After taking last Monday off, The Mole came back with two episodes tonight. Unfortunately, the first episode was really just a recap of what’s happened this season (there was some new footage, but nothing truly special). We’ll not be discussing the recap episode, let’s just jump right in and get down to the real stuff.

Things got started quickly this week, with the first mission taking place in a vineyard. The contestants split into two groups, runners and thinkers. The game was to find seven bottles of wine hidden throughout the vineyard. The thinkers had to answer seven different multiple choice brainteasers, each answer provided a latitude and longitude where the runners would find a bottle. Mark, my mole choice and apparently the best runner, was assigned to run on a treadmill, when he stopped running the time for the mission would be up. As the other two runners found the bottles the speed on the treadmill would increase, making Mark’s job that much harder.

The brainteasers didn’t seem all that difficult, appearing to be solvable without much brain teasing. However, Nicole definitely made everything more difficult than it had to be, not answering questions, hypothesizing about the wrong answer, and generally being Nicole. Despite the fact that the final question was almost undoubtedly the easiest, Nicole and Craig (our thinkers) apparently couldn’t come up with the answer (nor could Mark who was allowed to help them whilst running on the treadmill). The runners were sent to check the thinkers’ guess, found no bottle at the location, and the recriminations began. What I don’t understand is how Craig, Nicole, and Mark didn’t just do the math and come up with the right number the first time. Mark was the one, 22 minutes into his running, who eventually figured it out.

Yes, that might make it less likely that he is the mole, and Paul (who was sending the runners to the various locations) did read out one coordinate incorrectly (an error he quickly fixed). The really weird thing about the task was that no one was smart enough to send the runners (or to tell Paul to send the runners) from the farthest location to the nearest one, or vice versa, once all the questions had been solved and locations determined. Consequently, the runners went back and forth across the vineyard several times. In the end, they made it back with all the bottles before Mark collapsed and got 70,000 dollars, but it could have gone a lot more smoothly.

Before you say it, I know, if Mark were the mole he could have collapsed on the treadmill, no one would have thought less of him, and the group wouldn’t have gotten anything. Personally, I think Mark had a strategy he was working on the mission. I don’t know what it was, but I think he had one.

The next mission was just fantastic, it involved our players bungee jumping off a bridge and, in mid-air, throwing a bag of tea into a huge bulls-eye on the ground. Hitting the bulls-eye would earn the group 10,000 dollars and the further out from the bulls-eye the tea bag hit, the less cash would be earned. There was also an exemption to be had for the player who guessed closest, via The Price is Right rules, to the total amount of money the group would earn. The best part of the exemption was that Jon only informed people when they were on the plank and ready to jump that there was an exemption and only then, with the players scared off the fall, got their guesses.

Though there were initially some folks who said they didn’t want to do the jump, in the end, everyone did it. They didn’t really earn much cash on the task, only Alex hit the target at all, but Craig let out a pretty good yell on the way down (the exact kind of yell I would let out if I actually opted to do the jump) and it was fun to see them jump. Nicole, at the very beginning of the mission, made sure that she would be the one to go last. She claimed that she wanted to go last so that she could decide if she wanted to jump at all, but who knows what her reason really was.

I should say that I’m going on the assumption here that the people who had not yet jumped couldn’t determine how much money those who had gone before had earned, because Nicole guessed a completely outlandish number. If she had known what the group had already earned, she never would have guessed what she did. In the end, everyone guessed to high and no one earned the exemption.

In between the first and second mission tonight Mark and Clay came up with the interesting plan. They wanted to try and get Alex, who seems to like his alcohol, to drink two bottles of wine at the dinner before the quiz. Alex certainly drank during dinner (and Clay definitely offered him an extra glass), but I couldn’t tell whether Alex was liquored up during the quiz.

Whether he was drunk or not, Alex was the man eliminated tonight. I’m going to miss him, not enough that I would rather have seen Mark eliminated, but I’m going to miss him.

Perhaps another thought and a question or two:

  • Jon claimed to Paul that he, Jon, did the bungee jump and hit the target with his tea bag. Do you buy it? If you do, do you also want to buy a bridge in Brooklyn?
  • I know a lot of you thought Alex was the mole. I know that a lot of you think I’m wrong about Mark (and I very well may be), but he’s still there. Who are you guessing the mole is this week?

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Posted by:Josh Lasser