Netflix’s ‘The Mole’ is Back with an Adrenaline Pumping Season 2

I’ve mentioned before in many of my articles that I grew up on musicals, thanks to my mother and grandmother. That was a large part of my childhood; however, as much as we were a Broadway family, the Kitson household was also big on game shows. Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy, and The Price is Right; we would watch them frequently as a family, attempting to figure out the puzzles or answer the questions faster than anyone in the family and on the screen. One of my favorite game shows was The Mole on ABC, hosted by the handsome and mysterious Anderson Cooper.

My family was obsessed with the series. We would gather intensely around the television with notebooks and highlighters, deciphering clues and trying to find out who was sabotaging the game for every other player. The Mole was so beloved that long after it went off the air, we would talk about how much we loved the show and how they should bring it back. Imagine our shock and excitement when Netflix rebooted the series during the global pandemic. The reality game show we knew so well was back with a slightly new format, but all the excitement and intensity was back for our binging. 

With just under a two-year break between the first season of the rebooted The Mole and this current one, it’s been a long wait. The first five episodes of the new season are here with another new host but the same out adrenaline-fueled fun. Continue to find out what I thought of the first flight of episodes of the second season of The Mole.

[Warning: There are light spoilers from the first five episodes of The Mole season 2 below.]

New host, same The Mole

When the first season of Netflix’s reboot aired, a new journalist took over The Mole’s hosting duties, with Alex Wagner stepping into the shoes of Anderson Cooper, Ahmad Rashad, and Jon Kelley. The show itself saw a change in the format, with the elimination quizzes not ending each episode. Instead, The Mole feels more like The Circle, where episodes would end with intense cliffhangers, making audiences want to consume one more to find out what happens. It’s an intelligent concept that Netflix utilizes for its reality competition series, which lends itself well to the streaming giant.

This format holds firm with the second season, but unfortunately, Alex Wagner hasn’t returned for another outing as The Mole, passing the hosting baton to Ari Shapiro. As someone who doesn’t like change in the slightest (and truly who does?), I was hesitant about Shapiro when he first stepped onto the field to greet the players. Who was this new guy, and where was Wagner? I hadn’t realized hosts were changing from one season of The Mole to another, so Shapiro’s appearance caught me off guard.

Ari Shapiro The Mole
Ari Shapiro. The Mole. Image courtesy of Netflix.

It didn’t take long for me to feel comfortable with Shapiro as the new host. I’m unsure if it was on purpose, but he reminded me so much of Anderson Cooper that it felt more like a return to form than a change to something new. Don’t get me wrong, Shapiro is nothing like Cooper, as the former feels a bit more animated than the latter, who tends to be more reserved. There’s an energy to Shapiro that fits well with the show’s concept, adding even more mystery and intrigue to the series. I truly hope that Shapiro sticks around for more than just this season, as he feels like the perfect choice for the host of The Mole.

What is The Mole and what’s new with season 2 on Netflix?

For those who are unfamiliar with the series, don’t worry; we’re here to break it all down for you. The Mole is a game of sabotage and espionage, as 12 players must work together to build up a bank of prize money. What 11 of the players don’t know is that one of them was chosen by producers to be the mole, whose sole purpose in the game is to make the bank as low as possible without getting caught.

Throughout the game (it used to be at the end of each episode when the series was on ABC), all the players must take a 20-question quiz about who they think the mole is. They’ll be asked questions such as “What role did the mole take in the game earlier in the day?” or “What color shirt was the mole wearing at dinner?” The player who gets the most questions wrong is out of the game, and the rest must carry on until only three are left standing. Much like Survivor, contestants must work together to make it through the day, but you never know who you can trust, which adds to the nervous energy of the series.

The Mole
Host Ari Shapiro and contestants. The Mole. Image courtesy of Netflix.

This season of The Mole sees the players travel across Malaysia, which has a variety of settings in which games are played. From fields of crops to skyscrapers to even shipping yards, the 12 players must shift through loads of information about their fellow players and use their critical thinking skills to gather as much money as possible. Along the way, temptation is everywhere, with exemptions and knowledge about other players lying in wait. But these always come with a price, usually money from the collective pot.

Our players are an eclectic bunch of people from a variety of backgrounds. Fans of true crime dramas may recognize one face, Deanna Thompson, from Netflix’s limited series Don’t F**k with Cats; however, the other players range in age from 23 to 65 and have jobs such as Bus Driver and Software Engineer. Everyone thinks they have what it takes to win the game, but do they have the gall to figure out who The Mole is? We’re only five episodes and four eliminations in, and the excitement has never been higher.

Why The Mole should be on your watch list

One of the best parts of The Mole is that it’s perfect for anyone. From young to old, there’s fun to be had for everyone. My mother, nephew, and I watch each episode as soon as they drop on Netflix, working as a group to piece information together. It’s a moment in time when we all put down our phones and screens, existing together and enjoying every second of it. If you’re a fan of shows where you have to solve crimes or figure out puzzles, then The Mole is the perfect series for you, as it hits all the right beats, giving viewers the sweet high of dopamine. The second season of Netflix’s reboot is stronger than its first, as the contestants are more cutthroat, along with the charming Ari Shapiro, which makes for some excellent television. So if you haven’t tuned in this season so far, catch up on The Mole soon cause you won’t want all the surprises to be spoiled!

The Mole is now streaming on Netflix.

Learn more about it at Netflix’s site for the show.

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