The Great British Bake Off: The Final
October 30, 2018 4:35 PM - Season 9, Episode 10 - Subscribe

Three bakers. A scorchingly hot tent. Three last challenges to see who of Kim-Joy, Rahul or Ruby will be 2018 Bake-Off winner. First, doughnuts - actually, British-style filled doughnuts and US-style ring donuts. Not that Rahul has had either before - will his imagination get the better of him? Then a technical challenge that surprises the bakers as much as it does us. Finally, a show-stopper bake where our final three get to show us their best. Needless to say, discussion involves mention of the winner.

It really was all open up until near the end, wasn't it? But Rahul was perhaps slightly ahead going in to the show-stopper, and his garden looked amazing. Kim-Joy seemed ever so slightly to run out of steam and Ruby's can-do attitude didn't quite get her past Rahul's quietly brilliant baking.

I'm still trying to decide if the technical challenge was inspired genius or a gimmick that took the show all too close to the sort of daft challenge you associate with celebrity reality TV. At least it got the bakers out of a tent that must have been like a sauna.

The delightful part of the final is seeing all the other bakers come back with family and friends (incidentally, I am very impressed that the result is as well-kept a secret as it is with so many people in on it). Here it seems that the bakers have been and have remained a particularly close-knit bunch - save, ironically enough, for Rahul himself. Previous winners and even some non-winning bakers have gone on to a measure of fame and success, but I rather get the impression that Rahul, if he has anything to do with it, will disappear off the radar and not be seen again unless there's a 'Where Are They Now?' if and when the show gets to its 20th year.
posted by Major Clanger (24 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I cried at the end. Rahul is the best.
posted by mai at 6:16 PM on October 30, 2018 [5 favorites]

My team is that the technical was daft bullshit. That's a Week 1 challenge if anything, when the bakers are still loose and having fun and not giant balls of stress.

I also didn't realize how much I'd been rooting for Kim-Joy until the end. And seeing Briony again was so great but man I missed her this episode.

I want only good things for all my little ducklings. <3
posted by soren_lorensen at 6:33 PM on October 30, 2018 [7 favorites]

I am tremendously proud of that Eeyore of a man.
posted by rewil at 10:59 PM on October 30, 2018 [4 favorites]

Oh and yes I'm also on team what the hell was that technical. Because damn.
posted by rewil at 10:59 PM on October 30, 2018 [4 favorites]

I have the feeling the various post show meet-ups between the contestants go beyond "posed for TV" camaraderie. I would like to think that some of the others got together to take Rahul to see Star Wars - eat a doughnut and get the hump over his his failure to have done all that previously.
posted by rongorongo at 12:27 AM on October 31, 2018 [1 favorite]

I thought the technical was a great idea for a fun challenge on some kind of cooking show — but a terrible choice for this cooking show, and especially the final. Because I know the show is never really an objective exercise in finding the best baker, but you can at least try to emphasise the role of skill over luck IN THE FINAL.

I thought all the showstoppers were a bit dingy looking; were they specifically told to try to make them naturalistic? They would have been much more attractive in cheery bright colours.
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 1:57 AM on October 31, 2018 [6 favorites]

I'm really blase about this finale and season in general. To be fair, the last season I watched was when it was still on BBC and Nadiya won, that was spectacular.

I'm pretty meh about Rahul winning. I've droned on about how lukewarm I am towards him, but I will give him two credits:
- When his glass storage exploded I actually thought he handled it pretty well. Honestly I was expecting him to sit in a corner crying, but he did seem to get on with it. I don't know if it was weird editing but I was very pissed off with Prue and Paul criticising his composure after that happened. Like, what the actual fuck, a glass exploded all over his ingredients and no one had told him if he would get that time back yet and they're picking at his attitude? I really hope that was bad editing because that was poor commentary from the judges.
- When Noel asked Rahul to describe himself in a word: "Depressing." I lol'd.

That technical challenge was a joke. Three out of the four components was dips and the dough component wasn't even baking and under gimmicky conditions. I wouldn't have minded so much if it was very early on in the competition, for a bit of a laugh. But for a final technical? Absolute joke and a waste of everyone's time.

The landscape showstopper fell completely flat for me. Unsuprisingly, grey rocks and green sludge do not make appetising looking bakes. It was really underwhelming and some of the bakes looked flat out gross and not worthy of the skills posessed by the final three contestants. I want final showstoppers that delight the imagination and dazzle the senses!

Judging was inconsistent and massively favoured toward Rahul. Kim-Joy got criticised for how much filling her donuts had while they were gushing over Rahul's overstuffed concoctions. She also got criticised for not having enough height on her cake, which they admitted was delicious? And she had loads of height from her gingerbread walls, so specifically her cake needed height. When was that a criteria?

There was absolutely no suspense. I knew Rahul had won after the first challenge based on how the judge's comments were going. The drama over his glass exploding (which in no way is his fault, I'm talking about how it was edited and portrayed) sealed it for me.

I'm really on the fence about watching again next year. I'll probably tune into the first couple of episodes but I really don't like the direction it's gone this year so if that continues, I'm out.
posted by like_neon at 3:17 AM on October 31, 2018 [7 favorites]

At least it got the bakers out of a tent that must have been like a sauna.

I remember Ruby commenting she was eager to get back in the tent. It was 32 degrees under a blazing sun and working with an open fire. I don't blame her.
posted by like_neon at 3:18 AM on October 31, 2018 [3 favorites]

I didn't remember them criticizing Kim-Joy's donut filling, just exclaiming over it. And I imagine they wanted height from the cake because I think a taller cake would have been more impressive-looking. But I didn't feel the judging was biased.

I would've been happy with any of the bakers winning--but I feel like that nearly every year, I love the contestants.

The technical challenge was bullshit and gimmicky through and through. I enjoyed the last season on C4 and had hopes it would continue, but this season you can really tell the difference from the move.
posted by Anonymous at 5:34 AM on October 31, 2018

Yes, I feel like last year they were afraid of alienating loyal viewers with the move to Channel 4 and the new hosts, so they kept a low profile and tried to keep it as true to the Platonic ideal of the show as possible, but there was noticeably more tinkering this time and not really for the better. I don't really think it quite jumped the shark, but this may be my least favorite season.
posted by briank at 5:38 AM on October 31, 2018 [6 favorites]

I disagree that Raul was ahead going into the final. Rahul's donuts were dark and oily, and the buttercream frosting did not go over well, though the mango filled ones were apparently good. Also it seemed a bit weird to have never had a donut and then say "I like my filled donuts very full." At any rate, I thought it was pretty clear that Kim-Joy won both challenges on the first day and therefore was in the lead going into the final.

Sadly the showstoppers were godawful looking. I was really surprised at how ugly and unappetizing they all were. I agree that I would much rather see everyone succeed with lovely things that are a bit easier to accomplish and more straightforward baking. This isn't a show that needs to be made more suspenseful or dramatic. I hope Love Productions is reading the comments on Twitter or the Guardian or wherever. Seems like a majority of viewers are not happy with the turn toward outlandish challenges and crying bakers.

Also I am tired of all the dips*.

*food ones, not Noel. I like him.
posted by oneirodynia at 7:12 PM on October 31, 2018 [8 favorites]

Rahul should have gone out in Danish Week when he BURNED EVERY CHALLENGE, and was last in the Technical. Briony should have been in the final--even with her over-large patisserie. < /rant over>
posted by tzikeh at 11:27 PM on October 31, 2018 [13 favorites]

Yeah, I thought Rahul was second going into the final, but he nailed his Showstopper and Kim-Joy flubbed hers.
posted by Anonymous at 6:39 PM on November 1, 2018

It's interesting to see how every reality tv fandom breaks down into two groups - those that choose their favorites based on personality and those that root for the most talented. I am in the former category, which is why I continue to stan Rahul even when he burns his danish.
posted by mai at 10:13 AM on November 3, 2018

Rahul is a great guy and everything and his "adoptive family" were really sweet, but... I'm kind of disappointed he won. His "garden" looked like an aquarium that had been drained. It was supposed to be a "feast for the senses" and even Paul said it looked terrible. He also really scraped through the previous two weeks, getting through despite making "inedible" bread. That said neither of the others really stood out so it's hard to choose an obvious winner (I also think Kim-Joy was just ahead going into the last round, but Ruby's showstopper was the best). I agree with like_neon that it was a really underwhelming showstopper.

I don't know if it was weird editing but I was very pissed off with Prue and Paul criticising his composure after that happened.

I feel like it must have been some editing - there was a later comment during the judges' discussion that made it sound like Rahul had been more upset than was shown maybe? Which is fair to Rahul but made the judges seem super harsh.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 1:29 AM on November 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

Guardian interview with Kim-Joy. She seems almost impossibly nice.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 1:45 AM on November 12, 2018 [7 favorites]

Yeah that was a really disappointing showstopper. Not a very satisfying finale what with the wtf technical and this unappetizing showstopper.
posted by miss-lapin at 4:59 PM on November 15, 2018 [1 favorite]

I don't know - I kind of liked the idea of a showstopper where everything looks like something that it's not. A bit Willy-Wonkaish. I agree that the green sludge was not appetizing but I still think that I'd have found that whole rock garden really interesting and fun to eat, precisely because of the mismatch between the visuals and taste.

Totally agree with the comments above regarding the inappropriateness of the outdoor challenge (seemed more designed to manufacture drama than a real test of skills) and that the judge's comments post glass breaking were really weird.

I do think the judges have a soft spot for Rahul, but it did feel like his showstopper was more impressive than Kim-Joy's in the end, so I didn't feel that particular decision was biased (I think Manon going home was unfair).
posted by peacheater at 6:40 PM on November 17, 2018 [3 favorites]

I think the outdoor baking challenge could have been very cool, but--in addition to agreeing that it should have been earlier in the season--they should have been given a solid extra hour to do it. Just like with the majority of the challenges this year, honestly.

Actually, when they led the contestants outside I was hoping they were going to be making spit cakes, which are similar to schichttortes but much, much weirder to bake. Now spit cakes have been added to my list of fantasy GBBO challenges alongside biscuits and gravy and Chinese Week.
posted by showbiz_liz at 1:32 PM on November 27, 2018 [2 favorites]

Not my favorite finale. I actually dawdled for almost a month before finally watching this one because of how... stressful the past couple of episodes were.

The signature started off all right -- donuts! Those are fun and straightforward, a little complicated, but nothing out of left field for a finale. Yay, doughnuts!

Then we got the technical. WTF. Dips are cooking, not baking, and managing a fire is not even cooking. That's camping, that's wilderness survival, that's not what I signed up for. Everyone's was kind of terrible. I'm glad Kim-Joy did the least bad and got her first technical win, but least bad it was, there were no great foodstuffs presented there.

The Showstopper was really poorly thought out. I think after last year's complicated but not super visually appealing final challenge, they decided to go for something more striking this time. Only, there wasn't enough time, and going for a landscape meant the bakers went for fairly muted designs. With the time sink, again, we wind up with some very interesting designs that don't seem to have that wow factor that I know they wanted.

These were not as bad as Season 4's wedding cakes (which were really, really bad), but these weren't the cakes from S6 (possibly my favorite finale) or the picnic feast from S7, either.

So, overall, I liked the contestants very much this year, but I didn't like Paul Hollywood very much at all. I'm missing Mary Berry's calming influence, and I miss less-grueling challenges.
posted by PearlRose at 12:00 PM on November 28, 2018 [1 favorite]

The always great Brian Phillips on the Hollywood Handshake.

I was also disappointed by this final episode, though I did love this season/series. The bakers were delightful, and even though one of my least favorites ended up winning, I loved watching them all. Some of them seem to be embracing their new celebrity baker status, so I hope to see more from them down the road.

I'm not sure what to make of Rahul, who has never heard of Luke Skywalker or eaten a doughnut, but I get the sense that he is not very happy in his own skin, and I hope this experience gives him some confidence and self-esteem. Maybe I'm projecting a little there. He seems like a sweet and funny person.

I love the idea of a Technical that requires them to bake over a fire, but I didn't think it was carried out well here. They should have had a lot more time, plenty of dough for experimentation, and less of an emphasis on the dips (although I do appreciate that they all required the bakers to char the vegetable ingredients, which is at least baking-adjacent).

The showstoppers were just atrocious. Unappealing and underwhelming. When they announced the challenge, I was looking forward to some amazing creativity and inspired design, and didn't really get either. Kim-Joy's isomalt coral came closest. It almost felt like they were not given time to practice these (Ruby realizing at the last minute that she didn't know how to shape her isomalt dipping bowl???).
posted by Rock Steady at 5:34 AM on December 3, 2018 [9 favorites]

Christmas recipes from Kim-joy
posted by EndsOfInvention at 1:02 AM on December 11, 2018

Completely agree with like_neon's points.

The technical challenge was a stupid stunt from American reality TV -- exactly what I don't want to see. Or eat, frankly. It was 99% luck, while baking is all about control, and expertise. And they'd already done a flatbread! WTF!

I started to suspect that Rahul Marvin* was favored when Manon was sent home; that was clearly wrong. I also agree that Briony deserved to be in the final. So I had a chip on my shoulder about Rahul Marvin* going in, and I genuinely thought Ruby did much better.

The showstoppers were a disappointing setup for un-comparable, and unappetizing, products, and it didn't surprise me when Rahul Marvin* "won".

*as in Hitchhiker's Guide Depressed Robot Marvin, because that's who he is.
posted by Dashy at 8:24 AM on January 16, 2019

I was trying to parse out my growing unhappiness with this season and how much I didn't like the final, esp that ridiculous technical, so I tried to think my way through what I saw as the thesis (judging rationale) of the program and the competition.

I think the thesis is, We'll take 12 of Britain's best home bakers and put them through three months of nurturing pressure, to see who has the talent, ambition, and critical thinking to become, basically, a professional. That means they're looking for who can make great tasting, great looking bakes consistently enough that either a customer to their bakery could expect to get something they liked substantially every time they visited (the same thing or a different thing), or that a generally proficient home baker could follow a recipe they wrote to a successful outcome substantially every time, or both. That's why bakers are encouraged to practice under time, and not "wing it."

So on the BBC show, the challenges might have been odd, imaginative, or extremely difficult, but for the most part they weren't wildly out of line with "could you run a bakery/hotel kitchen/caterer or write a cookbook for mass consumption that could handle what the standard distribution of customers would want?" And the technical challenges were generally in line with that. Like, Paul might ask Mary "why do you want them to do this?" and "where can they go wrong?" and the answers are like, "This is a fundamental skill or product that everyone needs in their toolbox" and "time/temperature/whatev is gonna need managing, but we gave them enough and they need to deal."

Whereas some of the challenges on the C4 show just seem to be fucking with bakers for the sake of fucking with them. There is no conventional baking job or role where you're unexpectedly going to have to make pita and roast veg dip outside over a wood fire, where the outcome will be anything other than relief that you conjured something to eat. And rationales for the technicals seems to be, more and more, that "they're never going to have heard of this, and nobody can do it in the amount of time we're given them, so let's see what happens (evil cackle)."

But bakers are still entering the competition with the expectation that the tasks they'll be given are difficult, but reasonable and achievable. And then the resultant judging comments can sometimes border on abusive. I liked it better when Paul was the only bad cop and everyone acknowledged it.

Clearly bad cop is a lot of fun, and I haven't watched this (2019) season yet, but I bet I don't like where it's going, and I bet, whatever the ratings, viewers who liked the sincerity of the BBC series are going to drift away from C4 and have, I guess, nowhere to go.

FWIW, I just started watching the show a couple months ago, based on reading "The Great Socialist Bake Off" in Jacobin Mag posted here by The Whelk Choux and Solidarity.
posted by toodleydoodley at 11:20 AM on November 19, 2019 [1 favorite]

« Older Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj:...   |  Arrow: Crossing Lines... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments