This weekend I saw two grown men (sort of) down entire shot glasses full of M&Ms, followed by a solid five minutes of regretful chewing. It was awesome. And it was at a wedding.
Clearly, you can see how this relates to The Mole. This week, we learned that people can pretty much argue about anything for extended lengths of time, and that for some reason this will be considered entertainment. So apologies if this week’s recap seems a little short. There’s only so much comedy you can squeeze out of a bunch of people standing around and discussing shit for twenty minutes.Jon welcomes the teams to a train station somewhere in the middle of Argentina. He smarmily explains that this place was used as a holding station for prisoners who were being transported. The players suddenly get all scandalized, as if learning random bits of historical trivia is something that they’ve never experienced before.
“Oh my God, it’s just like Oregon Trail!”
Jon explains that trust will be a key element in the next challenge, and then uses his MAGICAL WIZARD POWERS to instantly turn the day into night. That’s odd. Next thing we know, the players legs are all chained up to the steel bars behind them, the sun is long gone, and it’s really cold out. This mission is called “All For One,” and I immediately get really excited because I see jail cells and I think back to season two, when the players were all locked up and had to figure out how to get the key by using only the random knickknacks in their cells. Alas, this mission is not like that at all, and is also exceedingly boring.
Well, that’s not true. The concept is cool, but it really boils down to a lot of inaction. Basically, the players are chained in such a way that only one person will be able to reach the cell across the room, which contains the key to set them free. One by one, the players will decide who gets the key, and once the chosen one unlocks him/herself, they can run off into the night and find Jon, who will be waiting with a crackling, warm fire, a nice meal, a comfy bed, and a little something extra if they play their cards right. If all players free themselves by sunrise, they get $25,000 added to the pot. The only catch is that there is an exemption sitting right next to the key, and if anyone decides to take it, the leftover players will have to sleep there overnight in the cold, and no money is added to the pot.
Got all that? Good, because I’m not repeating it. The little key door opens every ten minutes, so the players have plenty of powwow time to discuss their options. And discuss they do. At length. Every single decision is broken down with pie-chart levels of scrutiny. It’s tedious and wearisome, not unlike any given episode from season two of Heroes. (There! I said it!)
Here’s how it all goes down: Craig claims that he’s still sick from the health crisis of last week, so everyone more or less agrees to let him go first. He takes the key, and leaves. Then they all complain a lot and make a lot of random accusations. Clay pulls out his sleeping bag, while Kristen reminds him of the deal he made with her last week when he took the exemption, that he would do her a solid in the future. More whining. Eventually they decide on Kristen, who takes the key.
Ugh. See, I like this mission, but it doesn’t really make for good television. Better for a Board Game Night or something. The strategies and trust issues are interesting, and a certain amount of suspense surrounds each key/exemption choice, but the debating in between is painful.
I will press on nonetheless. They agree on Paul, who swears on his daughter’s life that he won’t take the exemption, and after a lame commercial break fake-out, he doesn’t. He does, however, make a series of ridiculous retard faces. As per usual.
“Anyone ordah a pizzah pie?”
At this point, Clay, Alex, and Nicole mostly suspect Mark as being the one who would most likely take the exemption. But they’re wary of each other as well, and no one really wants to go. Clay wants to stick around because he doesn’t want to left the rest of those idiots to battle it out amongst themselves, but eventually he caves and is the next person to leave. Mark, still out of his mind with anger over the whole journal fiasco, doesn’t trust anyone and is grilling both Nicole and Alex over whether he can trust them or not, but eventually lets them both go – first Nicole, then Alex.
Meanwhile, back at the Harmony Hut, Jon and the other players are having a delicious meal and getting insanely hammered (probably). Most of them believe that Mark, the only one left, is going to take the exemption because he has had some sort of an epiphany and will now do anything in this new frantic, deranged, journal-less state.
Come on, Mark. Take some of that sweet, sweet E.
Eventually Mark arrives at the dinner table and everyone demands to know what he decided. But he gets all squirrelly and wants to know what they’ve been saying about him. Hmm. Mark may or may not be a teenage girl. Paul thinks he left the exemption, while Clay thinks he took it. “I do have something green in my pocket,” Mark sneers. I’m hoping it’s something completely random, like a cucumber. That would really confuse the hell out of everyone. Instead, with a flourish, Mark throws a package of mints onto the table, and the minions rejoice.
The mint smelled round the world.
Jon adds the money to the pot, then miraculously procures a fresh batch of new journals for everyone. The minions rejoice yet again. All except for Mark, who no longer cares about the accursed journals: “It’s like if you lose your wedding ring. You can’t replace it.” Which is why Mark’s been running around for years with a totally naked finger. Come and get him, ladies!
Oh, I kid. Who can stay mad at this face?
“I dwopped my ice cweam.”
So the next day, the team is off, driving through the Andes to the town of Mendoza. (And every time this is mentioned, all I can think of is the villain in the McBain movie on Simpsons, so in my mind it is always pronounced “Mendooooza” in a heavy German accent. *The More You Know*) And since we haven’t had an all-out, balls-to-the-wall smackdown yet, it’s time for that to happen. Clay asks Paul about his birthday so he can write it down in his new journal, and Paul starts to get all uppity and difficult, and before you know it, the two are going at it like hyenas. Clay hides behind Jesus, while Paul uses the ever-popular strategy of “You’re a lawyer who does nothing but defend criminals! Your whole life is just a hypocrite!” I DEFY you to try and diagram that sentence.
This whole fiasco continues, complete with bleeped obscenities, until Craig decides to abandon them for the Van of Peace, Sunshine, and Rainbows. The fight escalates until it ends as all good fights do, with projectile fruit. Clay chucks Paul’s only friend, Mr. Lemonhead, right at his head, and Paul of course goes ballistic. My favorite part of this whole thing is the way that Clay calmly describes the events in interview, placidly stating that Paul “didn’t anticipate an adversary like me.” So Clay’s a smarmy bastard. Who knew?
Kristen agrees to switch places with Clay, so he jumps on over to the Fun Van, where everyone breaks out into an impromptu theme song that I believe is sung to the tune of the President of the United States of America’s “Peaches” and that contains the lyrics: “Driving through the Andes, looking for the mission…” Don’t worry – resident musician Alex is heading up the merriment. We’ve got a professional here.
The next morning at breakfast, Clay and Paul are still shooting eye daggers at each other, but sadly no more fruit. Clay says that as a Christian, it is his job to forgive. I hate people like this. Be a jackass, be a douchebag, fine, but don’t turn around and keep revering yourself as a Christian at the same time. Remember the Wheelers from the family edition of Amazing Race? They did the exact same thing. And they were pure evil. Anyway, Jon engages the team in conversation over coffee and dry-looking toast. Craig says that he feels that all of his health problems are exemption-worthy. Yeah, that’s not how it works, dude. You escaped with your life and chronically damaged lungs. You “win”.
Okay, new mission called “Travelers.” The kids are to break up into three teams of two, and must travel 5.5 miles to a crazy-looking statue. For every team that gets there, $10,000 added to the pot. Since there are seven of them, that means one is left over. And that person is Craig, who, as the first person to mention the word “exemption” at breakfast that morning, was from then on secretly designated as the Transportation Captain. He gets to choose the teams and pick the various forms of transportation that they will be using. If no one gets to the goal, he will earn an exemption, but no money goes into the pot. “With the sweet, comes the sour,” smarms Jon.
“I just had my eyebrows sharpened this morning.”
Jon leads Craig over to “Jon’s Rentals”. Kind of an odd choice for a small business, a random rental store in the mountains of Argentina, but you do whatever you gotta do to pay those Botox bills, Jon. He shows Craig the various tortures that he may foist upon the other players, such as scuba gear, random bikes and whatnot, and a really cheerful llama costume.
“I’M SO HAPPY TO BE HERE!!”
When the other players arrive, Craig tells them that he’s going to go for the exemption, but he’s also going to make this fun. And by fun, he of course means humiliating. He assigns Alex to a conquistador costume, complete with donkey, and Mark gets the scuba gear. Meanwhile, on Team Circus, Clay gets a unicycle and Kristen gets stilts. Finally, Paul and Nicole must suit up in the llama suit, with Nicole at the head and Paul, appropriately, at the ass.
Mark immediately says he’s not doing it, and then proceeds to lead the revolt among the other players. One by one, they all opt out. Kristen is especially insistent, saying that she doesn’t to look like a circus freak. On foot-high stilts? Jesus, woman. It’s not like you have to dress up in a ridiculous costume. That’s Alex’s job.
“So are we doing this, or what? Guys?”
Alex says in interview, though I’m not quite sure he said it out loud to the group, that there’s a chance that Jon could meet them halfway with some sort of a deal, as is his way. Sure enough, Jon and Craig are waiting at the halfway point, probably with some sort of insidious offer, but no teams arrive. You just know Jon is heartbroken over this.
“WHERE ARE MY MINIONS??”
So with NO small amount of griping and whining, the players decide to abandon the whole thing and drive the van up to the monument. Craig is happy that he got the exemption, but Jon looks absolutely crestfallen as he surveys the donkey-less group, crushed that his malicious little plan for embarrassment failed so miserably. He asks if the decision was made by one person, and while the team says that it was made collectively, we all remember that it was really Mark. Craig says that his suspicions of Mark have increased, and Clay agrees in interview, saying that he can’t think of a time that he, Clay, has quit something without even trying. Oh, you mean like in the naked mission, when you quit immediately without even trying? Get out of here, Jesus boy.
At the pre-quiz dinner back in Mendooooza, Craig apologizes to everyone for treating them like shit when they let him get out of the cold first in the previous challenge. They’re still bitter, but they agree that they all probably would have gone for the exemption. The only difference is the manner in which he did it. They start throwing around words like “dignity” and “scruples,” and can we just back the fuck up for a moment? You people walked around Santiago, a heavily populated city, in your UNDERWEAR, and you can’t dress up in a little llama outfit in the MIDDLE OF NOWHERE? Ugh. I think Craig puts it best when he exclaims “These people are crazy!” Amen, fatty.
Quiz time. No snarky questions this week. I think the writers are losing their edge. Or possibly their patience. At the Results Caucus, Jon says that there was a tie yet again this week, and that the difference in time was only ONE second. Ouch. And long story short, the red screen this week goes to…Kristen.
Farewell, Kristen. We’ll miss your creepy fembot tendencies and deathly fear of circus freaks.
Well then. Scratch that one off the list. I think this is the first week that someone has been executed who has been on my Suspicious Roster. Kristen exhibited classic Mole behavior throughout the game. I thought she’d definitely be in the finals, whether as the Mole or as a potential winner. Oh well.
Mark is going pretty heavy on the Mole behavior, but I’m still not feeling it from him. I think he’s really stressed out from being away from his family, and he’s also trying really hard to win, and I think people are mistaking that for Moleyness. But I could be wrong. I’m also starting to rethink Clay a little. That explosion with Paul and all of the Jesus stuff – maybe being quiet and backgroundy is really just part of his strategy. I’ll tell you who has bumped up on my list though – Alex. He VERY often just sits back and lets others argue it out, which I must admit – if I were the Mole and I was part of this retarded group – would be my strategy, too. They’re all so crazy that whoever is the Mole doesn’t really have to do anything at all, and Alex is such a doormat that he seems to do just that with no problem.
Anyway, what do you think? If you were to choose a fruit as your lifelong companion, which kind would you pick?