The first assignment took place on three fronts: in a tourist town on the riverbank, where Anke haphazardly asked the locals who would consider a quick seesaw with her or else would pull her finger; in a hotel room, where Bert and Nele organized a competition for Communicating Next to Each Other, counting M&Ms and emptying glasses of wine; and at a depth of twelve meters, where the ghostly statues of Jason deCaires Taylor formed the underwater viewing piece of the Museo Atlántico, and where the quartet Yens† Uma† Sven and Emmanuelle ‘Le grand bleu’-wise descended into the depths. According to time-honoured tradition, all those parts of the assignment were closely linked in a way that even I started to get the idea by the time that – all in all fairly smoothly – 2,850 euros ended up in the pot.
So far, Manu has kept a relatively low profile – if you can still call having a panic attack up to five times at a depth of two meters, ‘relatively low’. It was only the next day that she emerged as an amateur astronomer, top basketball player and balance icon.
That’s how it was: for the second assignment, the candidate file went to the mighty volcanic landscape of the Parque Nacional de Timanfaya, where they undertook a trip in lunar carts. Along the way, they had to store as many space-related facts as possible, while passing each other’s filtered urine (bland: in hindsight: water with a lick of vinegar) on the back. It is here that Manu was allowed to go loco. First of all she was for Philippe a fellow passenger about as pleasant and calming as a baby just teething on a transatlantic flight with turbulence. “You’re very… domineering,” he tried carefully as she checked Mericulus’s location for the twenty-eighth time. Her study method sounded like non-stop slam poetry. Philippe couldn’t get through. And yet the duo stopped at just about every placard, blocking the passage of best player Sven, whether intentionally or not. At the first possible opportunity, poor Philippe ran and dashed off with Uma.
The physical tests the candidates had to complete along the way made for the funniest scenes ever in a TV show about saboteurs, if I forget the whole first season of ‘The Traitors’ – which I have tried many times in recent days, by the way. to do. In particular, the test in which the candidates were shaken by a revolving chair and then had to jump over a wooden slat blindfolded, produced scenes that you do not see after a night out in the Overpoort. Undisputed highlight: Yens, whose glasses seem to get rounder with each episode, Sven and – of course! – Manu who gave an incredible imitation of Gunther Schepens who walks from his car to his front door at night, and thus ends up in his backyard.
The fact that this assignment ultimately yielded the full 4,000 euros can be called a small miracle: Marcske from ‘FC De Kampioenen’ who randomly kicked into the intersection during the most important match of the season. Inside is inside.
The closing was a film with Frank Focketyn (his arrival was announced a little bit with a quote from ‘The Island’), after which he gave his opinion about the acting qualities of the candidates as the wonderful character head that he is. The verdict: only Bert, Nele and – drum roll – Manu could, in his opinion, be the mole. Strange that not Anke, but a species Meryl Streep on speed, was not stopped by him.
Nele is out. I really can’t believe it – even Mericulus – about Manu. Football players who are bribed also do not score five own goals in the first fifteen minutes. And so only Bert remains. Game on.