No, not the troubadour! I’m going to miss Alex and his oddly shaped guitar which reminded me of a medieval lute. Alex really had a great edit in the recap episode, as they showed him leading the group in song a number of times and he seemed to get along with everyone pretty well. And when Alex was the only contestant to get any cash into the pot in the bungee jump challenge, it pretty much sealed the deal that our favorite musician living in his parents’ basement wasn’t the Mole. I don’t think that it was the wine slowing Alex down, as Jon didn’t indicate that there was a tie on the quiz this week. I fear that Craig was closer when he stated: “Alex isn’t the Mole, he’s just not very smart.” But he was likeable, which is more than we can say about some of the remaining contestants.
In honor of our musician Alex, this week we have songs for all of our remaining contestants this week.
Oh, how do we capture the essence of Nicole in a song? My dad always listened to the Eagles when I was a kid, but I really started liking this song after a Seinfeld episode. Elaine’s boyfriend went into a trance every time he heard Desparado and she tried to compete by “owning” [u]Witchy Woman[/b] but it wasn’t the same. Nicole doesn’t compete with anyone. She plays by her own rules. And she seems very poor at logic and math problems for someone with a medical degree. Is this because she is really the Mole and is trying to steer the team astray, or is it because she’s a loon who wants to look suspicious and doesn’t mind looking like a fool to do so? Crazy like a fox, she might be if she had Alex convinced that she was the Mole.
In fairness to the Eagles, Witchy Woman is about a mystical and mysterious woman, not someone who flies around on a broom or resembles some other word that rhymes with rich. Think “bewitching” not “eye of newt”. The same is true of Nicole, as she seems to have long stretches of sane moments where she has normal conversations with her competitors and seems like a decent person. And then she turns on her “act like the mole” routine and she’s miserable to be around. At least I hope that’s an act. I still get the impression that Nicole wants people to notice her “suspicious” behavior, but that she really isn’t doing things that cost the pot much cash. She could have argued with Mark about the answers, causing a delay for what coordinates Paul would radio to Clay and Alex. But in almost every case Mark corrected her guess and she AGREED. We certainly know that she’s capable of pitching a fit and arguing on “principle” but she really didn’t and they managed to bank $70,000 in that single challenge.
I Fought The Law (and the Law Won)
You can pick whether you prefer the Bobby Fuller version or the remake by the Clash (or maybe you’re too young to have ever heard either), but anyone who goes up against Clay has an uphill battle. Clay is smart. Clay controls his emotions (except when he ends up tossing fruit at Paul). Clay is very convincing, as he talked his way into an exemption over Victoria, Kristen and Nicole – not an easy feat.
It’s really hard to tell this week if anyone other than Alex was actually trying to hit the target or not in the bungee jump challenge because honestly I would have probably not even jumped. Clay didn’t hide any bottles under the dirt or otherwise make any blatant moves to keep Alex from finding bottles in the vineyard challenge, but they didn’t seem to be hustling back too quickly even though they knew that Mark was winded and running out of steam. Clay would have been my pick if I were casting the Mole from this year’s group (as he was in the pre-show Smack-A-Mole column) and he hasn’t done anything which made me think he’s really playing this game to try to maximize the pot as a potential prize for himself. Maybe he just doesn’t have the same financial drive in this game as Mark, but maybe he’s not playing hard because he’s the Mole.
I realize I don’t have a single song in this list that is less than 10 years old, but this classic from Arrested Development (yes, it was a group before it was a tv show) featured the background vocals of a homeless man rambling nonsense. The song was very sympathetic to Mr. Wendal and states that his raving rants are really “truth” and that we should all listen to him. This song just popped into my mind when I was trying to pick a song for Paul. I know, Paul isn’t homeless and he doesn’t accost strangers at the bus stop, but he does tend to blather on and get in people’s faces. And he does talks to fruit and gives it names.
Paul likes to mess with people, and I don’t believe it is all “strategy” as he clearly gets his jollies by getting other people riled up. Despite trying to lay the blame for one incorrect coordinate on Nicole (when it wasn’t her fault), he really did his part of the task without a hitch. Paul wants people to not trust him, but he’s really worked pretty darn hard getting money into the pot. I think it’s because he thinks he can win it. Or else he really doesn’t understand his role as The Mole. Nah, let’s stick with wanting to drive up the pot and win it.
Hey, Teacher, Leave Those Kids Alone.
Ok, I know that the title is actually “The Wall” but probably more people would recognize the Pink Floyd classic by the refrain than the title, and it certainly worked better to introduce our teacher, Mark. His fellow competitors are not “kids” but Mark’s intensity certainly spills over onto them, especially after the loss of his beloved first journal. Mark doesn’t think much of the game commitment of his competitors, as he stated he thought 3 people (out of 5, because he wasn’t counting himself) would not even participate in the bungee jumping challenge. I’m frankly surprised that they all did it, and it was quite a bummer that they got so little money for their efforts.
Mark feels the weight of the world on his shoulders. He feels he NEEDS to win to have money for his family. He needs to make sure they get money into the pot, because everyone else isn’t trying as hard as he does, so he runs on a treadmill and answers all the questions and would have looked for all of the wine bottles in the vineyard if they would have let him. Mr. Intensity will surprise the heck out of me if he turns out to be the Mole.
He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother.
Craig shot way up on my Mole radar this week because he didn’t seem to have an answer for any of the logic and math questions in the vineyard challenge. I understand it is hard to get a word in edgewise when working with Nicole, but she clearly didn’t know what she was doing and she was accepting Mark’s help. I would have expected computer-savvy Craig to be writing the bottle totals for each day on their big board so they could clearly show Nicole and Paul that the answer was January 9th. They got more than the day’s net gain of 10 bottles in the mornings, so when that shipment arrived, they tipped over the 500 bottles mark. Craig should know how to solve a math story problem, but he didn’t seem to be even trying.
When I first read the contestant bios and started watching the ads on tv, I remember reading that Craig had sleep apnea and we saw a clip of Craig on a gurney by an ambulance. Those early impressions (which made me doubt that the producers would risk having their Mole not finish the series), plus Craig’s un-Moley behavior of using his three-person catapult skills to launch pigs in the second episode put Craig near the bottom of my list of suspects. But Craig’s exemption by assigning impossible transportation to his teammates last week (after they had been nice enough to let him out of the handcuffs first) and his complete lack of help this week has Craig shooting up the Mole continuum. Mark was right when he said that Craig’s lack of physical fitness is “the perfect cover” for the Mole as people do not expect much from him and cheer his every effort, even if he fails (which happened again with the bungee jumping challenge as it did with the waterfall challenge in week 1).
Time to count it down let’s run down the Mole continuum from least likely to most likely the Mole:
12. Marcie – Out
11. Liz – Out
10. Ali – Out
9. Bobby – Out
8. Victoria - Out
7. Kristen – Out
6. Alex – the latest victim of the Mole.
5. Mark – I would really like to see Mark win as he’s trying so hard, but I will fall off my chair if he’s actually the Mole.
4. Nicole – please someone award her an Emmy for best acting in a reality tv series, as she doth protest (and fake sabotage) too much.
3. Paul – as annoying as Paul is to his competitors (and us viewers) he seems very “on task” when it comes to challenges and gets cash into the pot.
2. Craig – did the producers take a risk and cast a likeable guy who is carrying too much weight as their Mole? It would be risky, but would be a great twist (and we’d have the added benefit of getting to see Craig in every episode)
1. Clay – his actions in both gaining money for the pot and costing it are so under the radar and controlled that they do not draw much attention to Clay. I think that is just the way he wants it. Moley Mole Mole.
Tune in next week when we get to see the contestants get teased by being able to see but not talk to or be with their families. Be sure to watch it with your family – while on opposite sides of a glass wall.