July 28th, 2008
If you want Mole-like behaviour, there’s an easy solution: give people goggles that display the video feed from a camera being controlled by another contestant, and then let them loose in a variety of simple tasks that are both easy to finish and, of course, easy to sabotage. That seems to be the nature of the game this time around: tasks where every second talking head is “I think that could have been Mole behaviour.”
It’s getting to the point where I really want to see everything just come to an end, because this has been an obsessive season of The Mole. Mark may be the most prominent example, but everyone seems fixated on getting exemptions, on seeing various clues, etc. The game has become a constant search for ways to cheat the game, as opposed to ways to play it: the final four challenges were both strong and unique examples, but when it’s possible for one person to just leapfrog into the Final Three? It just doesn’t feel as natural.
So as we match towards the finale, I’m glad to see that the tricks are out the window (I hope), and it’s time to settle into answering the central question and enjoying what else the show has to offer.
This episode is really quite frustrating, because I agree with Paul: I don’t think there should be an exemption this late in the game, and I certainly feel that the way it was given out just doesn’t work for me. It does, however, give us the greatest sense of who the Mole may be – that Craig was the one holding the exemption is more than a bit suspicious, and it allowed him to control the game in whatever way he wanted to (ie: getting shot on purpose to give Mark the exemption and perhaps take out someone else). That kind of control is key for The Mole, so Craig is definitely my selection at this point in the competition.
And the episode really didn’t tell us anything we didn’t know: we knew that Nicole and Craig like screwing up challenges as they did on the Goggle Eyes challenge, and we knew that Mark was way too intense for his own good. The show is even telling us how people are voting, like Paul’s definitive choice of Craig, so the mystery is clearly less about the solution and more about the torture it puts through the various contestants.
I enjoyed the Cell Out mission in a way, since it did nicely combine puzzles and physical elements, but it was also so very short – Mark was done in under a minute, and there wasn’t nearly the depth that I’d like to see in these late challenges. And really, they’re not all that challenging: there hasn’t been anything overly taxing, and while the opening challenge was certainly a bit of an abstract task they aren’t really going out of their way to tax these people.
And the end result is really the only surprise here, as Paul goes before Nicole (Who doesn’t take notes). I have to wonder whether the decision in editing to show Paul so clearly picking Craig was classic misdirection, leading us to presume that his choice, as opposed to his memory, let him down. I still think Craig is the best prospect, and it will be interesting to see whether that comes through next week (If it does, my elder brother’s gloating will be unbearable, since I was convinced that Hypothermiagate was a clear sign he couldn’t be the Mole).
And as he’s pointed out to me, the real sign here was Craig picking the Exemption Door: he barely even thought when picking his cell number, so if he had the chance he was going to take the exemption in order to be in control. So if we decide he’s the Mole, Really, the question here is more how Nicole managed to sneak in past Paul. If they were both selecting Craig, is Nicole’s non-notes/fast technique simply better – but since there was no announced tie, could it be that she just remembered better? Or maybe it’s not Craig at all?
Either way, it looks like things are finally down to our final three: I say Mark takes the money and Craig’s the Mole, but Nicole has proven feistier than we imagined.
- In case you were wondering, The Mole has two episodes left: next week’s final competitive episode, and then likely the usual combined reunion/reveal. I’m glad the show is getting a chance to end with the usual pomp and circumstance, as opposed to being cut short due to its low ratings.
- Favourite moment this week was probably Jon’s interaction with Paul during the first challenge – his “Don’t touch the host” was smart and well-placed, and I’ll miss Paul’s rapport with pretty much everyone (Even if his antagonism got tired after a while).