The Mole (2008) – “Episode Seven”

“Episode Seven”

July 21st, 2008

This week’s episode of The Mole was all about what people couldn’t do: they couldn’t help themselves from sabotaging the first challenge, they couldn’t possibly sabotage the challenge where contestants could potentially see their loved ones, and one contestant in particular just couldn’t throw the quiz even when they wanted to.

It was exactly what you want from this part of the competition – signs that all of our contestants are struggling to deal with the mental fatigue the game presents while, at the same time, having to stay on their game to discover the Mole’s identity. We got a really important glimpse into this, as we saw the various different (supposed) strategies that all players except for Craig and Paul were using. The question of their strategies, in particular Craig’s, will be very interesting to see in the weeks ahead.

It was almost uncanny for the show to actually tell us how each person had gone into the last quiz. Based on the conversations we saw, Mark and Clay both claim to have chosen Nicole as their main choice, while then a conversation with Nicole and Clay sees them both revealing they had focused on Craig. Now, clearly Clay was playing both of them, but I’d tend to think that it was Mark that he was playing. Or, considering the end of the episode, perhaps he was being played more than anything else.

And as a result, it’s kind of interesting to see no other potential candidates being thrown out: this leads me to believe that there is the possibility that someone like Paul, who got the team hopelessly lost in the “Go Figure” challenge and made a few key errors last week, could have been The Mole this whole time (Helping to explain at least some of his brash behaviour). At the same time, considering that Nicole made a few key errors in her calculations this episode and proved unable to pull the trigger on her own execution at the end, doesn’t that also make her a likely suspect.

All of this still leaves Mark, who clearly had the most to lose in coming into the game (Pregnant Wife and three kids?) and therefore may have been the one who was guaranteed money going into it. I’m not entirely sure that I buy him being the Mole, as some of that acting would have to come from a Drama Teacher and not a History Teacher, but the option remains open: while last week I was about ready to declare that Craig was The Mole, now I feel like everyone’s a suspect – this is exactly the kind of game you want to be watching right now, as it’s making for some genuinely interesting reality TV.

The addition of loved ones usually puts a dead stop to the playing of the game, and this time around was no exception: outside of the theatrics with Nicole, everyone just kind of took a chance to step back from the game. Paul was particularly cute with his daughter, and it’s interesting to see that side of him for a change; on the other hand, I thought that Clay was as emotionally disconnected with his wife as I’d expect (Not that it’s a criticism, he’s just a stoic guy). I also found it really interesting that Craig’s guest wasn’t referred to as his girlfriend, even as he says they’ve been dating for a while: just an odd choice of term, which makes me wonder if it’s like The Mole’s equivalent of The Amazing Race’s Flo/Zach (People in a relationship without actually being in a relationship – trust me, we all know one or two of those in real life).

But, the best part of meeting the family or friends was most certainly Nicole’s mother – whether it was her delightful mouthing off as the doors weren’t opening, or her insistence that her daughter should just quit this silly game already, she was just an entertaining spitfire that almost made Nicole look more sensible (as in she was raised in that kind of environment). And there is nothing more priceless to be found than the conversation where she says she couldn’t play this game since she would threaten bodily harm, and Nicole being forced to admit she already did, and their sly little back and forth on why it wasn’t good, but how she really COULD have killed someone. It was so delightfully bizarre, and I’m personally signing them up for The Amazing Race even if they’d annoy me just for the potential for more moments like this.

And it’s true that it does put Nicole in a better light: I loved the moment, as Nicole apologizes to her mother for being unable to throw the quiz, that her mother utters “Omarosa” under her breath. It’s such a low blow that Nicole doesn’t even know how to really respond. I love the use of the Apprentice candidates name as some kind of reality slur, and I’m really curious to see how Nicole reacts. She’s still in this game against the odds, in a way, so seeing how she either handles being the Mole or being a potential part of the Final Three should be great to see next week.

And yes, Clay is gone: it seems like he has been just about eliminated time after time, and maybe chose to trust the wrong person (Mark over Nicole?). At this point, enough of these eliminations have been inexplicable that the Finale is going to be a fantastic one simply to see what each player did wrong along the way to get eliminated. I’m hoping that we get a chance to get a robust finale, if only so we can fill in all of these gaps. I know the show’s ratings aren’t anything special (Although the show did manage to out-draw both of ABC’s other reality shows airing on Monday), but the quality’s been good enough to deserve a proper sendoff.

Cultural Observations

  • I was kind of entertained by the fact that no one thought to just answer the exact same answer for every single question about their loved one – just answer “Fried Green Tomatoes” to every question, as there’s nothing holding them to being right and it’s just a memorization game.
  • I enjoyed Jon Kelley’s little moment where, after Nicole lamented picking the “Harder” team, he was like “Haven’t you been paying attention? C’mon!” That’s the kind of thing that the show hasn’t spent too much time with, but enough for me to appreciate Kelley.

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