Paul Grassi becomes the ninth player executed from 'The Mole'
By Christopher Rocchio, 07/29/2008
Nerves got the best of Paul Grassi for the first time duringThe Mole's fifth season.
The 29-year-old machinist from Yonkers, NY became the ninth player executed fromThe Mole's fifth season during last night's broadcast of the ABC reality series.
"I kind of had a feeling," said Paul after his ouster. "I think every aspect of this game I'm going to look back on and say it was a great experience. I met a bunch of great people here, and I learned from them. I learned dhow much my family really means to me. No matter what that money could have been, I'm still a rich man."
The Mole's eighth fifth-season episode began following the previous execution of Clay Cauley, with a total of $331,000 currently in the pot.
"I only have two more people to knock out to take home a lot of money," said Paul.
Still in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the four remaining players then met host Jon Kelley at an abandoned mill for their next mission, where $64,000 could potentially be added to the pot.
Jon asked two of the players to identify themselves as "young at heart," which was done by Paul and Craig, a 31-year-old graphic designer San Diego, CA. Paul said he chose to be "young at heart" to keep an eye on Craig, who's his "top suspect."
However Paul and Craig were eventually split, with Paul instead being teamed with Mark, a 42-year-old high school history teacher and soccer coach from Mukwonago, WI, and Craig being teamed with Nicole, a 32-year-old OBGYN doctor from Chicago, IL.
Titled "How's the View?" each team would be participating in an obstacle course for kids. The "young at heart" players would be wearing "My View" goggles, which would be linked to a video camera that would be operated by their partner.
What the camera sees, the person wearing the goggles would see. However since it's a mirror image, it would be backwards. While Mark and Nicole would be operating the cameras, they would not be able to speak.
For the first part of the mission, the "young at heart" players were required to fit three shapes into corresponding puzzle holes in only one minute. Paul thought he would have an advantage since he could blame Mark for any mistakes, however he quickly realized the task was difficult on his end too.
"It was a lot harder than it seemed," opined Paul.
Despite the difficulty, Paul still fit all of the shapes into the puzzle for a total of $3,000. Craig also correctly fit all three shapes into the puzzle, however he asked Nicole a question at one point and she responded, meaning only two of the pieces counted for a total of $2,000.
The next task would see the "young at heart" players kicking a soccer ball into a net, with each ball worth $4,500. Both Paul and Craig missed on each of their kicks, and no money was added to the pot.
The third task had the "young at heart" players attempting to pour tea into four small cups, with each successfully filled cup worth $2,500.
Paul accused Mark of doing "funny things" with the camera and called it "suspicious activity," however he was still able to fill two cups for $5,000. Craig was very clumsy during the task, spilling tea and bumping the table to make even more of a mess. He was able to correctly fill one cup for $2,500.
The final task in the mission had the "young at heart" players having to walk across a narrow board suspended two stories above the ground. Halfway on the board was a piece of chalk, which the player would have to pick up. Once the chalk was retrieved the player had one minute to get to the other side and copy a written message on a chalkboard.
Despite complaining that there was constant "interference" on his goggle's feed, Paul was still able to successfully complete the mission and add another $10,000 to the pot. Craig wasn't as fearless, as his vertigo and dislike for heights immediately put him at a disadvantage. While he retrieved the chalk, he never made it across the beam to the other side in time.
Paul and Mark collected a total of $18,000 during the mission, while Craig and Nicole were only able to secure $4,500 -- adding $22,500 to the pot and bringing it to a total of $353,500.
That night at dinner Nicole expressed her suspicions about Craig to Paul. Despite the fact Paul was also suspicious of Craig, he decided to throw Nicole off track.
"Craig is my top suspect," Paul said in a subsequent confessional. "But if I can cast any doubt in Nicole's mind, I'm going to try to do it."
The four remaining players then met Jon for their next mission, and he revealed the fifth season's final exemption would be on the line.
Titled "Cell Out," each player would have to choose a cell numbered one through four, which they would then be locked in. Once inside the players had to complete a doublet puzzle, which would release them from the cell.
The players would then have to maneuver a paintball obstacle course, however the first player out of his or her cell would be operating a gun. The player working the gun would be shooting at the other players, one of which would carry the exemption. If the gunman hit the player with the exemption, they would win it.
For each player to complete the obstacle course without being hit by the gunman, $15,000 would be added to the pot.
The challenge commenced and Mark breezed through the doublet, completing it in 53 seconds. He would have a shot at exemption as the mission's gunman.
"I've never played a game of competitive paintball in my life," he opined.
Nicole got out of her cell next, followed by Craig. The two decided to wait to attempt the course until Paul was released since he had previous experience playing paintball. However it took Paul several minutes to finally figure out the doublet, so Craig and Nicole were kept waiting.
Once all three players were outside their cells, they discussed strategy for attacking the course. They decided to work as a team and attempt to prevent Mark from claiming the exemption at all costs. As they leapfrogged from cover to cover, Mark eventually hit Paul in the chest. However the paintball didn't break so it didn't count, making Mark frustrated.
Mark used that aggression to hit Nicole and eliminate her from the mission, however Paul used it as an opportunity to make a break for the finish, and he got their successfully. Craig wasn't as lucky, as he was almost immediately tagged by Mark.
The mission netted $15,000 for the pot, bringing its total to $368,500. Jon then revealed it was Craig who had been carrying the exemption, meaning Mark had claimed it and would be safe from execution at the upcoming quiz.
"It was just like an enormous weight being lifted off my shoulders," said Mark. "I've got a 50/50 shot at all the money now. I couldn't be happier."
Paul wasn't happy, and he threw a tantrum about the way Mark collected exemption -- which Jon revealed had been assigned to one of the players based on the number cell they chose at the beginning of the mission.
"It doesn't seem right that an exemption is given at this point in the game," said Paul. "We made it this far with our wits, and in the last round an exemption is given out and it's like you're getting a free pass. It eats me from inside, out. Horrible."
The four remaining players shared a meal together before The Mole's eighth fifth-season quiz took place -- with each of the players answering 10 questions about the mole. The player who scored the lowest on the quiz would be executed and would be required to leave the game immediately.
"For the first time in this competition, I'm a little nervous. Tonight is the biggest night of this entire trip. It culminates everything we've done so far, said Paul.
"I think it's Craig. He's been my top suspect since Day 1. Could it be one of the other two players? Of course. But all of my suspicions, all of my gut instincts lead me to Craig and that's what I'm sticking with."
The 10 questions on the seventh quiz were is the mole male or female; where was the mole standing from Jon's perspective during the "How's the View?" mission; what was the mole wearing during "How's the View?;" was the mole a "young at heart" player during "How's the View?;" in what order did the mole's team participate in "How's the View?;" where was the mole standing from Jon's perspective during the "Cell Out" mission; in what cell number was the mole locked up during "Cell Out;" what role did the mole play during "Cell Out;" where was the mole successfully hit with a paintball during "Cell Out;" and who is the mole.
Jon then revealed that Paul was executed.
"The minute Mark got that exemption, I knew that exemption killed me," said Paul.
The Mole's penultimate fifth-season episode will air Monday, August 4 at 10PM ET/PT on ABC.
(Photo credit ABC)
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