The Mole Australia Watchdown: S01E03, or This Was Almost Like a Practice Run

Onto another one. Hopefully this one will have more time for character than the last one did.

Right on the heels of the last episode, where the entire cast is exhausted and needs rest…Grant presents another challenge right then and there. The Mole is one relentless SOB.

Josephine and a clearly exhausted Lina are chosen by the other 6 to have a ‘nice time’, so they exit to a nearby car.

The rest of the gang are taken to another location where they’ll take part in a giant maze…a challenge we may have seen on the original Mole once or twice. They’ll have to get out via radio and communication.

They have to divide themselves into pairs- one leads the other through the maze via a TV screen. Yeah, this is the old standard from the US series. And each player needs to get through the maze without being captured by one of two hunters. Fun stuff.

Rocky and Jan, Abby and Ben, Alan and Bev are the teams. This should be fun. Alan’ll probably start throwing things at the TV rather quickly.

Actually, I take that back- Alan’s gonna be the runner, Bev’s gonna be the person tracking him. And seeing as Bev is WONDERFUL with directions (see, last episode), this is gonna go swimmingly.

So, Bev’s wonderful directions, which include telling Alan to go straight until he rams into a wall, and sending him to go right just when a hunter’s rounding the corner, go absolutely without a hitch.

Bev defends herself by saying “you know, this was almost like a practice run” to a room of disinterested, tired, disappointed teammates. Poor, poor Bev.

I’ll give Rocky credit- while they’re waiting for Ben to go on, Rocky begins strategizing with the team a way to make the exit quicker, and to avoid the trackers. The guy’s finally playing the game well, aside from just cracking jokes.

Unfortunately, Abby kind of ruins it by leading Ben down the wrong paths, and her over-strategizing by having Ben turn around and go back leads to Ben being caught in a rundown.

Now, the success of the group is in the hands of Rocky and Jan. Which…is kinda scary.

Now I’m laughing at the ridiculousness of the editing, how they’re making this so serious. “IT’S ALL UP TO ROCKY AND JAN”. Jeez, I’m expecting the Fugitive Alien theme song to kick in at any minute (“HE TRIIIIIIED TO KILL ME WITH A FORKLIFT! OLE!”).

Jan’s tactics are a lot better, in leading him towards the middle, thereby away from the hunters. However, her echoes of ‘RIGHT RIGHT RIGHT RIGHT RIGHT’ or ‘LIFT LIFT LIFT LIFT LIFT’ had to have been pretty grating.

Eventually, this tactic of keeping Rocky weaving in and out along the far side of the maze get the team the win, and gives Jan some much needed leverage to stick around.Rocky does eventually admit that he didn’t have any sound, though.

The next day takes place among a series of wineries. Alan, Jan and Rocky get to spend the day tasting wines, and Linda and Josephine get to taste various cheeses. Ben, Abby and Bev get to sample beers. This is probably going to be a challenge.

Best part of this is they all know a challenge is coming, and they’re all sort of waiting around the corner for something to happen.

The highlight is having everyone show up at a fancy dinner, and seeing Rocky have to wear a tux. That’s…kind of odd to me.

They’re all eating dinner, and just…waiting for something to happen.
Jan: “Don’t tell me we’re all gonna be bungee jumping after this…”
Rocky: “I knew a bloke who was so paranoid, he thought the fella in front of him was following him…”

This challenge is pretty nice, actually- the teams have to pick out which of the items they became experts on are from Tasmania (the cheeses, beer or wine), and which is an impostor from the mainland.

Linda has the one cheese that the cheese maker said ‘lifts the roof off of the mouth’ back in the tasting portion, and she cracks up, saying ‘…that one’s bringing back memories…’

Josephine is so torn up that she can’t choose the right one, leaving a confused Linda down to the last few seconds to pick A as the impostor.

It is actually pretty amusing to see Rocky and Jan gritting their teeth and trying to get everyone to finish, while Bev, Ben and Abby are going for the beers. It’s the most passive aggressive support.

Grant, VO: “Abby and Beverly are not beer drinkers.”
What, you’re joking. Abby’s a college student, she’s got to have had at least one or two beers.

Another great moment- the second Grant tells the wine team they can start, Rocky just all-out grabs the wine and goes for it. Doesn’t hold a damned thing back. Also, a lot of the shots of Rocky just sifting the wine around the glass are great, to which a lot of the others think the problem is the glass.

All three groups end up getting them all correct, even with the wine glass fiasco in Rocky’s group (that…I have a feeling Rocky started).

Ah, but as this was already looking like a short episode, there’s one more challenge. Grant asks for two people who enjoy the sound of their own voices. After my initial thought of Donald Trump and Phillip Sheppard, Rocky and Ben are elected. I’ll say the choice does crack Grant up a bit- perhaps this makes more sense than he would have thought.

This is actually a very different sort of challenge- Ben and Rocky have 8 hours to raise 1,000 dollars to a charity, by holding a karaoke bar. They couldn’t have picked two better guys to do it.

The first people Rocky and Ben tell about this, because they can do that, is a guy with long hair, which is not, as I previously suspected, James trying to fight his way back into the competition.

There’s a nice montage of Ben and Rocky devising the plan, and it’s great, because there are two incredibly different personalities- Rocky’s very Type A and ambitious, and Ben is very lackadaisical and movable. And having these two interact is pretty great, especially when they start getting along.

As they’re walking to hawk people, Rocky says, offhandedly to Ben, “let’s go do what we do best, mate…bullshit!”

Eventually Rocky and Ben get into arguments about how the door prize is going to work, and this challenge is turning into an episode of the Apprentice before our eyes.

Eventually they go back to the hotel (to shower), and Rocky has to inform Beverly that they’ve been touting her as the star of the show (The Amazing Bev), and she’s just cracking up the whole way.
Rocky: “We’ve told them…how easy you are on the eye.”

This is a pretty great challenge, because they’re able to tell everyone else so they can all help out/hawk/get people to join in. We’re also treated to a 3 second clip of Josephine absolutely butchering Olivia Newton-John’s Physical, which…I’ll say I may have laughed at for longer than 3 seconds.

Although Alan, Jan and Abby do a trio of Billy Idol’s White Wedding, which is actually pretty great, and Alan’s having a hell of a time. Ben and Linda also duet on The Righteous Brothers’ ‘You’ve Lost that Lovin’ Feelin’, which is also pretty good. I wish they could have done a challenge like this in the US version, because everybody’s so loose and out of their serious characters.

Ben’s giving a confessional about how much time they’ve got left when he’s distracted by someone leaving the bar with a prize, and starts congratulating him- very similar to something Rod Blagojavich would do on Celebrity Apprentice.

The end of the challenge is pretty bittersweet- they win $934 for the charity, but fall short of the overall $1000…still, they had some of the most fun in a while and it at least is worth something for people, so it’s not a complete loss.

Josephine has a confessional about not being able to sleep (thinking about the mole) while sitting on a rather crappy hotel bed…I wonder if these two are connected.

Pre-quiz, this was another show where all the characters were fully formed and I saw a lot from people, and I’d rather not see any of them go. Ben’s pretty likable now, and people like Bev and Josephine, while clumsy, are still fun to watch.

Who do I think’s going home? Actually, I think that it’s Beverly tonight, but it honestly could be Alan- they’re editing him a certain way lately.

Execution Results:
Linda: Green. Yeah, she’s one of the best players in the game- she’s far from finished.
Jan: Green. Again, some suspense there, as she’s become one of the better characters recently, but I don’t think she’s all finished yet either.
Rocky: RED. Dammit…

Heck of a way to go out- Rocky was one of the best characters on the program, and gave every single episode a lot more to go with. he even had a pretty nice episode here, improving his game as well as getting some mole suspicion, but apparently this was the end for him. Damn.

What I’m hoping is that this doesn’t destroy the game dynamic, and that now the edit will be a little bit more balanced, and more people will step up and give fun confessionals. But it’s just kinda sad, is all.

Overall: Much better episode, though still a notch below 1- three great challenges, a lot of great character moments, and a lot more wrinkles to the Mole plot.

Best Game Player- This week it was Jan, guiding Rocky through the maze like a pro.
Best Character- In the absence of Rocky, I have to say Ben. He’s growing on me rather quickly, though Josephine had a nice character week.
Who do I think is the mole? This week had a few more wrinkles, but I still think it’s Abby- the detail about her not being a beer drinker tells me she may not be who she says she is. Still, Josephine would be just behind her on my list.

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