Everyone enjoy your week-long vacation from The Mole? I sure did. That was the most productive week I’ve ever had. But eventually I came to miss the smug tones of Jon Kelly, the hideous visage of a gasping Craig, the frantic, tortured ramblings of our beloved Mark. Back at it, you crazy kids!We rejoin the players, still in Mendooooza, at a vineyard, which just so happens to be smack dab in the middle of wine country. Amusingly, Clay notes that – contrary to his previous beliefs that vineyards would smell delicious – this one actually stinks. And this really seems to offend him for some reason.
“My delicate sensibilities!”
Their first mission is ridiculously convoluted, as always. These writers certainly don’t have the lowly television blogger in mind when they’re concocting these things. The players split themselves up into two groups: the Thinkers (Nicole, Craig, and – ha – Paul), and the Runners (Mark, Alex, and Clay). Within these groups, Mark is selected as the best athlete, and Paul is selected as the – ha – best communicator. The deal is that seven wine bottles are hidden throughout the vineyard. The thinkers are to solve a series of riddles, and the multiple choice answers correspond to a set of coordinates. Paul is to relay these coordinates to Alex and Clay, who will find the bottles. Meanwhile, Mark will be running on a treadmill, and for every bottle they find, a malicious and wildly cackling Jon will increase the speed. If Mark gives up, the game is over. Jon is practically shitting himself with excitement.
And so the challenge begins. The riddles are fun, mostly math and logic, except for the classic “which month has 28 days” chestnut. Is there an eight-year-old alive who doesn’t know the answer to that? Despite the solid brain trust of Nicole and Craig (Paul is not allowed to – ha – help), they still manage to fudge some up pretty good, but luckily Mark (who is allowed to help) is there to steer them right. Clay and Alex have some trouble finding the first bottle, but once they do they get the hang of it and start picking them up everywhere as Paul radios the coordinates.
The real question here should be “Which is the best date to stage Jon’s intervention?”
Long story short, the challenge goes pretty well, though it’s not without its snags. Paul and Nicole go at it like cats and dogs again, once again cementing my wish for their mutual destruction. Paul makes one mistake in the coordinates but quickly fixes it, Nicole and Craig throw out a couple wrong answers but Mark is there to save the day, and Clay and Alex find the bottles with no small amount of panache. In fact, with the lovely colors in the vineyard, they look like they could be a part of some sort of an impressionist painting.
In the end, after Mark has successfully stayed on the treadmill the entire time, the players bring in all the bottles for a total of $70,000, the most they have ever made in one mission. Later on in the hotel, Paul bitches about Nicole some more, saying that he doesn’t even think she’s a real doctor, and if she is, then he feels sorry for her patients. Haha. Trust me – now that this show has aired, I think we can all be confident that Nicole no longer has any patients.
Meanwhile, Mark and Clay concoct a harebrained scheme to get Alex as loaded as possible for the next quiz, as he is apparently a notorious fan of hitting the bottle. And as silly as this is, I actually think it’s a pretty good plan. Nefarious, but a good plan nonetheless. How has no one thought of it before? I guess Anderson probably always smuggled everything away for himself.
The next day, the players are led out onto a bridge spanning a gorge and are shocked and appalled to learn that they will be bungee jumping. Good God. This phenomenon happens on every show, and I’ve never understood it. Reality show contestants, you’ve SEEN reality shows before, right? You knew when you auditioned that there would be some sort of skydiving or bungee jumping or shark wrestling or some other extreme sport involved in this? And yet you have the gall to act surprised? You’re KILLING me. Anyway, the players must jump off the bridge and toss a sack (of tea, according to Jon and his ridiculous story lines) onto a target that has different amounts of money on it, which will then go into the pot.
So Mark’s up first. The other players are standing a football field’s length away at the end of the bridge, which seems a little ridiculous until Jon gets Mark out onto the platform and offers him an exemption. He must guess at how much the players will make by the end of the challenge, and whoever guesses closest without going over will win the exemption. I think this is pretty genius, forcing players to make a quick snap judgment while standing on a tiny platform a hundred feet in the air. Well done, masochistic producers. Meanwhile, Mark stands there all cute, like he really has to pee or something.
Today’s forecast for the area directly under the bridge: Precipitation
Mark finally jumps, but just misses the target. The other players follow, even though several of them immediately declared they would do no such thing. And I’d also like to note that when Paul yelled at Jon “I don’t see you out here on a friggin’ ledge!” Jon replied, at his very smuggest, “Actually, I did it. In the dark!” What a douche.
“While blindfolded! And on fire! Into a tornado!”
Paul goes, and misses. Clay goes, and misses. Craig goes, and we cut to commercial break just as be begins screaming for his life and all the other players begin panicking. Pretending that the fat guy broke the cord, huh? Real classy, editors. He misses too. Alex goes, after squatting over the ledge like it’s a toilet, and manages to score $4,000. And lastly, Nicole goes, jumping off the platform with much more grace than the rest of them. This prompts the guys to suddenly transform into Olympic diving judges, praising her form and criticizing her failure to score. Dudes, relax. Save it for Beijing.
In the end, all the players win is the measly $4,000 won by Alex, as well as a lifetime of chronic back pain. Seriously, I thought bungee cords were supposed go to around the legs, not strategically placed around the midsection in order to snap one’s spine? But what do I know. Clearly not more than some random bridge owner in Argentina. Jon lines them all up to figure out who has won the exemption. And that lucky person is: no one. They all guessed way too high. Mark was the closest, at $10,000. GUYS! What were you thinking?? Standard Price Is Right rules, always bet one dollar. ONE DOLLAR! ALWAYS!! Bob Barker must be spinning in his grave.
I’m being informed that Bob Barker is not yet, in fact, dead. Sorry Bob! Continue on your lifelong quest to cut all the balls off America’s dogs!
The pre-quiz dinner consists of a lot of talk about morals and scruples and the lack of honesty and blah blah blah the important thing is that Clay is actively trying to get Alex wasted. Which is just hilarious. If Clay is the Mole, and I’m still pretty sure that he is, I would like to shake his hand. And Mark, for co-conspiring. Well played, sirs.
“What’s all this about a quiz?”
Okay, quiz time. Did anyone else find it weird that the game “The Grapes of Cache” was spelled that way? When Jon smarmily blared it at the challenge I thought for sure he was referring to cash, but I guess not. Thoughts from anyone on that? Anyway, the best question of the night is: “Was the Mole wearing a collared shirt?” Gotta love the Quizmaster’s flair for fashion. I wouldn’t be the least surprised if one day there is a question that reads: “Is the Mole fabulous?”
Results time. Alex is the first one called, and…Alex gets the red screen of death! The booze plan worked! And see, I KNEW you could go home even when called first. I could have sworn that it happened once in seasons past. I win. Alex, however, does not, and he leaves jauntily as always, accompanied by a mini-montage of his many attempts to turn this entire season into a musical. Take us away, Alex, with another stirring rendition of “Mole hunting isn’t easy to do / Maybe it’s me / Maybe it’s you…”
Farewell, Alex. See you at the Grammy Awards.
So! A few things this week. I am still totally on board with Clay. I think he’s just playing very subtly, because now that Alex is gone the rest of the players are just too outrageous and blatant to be the Mole, in my opinion. Also, I don’t know if anyone else caught this or even if I’m right about it, but there was a part right before the quiz where Clay was giving Nicole some information, because she hadn’t written anything down in her journal. He vaguely told her that it was him, her, and Mark on one side, and I’m guessing that he’s talking about the dinner right after the vineyard challenge. But when they show the flashback, Mark is actually on the other side. I’m not sure that’s what they were talking about, but you never know. Also, there was a very blatant close up of a barrel right before the quiz results, and it said “N20 HL70″, which you know has gotta be a clue. The only thing I’ve been able to come with on that one is that Clay graduated from Howard Law School – HL. Don’t know about the numbers though.
But maybe I’m just biased and ignoring any clues that point to anyone else. Any thoughts or theories? Will it help if I were to post a picture of Mark making yet another ridiculous face?