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The King of Coalitions: An Interview with Mole 2's Darwin Connerby C. Brian Devinney -- 08/27/2002
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It all started with a video of him showing off his Donald Duck wall art cartoon. It ended in Italy after a long night of batting a ball. Everything in between was sheer bliss and excitement.
Darwin Conner became notorious on The Mole 2 for trying to cover all of his bases with as many people as possible -- aligning himself with player after player to keep the flow of information in tact. Conner never pitted his coalitions against each other as much he wouldn't reveal his full hand to his competitors. He speculates that this may have caused a few of his allies to fall by the wayside during the early rounds of the game.
"Having a coalition helps to bounce ideas off of each other," the New York lawyer said. "It was a tremendous help to have so many sources. I could verify something that Lisa told me against something that Bribs told me. When I got my own room, that's when the game ended for me."
The game started for Darwin as the leader of the first mission, paired with the mole himself, Bill McDaniel. It wasn't a position he initially wanted as he planned on staying in the "middle of the pack," however, he took the opportunity to quiz his fellow players about their strengths and weaknesses in order to determine in which leg of the challenge his fellow players should be placed. Additionally, the two leaders had to place dollar values on each of the three legs of the challenge. In a well thought out move, the two leaders wagered no money on the final challenge -- a one hundred foot rope swing.
"We figured the first two [missions] would be the easiest so we put the best players on them. The last game we thought would be a 'wash game' so we didn't want to put money on that."
It was that shrewd calculation that paid off for the team. When Elavia Bello opted for the exemption over participating in the rope swing, the team did not lose any money and earned the full $60,000. This was one of several acts that put Bello in Conner's crosshairs. Her demeanor combined with an odd choice of words placed her at the top of everyone's hit list.
"She was so good about being mysterious," he said. "The first day she made a comment about not wanting to bunk with Patrick. When we got to the mountain hut, sure enough, there were bunk beds. Almost everyone thought she was the mole after that. No one expected her to take the money and run. What they didn't show was Elavia asking if there would still be an execution if she took the money. Anderson said he couldn't answer that but she took the money anyway. When he did tell us that there would be an execution that night, people's hearts dropped."
But as for sabotaging games himself, Darwin readily admits that almost anything he did to lose money for the team was nothing more than an accident. As one of my first picks to be the eponymous character, I had catalogued an early list of everything supposedly done by Conner. From sticking his head into the group during the Burn Bags mission and rattling off the list of names of the four people ultimately selected, to removing his bunny ears in Lotto Clothes, to handing out the slices of cake in the Blueberry challenge and helping secure Dorothy and Lisa an exemption into the next round by leaving his room when he had been instructed otherwise.
But why the ire at Dorothy following the blueberry challenge?
"Dorothy ate next to nothing. When Anderson said that someone had to eat the last piece, Dorothy snagged it and ate it in about two seconds. The last piece was supposed to go to Myra but she said she didn't eat sweets. Dorothy grabbed your attention with that."
His only deliberate effort to sabotage a game came during the rappelling mission -- a game he admits was much harder to do that it appeared on television. With the wall's concave shape and the difficulty in establishing and maintaining effective footholds, the mission was nearly impossible to effectively navigate -- the perfect opportunity for sabotage. On his stage of the mission, Conner had the opportunity to visit each of the previously answered stations to review and possibly change answers he felt were incorrect. He originally planned to change one correct answer into a wrong answer but with that mission completed another serious, more pressing issue presented himself -- his gloves were being caught up in the carabiner.1 2 Next-->
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