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The Mole winner, the mole, and episodes 9 and 10 spoilers

The Mole winner, the mole, and episodes 9 and 10 spoilers
Alex Wagner revels the mole on Netflix's The Mole season 6 finale.

The final two episodes of Netflix’s The Mole are out, and now we know if Avori, Joi, Kesi, or Will is the mole, the winner, the runner-up, or the first person out. Spoilers ahead!

While the 10 episodes have had their ups and downs, and there were certainly surprising moments in the finale, I found the final two episodes to be rather flat by comparison.

The finale itself is just 35 minutes, and includes a reunion, though I should put reunion in quotes because it barely counts as that: the moment when the cast reunites and briefly discusses who the mole might be has more content than the sit-down reunion when Alex shows everyone footage of the mole sabotaging.

Either the reunion produced nothing of substance, or yet again we’ve been denied conversation between the players at the expense of just watching them accuse each other.

While there were incredible moments—Kesi just chucking cubes of ice with money into the snow, the dramatic moment of the final chance at $5,000 being thrown through the air—the finale may have been flat for me because nothing changed for me going into these episodes: I very clearly thought Kesi was the mole after last week, and my suspicion did not shift.

I’ve criticized the pathetically low amounts of money on this version of The Mole—after eight episodes, they’d earned $69,500, while season 1’s cast earned $75,000 in their first mission—and the dollar amounts did increase by almost one-third, but still ended up with an unimpressive prize.

Ultimately, the prize pot could have reached a maximum of $250,000, but ended up being less than half of that: $101,500 total. Alex called that “not an insignificant number,” but I will call it an insignificant number.

Though it’s roughly the same prize as the $100,000 award for winning Netflix’s The Circle, this pales in comparison to Survivor’s $1 million, The Challenge’s shared $1 million, or Hell’s Kitchen’s $250,000. CBS even bumped Big Brother’s prize to $750,000.

Episode 9: ‘Cold, Hard Cash’

Jacob Hacker reads directions during The Mole episode 3's test that offered the players a chance to look at each others' dossiers
Jacob Hacker reads directions during The Mole episode 3’s test that offered the players a chance to look at each others’ dossiers. (Image via Netflix)

We begin with the elimination of “the shithole mole”: Jacob goes home, having gotten a passport just for this show, and now for nothing.

Avori tells us that she answered some questions with Jacob as mole, which means at this stage, she’s not yet on to the mole, just continuing to act like one.

Our final four are Avori, Joi, Kesi, and Will, and together they tackle the penultimate mission.

Ice cubes on a mountain

Alex calls this test “the most physically demanding mission to date” as “money will be weighing heavily on you, literally,” which is a great pun. Alas, then she disappears. Why oh why did they cast Alex Wagner and use her so little?!

They’re competing for “a cool $20,000,” which is how much one chef wins for competing in two rounds on Guy’s Grocery Games.

Avori is “bummed out” that they have to split up, because one player will be paired with the mole and the other two won’t be there to see anything. But welcome to The Mole, where some of the best challenges do split up the players—and letting the players split themselves up adds to the intrigue.

The players decide that Joi and Kesi will go together, while Avori and Will will be paired as they hike up the side of a steep, snowy mountain.

As usual, Avori does her best to seem suspicious, which is now so very transparent I cannot imagine anyone suspects her as the actual mole. Will describes it as “determined to put suspicion on herself.”

Here, that manifests as basically letting Will do all of the work: dragging the sled, and picking up heavy cubes of ice with cash inside.

Kesi tells us that this is her plan as well: “My current plan is to be suspicious.” But nice try: You’ve been suspicious for a while, especially during the Bird Cage challenge.

But almost immediately, right after saying she wants to make a lot of money, Joi wants to drop off an ice cube with $1,000 in it to lessen the weight, saying “we can’t get greedy.”

Kesi pulls money off the sled being pulled by Joi on the penultimate Mole season 6 mission
Kesi pulls money off the sled being pulled by Joi on the penultimate Mole season 6 mission

The best part of this test for me is how the players have to decide what they can carry, trying to maximize the prize but also still make it to the top.

Once they get to cubes with more cash, it would make sense to dump some of the cubes with less money. This would have been heightened if the whole test was worth more, but I’m trying to squeeze Netflix for money they won’t give.

The most amazing moment during the challenge comes after Joi takes over pulling the sled, and Kesi drops a block of ice into the snow, and then picks up two more and throws them away.

“Joi didn’t even notice. It was really strange,” she says. So why do it? Her argument is that she wants Joi to call her out at dinner, in the hopes that the other players will think of that as deflection.

Still, I was already convinced Kesi was the mole, and her rationale did not change my mind.

When Joi realizes there was no ice on the cart—”Shit, we lost it!”—and then Kesi insists they go back to get it, I became convinced that Joi would win and Kesi is the mole. That’s because Joi has now been present for the three most obviously suspicious things Kesi has done, and Joi and Will were the only players really trying to earn money.

The players end up with $16,000, which is actually not bad considering all that direct sabotage.

Briefcase cash

The next morning, before their next elimination, the players discover four locked briefcases, labeled $0, $1,000, $3,000, and $8,000.

Those are different amounts of money, but if you didn’t realize that, special editing effects helpfully turn each briefcase a different color, so we’ll remember that they’re different, because they’re different colors.

Alex shows up to explain that the players must assign briefcases to themselves, and that whoever is eliminated will walk out the door with their briefcase; the remaining money gets added to the prize pot.

Will’s approach is hilarious: “I think I did enough work yesterday,” he says, and sits out of the decision-making.

They end up giving Avori $0, Kesi $1,000, Will $3,000, and Joi $8,000. If anyone thought Joi was actually the mole earlier, they don’t now.

I liked the moral tests earlier in the season, and wished we’d had one now, though perhaps the producers didn’t want to take any more money away.

At a dramatically stormy dinner—excuse me, “a dark and stormy night,” as Alex says—Kesi wants to make a last-minute swap with Avori. The players agree; I agree that she’s the mole, trying to cost them $1,000.

It works, as Avori gets the red screen and walks out the door. Avori, a gamer, tells Alex that “I’ve never had to become a character” before, and says it was the most fun she’s had in her life.

The players add $11,000 to the pot, which brings it to what Alex calls “a mammoth” $96,500. I assume Alex has never seen a mammoth.

Episode 10: ‘Who is The Mole?’

Kesi, Joi, and Will in a limo getting their final test from Alex Wagner on Netflix's The Mole episode 10
Kesi, Joi, and Will in a limo getting their final test from Alex Wagner on Netflix’s The Mole episode 10

Spy mission

For the final test, the final three players get matching Men in Black suits and crunch into the back of a limo for champagne and a briefing. They’re on a spy mission, at long last, though even their spy mission doesn’t get very spy themed.

Alex tells them, via iPad because why use your host in the final test, that they have “one final chance to fill the pot” with $15,000.

They go to Bare Island, at which Mission: Impossible 2 filmed some scenes. There, they must enter three zones, retrieve cash, and “escape undetected.”

I thought for a brief moment that we were getting a version of the fortress-guarding test from season one.

But here, instead of being chased by people, they’re being chased by drones, which are looking for three seconds of movement. If they spot it, the mission will end.

I’m not much of a conspiracy theorist, but here’s one: the drones were meaningless. One, I do not think they had any motion-sensing technology on them. Two, the players sometimes acted as if camera operators on the ground were drones. And three, the little clocks that appeared on the screen always got to zero at exactly the right time.

Kesi, Will, and Joi after their final Mole season 6 mission, which earned just $5,000
Kesi, Will, and Joi after their final Mole season 6 mission, which earned just $5,000.

The tests are dramatic enough without the drones, though, and I like having three different tests at one venue.

Joi tells us she suspects Will—after seeing what Kesi did?!?—so she joins him on the first test, which involves retrieving a canister that’s suspended between two bungees over a pit. They have two poles they can use.

They make a decent effort for what seems like a very difficult challenge, and when Joi shakes her pole for some reason, the canister tumbles into the pit and red powder bombs go off.

Will tells us he’d been “absolutely determined to make sure we don’t get all three,” because he knows he’s now competing against one person and wants to draw suspicion. But “Joi beat me to it,” he says.

The second test needs just one player to walk across pipes without touching the floor, aided by two suction cups. Kesi does this one, but immediately wants to use just one suction cup. Why? Mole!

She falls almost immediately, so they’ve just lost $10,000.

The final test needs one player to run and grab the canister, and throw it back to the other players, all in less than five seconds.

Kesi volunteers to catch the canister because, she says, “I think it’s the moment I can redeem myself.” I was sure she’d drop it, but ta da! She catches it, and the group earns $5,000.

“This is how you do a finale,” Will says, and I’d have to agree, at least visually: It ends with this spectacular image of them on the bridge to the island, the setting sun in the background, flames being fired into the air.

Netflix's The Mole's final three celebrate after their final mission
Netflix’s The Mole’s final three celebrate after their final mission.

We’ve arrived at the final test, which Alex introduces like this:

“You must now lock in an answer to the question at the heart of this game: Who is the mole? And keeping that person in mind, you must face a quiz to find out how observant you have been. If two players vote for the same person, then whoever has the most correct answers on the quiz will be our champion and win all the cash.”

This seemed like a change in the rules: The winner will not be determined by who has the most correct answers, but instead by who identifies the mole. If two people identify the same mole, then the quiz questions become the tiebreaker. In other words, someone could get every quiz question wrong except the mole question, and still win.

As it turns out, Alex tells us that “each of you chose a different person as the mole,” meaning all of the other quiz questions didn’t matter:

  • Will chose Kesi as the mole
  • Joi chose Will as the mole
  • Kesi chose Joi as the mole

“The spotlight will now reveal who is the mole,” Alex said. I like revealing the mole first, because the mole reveal also simultaneously reveals the winner.

Kesi, Will, and Joi wait to be revealed as the mole, the winner, and the loser on Netflix's Mole episode 10
Kesi, Will, and Joi wait to be revealed as the mole, the winner, and the loser on Netflix’s Mole episode 10

Alas, the moment, set in yet another empty warehouse, was a little clunky. We saw the three standing backlit by flashing lights, and waited for the spotlight to turn on.

Instead, Alex said “Kesi”; then the image cut to Kesi, still standing in the dark; and then the spotlight turned on. It was not nearly as awkward as the season-one reveal, but also undercut its own drama.

Yes, Kesi is the mole and Will is the winner! 🎉

That means the final two sitting at the bomb table, Joi and Will, were in fact the final two.

The surprise for me was that Joi did not win. She guessed wrong despite being right there for Kesi’s biggest sabotages. Joi tells us, “I gave her too much credit; I trusted her. I missed it; I missed all of it.”

FYI: On Monday, I’ll publish an interview with the final three, which was so fascinating, as we covered everything from who was recruited to what we did not see on TV.

The remaining and final four minutes of the episode are mostly spent on a montage of Kesi’s sabotage. There are no clues revealed, and no discussion.

Kesi shared that she was briefed before each mission, and thus knew what to expect or what to do. But we only see her actions in six tests:

  • Jungle: “I didn’t want to start sabotaging right away,” Kesi says. “My idea was to kill it and it worked”
  • Prison: Kesi wanted to “slow my team down” and says “of course I saw the key”
  • Bank Heist: Kesi says “my goal was to give them as little help as possible”
  • Mail Run: “collecting mail on the train, I couldn’t help myself” from dropping a bag, Kesi says
  • Chained Up: “only a player would want an exemption bad enough to steal it,” Kesi says, but of course that decision also cost the team money
  • Snowy mountains: Kesi decided to “sabotage right out in the open”

So there it is: Netflix’s The Mole season one/U.S. season six.

While it lacked a clear identity, over-used both ADR and confessionals with its players, and under-used its host, it was beautifully shot and had some fun tests and wild moments.

The show has been in Netflix’s top 10 this past week in the U.S., and in its premiere week, Oct. 10 to 16, it was the 10th most-popular Netflix TV show worldwide. I hope that means we’ll get a second season so it can grow into an even better version of one of the all-time-great reality TV formats.

The Mole recaps and spoilers

The Mole: recaps, analysis, and spoiler-filled discussion of The Netflix and ABC reality TV competition show that has one player working to sabotage the other players' attempts to earn money.

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  • Andy Dehnart is the creator of reality blurred and a writer and teacher who obsessively and critically covers reality TV and unscripted entertainment, focusing on how it’s made and what it means.

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Happy discussing!

John

Tuesday 25th of October 2022

By the time I came to the end of The Mole, I honestly didn't care who won or who played the mole. I liked the season at first, and early on I focused on Kesi only because she reminds me of some actor who's name I can't remember--no logical reason, in other words. What made this season challenging to care about, for me, was that every player at some point sabbotaged a mission, lost money that could have been won, or used money from the pot for their own gain. These are all acceptable strategic moves of the game, and these are the tasks the mole is supposed to execute. By the end, then, everyone had done the mole's work at some point, and one or two arguably did more sabbotage and lost more money than Kesi did, so what makes her "the mole" any more than the others? Only that the producers said "you're the mole." The players were for the most part individually likeable, but the constant focus on each of them trying to fool others into thinking they are the mole made the season less interesting, imho, at least.

Andy Dehnart

Tuesday 25th of October 2022

I think you've honed in here on the problem with the format: it incentivizes sabotage for everyone. You'd think the players would be incentivized to take money away from their potential prize, but they end up valuing their own safety in the game more than that money (e.g. Joi's $25,000 exemption—which was 10 percent of the total possible prize, and 25 percent of the actual prize!).

In the first season, especially, mole suspicion mostly came not from intentional sabotage, but because of normal screw-ups or discomfort with certain tasks (i.e. shaving one's head to earn money). I wonder if it's possible to find our way back to that.

Raphael

Sunday 23rd of October 2022

the season was soo bad and scripted… with obvious actors as contestants. I for a moment thiught the final 5 minutes it was a reveal of Joe Schmo and that the mole was actually the only true contestant thinking they were a mole for everyone else. Sad but I like my show idea better than what Netflix put out

AK

Sunday 23rd of October 2022

Overall, I came away from this season more positively than you. I feel sort of the opposite from your two biggest complaints: The tests were so visually stunning that I didn't really need any unifying theme. Australia and its incredible landscapes were identity enough. And I was ultimately fine with Alex's minimal presence, because I never felt she added much.

I do think the editing failed us. I wish we had spent less time in the confessionals and more with the players, since their relationships (and coalitions and suspicions) were such a driving part of the original series. But more importantly, I was also a bit baffled by how the final result played out. While you are right to point out that Kesi did a lot of obvious sabotage, I kept wondering about Will simply because Joi suspected him so deeply and still managed to stick around to the end. It started to convince that she must be on to something!

Anyway, Joi was a hoot. She definitely made this season. I loved watching her and I'm bummed she lost.

Zahra

Sunday 23rd of October 2022

Overall this was a pretty fun season to watch and I'm excited to hopefully watch season 2 if it gets renewed.

One of the issues of the show I think was that even though Kesi pretty successfully fooled the contestants, the production made it super obvious that she was the Mole to viewers. I was extremely surprised that really only Greg and finally Will at the end were certain Kesi was the Mole, even though she sabotaged so much and sometimes in really obvious ways (ice blocks, pole to grab money, and of course her inability to think critically during her critical thinker role in the bank heist). I was a little bit torn between her and Joi being the Mole, but one key thing that I couldn't overlook was Kesi's acting during confessionals. Kesi is the only contestant who's personality seemed to shift dramatically in the game. In the first half of the game she was almost always mellow during confessionals. Halfway through the game, her on screen personality totally changed and her acting during confessionals was much more animated and hard to believe. But maybe that's subjective because I suspected her.

Other than that, I thought the production was pretty decent and I enjoyed watching this season.

Xiu

Sunday 23rd of October 2022

@Zahra, It's as if producers didn't trust viewers to connect the dots on their own. That's why we got some elementary school edition of the show where everything was so overt and obvious. Kesi's sabotage during the ice block challenge was pathetic and I still cannot believe producers instructed her to sabotage in that way. They might as well have made her wear a shirt that read 'I am the Mole' accented with giant blinking Christmas lights.

Melissa

Sunday 23rd of October 2022

I really thought Joi was The Mole. Oh well. I'm glad Will won. Looking forward to your interviews on Monday.

Xiu

Sunday 23rd of October 2022

@Melissa, I knew Joi wasn't the Mole as soon as Dom was eliminated. It was obvious he voted for her after she cost the group $25,000 with her nonsensical bid. Dom even commented to Alex that what transpired during this challenge changed his suspect list. From then on I knew Joi was just a player and not a very good one at that. How she managed to make it to Top 3 is the real mystery for me. There is no way she was focused on Will as the Mole throughout until on the last quiz for some bizarre reason.