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MasterChef recap: could this be the funniest episode ever?

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After the giddy, thrill-a-minute Mediterranean speedboat ride that was Italian week, tonight we begin Wild West Week, which in homage to the Will Smith film, will also be a colossal waste of money.

We begin the night in the Masterchef house, where Daniel ventures the theory that “the wild west” could mean they're going to Asia, because Daniel left school after the first three days. Jules thinks it might mean they're going to a Westfield Shoppingtown, because that is literally the most exciting place she's ever been. But actually they're going to Western Australia, possibly the wildest place with the word “west” in its name that you can find between the Indian Ocean and Adelaide.

The best four performers from the previous week get to fly business class, which unfortunately includes Kelty, who is so excited he begins saying the word “wild” compulsively until a producer slaps him. Or maybe the producer would've slapped him anyway. Seems likely producers are always slapping him. Meanwhile Christina thinks of deserts and John Wayne when she hears “wild west”, but she already knows she's going to Western Australia, so I've no idea why she's saying this.

Upon arrival in WA, Matt informs the contestants that they'll be cooking for thirty fishermen in the middle of the night because why not, right? “You'll be taming the wild west, and you'll be taming the high seas,” Gary lies. Actually what they'll be doing is catching some fish. Except for the half of each team that doesn't go fishing, which will go shopping. So I guess Jules might see her dream of going to Westfield come true after all.

The teams are selected via the ancient medieval ceremony of pulling aprons out of a craypot. Samira is hoping to be in the red team: can you believe they actually sit these people down at the end of the day and ask them to describe their feelings during the apron-pulling? What sort of broken civilisation are we? Anyway sadly Samira is on the blue team, and is also the captain, which displeases her because she is a natural follower.

The contestants are then introduced to a couple of guys who catch fish or something. Liliana says they own Fremantle, which I assume is an organised crime reference. The younger one was on Masterchef Series One, so he will no doubt be taking out his violent jealousy on them all once they get into international waters.


The captains follow different strategies. Noelene, for the red team, follows the strategy of leaving behind Totem who is actually a fisherman. “My decision!” she barks, like a particularly stupid seal. Samira follows the strategy of staying on shore and squealing about how much she hates being the captain. Then we see Curtis Stone in Coles with yet another woman that he has captured.

With her specially-selected bar manager and stockman, Noelene hits the high seas, possibly never to be seen again. On the blue team's boat, Liliana is at pains to mention the name of the special guests' company: the most important part of fishing is keeping your sponsors happy.

On the red boat, Noelene watches the blue boat from in front of a green screen and hisses that she hopes they are all seasick. Noelene is just a big sack of hatred, really. The captain tells Noelene that they have not been catching many fish lately. Noelene doesn't believe him. Noelene is simply incapable of viewing other human beings as anything but enemies.

Back on shore, the remainders of the teams are faced with the daunting task of trying to make shopping look impressive. They immediately fail miserably, but Samira cries a bit over how in another challenge she burnt some onions.

It's pitch black on the ocean and Vern and Lynton are plotting how to throw Noelene overboard. She might do it for them though: she's terribly seasick and it's hilarious. “If I get sick we've got one person,” says Lynton, who learnt advanced mathematics on horseback.

On the blue boat, Rishi is vomiting off the side of the boat, which is pretty funny but not as funny as Noelene. Pip is also amusingly ill. This might be the funniest episode of Masterchef ever, and we can only hope someone gets taken by an orca to really cap it off.

It's pitch black on the ocean and Vern and Lynton are plotting how to throw Noelene overboard. She might do it for them though: she's terribly seasick and it's hilarious.

Noelene is in great distress but says she'll do whatever she can, which isn't saying much: she's been doing whatever she can up to now and she hasn't been sick: imagine how awful she'll be when she's unwell.

On the blue boat Pip is feeling better for emptying her stomach, and Jules is overjoyed at seeing a seagull. She also thinks they'll be making dinner for “thirty salty sea dogs”, apparently unaware of how big a prat she sounds.

At this stage it becomes clear that this episode is going to involve mostly just shots of people standing on boats, intercut with shots of nets dragging through the water in the dark so you can't really see what's happening. Alex tells them that he always fishes sustainably, and proves it by catching a netful of seaweed.

Liliana and Jules, having gained their sea legs sufficiently to successfully stand around watching the fishermen do everything, watch as the seaweed is cleared away to reveal a few piddling little fish and prawns. They spring into action and ring Samira to pretend they haven't failed.

On the red boat, the net is hauled up and Vern and Lynton are watching it as if they've been staring at people doing all the work for years. Their nets are filled with fish, no doubt because the fish felt sorry for Noelene. They'd feel less sorry for her if they could see her squawking down the phone to her team in the supermarket, ordering them to buy butter and flour and keep it simple because god forbid Noelene ever do anything interesting in her life.

On the boats everyone is doing disgusting things with seafood and god it's gross. I mean, really. Why do people eat this slimy garbage?

The boats return to shore and the cooking begins. Noelene is furious that her team has bought too many things. She told them to keep it SIMPLE, dammit! She made herself VERY clear that nobody was to try anything creative! How DAREE they buy things other than butter and flour? How DARE they have several bags? These artsy-fartsy fancypantses make Noelene want to vomit all over again.

She has little to worry about, though, since Samira has decided to make an elaborate oriental feast that seems to take about half an hour just to describe. But Kelty is happy, because Samira said “scallops”. He has no idea what context she said this in, but he has a scallop dish that he can make, and no doubt tell an idiotic story to the fishermen about, so he's so happy he's positively unbearable.

“Blue team, red team, it doesn't get any better than this: fresh seafood!” George cries, in a bizarre attempt at constructing a system for determining the relative worth of different life experiences.

Gary and George ask Samira what's on the menu. Samira describes the fifty different dishes, and Gary and George say that it's “interesting”. A chill runs down Jules's spine: she wants to keep it simple. In fact, she'd prefer to not even apply heat to the fish.

On the red team, Lynton is exhausted from all the standing on a boat doing nothing he's been doing tonight, and then all of a sudden there's half an hour to go, and everything goes silent and it's unclear why. There's a close-up of the clock. I don't know what's supposed to be happening. The editing suggests that an unmanned freighter carrying a live dinosaur is about to crash into the docks, but all that happens is that Noelene starts yelling at everyone, an experience which only makes people wish they could be eaten by a dinosaur.

Gary and George are talking about scallops. I don't really understand what they're saying but I'm sure at one point George suggests serving scallops raw. Surely that's not legal?

“Hungry salty sea dogs can't wait to taste your efforts!” George bellows, in a manner suggesting that both teams are about to be indecently assaulted. Even more disturbingly, Vern passionately informs us that he wants to do something to a squid.

Noelene, meanwhile, is still yelling and is edging closer and closer to being thrown into the sea by her teammates. Neha wants to drop the scallops, Vern still wants to do things to a squid. Noelene orders him to not do things to a squid. Vern doesn't care what Noelene thinks, he has finally found a cause he believes in: nobody is going to stand in the way of the happiness he knows he can find with this squid. A Shakespearean tragedy seems to be brewing.

“This is some of the freshest squid I've ever seen. I'm going to get it up,” says Vern, and frankly the audience has become extremely concerned for him.

Time is up, the food is cooked, the fishermen have arrived, and Vern is wanted by the police. “They're salivating like Cerberus!” Matt crows, a reference that is utterly lost on all present.

The blue team serves first, Samira causing several fishermen to starve to death while she's telling them what all the dishes are. George is super-impressed, but opinion is divided among the fishermen: one leathery close-to-death man loves it, while another leathery close-to-death man thinks it's awful.

The red team then serves, and Noelene informs everyone of what they've cooked, in a low, soft voice so nobody can hear her. “I think the blue team's got the scallops wrapped up,” says a fisherman constructed from the reanimated remains of Danny Kaye, and we cut to a shot of Kelty looking all smug and dumb and scallopy. But although the blue team had outstanding dishes, the red team is more consistent. Something like that, anyway – one of those balancing acts the judges always come up with to pretend it's a close contest.

The meal is over, but before we get to judging we have to be reminded of just how ridiculous Jeep finds the notion of people buying its cars.

Back on the dock, Matt tells the red team how brilliantly cooked Vern's squid was. “It just makes you feel so proud,” says Noelene, confirming how dreadful she is by feeling pride at something that, if she'd had her way, would never have actually happened.

Both teams have excelled and “respected the product”, apparently, though this is no doubt an offensive assertion among the fish community. And yet one team has scored 21 votes and one has scored nine, meaning actually one team was rubbish. And it turns out it was the blue team: Vern's squid has overcome Samira's weird thingumajig broth and Kelty's scallops and big dumb face. Samira feels guilty, and to be fair so she should. Noelene, meanwhile, is insufferably smug and self-satisfied for someone who has spent all night vomiting off a boat and then won the challenge only by having her teammates directly disobey her. Pull your head in Noelene: you are, as the kids say, “not all that”.

But tomorrow night someone will be all that, as the winning team competes for immunity: not only from elimination, but from unhappiness in general.