Breakdown of The Mole

So much for my goal of having at least one post per month. I was really close to doing a Doctor Who post about the story arc points, but I never got it all around. Maybe I’ll do two posts this month to make up for it.

Dear Mole Producers: Why so many physical challenges? Part of the reason the old Mole was so cool was that they actually had to use their brains from time to time: The Library Game, The Riddle Game, Escaping from the Rooms final challenge (still the best one even if they failed it miserably – stupid boys). Even when they did have physical challenges (Running the Maze, the Fortress Test) they still required thinking and/or team work in order to succeed. And they were a lot more compelling than watching people run around with wheelbarrows or shelp up a mountain carrying bricks.

So far, I’ve only really enjoyed four challenges (and two of those I only enjoyed either because of the outcome or the setup. Take that away and only two challenges were entertaining).

  • Waterfall Grab – Physical challenge in which the ‘non-athletic’ people did better than the ‘athletes’. Probably why they got so little money.
  • Beach Scavenger Hunt – This challenge had great potential. I’m not sure if it was the way it was edited or just the ineptness of the participants, but overall it sucked. The only good thing was that they had a live goat.
  • Soccer/Biking – Total physical challenge by the least athletic people on the Mole, evar. I expected the kids to be good, but I also expected the adults to show some sort of strategy other than ‘I can’t walk more than 10 minutes’ Bobby using the ‘kick the ball the furthest’ gambit.
  • Pigs Flying – Boring challenge made into a mockery by the fact that Bobby had to be pushed around in a wheelbarrow by a girl.
  • Fruit of the Luge – Required teamwork and brains – but it still wasn’t anything more than a game of memory.
  • No Clothes – Challenge was pretty good, especially considering it could have been solved with brains (or even just thinking outside the box like Craig did).
  • Gold Bars – Boring. There wasn’t even the added bonus of seeing someone carry Bobby up on their backs, or watching Bobby’s arms fall out of their sockets as he tried to carry the gold bars up to the top.
  • Who Said That – Fine dinner filler game that required some insights. It gets bonus points for leading up to the book burning.
  • Locked Up – Nice test of teamwork in a non-traditional sense. Would have been better if they added another element that required them to also solve a puzzle in order to get out.
  • The Llama – Great only in the fact that it required Paul and Nicole to dress up in a llama and work together. Failed not only because it was basically another physical challenge, but also because the players were so pathetic that they didn’t even try it. It also fails in the fact that they didn’t reveal what the mid-point twist would have been. It would have been great to humiliate the players even more if they were told that they could have finished the mission if they just tried.

Maybe it’s because I don’t really care about any of the players. Most are either loud and obnoxious (Nicole, Paul) or undeveloped (Ali, Liz, Victoria, Kristen). Mark is a whiner. Unless he’s targeting other players, Clay plays things close to the chest. Alex doesn’t do much, but he’s cute. Craig has become my favorite, simply for the fact that a: he keeps on trying and b: he’ll screw with the other players in amusing ways (Paul and Nicole in a llama suit!) Bobby meanwhile was just plain useless. I kept expecting him to announce that he had some incurable disease and that this was what he received from Make-a-Wish. I know that The Mole isn’t Survivor or The Amazing Race, but it still requires some physical activities.

I have it! I now know what this show really is. While Treasure Hunters could have been seen as the child of The Amazing Race and The Mole, Season 5 is the red-headed stepchild that no one knows what to do with. Treasure Hunters had the best of both worlds: excitement from the race element, elaborate thinking puzzles you could try to beat at home, an entire family of moles to root against. Season Five just waters that all down. The physical challenges aren’t exciting. The mental challenges are anemic. And with everyone trying to be the Mole in order to throw off suspicions, I’m actually rooting for the Mole to not do anything just to show the players how much they’ve sabotaged themselves.

I’m hoping it gets better. They’re now down to the group of players they’ve developed the most, so maybe we’ll see more to care about. I am a bit worried about Alex now though. He’s probably the least seen personality out of the rest, which could mean he’s next to go, even though I’m rooting for him to be a quieter, gentler mole and letting everyone else do his dirty work for him (sadly, I had the same thought about Victoria before she was canned). The most obvious suspect would be Mark (Nicole is just way too obvious and trying way to hard – unless she’s playing reverse psychology, but I doubt that.). He’s been shown sabotaging a number of games now (No Clothes, Gold Bars, The Llama, and arguably Soccer/Biking). The Llama and the Gold Bars weren’t that overt. No Clothes was painfully obvious that he was throwing it (despite the fact that it also sets up The Llama). Craig has also thrown some (Waterfall, Beach, Luge, Llama) but I do believe that his health crises was real. Plus I like him too much that I want him to win the money. Paul is too loud and obnoxious, and I’m not sure he has the subtlety to throw challenges on purpose. He could surprise me though – maybe his poor physical showings on the first few challenges were him being clever rather than just pathetic. Clay, like Alex, has also been flying under the radar. He’s quite content to let Mark take the lead in challenges. He also knows how to get people flustered and off their game (see Paul and the van). He’s definitely my wild card pick.

So how do I think its going to go down? I would like to see Alex as the Mole and Craig the winner. Reality will probably be Mark the winner and Clay as the mole. Nightmare scenario: Nicole and Paul being some combo of the winner/mole (with Mark whining about if only he had his original journal he would have won).

I really didn’t mean to write this much on The Mole. I was actually going to talk about the faceless people popping up over the UK, but I guess I got carried away. Maybe that will be my second July posting.

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