The BlockMon-Fri 7pm, Ch9

That's some quality crack, available for a short time in Melbourne.

Tonight, the teams take on one of Shelley’s nefarious challenges for the first time this season. Scotty’s happy to give away some cash to the teams, but to get it they’ll have to earn it. It can’t be hard, can it? I mean after all – the woman hosts Australia’s Funniest Home Videos. A little bit of slapstick and a funny voice and we’re done, right? WRONG. Could not be wronger. The wrongest, in fact. Everyone’s going down to Wrongtown.

After an overly lengthy replay of exactly what we saw at the end of last night’s episode, we’re all caught up and the teams are racing off (again) to meet Shelley in Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens. Shelley meets the teams and advises they’ve got four jobs to get done today to help out some mates, and each job is worth $10,000 to each team.

The sting in the tail is this: first team back to The Block not only gets $40K, but they get to choose between ‘The Block’s Lock’ (making them “as safe as houses” – clearly not the houses on The Block though) or ‘The Master Key’ (giving the couple the chance to pick a different house on The Block and swap to it permanently and immediately). Everyone realises they HAVE to come first, because no one wants to lose their already slightly personalised disaster zone.

The first job is a landscaping job – planting a Canary Island Palm Tree – and Dale & Sophie think they’ve got a slight advantage given Dale’s landscaping background. The instructions are pretty explicit and designed to be confusing, AND there’s the pressure of the Botanic Garden’s staff watching over each team as they compete to ensure the instructions are followed. Andrew & Michael are straight into it and with two blokes working on the hole digging they’ve got the clear advantage, though their maths skills are in need of some work – “We gave it our usual 150% effort”. All that extra effort catches them off-guard when they somehow manage to find a pipe running through the middle of the gardens and realise they’ll have to move their proposed plant site – which means filling in what they’ve done and starting again elsewhere.

The brothers recover mainly because Dan & Dani distracted everyone with some old school street performance art. Those whacky funsters, we better keep our good eye on them. Racing over to the Olsen Hotel, challenge 2 has the teams making up four rooms each to the strict 5-star standards of the hotel. They’ll be watched the whole time by staff to make sure no corners are cut, and they’ll have to draw their resources from the supplied hotel room cleaning trolley. Which Dan & Dani miss entirely and simply make the bed with the existing soiled sheets. Oops.

Dale's a POWDERKEG, ready to blow at any minute...

Brad & Lara seem to be right on track as Brad reveals himself to be a hospital corner specialist (likely a hospital pass specialist too). Controversy corner erupts as Dan & Dani go into a suite with two beds and think they’ve got to make both beds up – shortly thereafter Andrew & Michael appear and everyone learns that each team only has to make one bed. The boys pull the sheets on Dan & Dani’s bed, however as Dan & Dani leave Dan returns the favour. “Payback’s a bitch, boys,” smiles Dan later. And Karma, my friend, is gonna smack you across the face.

Brad & Lara easily win the bed making challenge, thanks largely to Brad’s feminine side shining through that he’s had hide at work for so long (and for the fact Lara all but man-handled a guest out of the lift to save them stopping on another floor). It’s the original ugly duckling story. $10K for them too.

Next stop is across the road at the Vogue Apartments, where each team has to hang and fix 2.4m square of gyprock. Apart from Brad picking up a sheet and breaking it, there’s no real drama and Brad & Lara swing into first pretty easily. Yay for $10K. Dale & Sophie were about to hang their final piece when, after it’s cut, it snaps as he picks it up to hang it. He has a dummy spit but there’s not much else to it.

Brad & Lara streak into the final challenge at Beacon Lighting (sponsor: check) where they have to find five lights without globes and match them to the bulbs supplied. Dale & Sophie get an early streak, and Andrew & Michael are running a distinct last place. Brad & Lara complete the final challenge, collect their cash & race off to The Block. Dan & Dani finish second, and seemingly the rest of the challenge completes itself as we’re zapped back home to see what happens with the Lock and the Master Key.

Brad & Lara, as winners, choose the lock and this protects their place from being gazzumped. Dan & Dani get the Master Key and have the opportunity to take any of the other three houses on The Block should they choose to. Dan & Dani collect their measuring tape and get a chance to look through both Dale & Sophie and Andrew & Michael’s house before they make their decision. Lots of worried faces as Dan & Dani go prowling. For some reason they feel they can take Dale & Sophie’s frying pan and vegemite – with some pretty poor logic: “It’s ours now anyway”.

Thievin' mongrels.

Dan & Dani have had a look through both houses – including Andrew & Michael’s where they determine the boys have the better view of the city. Self-proclaimed spokesman Dani raises the tension with a Mandela-esque speech about their choices and then reveals they’re gonna keep the house they started in. Smartest. Move. Yet. Other than stealing the frypan(!). Relief from Andrew & Michael and Dale & Sophie as they get to keep their houses (and their frypan). “I dry me undies in that,” says Dale.

As the couples wander off into the rubble, we reflect on what’s taken place. Money has been won by all teams. Challenges have taken a whole DAY out of their construction schedule. Nobody has changed houses. We’re back where we started a day later with slightly more cash but slightly less time to do anything. At least tomorrow night we meet Keith the site foreman again and his cuddly interpersonal skills. The Block’s bitch is back.