I was saving this for tomorrow, included in a larger post, however given the circumstances of yesterday’s elimination challenge, I feel it’s important to talk about this as fast as possible.
As this is opinion based, I welcome comments and discussion as long as they are respectful and have substance to back it up.
Sandeep had to sit out of the picnic challenge because he had a back injury and was unable to compete. This meant he was automatically in the elimination.
At the beginning of the elimination challenge, Sandeep had to make the choice of cooking or using his only immunity pin to sit out. He decided to use his pin so as not to risk anymore injury.
It’s then revealed he has injured his lower back and has an issue with a disc.
We didn’t see Sandeep for the rest of the episode.
When I wrote the recap, I didn’t know how much of my own information to include. I didn’t want to derail the recap and focus heavily on this.
My partner had an accident recently and has a herniated disc in her lower back. For several weeks after the injury, she was in crippling pain. She couldn’t drive, she was on heavy pain relief, was seeing a physiotherapist twice a week, and her doctor weekly. The only relief she had was when a heat pack was on her back and she was drugged up.
She was unable to be comfortable sitting, standing, or laying for extended periods of time. For a long time, she was continuously cycling through these just to stay comfortable.
There was many times where she would cry at night from how much pain she’s in.
Even now, several months on, she’s still in pain and taking medication, and can’t work like before the accident.
Knowing this, it’s completely unfair that Sandeep was forced to sacrifice his pin for an injury. Back injuries especially need to be taken care of, lest it gets worse. Considering he wasn’t even able to stand with the other contestants and watch the elimination challenge, it’s absurd that he was forced to use his pin to avoid the challenge.
It wasn’t until Sandeep’s montage that I remembered he won his pin in the Secrets Week immunity challenge, episode 22. He achieving a perfect score of 30/30, beating the guest chef, who scored 24.
The judges even said that this was possibly the best dish they’ve had over the 11 seasons.
Using it with Maggie Beer
Michaela Morgan, a 10 daily reporter, wrote, “He had to make the difficult decision of using his hard-earnt immunity pin for a challenge that he would have blitzed — Maggie Beer’s herb garden challenge.” (10play.com, 20/7/19)
This wasn’t even something I had initially thought about, but upon reflection, she’s absolutely right. Even if Sandeep hadn’t wow’ed the trio of judges and Maggie Beer in the first round, the herb cook, he would have nailed it in the second cook, the spice.
In previous seasons, if someone was sick, they were automatically in the elimination. That’s absolutely fair enough, but should it also apply to new injuries?
If Sandeep had been sick and couldn’t cook on the day of the team challenge, that would be one thing, because he could hypothetically be better by the elimination, or take some medication and keep going. He could use his pin and easily justify it, knowing that next time he’ll be back to his A game.
But with a back injury, and from Michaela’s article, it’s clear that this isn’t a quick fix, and he won’t just be ok for the next cook. This is something that could plague him for the rest of his life.
While the details of the injury haven’t been discussed, it was eluded to that he had the injury at the MasterChef house, and wasn’t a preexisting injury.
Michaela also wrote about Sandeep regularly attending physio, and the MasterChef crew looking after him, making sure he was taking the appropriate medication, etc.
But what if Sandeep didn’t have the immunity pin?
Would he have been able to sit it out this time?
Would the rules of this cook have been twisted to accommodate him and look after his injury?
Or would they have been happy to let him risk further damage to his back?
Regardless of whether or not it was fair to force him to use his pin on this elimination, the above questions need to be considered.
Sweet Week elimination
During this episode, Sandeep said he doesn’t cook desserts.
“Desserts and I are best friends when someone else cooks and I eat,” Sandeep said.
I have no doubt that if Sandeep was allowed to keep his immunity pin in the Maggie Beer elimination, he would have played it here, knowing desserts aren’t a strong suit, and he’d still be in the contest. While it would have been sad to see Tati go, as she was the other contestant veering on the edge of elimination, I wouldn’t be angry about her leaving.
That’s my rant for today. While I’m aiming to get a general rant up tomorrow, I’m also working, so it may have to be saved for next week.