I have come to a frightening realization: I may not be qualified to be an expert on The Mole.
See, I got engaged this weekend. I tell you this not to brag or boast or demand gifts (suggested donation $50), but to instead state that I had NO idea it was coming. I mean, I knew that at some point it probably would happen, but I was so completely blind to any and all clues or hints – some of which, upon further reflection, were really obvious. I’m no longer confident in my powers of observation. My detailed, studious notes are worthless, my confidence is shattered, my…
Oh God, Anderson, don’t look at me like that! I’ll do better, I promise. It’s all for you, all for you!Uh, anyway, the group has left Santiago, City of Nudity, and is now smack dab in the middle of the Andes mountains in Argentina. The camera swoops through the valleys like this is a friggin’ IMAX film, while the players speculate on what they’re going to be asked to do. Paul, decidedly taking a little side trip out of the Land of Sanity, introduces us to the new Mole mascot: Lemonhead. Or rather, a lemon with a frowny face drawn on. Something tells me this isn’t the first anthropomorphic fruit Paul has befriended.
“GET ME OUT OF THIS HELLHOLE.”
SmugJon (who, I must begrudgingly admit, is finally growing on me), introduces the players to the Andes and gives a nice, terrifying description on how gigantic and high and freezing they are. He decrees that they break up into two teams of four: a selfish team (Nicole, Clay, Victoria, and Kristen), and a selfless team (Craig, Paul, Mark, and Alex). With a grand flourish, Jon reveals a pile of “gold bricks” that look as if they’ve been stolen straight from the set of Legends of the Hidden Temple.
God bless you Kirk Fogg, wherever you are.
Jon gives a little background on how the Incas used to carry these bricks through the valley (remember this, Olmec will quiz you later), and says that the players are now going to do the same thing. Each brick weighs five pounds, and for every one they get to the top of the mountain, they’ll get $250 added to the pot. The team members must arrive at the same time, and they only have 50 minutes to do it. Plus, there is an exemption available for the first team to arrive. For the last team to arrive? A stern look of approval from Phil Keoghan and an Argentinian llama.
The challenge begins and the teams run over to the bricks. Unsurprisingly, the selfish team takes only a few each (except for Kristen, who takes eight) in order to get to the top faster and get the exemption. Team Unselfish, powered by the fury of Lemonhead, piles them into their bags and end up taking a full load. The teams set out, and a montage of gasping and painful climbing begins.
Nicole, whose idiotic strategy is by now obvious to EVERYONE, falls behind within steps of the starting line and says she can’t do it. I can’t believe other people are falling for this woman’s shit. Craig, meanwhile, is actively dying.
Smugalicious meets the teams halfway up the mountain, lounging with his feet up, as per usual. I feel like this guy should have a mojito in hand at all times.
“BRING ME MY PEELED GRAPES!”
He informs the teams that they are to also take a scale up with them. The selfish team arrives first, and they get to choose either a ten-pound scale or a twenty-pound scale, but they’ll have to do it by sight, without picking them up. They choose the ten-pound one. A little while later, the other team arrives, only to be told that they’re stuck with the heavy one. Mark, furiously enraged for no reason as always, drops four of his bricks and grabs the scale, muttering death threats at Kristen all the way up. Oh, Mark. You’re such a ray of sunshine.
But Mark’s anger gives way to goopy camaraderie, as the selfless team vows to make it up the mountain all together, as a team. Awwww. Losers. Although Mark gives us the best line of the night: “If anyone’s being selfish now, they’re an asshat.” Woohoo asshat! Way to borrow one of my favorite words, dude. You now have my approval, and blessing. Craig, on the other hand, isn’t doing too good. He’s dizzy, out of breath, and appears to be fuzzy and moving in slow motion. Oh wait, that’s an unnecessary camera effect used to create drama as we go out to commercial break. But still, probably not good for the old ticker either.
Team Asshat arrives at the top with a total of 23 bricks, adding $5,750 to the pot. Team We Suck Because Of Craig sloooowly continues to make their way up. Craig isn’t doing too well, but he’s really motivated. Funny side note: In interview, Paul says “Craig has an amazing heart–uh, drive.” Haha. Craig’s heart may be many things (weakened, clogged, in grave danger at all times) but you can be sure it’s not amazing.
Eventually they make it, with only thirty seconds left on the clock. They have 34 bricks, for a total of $8,500. Clay utters a fake-sounding “What?” and generally acts all surprised and horrified. Whatever, MOLE. Jon tells Team Asshat that they have earned the exemption, but there is only one, and they must unanimously decide who gets it. If they can’t decide, no one may have it, and all of the money earned is forfeited. Oh man, it’s just like that show Unam1mous that was on for a single season last year that was only watched by myself and the FOX executive who approved it. What up J.D. Roth!!!
Victoria and Nicole choose Kristen, since she carried double what everyone else on her team carried, but Clay interrupts to nominate himself, since he’s never had an exemption. Fair point, but neither has Victoria, and Kristen was really the MVP of this mission. This, to me, is a classic Mole move – angling for the one exemption and being really aggressive about it. I can see the producers instructing him to do so. The team discusses for a while, and ultimately decides on Clay. Poor Victoria says in interview that she’s never had an exemption either, but Clay performed better and that’s why she’s not so selfish. Oh, honey. Hope you enjoy your llama ride home.
When they all get back to the bottom of the mountain, Craig is suddenly plagued with more slow-motion camera action, and crashes. Medics are called, and he is diagnosed with hypothermia. So he’s rushed to the hospital, slipping in and out of consciousness, leaving the rest of the players to worry on the ride home behind him. Nicole states the mood in the van as being somber, but I like to think that Paul busted out Lemonhead for some much-needed hilarity.
“CHEER UP, FUCKERS!”
Later, everyone arrives home, as well as Craig, who is instructed to stay in and stay warm. He comments that he hopes people don’t think he’s acting this way because he’s the Mole. Now, I’d be interested in hearing people’s opinions on this. The people I was watching with thought it was extremely Mole-like behavior, but I disagree. I don’t think the producers would choose someone to be the Mole who is not physically able to do the tasks. You’re taking a huge risk there. If Craig had really hurt himself and not been able to continue, you’ve got no more show. I just think he’s too much of a liability. But what do I know? I apparently think marriage proposals are hilarious practical jokes.
I blame the silly hat.
Dinnertime. Craig is not in attendance, as the doctors were fearful of a relapse. Jon asks the team how vital their journals are. Mark, the Harriet the Spy of the group, says that it is essential, as he has written down every single thing that has happened since the game started. The more the players talk about the importance of the journals, the more excited I get. I remember in Season 2, when everyone had to swap journals, and that moment was like Christmas for me. I LOVE this game.
Sure enough, Jon collects the journals, much to everyone’s shock and horror. But he brings them back moments later, explaining that he only used them to create the next mission. Yeah, yeah Jon. We all know you’re the mastermind behind this colossal mindfuck. That still doesn’t explain why you’ve chosen to wear a wet suit to the dinner table.
“I prefer to be prepared at all times for an emergency scuba dive.”
He explains that he wrote down some comments that players wrote about other players. He’s going to quiz them, and if they can correctly guess who said that about them, they’ll add $2,000 to the pot. I’m not going to go through all of the questions, so here’s a quick summary: Mark thinks Victoria is a lush, Kristen likes Clay’s “vibe”, Paul can’t spell the word “too”, and Nicole is even more of an idiot than we thought. When her quote pops up, she obnoxiously coughs and blinks like a friggin strobe light at Kristen, who really has no choice but to choose her. Later, Jon takes that money away. Wow. The only thing sadder than being Omarosa is being an Omarosa wannabe.
For dessert, the kids get creme brulÃ©e. The chef brings out the dishes and sets them aflame, the significance of which was lost on me the first time around, so nice job, show. I mean Jon. Jon, who so clearly pulls the strings of everything around here. Go, puppetmaster, go!
Jon, now crazed with power, drags the players out to some remote river. He tells them that risks are a huge part of this game, and that he needs someone to volunteer to sacrifice their journal. The players squabble for a moment, but it is eventually decided (by odds and evens) that Alex will give his up. Jon asks Alex to gather the remaining journals and place them on a table. Jon then summons the power of his own personal god, Jeff Probst, and lights a torch on fire. He touches it to the ground, and the flame quickly travels over to the table and begins to incinerate the journals. HA!
Burn the Harry Potters! They’re teaching our children about friendship!
Mark, losing it, desperately asks if he can retrieve his. Haha. Cremating both of your hands isn’t going to help your family, genius. “That’s just mean!” he cries. “You gave us ONE thing to write in!” Mark continues his breakdown while Jon, or as known by his new nickname He Who Wields The Fire, explains that since Alex took the risk, his journal was spared, and he gets to keep it. Mark, now out of his mind, flees the scene, running so far away that it takes an entire commercial break for everyone to find him.
The next night, Craig rejoins the players for the pre-quiz dinner. Jon explains that since Craig wasn’t present last night, he gets to keep his journal, because that will balance out with any key observations he could have made last night. Mark complains in interview that this is an unfair advantage, and I have to agree with that a little. But what can you do? Maybe the producers – I mean, uh, Jon – just realized that Craig was too damn likable, so they needed a reason for the other players to start hating him and his multiple chins.
Quiztime. No passive-aggressive questions this weeks, sadly. Best question: “During the “Midas Rush” mission, what color pants was the Mole wearing?” Because pants are funny, I guess. I think the quizmasters were asleep this week. A couple of the questions are even the same, more or less. I could make a better quiz. ABC, call me. I’m ever so broke.
At the quiz result ceremonies, Jon announces that there is a tie. So whoever completed the quiz slowest will be executed, and this week there was only a difference of five seconds. Ouch. The execution begins, and jeez, Alex. Either grow a mustache, or don’t. No such thing as a happy medium.
Make a decision, dude.
So the executed is…Victoria. She says that she knew it. Then we get a shot of a visibly relieved Nicole, who was probably the other half of the tie, since earlier she said that her strategy was to go as fast as she could on the quiz in the hopes that someone was slower than her if she was all wrong. The group eulogizes the perky little retailer, and Clay smarms that he’s thankful he had the exemption. Smoke and mirrors, my friends.
Farewell, Victoria. We’ll miss your hooker boots and…well, that’s about it.
So. What do we think? Again, not a huge shock, never really considered Victoria. Clay has further cemented his position at the top of my list, with Kristen right alongside him. I think Alex is still a fairly strong candidate as well, but I didn’t feel much from him this week, except for the journal thing. Craig, for me, has been knocked out of the running. I just don’t believe that the producers would take a risk on such an obviously out-of-shape guy who might not be able to stick the whole thing out. But what do I know? I still can’t even decipher what this rock on my finger means. I think I found it in a box of Frosted Flakes.
What do we think, kids? Should we poison Nicole with antifreeze, or iocane powder?