In MasterChef we discover not five but nine senses as one contestant loses sensation in their hand from blood loss, and possibly their brain.
First things first, we get a confusing flash-back-flash-forward thing. Celebrated celebrity chef and sometime Coles ambassador Heston Blumenthal arrives. Even in the replays his glasses are terrifying - top heavy, angular, black.
“Flavour perception is the most complex thing the body does”, says Heston, instantly condemning every other field of human endeavour.
It's revealed that tonight’s episode is about the five senses, in which the weary contestants are cooking for a chance to have a chance at not being eliminated straight away, or something. The contestants have to pick a "sense" to cook with. The chef whose meal best encapsulates their chosen sense wins.
The woman with red hair – Amy – gets to pick first, and straight away chooses the sense of 'sound'… the most illogical of all choices in a cooking contest.
Emelia, our most smug looking contestant, is randomly assigned to pick last and still looks smug. She gets 'touch'.
Jamie, whose beard is growing in patches like a threadbare rug, chooses 'smell', which actually makes sense compared to the other dumb choices.
"Go", yells Heston, and all the contestants run to the pantry except Jamie, who walks. He knows he can hunt them down in the long run. He tells Heston about his favourite experience - a gap year in NZ drinking cider. Uh huh that's fascinating, Heston is thinking as he pats him on the shoulder.
Jamie and on-again-off-again love interest Laura serendipitously bump into each other in the pantry and realise they're both cooking smoked salmon – yet another thing they have in common. They’re the Ross-and-Rachel of reality cooking.
Jamies says, "there's a possibility for direct comparison... And if yours isn't as good there's a chance you're going to be in the bottom”, which is a sexually-laden comment if I’ve ever heard one.
As the contestants start cooking, IT guy Ben watches from a balcony high above the action. He's excluded from the comp because he still refuses to show any emotion, relentlessly cooking good dishes with the determination and IT skills of the Terminator. He clearly fails to understand the point of this show.
Cut to ad break – and here’s Heston, wearing those damn glasses, who has cooked something himself. Frozen freeze-packed hamburgers! Will this be part of the pressure test?
The most important sense we want to see is common sense
Amy slices deep into her hand and calls on the nurse to make the necessary repairs. Ever a practical contestant, she discusses the merits of reattaching her fingers in a different order with the nurse – think of the productivity gains that could be had by swapping the middle and index fingers!
Laura has picked the sense of 'sight'. She tells the audience, "I'm a bit unsure about the perception of sight", which sounds really stupid when you write it down but I'm sure she didn't mean it to be stupid when she said it. "Idiot", Laura laughs.
"This is all about the senses, and I've got a sense there's half an hour to go," says Heston, nominating the sense that nobody chose – time.
"I've now kneeded my blood into the dough," says Amy, who has finally found an ingredient that Heston hasn't eaten or turned into strange gelatinous balls. Heston, needless to say, starts thinking about a new range of Coles products - blood bread perhaps, or... Red bread.
Now a promo for that lovely show where they shamelessly killed the husband so they could hook Asher Keddie up with randoms again. And back to cooking.
"Cooking for Heston's scary enough. Knowing that Laura's also cooking smoked salmon just puts extra pressure on me to nail it," says Jamie, staring hard at the back of Laura’s neck. The man’s all-flirt all the time.
Amy tells Garry she’s "frazzled”, by which she means bleeding out. "The most important sense we want to see is common sense," yells Matt Preston, which takes us to, what, seven sense now? Good grief.
Apropos of nothing, Smug Emelia tells the camera, "I don't ever want my emotions to affect what I do", and then immediately tears up. But she can't talk to Matt - only to you, dear viewer, via the comforting intimacy of the filmed confessional.
George Calombaris runs to find Smug Emelia, who's in the pantry crying over her dead grandma. He wraps an arm around her shoulder and comforts her by reminding her about the eighth sense (or is that the sixth sense?) - death.
Jamie is trying to recreate his drunken year in New Zealand by manically sprinkling dry-ice snow. It's all coming together, like vomit on a plate, for Jamie, who says: "It's all coming together." And with that, the giant clock ticks to 12 and the judges gather.
Jamie is the first to present his dish. He’s gone big on theatre - frozen snow and some sort of Pagan ritual involving burning kindling with a blowtorch, which seems like overkill - but has forgotten to actually cook anything.
He serves Heston cut up fruit and yoghurt, and then goes outside to sit with his beard and smirk.
One-hand-Amy rolls her creation in for the judges. She's incorporated sounds in her dish by... playing music at the judges. Itseems to have missed the point of, I don't know, incorporating sound into the food.
The soundtrack plays, and it's heavy on seagull sounds. Matt absently searches for a one-legged seagull in the set to throw a chip to. It’s revealed in a passing moment of actual humanity that the contestants have nicknames for each other. Is Laura's 'Lozzledog'? She's gone with citrus cured salmon.
She admits she has no idea how sight works, which is okay because I don't know how 90 per cent of the things in my body work. She clearly has no idea what she's doing, but the judges like it - particularly the failed beetroot jelly which hasn’t set properly. Makes them look more like beetroots, says Heston.
Smug Emelia comes in, and stands silently before the judges as they chuckle at her. She shrugs her shoulders, silently bearing their judging stares. Now, can these heartless gourmands take the title away from the girl whose grandmother has just died? Frantically on stage left the producer is mouthing NO.
Heston, no stranger to commercial instruction, says he loves it - particularly the cut up Apple, which you just don't see in fine dining anymore.
More of these Offspring ads. Poor Asher kiddie looks increasingly tired in each one. Fear of never knowing who will be killed off, or if your show will survive, can do that to you.
Laura and Smug Emelia are both safe it appears. Heston names emotion as the ninth and final sense, the one to bind them all.
Amy has overcooked her fish and sliced off most of her arm. She loses and goes through to reality TV purgatory - nobody is ever really eliminated anymore.