July 14th, 2008
Yes, I am aware that I am nearly a week late writing this review, and as a result it will be fairly short. However, I want to note for the sake of posterity that I continue to be enjoying this season of The Mole. Yes, the ratings are extremely low, and based on comments at the recent TCA Press Tour the show won’t be returning to the air in the future. However, the season we’re getting has been one where the central mystery has stayed intact while the tasks have remained interesting.
I really enjoyed both tasks in the last episode, particularly the vineyard challenge wherein there were plenty of chances for both sabotage and just outright failure. It was great to see the challenge take on so many levels: how Nicole seemed to be slow in answering puzzles, how Craig only actually really solved one of them, how Paul messed up a few of his radio calls, how Mark had a great chance to NOT look like The Mole playing double duty while on the treadmill, etc. Yes, it was a bit of a cheap way to inflate the pot (Although Mark being on the treadmill for that long is very impressive), but it allowed us to focus less on the bickering (Although there was plenty) and more on the strategies.
The same goes for the second task, although this was really more about testing each player individually. The bridge jump was an easy fix for The Mole: they just had to miss. That the game went so poorly is no surprise, as it seemed a huge psychological challenge for most of them to do math let alone use hand eye coordination to throw the tea at the right angle. I thought the exemption game was a good way to trick them (To put them into harm’s way before asking the question), but one thing I don’t understand is how Nicole didn’t win the game.
I know the whole “standing on a board thing” would screw you over, hence why I can somewhat forgive no one going the price is right rule and betting $0, but Nicole going last seemed to have been following everyone’s throws and therefore knew that they had no chance of getting more money than $14,000 or so. Or, she could have said what they’d won so far, presuming they had been able to see how much Alex got, and then miss intentionally. Maybe I was misunderstanding how aware they were of their progress, but didn’t the game get much easier as it went along? I’m against this constant exemption spree as it is, but that just seems prejudiced towards the later players.
As for who the Mole is, I always knew that Alex was never a contender, which in my mind leaves Craig and Clay. I think Paul has been too obnoxious to be the Mole, and Nicole taking no notes would be too much of a giveaway (The producers would have metaphorically slapped her silly and forced her to take notes so as to not draw attention to herself). In that case, it leaves Clay and Craig. I’m more convinced it’s Craig every day, especially how much he stood back during the vineyard challenge and let others do his work for him.
But all in all, this is what we should be discussing this late in the game: Mole behaviour and not interpersonal conflict. I do wish either Paul or Nicole would go home next, as it would just make everything easier, but we can’t always get what we want. For now, I remain most interested, and look forward to tomorrow night’s episode.
- I was convinced Nicole was going home when she first started taking notes. She clearly must either know who the Mole is or have the best strategy for answering the questions for multiple candidates. The one thing she does benefit from, presuming she isn’t the Mole, is that she is guaranteed to get the first question right.
- While he started off slow, I’m really enjoying Jon Kelley in the hosting role. Felt he really came into his own while he was torturing the contestants on the bridge, just cold enough with a slight smile.