By Jen Smith
All you TV lovers out there: rejoice! One of the smartest reality competition shows is back after a four year absence (six years if you disregard the celebrity edition… and you should, btw). And after Sunday’s Million Dollar Password “fiasco” (triple letter score if you got that joke), I was hoping The Mole would be at least marginally better. The first week of competition takes place in Chile, which is so beautiful it makes me want to barf. Mental note to put my first stamp in my passport in the next year (Tijuana, anyone?).
The 12 strangers are, of course, mostly beautiful and successful and intelligent with a few exceptions. But none of that matters as long as you’re a good liar. Jon Kelley from Extra is the new host, and while my heart cries out for Anderson Cooper, my head is laughing at the fact that his robotic voiceovers make him sound like a Vulcan. Jon’s first order of business is for the 12 contestants to pick the suspected Mole after only brief interactions. They choose Marcie, a 35-year-old mother. This means she gets to make all the decisions in the mission: to ride a raft over a big-ass waterfall but before they go over the edge, they have to grab a burlap sack which may or may not contain money. Marcie decides whose bags will have real money in it and if they grab the bag, the money goes into the pot. Simple, right?
Mission in a nutshell:
Alex, 31, musician- fails (epically)
Ali, 24, model- fails (barely)
Clay, 32, attorney- got it (suavely)
Kristin, 35, neuroscientist- got it
Bobby, 25, restaurant manager- got it
Liz, 60, retired- got it (go grandma!)
Paul, 29, utility worker- fails
Victoria, 26, retail manager- fails (after refusing to stand up on the damn raft)
Craig, 30, graphic designer- fails, fails, fails
Nicole, 33, OBGYN- got it
Mark, 42, History teacher- got it (perfectly)
Marcie is either stupid for choosing to give the athletic players the fake money… or extremely smart for making herself look like the Mole. Either way, only two of the six that nabbed the bags actually had the real money in it. Each was worth $10,000 so that goes into the pot. Jon hands out their journals to record their observations about the Mole and breaks the news that their cabin only sleeps eight people, so Marcie chooses four of them to sleep outside. Nicole, being one of the chosen, plays the semantics game and refuses to go outside saying that the rules said she couldn’t sleep inside. So she stays up. All night.
– Eye Roll –
On day two, the contestants wake up and get a message to head to the beach. It’s time for a new mission. A game of Boggle? No, it’s some crazy Robinson Crusoe-inspired mission where they have to find items on a beach that were used in 1704. Each correct item is worth $5000. Try to follow along.
Mission in a nutshell: Bobby has cramps, Craig can’t run, a goat is being difficult, vacuums were apparently around in the 18th century (as were jeans and cameras), and the history teacher is forgetting history.
They scored only three out of five items and added a mere $15,000 to their pot. That makes $35,000 total out of a possible $85,000. They’re peeved. And they should be embarrassed, too. The gang then decides to abandon Dr. Whiner (Nicole) on the beach overnight because she’s annoying as hell. However, that meant she didn’t get to participate in the quiz and is therefore exempt.
The weekly quiz asks the obvious questions (Is the Mole male or female? Which group was the Mole assigned to? Do I look fat in these pants? Does Jon Kelley sound like Mr. Spock?) and the person who gets the worst score leaves. Ironically, in a complete turn-around from the beginning, Marcie doesn’t know a good liar when she sees one. Jon walks her to the van and sends her home. Live long and prosper, Marcie.
Clue o’ the week: Victoria was the only one to have a green thumbprint painted on the top of her helmet in the waterfall mission. Fascinating.
Not the mama! I mean, Mole: Mark the History teacher… he seemed too desperate to win the jackpot.
Moley Moley Moley!: Alex. He seems like he’s trying to hard to not be smart. If that makes sense.