WHAT'S going on, MKR? We've spent so long incubating our love-to-hate-'em feelings for Josh and Amy, and now you just turn that on its head?
We want to see them fail, and all of a sudden they succeed. We want to watch them bitch and moan and argue, and they figure out a way they can get along.
It seems that tonight, Josh and Amy have finally discovered the secret to getting along and cooking edible food. There's a refreshing couple of minor swipes between them and at other contestants just to let us know that the villains we've come to know still have glimmers of evil in there somewhere, but to see Josh humbled by giving up some power and getting on with it is weird, man. it's weird.
It seems the secret to a happy marriage is to get as far away from each other as you can and make laksa. But that's not the only secret in tonight's episode.
THE SECRET TO A SUCCESSFUL STREET PARTY
Today's challenge happens in an unnamed typical Australian suburb, a place with an understanding municipal council and very little through-traffic.
Teams are asked to cook a main course in a portable shipping-crate kitchen for the neighbourhood, luring as many of its denizens as possible to their outdoor pop-up restaurant with their culinary skills and charm.
So the secret to a successful street party is basically to be great in a crate on a housing estate.
THE SECRET TO PLEASING A CROWD
I don't mean to make vegetarians uncomfortable - surely they're already uncomfortable enough - but people who want their food to be popular among a crowd do rather tend towards serving them slabs of meat.
Not content to just serve one part of a chicken, Tyson and Amy go for both thighs AND livers, to the delight of both diners and Hannibal Lecter. Tully announces that she and Della are cooking "about five point two million kilos of pork today", while Tim and Kyle surprise nobody by serving up some flesh.
There's lamb, there's beef, there's roasting, there's slicing, there's pink centres, crispy skin, and juices, lord, SO many juices. The 'hood loves it. Basically suburbia is a bad place to be today if you're a quadruped that likes being alive.
THE SECRET TO BEING A DECENT HUMAN BEING
In past episodes, we've seen teams shouting encouragement from the sidelines during sudden death cook-offs. We've seen Court crying with empathy when someone on another team does badly and, admittedly, also when they do well. We've seen Kyle step in to help de-crackling a pork roast when Karen and Ros were having trouble.
And tonight, Court and Dunk offer Brett and Marie a hotplate, who reciprocate by donating them some oven space. Mark and Chris help Tim out with a borrowed pan, and Tully helps protect Della from head injury.
Almost all of the teams seem to sincerely want to help each other get the best result.
And then there's Josh and Amy, who might be improving, but they ain't there yet. "Nah, piss off" says Amy when Tim asks for a pan. "Top teams are going to sudden death today mate, that's yourself," adds Josh.
Other teams hope to do well by cooking well. Josh and Amy hope to do well by hoping others fail.
Tim pretty much sums it up for all of us when he says "Josh and Amy. What a dick".
THE SECRET TO COOKING PETE'S FAVOURITE
It turns out that, eight weeks into a cooking competition, Josh and Amy can actually cook. Well, Amy can. Josh can cut up fish twenty metres away and sometimes get a paper placemat to stay on a table for up to four seconds.
In a challenge based on cooking skill and charm, nobody in their right mind would have pegged these two as contenders an hour ago, but as soon as Josh says to Amy "You're the best head chef. Every time I'm head chef we go to sudden death, so how about I never be head chef again, it's all you, and I just listen", we feel like these two are in with a chance.
Certainly, Josh doesn't listen and has to be reminded several times that he's not in charge, but babies need to take baby steps.
The couple's genius technique of not actually letting Josh into the kitchen works in their favour as they serve a seafood laksa that Pete Evans says is his dish of the day. Josh is stunned.
Yep. A man in a cooking competition is surprised that a judge likes his food.
There's a lot wrong with that picture.
THE SECRET TO NOT DOING WELL
There's an old riddle that goes:
Q: What's the only good thing about marzipan?
A: It'll take the taste of sarsaparilla out of your mouth.
OK, that's a lie, it's not an old riddle, I just made it up. But it's fair to say that sarsaparilla is not a popular flavour. Slow-cooked beef cheek, however, IS a popular flavour, and one that is intensely difficult to spoil. Unless you cook it in sarsaparilla.
In a nutshell, Brett and Marie cook beef cheek in sarsaparilla. Sure, they have some trouble with the wind rendering their stove temperature inconsistent, and their personalities not being totally conducive to the charismatic luring of customers, but when it comes down to it selling yourself with sarsaparilla is like trying to market snakes to a mouse colony.
The other secret to getting yourself into a sudden death cook-off is Mark and Chris's method of making snapper en papillote which is French for "fish nobody likes".
THE SECRET TO WINNING
Meat masters Tim and Kyle win the popular vote with their lamb, delicious sauce and onion rings, and will be blessed with a mystery twist advantage in the next challenge.
Here's hoping that the twist is that they have to cook for me. At my house. In their pyjamas.
Jo Thornely is a writer who loves it when you explain her jokes back to her on Twitter. Follow her @JoThornely
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