Welcome back, Mole fans, and join us where we left off at the end of last week, with Paul and Nicole annoying each other. Paul claims that this is his “strategy” to throw people off and distract them. Ironically Nicole also argues that threatening to kill Paul in his sleep was all “strategy” and that she personally feels “nothing” for him.

It’s a thin line between love and hate, guys, so why don’t you just spend some time “working it out” and spare everyone else from your ambivalent drama. This week I am filled with questions, and Nicole and Paul’s war of the roses drama leads to our first one:

Does Being A Royal Pain Constitute “Strategy”?

Paul and Nicole clearly think so. Paul gave us a detailed explanation that this strategy is intended to throw people off, and went into overdrive at the dinner right before the Quiz. The timing seemed right for a strategy, if being a jerk is strategy, so off he went. Paul transported himself back to grade school and started calling people names. He labeled Mark “obsessed” and Bobby a “punk.” I have no idea what the word “punk” means to Paul, but it conjures up images of Sid Vicious from the Sex Pistols to me, and Bobby is no Sid Vicious. I think Bobby would probably end up causing the death of a dozen people if he went slam dancing, because his ribs would poke out and pierce everyone in the vicinity. Mark and Bobby are offended by Paul’s claims, and Craig even steps in, telling Paul to holster it. Paul shows the most sense we’ve seen from him yet and wisely doesn’t take on Craig.

Paul’s spurt of good sense quickly dissipates, however, and he keeps being a jerk even after the Quiz is done and Jon is revealing the results. How exactly does that match up with his brilliant “strategy”? I’d say it doesn’t, and shows that Paul is just a loud-mouthed jerk who likes irritating other people. I’ve got a strategy for you, Paul: Shut yer yap.

Nicole came on strong in Week 1 as a complete and total diva (the female equivalent of ‘jerk’ that sometimes involves singing prowess). She faded quickly in later weeks as Paul’s diva star has risen. Every once in a while she will say something odd or do something illogical to try to get people talking. This week she told Alex the word “apple” twice in the Fruits of the Luge challenge. Was it because she was trying to screw up the challenge and cost the pot money because she is the Mole? I doubt it. More likely, she’s doing it to throw suspicion on Alex, as she and several others have deemed Alex “too dumb” to be the Mole, so she’s ruled him out but wants others to suspect him. Or else she’s obsessed with apples. You know those Fruit of the Loom guys are pretty captivating, maybe she’s had a crush on the “Apple” dude since childhood and the whole name of this challenge took her back there.

These two are clearly not trying to “make friends” through this Mole experience. Is that actually a strategy, or just an excuse for poor social skills? I’m leaning towards the latter. I’ve taken lots of important tests and quizzes in my life. The day that I took the LSAT exam coincided with homecoming at the college where I was taking the test, and a loud parade marched down the street right outside our building. Did I forget how to take a test? Absolutely not, and I doubt that Paul calling Mark “obsessed” is going to make Mark forget that he thinks the Mole is whomever. Someone with the attention span of a hummingbird might be distracted by Paul’s tactics, but I doubt it would work on anyone still in the game after this episode.

Why Did Mark Suddenly Get Shy?

Mark is a competitive athlete who is used to running around in skimpy clothes. As soon as Jon announced that for the next task the group would not get their clothes back and would be heading out into the streets of Santiago in their undies, Mark looked all too eager to whip off his robe and show the good people of Chile that he’s in really good shape for a guy in his early 40s. Mark seems rather interested in growing the pot and maximizing their potential winnings, but then . . . Clay drops out so Mark follows suit? Was it because there was a cool breeze and Mark wasn’t feeling as comfortable in his skivvies (haven’t they ever heard of “shrinkage”? I’m not sure that Seinfeld was all that popular in Chile?). More likely, it was because Clay talked Mark out of participating in the challenge.

Earlier in the show we learn that Bobby’s new coalition is with Clay and Mark. Then Bobby screws up the fruit by calling an avocado a “pear” not just once, but repeatedly after crossing the line, costing the pot $10,000. Was this Moley behavior? Obviously not because Bobby got the boot, but it’s really odd that Bobby, a former restaurant manager, can’t identify an avocado. Who knows. Maybe it was a Chinese restaurant. Clay and Mark immediately want to back away from Bobby and decide to be BFFs for life with each other and pinkie swear to tell each other everything. Mark even writes that down in his journal – Clay and Mark: BFFs.

At the spa, Mark is the first one in his boxers, raring to hit the streets. Mark doesn’t participate after Clay announces he is opting out. I’m thinking that Clay talked to Mark while they were walking outside of the spa and convinced him that it could be embarrassing and potentially detrimental to their respective professional careers to do this challenge. If I were Clay, trying to convince Mark it isn’t a good idea, I’d remind him of a certain former Survivor contestant who lost her teaching job because of nudity on a reality tv show. It is an approach that would work because a.) Mark respects Clay’s opinion and b.) Mark is also concerned about keeping his job so he can support his family
This move moves Clay, not Mark, up on my Mole radar for the week, as Clay was hovering at spot 3 last week, just waiting to move up.

Is Kristen Really the Hidden Fifth Cylon from Battlestar Galactica?

I’m revealing too much about myself when I admit that I watch both sci-fi and reality tv. I blame my husband, who introduced me to Battlestar Galactica. Anyway, last Friday was the season finale and we’re left still not knowing the identity of one final cylon, but all the other cylons we’ve met have been:
a.) beautiful
b.) intelligent
c.) robots, who could
d.) beat the crap out of most people

Yup, I’d say that super-competitive Kristen is a Scientist-Cylon, killer robot who looks human. But is she also the Mole? I don’t think that the cylons are programmed for sabotage.

What Color is the Sky on Bobby’s Planet?

Mark had mentioned that Bobby had taken off for another planet, and after the ending this week, I think he was right. Bobby was clearly in another dimension because he not only didn’t take $30,000, he bragged that he wouldn’t have right before he got the boot for having no clue who the Mole really is. I’m guessing the sky is a nice avocado shade of pink on planet Bobby O. Enjoy watching the show from the comfort of your own basement couch, or wheelbarrow, buddy.

Is Fruit of the Loom Underwear Paying for Subliminal Product Placements?

If not, they are getting quite the boost for no cost this week. They didn’t run any paid ads that I noticed (do they even advertise anymore? All I ever see are guys talking about Michael Jordon’s Hanes undies – I digress). First we have the Fruit of the Luge challenge, which had me picturing the underwear fruit guys, suddenly appearing in the middle of the scene, handing out undies. And then we have host Jon taking everyone’s clothes and handing out “Mole Outfits” for everyone that was “going commando” at the spa, which was apparently all of the women but none of the men. They were quite fetching, and may be available at the show’s official website, I’m not sure.

Mole Countdown: Week 3

12 – Marcie – OUT

11 – Liz – OUT, and missed. I would have loved seeing Liz roaming the streets of Santiago looking for some clothes to wear to dinner.

10 – Ali – took the $30,000 bribe and is OUT. I was a little surprised to see her leave this early because she had been getting such a “molely” edit by the producers with the camera shots, but I’m not surprised that she isn’t the Mole. For some reason I think we may see her again in some capacity this season. All of that misdirection could have been used on someone making it past episode 3, I’d think.

9 - Bobby – finally got a decent episode where he didn’t come off as a near invalid, but was felled by his own Quiz failings. Ironically it was right after he declared that he wouldn’t have taken the $30,000 even if it was just down to two people. Maybe Bobby should have considered it, as he was obviously over-estimating his own Quiz score. It wasn’t unexpected as Bobby didn’t seem to have the pulse of the game, but he sure enjoyed being part of it. I’ll fondly remember you as half of the giant walking number 10.

8 – Nicole is still on the bottom of my list because she doesn’t seem to be paying much attention to other people, yet she is not consistently costing the pot money. She thinks for so crazy reason that “causing drama” is the key to success in this game. This week she did say the word “apple” twice, but we can’t tell from the editing whether Alex knew (or should have known) that she was starting the list over, or whether she was being squirrelly with that information, trying to cast suspicion onto either herself of Alex. It’s such an obvious screw up, I don’t think it is a move that the real Mole would make unless they had someone else to blame it on (like Alex does, because Nicole does admit that she said “apple” twice). These contestants made the luge challenge harder than it had to be, but they did much better than expected with the clothing challenge. Nicole had two complete outfits before dinner, the one she’d acquired from strangers and her own from the dry cleaners. If she had wanted to cost the pot money, she could have either a.) followed Clay and Mark’s lead and state that as a professional (she’s a doctor), she can’t risk her professional reputation with this stunt, or b.) until they found her actual clothes at the cleaners, pitched some kind of diva fit that she wasn’t willing to wear a stranger’s unwashed clothes. Actually I’m surprised all of these people did wear strangers clothing, as I wouldn’t be in a hurry to do that. Nicole would not sleep outside (huge diva moment – no money at stake), yet she’s willing to put on a stranger’s shirt right off her back (no diva moment - $5,000 into the pot)? She wants money to go into that pot, but she also wants people to suspect her. She’s not the Mole.

7 – Kristen is playing this game as hard as anyone. She was partnered with Mark and landed $14,000 for the pot by getting all of the fruit right on the luge challenge. She and Mark made it look easy. Actually I think it was rather easy and the other contestants are all just distracted or trying too hard to look cagey. How tough is it to remember a series of SEVEN fruits? Kristen, Victoria and Ali all managed to look quite fashionable while wearing men’s shirts and waitresses’ pants. I wish I looked half as good in my own clothes. Meanwhile their “mole outfits” were straight out of a Robert Palmer video. ABC has been getting plenty of mileage out of that footage, and these girls being followed by a bus load of school boys was pretty funny. Kristen is playing to win, and wants to win as much money as possible.

6 – Mark seems way too competitive to be sabotaging the game. He was paired up again with Kristen in the luge challenge, and they won $14,000 for the pot, more than any other team. But don’t challenge his intensity man, he just might snap. Who are you calling “obsessed” Paul? You take that back, and go back in history and unsay it, right now! Ok, you’re not obsessed, riiight. Easy buddy. There is only one thing that diverts Mark from his task of building the pot and taking copious notes, and that is making sure that he a.) stays in the game, and b.) has a job to come home to after this is all done. Mark is willing to cost the pot a considerable amount of cash if it means an exemption for him (but woe be the fool who tries to get one at his expense). He’s also willing to forgo money in the pot and food in his belly to not risk looking like a person who shouldn’t be teaching high school history and coaching soccer. I support my family financially, so I can respect that. But I also wouldn’t let my eyes pop out of their heads if someone called me obsessed. I’m just say . . . too intense. The Mole wouldn’t need to be this stressed out, because the Mole is getting paid regardless. The only reason Mark isn’t farther down on my list is because I think he’s paying enough attention that he will be around a while in this game.

5 – Paul is a squirrelly guy. He likes to fight with people and raise blood pressures all around him. Yet when it gets down to brass tacks and real money is on the line, Paul comes through. Paul and Ali got $10,000 into the pot with the luge challenge, which is pretty good considering that it goes against everything in Paul’s nature for him to SHUT UP and not say anything to Ali after the finish line, a snafu that trapped two other teams and cost the pot $24,000. Paul was paired with Alex for the clothing challenge and seemed in a big hurry to put on a sweaty cab driver’s shirt. Paul also located the one other New Yorker in Santiago (probably heard each other’s loud mouths echoing all over the city) and got a pair of pants for Alex. Paul bags another $10,000 in the pot by getting Alex and himself to the restaurant FIRST of all the groups. He was not messing around with the deadline or the rules, as Paul wants cash in the pot. The messing around starts when people are supposed to be social and talk to each other. Moron. I do not like argumentative people, and for that reason I hope Paul isn’t the Mole so he can get booted off.

4 – Craig – I love Craig and hope he sticks around the entire series. I would love it if he won, or if he actually was the Mole. I just can’t see the producers risking the production problems of having someone with his potential health problems (as seen in the previews for next week) as the central character in the show. It’s not like a completely unexpected health problem occurs, because Craig’s obviously overweight and his bio indicates he has sleep apnea. Craig really rocked the “find some clothes” challenge this week, as he really was at a disadvantage because of his size. Craig should have known to stop talking when the luge crossed the line because he was the unblindfolded player in that challenge, but maybe he got caught up in the moment of having cute little Victoria chanting the fruits with him. Graphic designers need love too. Keep rocking it, Craig.

3 – Victoria is once again very high on the Mole Continuum. She kept chanting the fruit order long after she’d stopped the luge, costing the pot $14,000. She did find clothes (eventually, after filming lots of promos for this show in her “mole outfit”), but it seemed to be mostly Kristen’s initiative driving that group to get real clothes. Victoria didn’t seem to be talking to the locals much at all, let alone in Spanish, which I think she speaks. Heck, she’s from Texas and Craig from San Diego knew enough Spanish to know that the locals were telling Bobby he needed food more than he needed clothes.

2 – Alex – was laying low this week, but I still think there is a good chance that he’s the Mole. Did he actually know that Nicole was merely repeating the word “Apple” rather than saying that it appeared twice? We don’t know for sure. He seemed to be working harder to find pants for Paul than he was for himself. Having seen Paul in his briefs, I don’t blame him for wanting to get some clothes on that man ASAP. And a tie – to put around his yapping mouth, shut up already Paul. However it seemed that Alex gave up trying to talk to the local people in Spanish, when it wouldn’t have been hard for him to continue trying long enough to get himself covered. It was Paul speaking English to a traveling New Yorker who walked back to a hostel that ended up getting pants onto Alex. I’m dropping Alex down to 2nd place this week just for some variety.

1 – Clay – was paired with Bobby for the luge challenge and ended up not getting any money into the pot. It certainly seemed like they failed because Bobby kept repeating “pear, pear” after the stopping point. Did Clay realize that they were at the end? He must have known pretty soon, as he did stop the luge and they didn’t crash into the wall. Clay deflected all of the blame for that loss onto Bobby, which wasn’t hard because Bobby has apparently never seen an avocado before in his life. Somebody get restaurant manager Bobby some guacamole, quickly. A pear does not have one huge pit in the middle, it has seeds. An avocado however has one large pit, just like the picture on the luge hill. Clay came off looking like a hero for figuring out that “pear” meant avocado, but the result was no money. Very sneaky.

Then, as discussed above, I think that Clay convinced Mark not to participate in the clothes challenge on the basis of maintaining professional integrity. Yes, I do realize they are on a reality tv show, but they do still have jobs to go back to someday. I also think that Clay may have hoped to convince others (my guess, Nicole) either directly or indirectly to make the same choice. Nicole, however, is trying to run up the pot and actually is quite proud of her bod, rightfully so, so Clay wasn’t able to get her to drop out. Clay was directly involved with keeping $20,000 out of the pot this week, but no-one is really looking at him, not even his alliance-mate Mark. Nicely done, sneaky Mole.

Join us next week as we see the much anticipated Craig on a gurney scene, which hopefully is nothing major as I want Craig to do well on the show and in life. Join in and let me know your answers to my questions this week. To post a comment, please go to this thread: FORT Smack-A-Mole Column - Week 3