A dozen or so people walk into a jungle (then up a mountain, then into a fort, then onto a train… and so on). Eleven of them are trying to make a heap of money, and survive a series of guessing games.
The 12th – and no one knows which of those players that 12th is – is trying, as far as possible, to prevent any money being collected at all.
Australian TV show The Mole, on Netflix, is one of the more intelligent game shows to be revealed in recent years. Riddled within double bluffing, the better players quickly realise that if they can sacrifice some wins (and some money) in order to convince other players they are in fact ‘The Mole’, that’s in their interests. When it comes to elimination, the people who stay are the ones who have the best idea of who The Mole is, so confusing that system creates opportunity.
As the competitors travel the country, in practice there are several saboteurs. One player spends an icy climb removing money from a sled and throwing it on the ground behind a competitor. A second – a pilot – is utterly incapable of reading a map. An actual gamer pretends to be incompetently unfit, and quickly irritates her companions.
The end result is a lot less money won than could be, and a bunch of confused players increasingly annoyed by their fellow competitors’ attempts to distract. It’s superb television, successfully keeping the viewers’ best guess little more than that right up until the end, at which point all is revealed. Simple, yet complex, too, and well worth a glance.
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