The BlockSun 6:30pm/Mon-Fri 7pm, Ch9

Dale dug a hole. In himself.

Even though it’s been a one-room week, the contestants have had a hard one again. With Dale being rushed to hospital with an infection it ruled him out for a few days and meant Sophie actually had to do some work, but was soon allowed to supervise again when the other Blockheads pitched in to help.

The redemption of Keith this week (at least for Dan & Dani) proved underneath that tough, hardened exterior is a tougher, harder interior encasing a teddy bear as he helped the couple in House 4 to get Dani’s heart’s desire (for this week): approval for a spa in their backyard. Tonight it’s the big lounge room reveal and it’s all about the bonus points, because everyone wants the cash. Tighter than a Dani’s grip on the credit card the competition will all come down to who does what with the magical points. Here comes another one… BOOM!

With 24 hours to go, the pressure is really showing. Brad & Lara have time for a run and Sophie has time to mope around about Dale being hospital for the last three days with blood poisoning after a cut on his hip turned septic. Perhaps it was all part of his grand plan. “I’m not good at running the show, which is what Dale does, and I’m not good at doing what I’m told either, so I’ve just spent some time folding books and crying,” says Sophie. If Dale’s lucky he’ll be back on The Block the morning of reveal (of COURSE he will be), but if he’s smart he’ll secure a couple more days in hospital.

Mike & Andrew are sleeping in again after a big night on the turps. At least that’s what their brushes did between coats, anyway. But having their builders turn up and wait around for an hour while they sleep just seems costly and foolhardy. But mostly GENIUS! With their sub-floor sagging like their budget it’s been a bone of contention with Herr Keith, but Cam fixed it – until Keith checked it. Try again young padawan. Additionally, Andrew wants floorboards on the ceiling after dreaming about a moustachioed 80’s pop R’n’B icon and a desire to cut the rug on the ceiling. This is the problem with sleep deprivation – no shortage of inspiration, just none of it any good. At least Cam actually fixed the floor.

STOP PRESS: Sophie was filmed ACTUALLY PAINTING. As you were.

Dan & Dani’s cabinet maker knew the relationship would be painful, so earlier in the week he bailed on building their entertainment unit. Thankfully Dani’s tears were shed while the Freedom Kitchens bloke was about and he pulled some strings and their team completed a one off for the couple that they’ll regret for the rest of their lives. When the phone rings, Sophie is pleased to hear Dale is coming home a day early. “Just don’t boss me around,” she says to him. Not sure what she’s expecting but he’s been driving the entire build – if it were up to her they’d still be living in an unrenovated mess.

Dale & Sophie's lounge

Lara be shopping, this time for art. Her self-confidence is at an all-time low after having her and Brad’s styling smashed by the judges each week. Dani, on the other hand, has no problem spending money on art – but she can’t control a budget like Lara can. But she can spend it on art that is… well… “unique”.

Brad & Lara had planned to install a big JetMaster heater in their lounge and while installation proved to be a little tricky, Herr Keith swung by to remind them of the rules & regs about tolerances and clearances for installing such beasts. The unit needs to be another 60mm away from the door it’s next to, but that’ll push it out of centre on the wall it’s installed in. Missed it by *that* much. Keith’s pissed off but that’s nothing new and Brad & Lara aren’t sure what they’ll do. Give Keith a tape that measures smaller units?

He’s back! The Blockheads welcome Dale back with open arms, streamers and balloons, if for no other reason than they won’t have to put up with Sophie’s sad puppy face. “Obviously it just wasn’t the same around here without me,” he says, adding, “I can’t believe Donger didn’t drop by to help or crack onto Soph – where is that guy when you need him?”

The JetMaster certifier is called to site to resolve the Brad & Lara/Keith impasse. It turns out the unit is a less powerful model than the specs Keith was looking at so the installation is fine. “The certifier’s happy so I’m happy,” says the site foretard. That’s some manly apologising there Keith. To add to their joys, a couch was delivered that was intended for the brothers, but Lara doesn’t find it very comfortable. BE GONE, SURPRISE COUCH!

The actual owners of the couch are pushing on deliver a room that the judges will be happy with, so there’s lots of throw cushions and no strawberries. Dan & Dani don’t care about they judges unless they don’t win. Dale has to keep getting intravenous injections of drugs for weeks to come to help him overcome his illness, which he’s sure the judges will deem as “practical and fashion forward”. See how crazy The Block can be?

Mike & Andrew's lounge

The night before reveal is usually the busiest on The Block, but tonight everyone’s cruising towards the finish line. Brad & Lara are in bed before 2am, but Brad’s worried they may have forgotten something. The Block’s vampires (surely they should be the “Block-pires” given all the Block puns and conjoined words used in promoting the show) are up hard at it painting and drinking the blood of local young virgins. Given it’s St Kilda they’re experiencing a bit of a drought.

With now two hours to go until tools down, the cruisy vibe continues on The Block. Lara still hasn’t regained her styling confidence. If only she could remember where she left it. Dan’s pleased all they have to do is buy a cable, mop the floor and lay a cable. The brothers have again been up all night and feeling the pinch but confident they’ll deliver on time. The last hour creeps up and it’s panic stations for Mike & Andrew again. AGAIN!

Meanwhile, Dale’s nicked out for a coffee and muffin. More likely stepped out for some peace and quiet. Still chaos for the brothers. Brad & Lara had one sticker to remove. HURRY UP BROTHERS! It’s building a strong case that even if you gave Mike & Andrew a simple jigsaw and 20 minutes to put it together they’d still only complete it by seconds. To recap as we enter the Hall of the Mountain King:

Dan & Dani – watching a 3D movie.
Dale & Sophie – making sweet, sweet love.
Brad & Lara – sitting back and taking in all their domain has to offer.

Situation normal.

Brad & Lara's lounge

At Scotty’s whistle the teams are called out the back, and there’s great joy in delivering last night’s sleep report – 5 hours or so for everyone else except for the brothers. The good news is only one room to go and the insides of the houses are done… then it’s just the exterior and front and back landscaping. Oh, and the selling part; everyone always forgets that. But before all of that there must be judgement, otherwise all that effort for nothing! Again this week it’s Neale Whitaker, John McGrath & ALL HAIL QUEEN SHAYNNA THE EVER RESPLENDENT.

Starting, as usual, in Dale & Sophie’s house the judges are pleased that the couple have remained consistent. The sofa’s too big for the smallest lounge of the four houses, and it makes the rug and table vanish in the space. Queen Shaynna thinks that each piece in the room individually makes it 10/10, but when together it feels too cluttered. The lighting installation is agreed to be very clever and suits the room.

Over at Mike & Andrew’s place their big secret was revealed this week in that Mike is in the process of becoming a woman, just like a Wachowski. That, and they swapped their kitchen/lounge rooms so their lounge is a different space. John’s surprised and Her Maj loves it. Neale loves the art but doesn’t like the rug so takes them out the back for a battle to the death. The artwork is discovered by the judges and agree using the letters found within the house as they renovated is a very smart idea. John wonders why the room feels incomplete until Neale reminds him that each week they tell the contestants “less is more”, and this week the brothers only heard “less”. They note the timber ceiling that’s started leading into the kitchen and that offers some interest in what is to come.

For Brad & Lara, their lounge was about rest and relaxation. The judges have noted the width of the room more than makes up for Brad’s lack of length, but as Queen Shaynna always like to note “it’s what you do with it that counts”. John loves the technology element in the room, even if he doesn’t know what it is. Neale likes the custom furniture so much he mounts it for posterity’s sake. He would have liked bigger art as the TV is bigger, but refer Queen Shaynna’s rule from earlier. The Monarch of the Motif offers she’d gladly live in this lounge room were it annexed to her kingdom, and immediately sends a serf off to commence planning for an invasion.

It’s Dan & Dani’s turn and big things are always expected of the professional carpenter and his ever-budget-ignorant partner. The judges note the warmth and the family feel to the room. Neale is normally “Mr Neutral” when it comes to couches – he’s big on beige/grey/cream (thus his choice of jacket) – but he actually likes the colour of the one in this room. The art stands out and is given pride of place which wins ticks from the judges. Queen Shaynna doesn’t like the placement of the dining table as the square table takes up too much space for her liking and it’s in the wrong spot.

Dan & Dani's lounge

With the judging over the Blockheads assemble to hear their fate. Who did enough? Who missed the mark? Who stole the cookie from the cookie jar? The teams have been renovating for 7 weeks, and with 3 weeks to go the end is in sight. The judges are pleased to announce it was a very tough decision for them because while John still can’t add up, he’s learning and has finally mastered his 3 time table. Also the rooms were all very good. With $5,000 up for grabs Dan & Dani are ready to do anything to win. No time like the present to get feedback then…

Dale & Sophie: All the judges have now fallen in love with the personality of their designs. It would have been a 10/10 room had it not been for the couch – it was too big for the space.
Mike & Andrew: Great choice of art, & the prints added a sense of home. When it comes to styling the judges didn’t mean “nothing is more”. Some flowers and books will help the room present better.
Brad & Lara: Great couch, and a really big tick on the custom furniture. The art could do with being bigger – Neale thought twice the size they had.
Dan & Dani: The judges liked the wall unit and the art, which was perfect for the space. Neale would never choose a blue couch but they did and he liked it (so what does he know?). Queen Shaynna felt a rounder and lighter table would have been a better fit.

The initial scores are written up in front of the teams and with the numbers in from Queen Shaynna & Neale it’s pretty close: Dan & Dani lead on 15.5, very closely followed by Dale & Sophie, Mike & Andrew and Brad & Lara who’ve all scored 15. It’s surely going to force at least one team to use their bonus point(s), and after Scotty goes dark to write in John’s numbers he provides the teams the chance to inform him secretly if they want their points used. It’s made even more critical by the fact that the brothers have a game-breaking two points they could use at once. This is dizzy stuff.

All is revealed quickly as Scotty spins his board to reveal the scores and who used what points…
(Shaynna; Neale; John; Total):
Dale & Sophie: 8 + 7 + 7 + 1 bonus point = 23.
Mike & Andrew: 7.5 + 7.5 + 7.5 = 22.5.
Brad & Lara: 7.5 + 7.5 + 7.5 = 22.2.
Dan & Dani: 7.5 + 8 + 8 + 1 bonus point = 24.5.

Congratulations to Dan & Dani on taking out the win (and the much needed cash prize) for their lounge room. With both Dan & Dani AND Dale & Sophie using their bonus point it places Mike & Andrew in the driving seat in the coming two reveals with two bonus points on their shelf and naught else across the other teams. The close race does, however, mean both the brothers and Brad & Lara are this week’s Chumpions.

Look at the scoreboard!

This coming week it’s all about the kitchen, but SURPRISE each team is being given $2,500 to revist a room and fix it up now they’re experienced renovators and interior designers – a “room saver”. So it’s another two room week. The team that delivers the highest quality room saver will also score $5,000 prize money – so win both and they teams can score $10,000. It’s like manna from heaven only the manna is cash and the heaven is McDonald’s. Just like I imagined it.

The catch is that the room they revisit is mandated by the judges. For Dale & Sophie that’s their dining room; for Mike & Andrew it’s their roof terrace/laundry; for Brad & Lara it’s their sitting room; and for Dan & Dani it’s their staircase and hallway. So with so much cash available, it’s game on moles.