The Block has reached the end of another series! This year a group of couples faced the daunting challenge of converting a hotel shaped like a stop sign into a luxury apartment building, and I face the equally daunting challenge of watching the last episode and jotting down some thoughts about it.
Let's dive in!
We open with a shot of the Un-Blocked hotel, accompanied by the caption “South Yarra: 11 Weeks Ago”. Has it only been eleven weeks? It feels like a lifetime. Relationships have ended! Cities have risen and fallen! Doctor Who got good then bad then good again!
Scotty Cam—in voiceover which was likely recorded from a throne of Logies that sits atop a pile of money—gives us a quick recap of the season so far, mentioning all of the couples and their marketing-approved nicknames; Whitney and Andy, the Reno Rookies. Suzi and Vonni, the Gold Coast Mums. Luke and Ebony, the Second Chance Siblings. Caro and Kingi, the Only People Who Seem to Know What They’re Doing. Dean and Shay, um… Dean and Shay.
After running us through the challenges they’ve completed so far, which could’ve been summed up a lot quicker as “rushing a bunch of rooms even though they certainly expect people to pay for rooms that really had some time spent on them”, we’re brought up to the present(ish) and find the contestants ready to face Auction Day… or should I say “Block-tion Day”?! (No.)
All of our competing couples are hoping to win big money, joining the ranks of previous The Block champions like Alisa and Lysandra, who won The Block: Sky High, Agnes and Ezekial, who won The Block: 1876, and Krazmet and Bleep-4, who took out the top prize in The Block: Space Station Alpha.
The Blockheads meet Scotty Cam at Block HQ, where the proceedings kick off with Suzi apologising for any regrets she’s caused, thanking the team for their support and pledging to get the help she needs. It’s a genuinely touching moment and the best possible response to her tabloid embarrassment. I don’t have a joke here because I’m not a goddamned monster.
Scotty then explains to the contestants that they have to find the keys to the safes which hold their reserve prices in a 3D virtual rendering of their apartments, or something. Of all the ways in which The Block has tried to pad out the auction episode by adding random bits of filler, this is one of the better ones. I give it a B+.
Eventually, all of the contestants find their keys. Scotty presents it as a race, although the reserves have already been set so I don’t know what the contestants think is up for grabs. Maybe the winner gets to decide the site for next year’s Block. I suggest an abandoned asylum, preferably with a number of ghosts (like, more than a dozen). This show has been running for a while and really needs a shot in the arm. A shot… of TERROR!
Actually, they can just copy the pattern set by American Horror Story for a while. The Block: Asylum. The Block: Coven. The Block: Freak Show. I’ll be sitting here waiting for my cheque, Channel Nine.
The reserves range from $1.3 million to $1.6 million. Remember, the difference between the reserve and the selling price represents the contestants’ winnings, and also remember, you shouldn’t care about that fact and have no good reason to remember it.
The Blockheads get all dressed up, befitting the formality inherent in a televised celebration of rampant capitalism. Ebony looks especially nice. That’s not relevant to proceedings, but I’m throwing it in in case Ebony or someone from the styling crew at The Block is reading. Nice work!
Once they're properly fancy, the Blockheads face the crowds. The ravenous, bloodthirsty crowds. The Blocktagon is our sept, and we are all Ned Stark.
Once the great unwashed have gotten their piece of flesh, in the form of being able to say that maybe they’ll be on TV for a second over Whitney’s shoulder and behind some dumb sign, the auctions begin.
Caro and Kingi’s ground floor apartment goes first, with a reserve price of $1.33 million. After a round of heated bidding and even more heated reaction shots, it goes for $1.735 million, leaving Caro and Kingi with a profit of $405,000. That is more money than I have or will likely ever have, so I am filled with rage at these people. It is not rational, I admit that. I am a freelance writer who fashions shoes out of newspaper and makes a single can of baked beans last all week.
Suzi and Vonni, the Gold Coast Mums/Walking Tanning Salon Commercial, are up next. Shelley explains that their situation is a little different because they’re splitting the money down the middle, but nobody mentions that Andrew and Whitney are in the same situation. In fact, Andrew and Whitney’s situation is even worse; not only does the recently-separated couple have to split any winnings, but they’re each getting three seasons of Lost on DVD and half a cat.
Suzi and Vonni’s third floor apartment has a reserve of $1.48 million and sells for $1.83 million, leaving them with a profit of $349,000. It’s less money than Kingi and Caro received, but still a lot more than I have, so my rage has not yet subsided. I’ll be sure to keep you updated if it ever does.
Dean and Shay’s penthouse apartment is the next cab off the rank. Their reserve is set at $1.645 million, and a bidding war quickly erupts. It’s very exciting, especially when the bidding cracks the 2 million mark. That’s like a million, but… two of them! A double million! I didn’t even know that was possible!
A bunch of other numbers are yelled out until the apartment goes for $2.3 million, leaving Dean and Shay with $655,000 profit. The big lesson here is that these guys were extremely lucky to wind up with the penthouse, or maybe they have a wizard’s spell in their corner.
Next up is Whitney and Andy’s level two apartment. The apartment, which had a reserve of $1.4 million, goes for $1.79 and leaves the Reno Rookies with $390,000 to soothe their battered hearts.
Just to check in: The Rage Meter is still in the red.
Which leaves Luke and Ebony as the final team to have the result of their blood, sweat and tears quantified in a cold dollar figure like so many car parts or bags of onions.
Their reserve is $1.56 million, and their first bid is $1.61. Following that bid, though, bidding stops entirely. Luke and Ebony, it should be pointed out, gave up their first spot in the auction order for Caro and Kingi, leaving them with the fifth spot. The lesson here, people, is never be nice to anybody.
After an insufferably long delay, bidding kicks off. Ebony starts crying, and I do not for a second blame her (she still looks great, FYI). Eventually, their apartment goes for a ton of money. I stopped paying attention and forgot to write down the number. Look, they got a whole bunch of money, okay? Just be happy for them.
Ultimately, Dean and Shay won, taking home more money than I am worth. I’m filled with resentment, but I’m forcing myself to be happy for these people.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be over here eating one seventh of a can of baked beans.
Daniel Hall is a screenwriter and pop-culture commentator who has written about a variety of shows for a variety of websites.
Twitter - @danieljohnhall