So we’re finally at The Mole’s season finale, and I’m guessing any of you who actually like to watch televised competition were watching the Olympics instead (although I could have done without the high drama of that volleyball player’s lost wedding ring) so obviously you need a recap to catch you up and reveal, finally, who the mole is.

Of course, by now we only have three options – Craig, Mark, or Nicole. Last week those final three took an extra-long quiz to determine who’s going to win. In fact, the revelation of who won ($420,000) and who’s the Mole are the only things left hanging last week. There are no more competitions, no more quizzes. That means this finale is, uh, light on the new stuff, and a bit heavy on recapping things that happened earlier in the season.

How Shall We Waste Time Until Our First Commercial Break?

We start with the three finalists locked in closets, basically, with the eliminated players sitting in rows before the doors like a jury is seated when they were on a big case and then Dateline comes along and interviews them.

Jon greets everyone with a few flashbacks to key moments in the season’s past: Craig yammering on a luge contest, Craig pissing everyone off by trying to make people travel via stilts and llama costume. See, now, that would have maybe made this show worth watching to me.

Mark raised questions by stripping, in some fashion. I’m not clear on that one. Bobby was one of the most controversial players in the game. Mostly, apparently, by presenting himself as some awesome player and then being dismal and “fragile,” as someone says. Bad enough to get a medical diagnosis, which Jon asks about. Bobby says he was worn down, he hurt his muscles in his legs, etc.

That apparently does it for lame-flashback time, because Jon then says it’s time to find out who’s the winner and who’s the Mole. Jon slips a key into each door, and says we’re going to find out who won all the money.

Guess That Diary Paid Off

And it’s … Mark! His former peers cheer. “I’m shocked and I’m humbled,” he says. “The whole reason I did this was so my wife wouldn’t have to work anymore.” Apparently he has a new baby on the way, and other kids, and now his wife can stay home.

Now, Jon says, it’s time to find out who was the Mole. And it’s …. a commercial. Booo.

When we come back, though, it’s finally the big reveal – CRAIG is the Mole. Screams ensue from the competitors. Nicole sits in her closet, downcast. Craig says he’s proud of Mark. Finally Jon lets Nicole out, to tepid applause.

I mean, really tepid. Apparently no one liked Nicole, like, AT ALL. Jon describes her strategy of purposely irritating other people to make them suspect her. It mostly resulted in no one liking her, as we see in a number of clips. I would point out that in some of her interviews in the game, when presumably she’d be acting like herself and not playing the game, she also was pretty unlikeable. Her unpopularity saved her in the game, but especially angered Paul, who was playing a similar game. Paul, incidentally, always suspected Craig. I like how Nicole’s “story” so quickly turned into Paul’s. He misdirected people, launched personal attacks to throw people off their game, and generally instigated.

Both he and Paul knew Craig was the mole after the shooting thing, and Nicole won – by 4 seconds, doing the quiz faster than Paul, resulting in his elimination. Paul says knowing that he was right, and still lost, is like a dagger in the heart. Ali says she doesn’t think Nicole is “crazy now.” Nice. Nicole rolls her eyes.

Now we have to endure a retrospective of how Mark caught on to Craig. It clearly wasn’t from the start, as he and his buddy Clay first suspected Victoria. Victoria, in fact, made one quiz mistake, which got her executed, which is the only reason Mark wasn’t executed early on. People thought he was obsessive about his journal, and he freaked out when it got burned. He later says he’s been “a putz” and continues to work with Clay, now targeting Christie. Once again, Mark was in a tie with the person who got executed. They thought by then it was Nicole, and Clay got executed.

It seems that by now, they were down to the final four. Mark survived that by getting the exemption. He decided to believe Clay, who’d said he’d targeted Nicole the night he was executed, and so went after Craig. He was nervous about that final quiz, because Nicole is intuitive. Nicole, however, felt she’d done badly on that quiz.

Jon points out the dossier contained the answer to only one of the final questions. Mark says $75,000 to win $420,000 was worth it. Turns out Mark beat Nicole by three questions.

Craig says he befriended Mark to keep him off the trail. He played dumb, asking for help, telling Mark he was his “mentor.”

How The Tricksy Hobbit Did It

So now it’s finally time to see what Craig sabotaged. He says his strategy was to be the fun guy. Others saw him as a hilarious big teddy bear, and Craig reveled in being underestimated. He made it so he looked like he was trying, just not very good at anything. He purposely dropped his bag on a waterfall; he covered a tobacco tin with sand on another one. He played soccer poorly, scoring a goal on his own team, and urging an injured player to get into a wheelbarrow, slowing down his team.

He talked to Victoria after the luge, breaking the rules, and purposely assigned players forms of transportation that would make them go slowly. They ended up blaming Mark, somehow. In fact, no one named him as the mole on the quiz until the seventh week.

He botched the children’s games by getting Nicole to speak, against the rules. He had the answer to the doublet in the cell thing, but didn’t want to make it too obvious. So he got himself shot. He did guide them to success in that tick tock boom mission. He kept thousands of dollars out of the pot and hardly anyone suspected him.

We now see a series of clips of people saying Craig couldn’t possibly be the mole. Yeah, they all got executed. So good for him.

He thanks them for being good sports. He had a great time. Mark says Craig was a great mole because he was so affable, always having fun and being friendly, and you “just didn’t want to believe” he was the Mole.

Jon shows us the hidden clues that were in the show week after week. They seem to me like the only real spy-like part of this show, because man, you’d need a magnifying glass, the ability to play audio backwards, and a Da Vinci Code-style code-cracker to get these things. In week one, Craig brought message from the mole. In week two, something in a map spelled out “Not Ali” which apparently was supposed to tell us the mole wasn’t a dumb blonde model. In week three, the hidden clue was in the title, involving numbers, the area codes of the hometowns of the final three. Jesus. Week four, it was audio clues, like school bells and baby cries. How could anyone pick up on this stuff? In week five, graffiti on the wall says CRG. “CRG is an abbreviation for Craig,” Jon says. Uh, no it’s not. Then there was another map clue, the latitude and longitude to Craig’s hometown. Then there was some series of sculptures that was four I’s – four eyes, Craig wears glasses. There was a word revealing Craig’s red tie hidden in a thumbprint. Some backwards audio clue in the last week. And, finally, Craig’s name was never called in any of the executions. See, the last one seems like a good clue to me. The rest of it is just plain hard.

Jon announces one more surprise. He has Mark stand up, and brings out his wife, to sappy music. But she doesn’t know what happened. So he tells her he won, and that he wants her to quit work and stay home with the kids. Mark says there were people who played better than he did, and he was very fortunate. They say he deserved it.

The end!