The water pan is still there---I just never put water in it.
That thing on the right is a foil covered sheet of aluminum. A 1st Gen MES has a bad habit of the heat coming off the element (on the right), and running straight up the right side & out the exhaust vent (which is also on the right side). That aluminum sheet is tilted up on the left, forcing the heat from the element to move over to the center before rising through the smoker
LOL----My hand slipped making my slice a little bigger than Mom's..