The BlockMon-Fri 7pm, Ch9

The birthday boy has to make himself tidy.

There’s been tears, trauma, triumph, tragedy & testosterone on The Block already, and we’re less than a week in. Things aren’t going to be too much different as we look at what could have been another day working hard on the houses by the couples, as instead they’re off to Scotty’s Workshop for a challenge. At least there’s some cash involved.

Living a on a construction site is proving to be a challenge for some of the contestants already. Be it a tarp flapping, the wind blowing, whatever. Andrew & Michael are feeling run down; Lara’s convinced someone else was in their house last night (Brad, maybe?); and someone left the heater on in Dan & Dani’s place. Last night Scotty warned the teams there’d be a challenge today and that there’d be the promise of money for the winner so the teams were all a little excited by the prospect.

Andrew & Michael have come up with an architectural monstrosity; Dan & Dani have some ideas but are keeping them pretty close; Brad & Lara are hoping to continue their winning ways with the challenge this morning by delivering a mirror; and Dale & Sophie haven’t really come up with anything but they’re confident some idea will magically appear in their heads before challenge time. Magically.

Dale & Sophie have found some time pre-challenge to go looking for some retro (read: mismatched) dining chairs for their front room, and Dale’s determination of good is sitting on them and seeing if he feels hungry. This is a sound methodology and further research funding should be allocated to this process. From the chairs they’ve selected their room styling will be quickly called into question. Brad & Lara are also out shopping, but they’re looking for a couch. Brad’s proving to be precious over the choice of couch (isn’t Lara the one who can’t make a decision?) but it’s when they are TV shopping we’re introduced to Brad’s precious side. “He cries during The Notebook,” says Lara with far too much pleasure. “I never cried in The Notebook,” retorts Brad. “Actually… I nearly cried in Top Gun when Goose got killed.”

Back at site, Scotty’s ready to hand out keys to the cars the couples will have access to – but before all that, Happy 28th Birthday to Dan. The car sponsor this year is Suzuki, but there’s no car allocated to couples like last year – they’re all loaners available to all couples, they just have to pick the best car for the job at hand. Of course the couples will head off in them now to get to the Workshop. The first bit of amazeballs is the cars all work on proximity tags for starting – you just need the dongle in the car and you can start it. Sophie’s amazed, but then it doesn’t take much to amaze our little innocent Sophie.

Brad cried during The Notebook. What a girl.

Over in Scotty’s Workshop – the “Colosseum of Carpentry” – the teams arrive and Dan’s particularly excited. Suck up. For this challenge: the teams have five hours to complete their piece, a $250 budget, and 20 minutes to draw up a detailed set of plans before they start. Seems reasonable. The winners get $1,000 towards their reno budget, and everyone gets a new piece for their room. The winners ALSO get the One Point trophy, which allows them to throw one point on top of their judged scores at any time during the comp which may mean they snatch victory where they may have lost or tied. “Many rooms in the past have been won and lost by half a point,” says Scotty. This is a very smart strategic play by the producers and it mixes up what might happen in weeks to come.

The teams get into drawing up their plans – Dale & Sophie have settled (Sophie begrudgingly) on a timber wall hanging, Dan & Dani are delivering some bedside tables, Andrew & Michael their curved shelving monstrosity and Brad & Lara a framed mirror. Dan’s not taking the sketching part too seriously as he’s got it all in his head. Doesn’t sound like a Tradie at all. Pencils down and everyone’s pretty pleased with their sketches, as everyone’s gonna be working on their own piece, right? WRONG!

Just as Scotty was gonna get them started, he announces they won’t be building their own projects. A TWIST! “Sophie doesn’t do well with twists,” Dale tells us. “If I come home with Maccas instead of Noodles and she hasn’t had warning… all hell breaks loose.” It’s all falling into place. Scotty tells the teams they’ll all be making their neighbour’s item. Dale nearly has a coronary as he looks at Andrew & Michael’s shelving unit. “I can’t build that. That’s why I designed this!”

Again, there’s one more twist – Welcome to Scotty’s Wheel of Misfortune (what great likenesses!). Brad’s a bit miffed the double chin on his caricature is a little too pronounced, but Lara thinks it’s pretty accurate. The teams will still be judged on the item THEY build, but they have to include the item that the other team built for them in their room this week. As Brad & Lara won the last challenge, they get to spin the wheel, and come up with Dale & Sophie – so they’ll swap construction items, and so will Dan & Dani and Andrew & Michael. This means Dan has to build Michael & Andrew’s curved shelving unit thingy. This is lucky Dan. Happy Birthday mate.

The boys are a little disappointed too, but everyone is happy to just get on with it. “We were pretty happy with what we got from Dale & Sophie, as knowing Dale’s not very good on the tools we figured it’d be pretty simple,” says Lara. After pouring over the plans, Dan determines what the boys have given him are “worst than IKEA plans”. “I thought you were a chippie, mate,” says Andrew. Scotty chuckles in an evil, Mr Burns-esque manner at the chaos he’s created, all because he was told to.

There's trouble at mill...

Dan’s struggling to understand it – but Dani’s got it. Frustration level up! The teams are sent downstairs to the Mitre 10 that is CONVENIENTLY below the workshop to get their timber and bits and bobs and get to it. As the brothers have scored a pretty easy build in two circular bedside tables, you’d think they’d knock it out of the park upstairs – instead they decide to find a local CNC routing vendor to cut the circles out FOR them. Lazy bastards… or are they? They can’t find the place to start with!

Dan & Dani are getting into it. “Even the boys couldn’t inside five hours, and anyone else would have thrown their hands in the air and gone to the pub,” says Dan. Obviously Dani has sat him down and explained how it works as he’s supremely confident again. Dan & Dani have found a glass place down the street that can cut their mirror and Sophie is amazed at how easily the guy cuts the mirror to size for them. “I think he’s done it one or two times before,” says Dale dryly. They walk it back and Sophie again finds something to marvel at – this time it’s the reflection of Dale’s arse in the mirror as he walks. She needs protecting from the world, people.

Brad & Lara have gone to a recycled timber yard for Dale & Sophie’s wall hanging. They’ve had to get a thicker bit of timber than was on the plans, but that shouldn’t matter. Dan, on the other hand, is deep in the maths of the brother’s shelving. “Measure twice, cut once, talk yourself up all the time” is Dan’s motto. Scotty’s pleased, and Dan’s pleased that Scotty’s pleased.

Scotty wanders around the workshop offering tips to all the teams, including to Brad on Dale & Sophie’s wall hanging (use a backing board of ply) and Dale on Brad & Lara’s mirror (are you sure you cut that to the right length?). Oops Dale – that looks to be 100mm shorter than it should be. “The rule is: don’t build mirrors if yo can’t build mirrors,” says Dale. Dan & Dani are getting on – Dan finally understands.

Andrew & Michael are AWOL (and Dan & Dani are worried as they want their tables). Three hours in and there’s no sign of the boys. Everyone else is noticing but is heads down, bums up trying to get their jobs done – except Sophie, who feels so out of her depth Dale’s kicked her to the curb for the challenge. Where is the love? Lara & Dani have been able helpers, but Sophie just seems to be getting in the way. “There’s nothing Dale will let me do,” says Sophie. “He doesn’t work well with another person, let alone me.” What a great idea for the two of them to renovate a house together.

"I'm insulted. I make you a nice Workshop and you paint on the footpath."

With an hour to go the boys still aren’t back – have they driven to Frankston to get the CNC cutting done? But their camera crew has found them and we get to see what all the fuss is about. Circles cut, the boys are back in the car and head back to the Workshop while the other teams start to look at putting the finishing touches on their item. Lara’s checking spelling, Dan’s contemplating delivering the shelving incomplete “because it looks better”, and Dale & Sophie are impressed with what Brad & Lara have done with their wall hanging. “We’re a bit envious they got to make our nice thing,” says Dale. “I would have liked to have my own piece in my own room that we made that I designed that I made,” says Sophie. “Just feeling really cheated.” Really Sophie? Because it looks right now like you aren’t making or doing or making anything. Poor butterfly.

Dale & Sophie are slotting the mirror into their frame, but the mirror isn’t sitting in properly. Sophie insists he should pick the mirror up and check to see what’s under it. Dale keeps pushing on the mirror and by his own admission is lucky he doesn’t break it. Scotty comes over and suggests exactly what Sophie said and Dale’s straight into lifting it up. The irony isn’t lost on Sophie as that’s all she’s been able to do the entire challenge – stew on how she was left out. Hey presto, Dale finds the nozzle from the glue on the backing board and once it’s out the mirror sits flush. “Sophie doesn’t know anything, she couldn’t make any suggestions,” says Sophie, now speaking in the third person. Sophie is as Sophie does.

Andrew & Michael are still MIA, so Scotty goes looking for them and finds them outside painting their table bits. Scotty’s insulted they’re ignoring his Workshop, but Andrew explains it away as they didn’t want to share the toxic fumes of spray painting Dan & Dani’s tables in the space. The paint… well… it’s very orange. Almost as retina-searing as the Red House. “The only other thing I’ve seen that orange is Julia Gillard’s head,” says Brad. He’s got time to joke as with 10 minutes to go he and Lara are complete – everyone else is in the throws of last minute sanding/painting/cleaning. Sophie’s not doing anything and isn’t dirty about it at all. Much. Not. With minutes remaining, the brothers are racing to put their tables together, and put the last screw in with one second to spare.

WAIT! The Block has a website? Really? And an app?! How have they been keeping this from us for so long?

The items are all ready for Scotty’s judging. “The question is: which one is worth $1,000 and one bonus point?” asks Scott without the slightest hint of irony. Starting with Brad & Lara’s mirror, Dale thinks he’s done the best he can with what skills he has to offer. Sophie cans him at the end (“At the end? Try every hour!” laughs Sophie), but Scotty thinks it’s a good effort as they completed the piece to the brief and “currently, you’re in first place”. Dan & Dani’s tables have been given serious attention from Andrew & Michael, and the brothers used every second of the five hours making them – most of it in travel time. “We’ve stuck to the dimensions as we’ve been given and I’d say it’s within a mil,” says a confident Andrew. Scotty thinks the brackets look a bit naff, but Dan feels responsible as it’s his blueprints they’ve followed and he still has much of the plans in his head.

The brothers are confident – now Andrew thinks it’s within half a millimetre. Scotty’s happy to jump at the challenge, and starts by measuring the height, where they’re out by two millimetres. Scotty’s measuring both and Andrew’s getting in the way until Scotty tells him to “stand over there, and shut up”. Brad & Lara aren’t impressed as the brothers getting Scotty all riled up is only going to hurt them as they’re next! Scott measure’s the wall hanging and it’s a little wider than the plans suggested. Oops.

This is Sophie looking very not pleased.

Dan & Dani’s attempt at the brother’s shelving unit looks to have come out pretty good. “We call it Dan & Dani’s Tic Tac Rack as that’s all you can fit on it,” says Dan displaying some Tic Tacs on the unit. Scotty really likes the design but thinks it’s an ambitious piece to get done in the time allotted. “I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t proud of myself that we’d pulled it off,” says Dan. Andrew & Michael are very pleased with how it looks. “If I’d been stuck making that it would have been more like a semi-circle of ply with two fins on it and look more like a surfboard,” says Dale. Where’s the creativity gone? Why couldn’t anyone make a side table? A series of picture frames? A SWING IN THE ROOM?!?! It’s not like it hasn’t been done before.

It was a huge effort put in by each team, but for Scotty there’s a clear winner: Dan & Dani. “If I had one thing to say to the other couples about us getting up and winning: it’d be ‘get used to it’,” says a jubilant Dan. Dale’s confident Dan & Dani will milk the One Point trophy. “They’ll probably talk about using it 5 nights whereas we woulda just used it on the first one to save the hassle of having it.” That’s not the way winners talk, Dale. Winners who just scored AND SPENT $1,000 on stuff for their room.

That’s right – it didn’t take Dani long to spend the coin they won. All on light fixtures and a fan. Boom. Easy come, easy go. Dan’s a bit amazed, but what is he gonna do now? Andrew & Michael take their fireplace over to a sandblasters and it comes up a treat. Dale & Sophie have employed Polly & Waz’s builder from last season Sharan (smart move by them!), and he and Dale are ready to cut the hole in the wall of their dining room. “It’s man’s work, this, so I better go see if I can find one,” says Dale. Hole cut, bricks knocked out, and Dale’s ready to have at another wall for no particular reason. That’s confidence.

There’s activity all across site, including the back room frames starting to go up. To celebrate Dan’s birthday he and Dani have gone out for a night on the town. Meanwhile Dale is eating noodles in bed and Sophie’s not impressed with his potty mouth. “Why don’t you say ‘These noodles are less than perfect’?” she chides him.

Tomorrow night it’s a flurry of furious building anger as things need to be complete for the room reveal on Sunday. Scotty AND Shelly pop by for a visit to see the progress and talk plans with the teams, which will only create more chaos and second-guessing as to what they should do with their first room. Perfect.