The Mole is back, baby!
It's been nearly 14 years since the franchise aired its last episode in the U.S. The Mole is one of the OG's in reality TV, and it's criminally underrated as one of the best/most addictive competitions to get you hooked.
Now, The Mole Season 6 Episode 1 is back with a sleek new look and 12 new players competing for the chance to win money. But more importantly, it's bringing out that big burning question: Who is The Mole?
One thing you'll notice during "Are You The Mole?" is the slight aesthetic shift compared to previous seasons in the franchise.
The Mole is still playing with the themes of espionage and betrayal. The background music plays with a crime noir influence, which has been a positive for the franchise. It makes us feel like James Bond, Sherlock Holmes, or Dick Tracy trying to hunt down an evil spy.
The differences come from the design changes. Like, the iconic green thumbprint has been replaced with a white version on an orange background, and this thumbprint is kept to the title card intro.
No more thumbprints marking the safety or eliminations of the players. This method is all kept to mobile phones flashing the sought-after green or the deadly red.
Plus, the confessionals are now housed in an "interrogation room" style, like investigators are interrogating the players. This theme differs from previous looks where players were in dark rooms under a single light or in settings based on the shooting location.
I'm enjoying these changes based on the season/series premiere. (For future discussion, we're gonna reference this season as The Mole Season 6. This season is the first season for Netflix, but it's the sixth season overall in the U.S. franchise, which includes the two celebrity seasons and the 2008 return.)
Each iteration of The Mole had added its flair to the competition. For instance, the first two seasons went for a serious crime noir/spy motif, while the 2008 version went for more of an agent/tech theme.
Dom: We’ve all this gear. We’ve got all this camping equipment. Let’s set up camp, ight?
Greg: Yes, Daddy!
This current 2022 style is introducing a modern touch. Case in point: replacing the big thumbprint screen with mobile phone eliminations.
We've got the modern tech influence, but the show still holds onto the spy element, albeit in a subtle fashion. More nods could be added in future episodes; for now, it's teasing us about what's to come.
Let's hope the espionage element comes out in full force. It's one aspect of The Mole that hooks us in.
Speaking of teasing, "Are You The Mole?" went fast-paced right out of the gate.
If anyone had to rewatch and pause so they could keep up with the introductions, you're not alone. Some players got extensive introductions, some small, and some not at all.
Sure, there are 12 players, and it would take too long to introduce them all. However, in a game about sabotage, it would've been nice to get a few seconds to learn about these players before they were thrown into their first mission.
A few times in the first half, I had to pause, look at my notes, and figure out each player. It got easier when I placed a name and occupation on a face. (The confessional tags helped!)
The first mission was a fun challenge that didn't require many skills, allowing us to get a closer view of each player.
It's a simple set-up of teaming up and finding something hidden in the jungle. In theory, if the groups just found their red cargo boxes, they could win easy money.
And The Mole wouldn't even need to sabotage much. Since the players were divided into three groups, it opened up the possibility of some groups winning and others losing.
In this case, that's what happened. We were treated to plenty of big suspicious moves, big wins, and even bigger losses, which is a great storyline for a round of The Mole.
Group #1 (the tall tree group) seemed the least suspicious.
They found their cargo package in the jungle, and they didn't have much trouble returning it. Plus, Dom, William, Kesi, and Avori all seemed to get along to put the mission first.
Though, Avori raised the most suspicious red flags.
How convenient that the one person with rock climbing experience ended up in the challenge with tree rappelling? And was she having that hard of a time untangling the knots from the bag?
She could've been biding her time by wasting minutes on the clock.
Group #3 (the underwater group) had some noticeable Mole-ish moments.
Greg seemed a little too eager to open up the advantage card. They would've found the underwater case if they had only looked to the side. It felt like he was trying to distract the group and waste money/time.
[In confessional] I was definitely a little bit suspicious. Opening the envelope is something that The Mole would want because $2,500 less than $5,000 is still a success in the eyes of The Mole.Pranav
Also, Casey was quick to agree with Greg. Sometimes the saboteur isn't the biggest focus on the screen; it could be the person in the background making the subtle decisions.
She helped that group spend the money.
At least they found their case, but Greg, Casey, and even Pranav (who played it subtly, too) came off very suspicious. Jacob was too focused on winning the mission.
On the other hand, Group #2 (the down-low group) was a mess! Who doesn't check the advantage when they're that lost?!
It felt like a combination of bad luck and bad decisions.
Sure, Joi wasn't familiar with the jungle, but she would've known how to read a map better. Osei got defensive about not using the supplies and advantage in his bag.
[In confessional] I’m starting to get real suspicious because I’m like, “Yo, you a pilot! Why are we lost?” We’re in the middle of the jungle and Joi is supposed to be our Dora the Explorer. And we ain’t exploring nothing! Either she’s lying or she’s really The Mole.Osei
And Samara and Sandy played it so under the radar that it's hard to tell if they were being The Mole or not. Simply letting Joi and Osei take them off the right path would've lost them the round anyway.
The Mole didn't have to try with this group.
Do you trust William after the big twist reveal?
William looked like a great guy after completing his secret mission of stealing the case. It doubled the group's prize for that cargo package, earning him some good favor.
[In confessional] As soon as I see Will, my heart just sinks. Either he’s a good liar or I’m an idiot.Dom
However, I agree with Joi and Samara about their suspicions. A move like this was meant to subvert paranoia and have people doubt William. We'll have to keep our eyes on him.
There's no hard evidence yet that William is The Mole. He could've been the lucky one who found the mission on the plane. However, even The Mole themself can be instructed by the producers to play a specific role or get the clue.
And since William is one of the remaining three people who hasn't heard their quiz results, the suspicion could be for nothing.
Between Joi, Osei, and William, anyone's guess who could be going home. All three were major characters during "Are You The Mole?"
Joi did let it slip in her voiceover that she thought William was The Mole. So if she's eliminated, it can't be him. If she stays and he goes, it's someone who did similar things to William (i.e., from a winning group, etc.).
Though, this could all be a red herring and Osei leaves, which will keep us guessing further. Cliffhangers love to toy our minds like this!
Last Thoughts From The Mole:
Alex Wagner seems like a good host; she's going for a friendly and relatable approach. No one will top Anderson Cooper as the best host in the franchise, though.
Dom and William might be the first pair to start a coalition soon (i.e., The Mole's wording of an alliance). They got buddy-buddy very fast.
Greg will be the confessional star; he isn't holding back. We love to see it.
- The villa in the jungle looked gorgeous!
Now, over to you, Mole fans!
What did you think of "Are You The Mole?"
Which player was acting the most suspiciously? Which of the three missions would you have joined? Who is your top suspect?
The Mole is available is stream now on Netflix.
Justin Carreiro was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on X.