies like Run Lola Run or Carry On Camping.

Melissa, Kirsten, Andy and Jock prepare for a sugar hit.

Melissa, Kirsten, Andy and Jock prepare for a sugar hit. Photo: Supplied

Julie starts by heating up her rice bubbles. She decides to leave them on the fire and focus her attention on other things. This is a poor decision, as as soon as she steps away from the stove, the camera starts showing ominous close-ups of the rice bubbles. The rice bubbles are burning. Snap, Crackle and Pop have joined her unhappy cousin Immolate.

The dessert being made is extremely complicated, which means the renderings of the making process can’t help but be extremely boring, but in case you’re interested: Billie is putting together her base mold and Alvin accuses her of being a machine. Mindy also cuts a square of chocolate and covers it with lumps (stop me if I get too technical) while Julie works with unburned rice bubbles. Meanwhile, Billie is making the cherry gel, which might be the trickiest part of the recipe: It has to taste delicious AND genuinely resemble human blood. Mindy, thinking outside the box, decides to cut off her thumb, reasoning that the gel will be more blood-like if it contains real blood.

With two hours to go, Julie is late and announces that she wants to climb inside the pressurized cooler as Punky Brewster’s best friend in the episode where she gets trapped in a fridge. This is a worrying turn of mind for Julie and demonstrates the enormous pressure placed on MasterChef contestants: 80 percent of contestants over the life of the show have at some point expressed a desire to get inside a kitchen appliance. kitchen.

Up on the balcony, viewers notice that Mindy is pushing her pandejam (no, of course, I don’t know what that is) down very aggressively, at the risk that it might crush their capes and leave them bitter and resentful. On the other hand, and viewers talk little about this possibility, it may not.

Meanwhile, Julie is still behind, but confident that she can catch up, to the point that she takes time to sand and paint a beautiful wooden gift box. She’s having trouble with her vanilla layer, which she doesn’t know how to get out of her mold and put on the other little thing. “It’s like trying to put an octopus in a string bag,” she says, as she reels from traumatic memories of the octopus-in-a-string-bag mystery box challenge from season one that caused so many tears.

With less than 45 minutes to go, it’s time to make fake cherries and fill them with white chocolate, a part of the recipe calculated to really rub it in the time waster that it all is. Sadly, this requires tempering the chocolate, which regular MasterChef viewers know is a physically impossible task for humans. So it’s no surprise that Billie finds out she can’t do it. She angrily punishes her chocolate, but time is running out. Fortunately, Dan is on the balcony to help her. “Come on Billie!” she screams her, and that makes all the difference. Just in time, Billie remembers the pact she, Julie, and Mindy made earlier in the day: that no matter how tough things got today, the three of them would never stop appearing in slow-motion montages. Thus inspired, Billie puts her cherries in the freezer. So to speak.

Time is almost up. Julie is sprinkling her cake in hopes of achieving perfection, while Mindy obsessively bangs a tray on the bench and Billie searches for cherries. Suddenly, Julie realizes that she is missing one of her eggs: the girl power handicap. She’s happy with the spray job, though, so now it’s time for her to hit a tray on the bench, too. She is fulfilling the women’s pact to all the trays on the bench.

Thirty seconds to go, and Julie is faced with the eternal existential conundrum: how do you get a big black cake off one tray and onto another tray? The answer: You clumsily lift it up with two spatulas and open the side. But that doesn’t matter: what matters is that the challenge is over, the cakes are served, and hopefully none of these women will ever have to see Kirsten Tibballs again in her lifetime.

Black brick and Billie’s balls are served first. She tells the judges that it is very difficult to be away from her daughter and she desperately hopes that she has made dessert well enough to avoid going home with her daughter. Billie’s spray has air bubbles and missing parts on the side, and her cherries look depressed, but Kirsten thinks it’s a “great effort” for someone who hasn’t dedicated her whole life to black brick art. She also knows well, that somewhere in the back of her mind, the judges can almost remember that it was something she once cared about. “Ultimately, it’s fun to eat,” Melissa says, just as a general observation.

Next up is Mindy, who was on screen less than the others tonight, so she’s almost certainly safe. There are cracks and finger marks everywhere, and the cherries are not built properly. The judges look at the whole affair with horror and disgust. Kirsten considers calling the police. Mindy pushed her layers too hard. Remember when we were worried about that? Omen: classical literary technique. Also, her jelly has some problems, but then who doesn’t?

Mindy is in trouble, but she has one last hope: maybe Julie is worse. Julie feels that this is the last dish for her, as she messed up the outside of her cake, which goes against MasterChef’s motto: “It’s what’s on the outside that counts”. Carrying her cake to the judges, she pauses to make them all cry and then, like a ghost, she disappears. When they cut Julie’s cake, she finds it gorgeous, and she tastes exactly like she was supposed to taste, so that’s nice.

And so to the trial. Turns out Billie’s was great, Julie’s was okay, and Mindy’s was offensive. “To go up against those ladies, I couldn’t be happier,” Mindy says, which seems a little dishonest: I bet she could be a little happier. As if she hadn’t lost.

But while it’s a loss for Mindy, it’s a win for friendship, and it’s a win for fancy cakes, and it’s a win for feminism, because these three strong women have proven that when women put their minds to it, two out of three of them can achieve great things.

Tune in tomorrow, when very little feminist theory is involved.

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