The Mole season 2 episode 1 recap: Let the games begin

The Mole season 2 cast
(Image credit: Netflix)

The first episode, “Nobody’s Safe”, starts season 2 of The Mole. In the reality competition, 12 contestants take on missions to accumulate money for a prize pot. But one contestant is the Mole, sabotaging the missions and hoping to win for themselves. 

The episode begins with a variety of season 2’s contestants sitting in an interrogation room being posed the question, "Are you the Mole?" to which Neesh replies, "I could be," before other contestants follow suit denying their role. 

But one of them is lying. And thus starts the hunt for season 2’s Mole.

Meet the contestants

Atop a helipad in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Ari Shapiro joins as this season’s host, taking over from Alex Wagner. In a highlight reel of what lies ahead, there’s missions from great heights, in depths of water, across laser-filled rooms, and even a hunt in a container yard to build a prize pot that only one winner will take home. Within their midst, a double agent, The Mole, trying to sabotage these missions to prevent them from making money with inside information they can use to their advantage.

To begin the game, the contestants are in the napier grass fields of Western Malaysia. And this is also where the introductions to season 2’s contestants begin. First, Muna, a software engineer. Then Hannah, a marketing consultant. She says, “people assume that I’m a dumb blonde, and I just kind of let them.” Then Andy, a 65-year-old forensic accountant, reaches the clearing. Followed shortly by Quaylyn, or Q, a bus driver. Then Deanna, who viewers might recognise from Don’t F**k with Cats, the “patron saint” of internet sleuths. Michael, a parking manager, and Sean, a retired undercover cop. Stay-at-home mom, Ryan, joins after. Then, Jen, a program analyst. Tony, a VIP host. Melissa, a poker player. Neesh, a marketer. And that's the 12 contestants competing in this season of The Mole.

While they stand in the clearing, a camera shot highlights heat spots in the surrounding grass that the 12 contestants cannot see. All they have is some well-used barrels. Until, host Ari appears. He lays out the game rules and addresses the Mole amongst them. And, here’s our first twist. Ari explains that the game is about to begin, but will every contestant be joining them. In the grass, there’s something that could turn the game on its head before it’s even begun. Five masked figures emerge from the grass. They’re the Intruders who missed out on the top 12 and are there to fight for a spot.

The first mission

The Mole season 2 Neesh

Neesh's hand goes up immediately (Image credit: Netflix)

An assault course is carved into the field. The Intruders must get through the course and take a place in the car at the end, and, ultimately, a place in the game. The players must use paintball guns to take them out. If they successfully take them all out, $20,000 goes to the prize pot. But, they need a leader. Neesh’s hand goes up immediately. With great power comes great responsibility though as the contestants are told if one Intruder makes it through, the spot they’ll be taking is from the leader. Neesh changes his mind. 

They’ve got five minutes to pick a leader. Do it within the five minutes, an extra $10,000 goes to the prize pot. Fail to choose, no $10,000 and the leader gets chosen at random. The players propose a vote as the only fair way to choose. First up, Melissa votes for Neesh and every single player follows suit (apart from Neesh, who votes for Jen). Tony says, “At this point, it’s just a bandwagon.” $10,000 gets added to the prize pot, but Neesh looks nervous.

So, the game begins. The Intruders are padlocked to their starting position and while they struggle to get free by figuring out a four-letter word as the code, Neesh can walk the course and set his defense. Ari says it takes on average eight minutes and he’s given them a clue, “The search is on.”

A 30-minute timer starts. The course is split into three zones. First up, the slingshots. Neesh sets Q up for shooting and Muna has his comms and reloads. Sean as shooter number two and Hannah as comms and reloads. As Neesh remembers, “anyone could be the Mole” and so, someone in a position is there to sabotage.

Next, the tower. A hidden gun in the grass has a perfect shot of the tower as the Intruders climb to get the key that unlocks the waiting cars. To stabilize and aim the gun, Neesh needs a team. Andy says he’s good at archery so takes the gun. Michael and Tony on support alongside Melissa on comms and extra support.

Finally, three paintball guns on the final defense. The catch; only ten bullets per gun. Neesh puts himself last for the last chance at saving his spot. He puts his trust in Jen and then Ryan, he says, “Ryan hasn’t said a word this entire time,” which raises his suspicions. Because of this, he puts her right next to her to keep an eye. 

In the final zone, they also have a screen showing a drone in the sky with a birds-eye view of the whole course. He plays sleuth Deanna on this to report comms to the whole team about the Intruders’ whereabouts.

Throughout this, the Intruders are trying to crack the code. And as the players wait in anticipation, the first Intruder cracks the code, “hunt” and shares it with the others. So, one-by-one the Intruders start invading the course. Over walkie-talkies, the team calls out their shots.

All five Intruders gather in the first safe zone, located between zones 1, 2, and 3. Sean and Hannah wait on slingshot one, Q and Muna on slingshot two. The Intruders decide to all run at the same time. And they miss every single shot. 

With all five Intruders through, it’s onto zone two. For this part, they have shields and smoke bombs to form their strategy. They throw their smoke bombs all around the tower, and up at the top where the key dangles. Andy holds the sniper, instructing his team to line him up for the shot. The first Intruder gets hit. For the second, Andy asks to be swiveled right and his team, Tony, Michael, and Hannah turn him left. They then make the same mistake again and again. Andy is suspicious, but Michael blames his feet sliding in the mud. Unfortunately, the second Intruder gets the key and unlocks the cars.

Four Intruders through to the final zone and the finish line is in sight. Final defense is Neesh, Jen, and Ryan on the paintball guns, with Deanna on comms. Only the first to make it to the car earns a place in the game. The Intruders decide to go one at a time. They throw in their remaining smoke bombs. Ten bullets each for defense. Ryan uses six, but successfully takes one Intruder out. The next Intruder comes through. Jen shoots all ten paintball bullets, but the sacrifice is worth it as she gets the Intruder out.

Two Intruders remain. Neesh has six bullets and Ryan has four. Jen doesn’t tell Neesh she has no bullets left. Neesh fires his remaining six bullets and hits the Intruder leaving one Intruder in the game. For this, Ryan is the only one with a bullet, but she only has one. Considering Neesh was suspicious of Ryan, he says, “She really could just miss on purpose. I would never know.” But, she doesn’t. One bullet equals one direct hit and the final Intruder is out. Neesh is saved and he no longer has suspicions over Ryan.

Every contestant seems happy to have won, but whoever the Mole is among them won’t be happy. There’s $30,000 in the prize pot and Ari congratulates the team, adding, “Can I just have a word with the Mole? You better step up.”

Suspicions grows

The Mole season 2 Hannah

Hannah is suspicious (Image credit: Netflix)

Hannah is suspicious that Neesh got the last four Intruders out of the game so easily. Regardless, the 12 contestants get in the cars to go to their base and conversations continue about what went down in the field and everyone’s wondering why the slingshots didn’t take any Intruders out. Andy raises questions around the confusion over his directions with Tony saying that Mike was pulling it, but that it was so hard to do that he didn’t think it was intentional.

The contestants arrive at their impressive villa. It’s in sorting out rooms that friendships start to form. Jen, Hannah, and Tony are the first to have made friends and decide to share a room. They explore the villa and get dressed up for drinks. But, Jen spots a telephone booth placed suspiciously outside and it starts to ring. Ari is calling and Jen picks up. Unfortunately, it’s not happy news as he tells Jen that tonight, the contestants will face their first elimination quiz. Whoever knows the least about the Mole will be going home. He tells her that the group must now decide who they all think the three most trustworthy players are. They’ll each be given a choice; help the group, or help themselves. If they choose the group, $5,000 gets added to the prize pot. If they help themselves, they get an advantage in the quiz.

The phone will ring for each trustworthy player to come and give their answer. Mike proposes taking one person from each of the mission’s zones. Hannah confidently puts her faith in Muna from team slingshot and the players agree. Jen puts forward Tony, her newfound friend, and everyone agrees. Jen also nominates Deanna from the final zone group and everyone agrees. Although, Q is not so sure.

The phone starts ringing and Deanna is first up. She dials 1 for cash and comes out to tell everyone. Tony goes in next and also picks 1. Then, it’s Muna. She goes against the group’s decision to stick together and takes the advantage, dialing 2. But, the cash would only get added if all three players chose it. She comes out and tells everyone she “100% chose the cash.”

Ari joins them once again and they all sit around the dinner table. Ari reveals that no money has been added to the pot, meaning someone took the advantage. While we know who it is, the players don’t. Out of nowhere, Tony says, “I said no to the money,” in a mistake that puts a target on his back. Muna tells the camera, “I didn’t fly all the way to Malaysia to play nice,” while continuing to deny her guilt.

The elimination quiz

It's time for the elimination quiz and each player must answer 20 questions about the Mole’s actions and identity. Whoever gets the most wrong is eliminated. Each contestant sits down at a computer to complete the quiz from “Did the Mole shoot a paintball gun in the first mission?” to directly, “Who is the Mole?”

Once completed, Ari gathers the players. Each contestant is told they’ll get a message on their phone. If the phone lights up green, they’re safe. If it’s red, they’re eliminated. Ari goes through each contestant one-by-one. Muna, Hannah, Tony, Ryan, Sean, Michael, Melissa, Andy, and Q all turn green. That leaves three people; Neesh, Jen, and Deanna. But, before we find out… the episode ends.

Grace Dean
Freelance Writer

Grace has been writing about TV and film for most of her journalism career. After graduating, she's been a YouTube presenter, tech showrunner, and head of short-form content, including podcasts for Audible, comedy shorts for the BBC, and entertainment shorts on ITV2 and Ch5. When she's not writing about entertainment, she's most certainly watching it. Her favorites shows include Succession, Bridgerton, and Brooklyn Nine-Nine and movies include Forrest Gump, Love in the Time of Cholera, and the OG Total Recall. In her spare time (of which she has little with two small kids), you'll also find her reading books or playing video games.