All images, unless stated, owned by Channel 4.
WARNING: This is jam-packed with The Great British Bake Off spoilers because, well, it's all about The Great British Bake Off.
Quick update on Bake Off in the news, we were all glad to hear that Ofcom won't be investigating that time Noel did a skit from inside a fridge, and also sad to hear that 55 people had complained. The scene was deemed as being a potential dangerous influence for children. These 55 complainers affect our voting, people.
'You know, I'm not actually invested in any of them this year.'
The words uttered in office kitchens up and down the land.
Well, who do you choose? A hyped up crazy mum, an average history-obsessed scouse, a perfectionist who could've won in week one, and a blah.
Saying all of that, for me this week was the best episode of the series so far. We had some skill, deliciousness, and tension - complete with with ludicrously tense music usually saved for death scenes in Film 4 biopics. My favourite moment, of this favourite episode, perfectly sums up two of our contestants:
Sophie:(angelically decorating her dainty bakes) gold leaf makes everything better
Stacey: (aggressively decorating unicorns) do they look like horns to you?
Luckily, Channel 4 have served up 'three of the most demanding challenges, and one of the closest calls the tent has ever seen' to really raise the bar.
'This has been the hardest decision I've been involved with in eight years of Bake Off', says the Channel 4 puppet.
Noel's got really into this hosting malarkey. He popped in a fist pump during a 'bake' and loves a bit of physical comedy when Sandi reminds them of the time.
It's almost too much the other way now, with Noel and Sandi unable to watch Steve put together his showstopper. They've been in the tent too long. They are turning away from meringue.
Kooky Noel Bingo returns with 'Mr Spoon', complete with a creepy voice and cute face - the kookiest of combos.
It's patisserie week!
Signature - choux buns - with 'cra-ca-lan' (cheers for the French phonetics Prue), a doughy icing with a cheeky habit of making your choux look like tiger bread
Technical - Les Miserable slices - the most difficult technical EVER - if I had the time/ interest I would sift through every technical challenge ever and prove how wrong they are. Maybe an alternate me in an alternate universe is undertaking this feat
Showstopper - sculptural meringue centrepiece
Steve: guys, they are 100% going to do a slo-mo of us walking into the tent, we should all wear sunglasses and take them off in unison
Stacey: SOUNDS GREAT
Kate: I don't want to look lame, it'll be a disasssster
Steve: no it'll be great, trust me. We'll do it twice.
'I was gonna turn it down a bit this week, but then I decided na, so I'm gonna turn it up!'
And turn it up she did.
She's just so loud. Even sat next to a pond in an idyllic British garden, and she's yelling. I think I've figured out what it is - she needs her ears syringed. Will do her the world of good. I know a good guy, Stace.
'It seems to me you often do twice the work as everyone, because you often start again.' Yeesus Sandi. That was way harsh Tai.
Her choux buns were named chouxmojis and chounicorns. Just leave the punning to the pros lady. And also, read your audience, these folks aren't Twittering their Snaps. Should've made chouxneral flowers... too far? Too far.
And when she says choux-moji, we're not talking dancing lady or hiding monkey.
I mean... that's not even a thing. That's just a budget BnBn, minus the catchy theme song.
I felt genuinely exhausted by the end of the signature. She was having a 'very very very very very very very bad morning'. Forgetting to fill them before the glaze and donning bright yellow hands from the coloured pastry.
Then the technical was even worse. The woman is just too heavy-handed for this fiddly work, Sophie and Steve created elegant chocolate twirls - meanwhile Stacey (and Kate, to be fair)...
The signature was equally stressful, with her whacking a chocolate case against the surface and nearly crashing her meringue to the floor and cracking her beloved birds. This could've been an hour of Stacey stressed AF.
You think you know how the judges will respond to something, and they always surprise you. I always thought Paul's rule was that everything on the plate had to be edible; enter feathers.
Feathers attached to meringue. No no. Gives me a scratchy throat at the thought.
'I want to get to the final, I want to prove to myself that I'm good enough.' Steve, you're the last person you need to prove it to. You who has won star baker three times, and knew it was coming errtime.
This insecure persona is further diminished when he's out-bantering the funnyman host. Upon Noel asking if his Alice in Wonderland-esque potion would make him small or big (missed opportunity for a filthy innuendo there, but we'll let it slide) Steve casually dropped 'well you can't be as small as Sandi, that's genetically impossible.' Hey hey hey. That's not a running joke and so was completely out of the blue, unnecessary, and unfunny.
It was apparently a close call on whether he would stay or go. He's not a particularly likeable fellow - no one perfect is - but if he went out, that would've been a joke. The bakes he's been producing? He royally screwed up his showstopper, and it was still more technical than Stacey and Kate's put together.
One of the first bakers to follow a completely applicable and useful source of inspiration: Choux buns filled with a traditional Parisian delicacy. Hallelooo!
I don't get how some of her bakes don't turn out well, when she calmly talks us through each step like she's the host. She even knew about bloody crystals in chocolate during the technical.
Her showstopper actually doubles up as a tourist attraction for Brighton pier.
Where's 'disassster' Kate gone, who is this girl who can bash out uniform bakes which taste delicious, and where has she been hiding for the past eight episodes?
She did come last in the technical, but the Valencian orange and Bellini flavours in her signature sounded delish.
Her showstopper looked like a Rubicon wet dream, but the judges loved the colours. If they're impressed by this, they need to see a fruit salad - it will rock their worlds. You can't praise Kate for the colour of fruit, Mother Nature gon' be pissed.
Best of Noel and Sandi
- 'Malcom? The chicken is called Malcom?' 'Yeah Malcom Eggs.' 'Any chance we're wasting our time here?' - the first funny intro of the entire series
The ridiculous statement more fitting of a Scorsese film
'It's been a pretty rough week'
Sorry to hear that, Steve. Have you lost your job? Been heart-broken? Suffered a broken limb?
'It's a combination of developing these recipes, and knowing that this carries me through to the final.'
Until next time...