Cooking Crush 1×11 Review: “Or… The Three Must-Eat-eers Will Only Be a Name”

The penultimate episode of Cooking Crush has arrived. “Or… The Three Must-Eat-eers Will Only Be a Name” tosses a little chaos into the mix, with Ten and Prem dealing with the fallout of last week’s confrontation with Chang Ma. Remember, kids: violence is never the answer (except when it is).

The group has gathered at Prem’s family’s restaurant to celebrate the Three Must-Eat-eers making it through to the next round of the competition. And when Ten and Prem show up holding hands and announce that they’re official, they celebrate that, too. But the mood quickly turns sour when Dynamite eagerly goes on social media to see the reactions to their show, and it turns out people think that they’re a huge joke.

Prem, Dynamite, and Samsee resolve to train even harder to prove the nay-sayers wrong. But soon it doesn’t matter at all, as the three Bs have recorded a video of Ten punching Chang Ma. They release it into the wild – with no context, of course (though Ten’s remark about respecting people’s “no” can be heard) – and public opinion turns even further against the Three Must-Eat-eers. It crumbles even more when the three Bs film an “interview” where they claim that Prem and his friends bully them relentlessly.

Everything culminates in Ten apologizing to Chang Ma and trying to take all the blame on himself, while Prem offers to withdraw from the competition. In the end, Chang Ma releases a statement that he provoked Ten, and that the incident had nothing to do with the competition. Prem and the others are permitted to stay, and they even make it through to the final round.

I love Cooking Crush. It’s probably one of my favorite series. Ten and Prem have stellar communication, and everything about their relationship is amazing. I have no complaints on that end.

However, it looks like it’s falling into one of my least favorite tropes, which is that the bad guys don’t get the justice I think they deserve.

I understand why Ten takes responsibility for what happened. It makes logical and narrative sense, especially when you consider that he is all about Prem’s happiness. This is something he can do for Prem that’s within his capability. But it actually really bothered me that Ten apologized to Chang Ma – on his knees – and we never see Chang Ma apologize to Prem for making him uncomfortable.

Plus, the clarification statement that he released rubbed me the wrong way. Yes, he acknowledges that he provoked Ten and therefore was “partly at fault”. But he doesn’t seem to realize how wrong he was. So when Ten and Prem seemed OK with this as a resolution, I was just livid. Because again, he only backs off his pursuit of Prem when he sees them holding hands. Prem has a boyfriend, and so he is no longer available. It completely ignores the fact that he was never interested in the first place.

I’ll save any complaints about the three Bs and their behavior for next week. Since it’s them versus the Three Must-Eat-eers in the final, I’m hopeful we’ll get some kind of vindication. (Seriously, though, they need to be pushed in the river or publicly humiliated or something. They’ve been inexplicably awful the entire time, and they keep getting away with it. This is unacceptable!)

While I’m nitpicking things, can we talk about that scene with Ten and his father? I knew we hadn’t seen the last of that guy, but their argument after the three Bs’ video goes public was a little confusing. It felt like the dialogue was telling me something that the show hadn’t been showing us. Ten’s father chastises him for “always resorting to violence” when this is literally the first time we’ve seen any behavior like that from Ten.

Even Ten’s claim to Prem later that he has to curb his impulsiveness felt off, because I don’t consider Ten to be impulsive at all. I mean, sure, when it means secret makeouts in public, I guess, but we have repeatedly seen that everything Ten tries to pass off as, “oh, I just felt like doing this” has actually been something that he’s practiced and worked really hard at. If the show wanted me to think Ten was violent and impulsive, they did a really poor job of it.

When you think about it, Ten punching Chang Ma didn’t come across as impulsive or heat-of-the-moment. He’s been watching Chang Ma pursue Prem for ages, and he’s seen Prem be less than receptive to his advances. Chang Ma had flat-out told him earlier that it didn’t matter if Prem liked Ten, as long as he was still technically single. Then Ten watches Chang Ma ignore Prem’s wishes and hug him without his consent, which we know is actually a huge trigger for Ten, because he knows what that’s like. After all of that, Ten’s punch felt like a long time coming.

Besides, Ten’s dad doesn’t have a leg to stand on in that regard. The audacity of this man, to scold Ten for resorting to violence when he slapped Ten a few episodes ago. He taunted Ten into starving himself. He went behind Ten’s back to convince Prem to end things between them. And I’m sure, based on how Ten described his stepmother, that his father tried to push that relationship when Ten wasn’t ready for it.

But where I have no complaints? The relationships. As per usual, Cooking Crush delivers with fantastic material. The teasing! The communication! The absolute joy in being together! “Or… The Three Must-Eat-eers Will Only Be a Name” gives us all that and more.

First up, Fire and Dynamite, because I have to mention that moment when their team made it through to the finals and Fire literally ran onto the sound stage and hugged Dynamite. He had told Dynamite last week that if they won, he would tell everyone that they were dating. I appreciate that he seriously came through. There’s nothing more public than kiss-attacking your secret boyfriend on live television. (It gave me Check Please Post-Stanley Cup kiss on center ice vibes.)

(Seriously, though, what kind of show is this? That’s the second time someone from the audience has just wandered in while they’re filming. Plus, they had their super-secret meeting about how to handle the Three Must-Eat-eers in a random hallway where anyone could (and did) come up to them, with just one staff member to half-heartedly stop them. Not to mention the fact that they admitted to Prem’s face that they only invited his team for ratings.)

Of course, though, it’s all about Ten and Prem. Even now that they’re official, Prem is super shy. I have to believe a big part of this is that he’s still dealing with some massive self-esteem issues. Poor boy keeps getting attacked on all sides, no wonder his confidence keeps taking a hit. I do think that even after everything these two have gone through, a part of him still thinks that he’s not good enough for Ten. I think he worries that if he’s too open about it, something will happen.

That’s why I love that every time he shies back, Ten seems to go extra. When Prem tries to stop holding Ten’s hand, Ten refuses to let go. When Prem dodges questions about their relationship, Ten jumps in and tells everyone that they’re dating. As Ten says, he’s waited too long for this to keep it secret.

We love a supportive boyfriend! Ten continually reassuring Prem is one of my favorite things about their relationship. (Prem returns the favor, but I feel like Ten is also better about hiding his emotions than Prem is. Which is hilarious when you think about it.) To Ten, Prem is the best chef in the world, because Prem is the one who got him interested in food in the first place. And it’s Prem’s cooking that makes him feel warmed and loved and nostalgic. So when Ten says that Prem makes the tastiest food in the world, he one hundred percent means it.

Also, that scene in the kitchen, where Prem wants to teach him a dish inspired by the first time they met? I have to go to the dentist for my cavities, because that was just too much sweetness to handle. The whole bit where Ten was hiding from security but couldn’t resist bothering Prem was hilarious (the biting). I am a little confused as to why they had to go to the school (how did they even get in after hours?) when they were already at Prem’s place, but then they start kissing and, eh, it’s not really that important anyway. (What are the odds they had sex in the kitchen?)

The only real conflict Ten and Prem had in this episode was Ten finding the label for the money that says “money scammed from Doc”. Honestly, this surprised me a little, as I thought we were well past this issue. Ten acknowledged to his friends way back in, like, episode 2 that he knew Prem was charging him too much, but he was fine with it. And Ten’s father has already confronted Prem about this as well.

It just seems like this whole “note” thing was only done so that Ten would thoughtlessly leave the note where his father would find it, thus confirming every bad thought his father ever had about Prem. (I knew that was going to happen as soon as I saw Ten shove the note in his pocket.) Ten’s dad already thinks that his relationship with Prem is some sort of adolescent rebellion, and this note will only reinforce this belief. Thus we’ve set up the final confrontation in next week’s finale.

I’ll be legitimately sad for this series to end. It’s been a joy to watch, a much-needed dose of serotonin every Sunday. Off and Gun are a delight, and I have loved watching them be cheesy and adorable.

Author: Jamie Sugah

Jamie has a BA in English with a focus in creative writing from The Ohio State University. She self-published her first novel, The Perils of Long Hair on a Windy Day, which is available through Amazon. She is currently an archivist and lives in New York City with her demon ninja vampire cat. She covers television, books, movies, anime, and conventions in the NYC area.

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