“This thing is getting fair dinkum,” Scott Cam says during this episode, in which we rewatch ourselves from six months ago, one minute joking about hoarding dunny rolls, the next minute realising we may be about to face the apocalypse.
Work stops for the Scott Morrison press conference announcing limits to gatherings of more than 100 people (what luxury!). That doesn’t mean The Block has to shut down — yet — but the parents among the contestants are beginning to get edgy about what a looming shutdown could mean for getting home to their kids.
Scott comes up with a plan to bring the contestants’ kids and their carers to Melbourne. He’s even going to set up a mini school at Block HQ so they don’t miss out on any education. It’s a nice idea, but in reality it’s not going to be much use to anyone.
Daniel and Jade’s parents are not only caring for their kids, including one with significant health issues, they’re also running the couple’s farm.
“We’re at a crucial, crucial time,” Jade says. “If we don’t get seed in the ground, that’s our livelihood.”
At the same time they’re desperately worried about what the virus might mean for their daughter.
“It makes me wonder if I even want to be here,” Daniel says. “We have a daughter that has a lot of bigger issues than most people. I won’t stay if I get a whiff of it back home. I’ll walk home if I have to.”
Jimmy and Tam are also upset. They’re longing to see their daughter, but recognise having her travel to Melbourne from her safe spot of Noosa isn’t necessarily going to be the best choice. Ditto Luke and Jasmin and their kids in Perth.
It seems Scott’s kind gesture isn’t the solution he hopes it will be.
Meanwhile, Sarah and George have now changed their minds about travelling to Sydney for her grandmother’s funeral. They’re worried about interacting with the other vulnerable older people who will be there. Instead they decide to spend a few days away from The Block with Sarah’s family.
Who said The Block is just cheerful escapism?
It’s not all plague and death though. There’s also stress and breakdowns to enjoy.
While Sarah and George are away their builder cracks on with their master ensuite build, until Keith discovers a monumental error. After eight hours of intricate tiling work is completed, Keith notices the plasterer hasn’t put in enough screws. The plaster would be fine if it was just being painted, but it’s not secure enough to support a heavy set of floor to ceiling tiles. The tiles have to come off, and there’s a risk that they’ve dried to the point that will rip off the waterproofing, giving the pair no chance of finishing the room.
For once Keith doesn’t sound gleeful at finding the error.
He saves that for Harry, when he and Dan noticed some major errors with the installation of a puddle flange. Nope, us either. Anyway, it’s wrong, and a bunch of sheeting has to come up for it to be fixed.
Harry’s woes aren’t over even after that though. Tash has chosen three different tiles for their master ensuite, because that worked out so well for them in their guest bathroom, but they’re all different sizes so the grout lines won’t meet up neatly.
Tash comes close to ignoring her dad’s increasingly hysterical calls, and she’s still having none of it when he tells a producer that The Block has been a “steep learning curve” for her. Given he’s not exactly a master handyman himself it’s not surprising Tash executes a perfect “excuuuuuuse me” face when she hears that patronising line.
But by the time Scott and Shelley arrive for their pre-judging inspection, all is well. Sarah and George’s tiler Hoppy worked 17 hours straight to redo the tiling.
“What’s the greatest word for appreciation? We are forever in debt. It touched me, man. After this show I’ve got brothers for life,” George says.
And Scott and Shelley approve of Tash’s tile choices. There may be three of them again, but this time they’re understated rather than a mish mash of patterns.
One of the only sour notes of the show (other than old mate COVID-19) is a dibber dobber incident. When Keith notes Dan’s waterproofer has used the wrong edging material and tells him to rip it up, Dan is quick to alert Keith to the fact his was not the only house the waterproofer worked on.
Keith is quickly on to Jimmy and Tam’s house to get them to rip up their edging too, and is just as quick to tell Jimmy that Dan was the one who told him about it.
“How nice. I didn’t think we were playing schoolyard dibber dobbers,” Jimmy says. “That was a dick move by Daniel.”
Daniel denies dobbing – why do contestants on this show seem to forget there’s cameras recording their every move?
But Jimmy doesn’t stay mad for long and soon the couples are consulting one another about what to do about their kids.
Daniel and Jade are definitely leaving their kids on the farm.
“If they have to self-isolate they can run for days and not be found,” Daniel says. We think that means he thinks they’re safer there.
Likewise, Jimmy and Tam know their little girl is happy and settled in Noosa, so they make the difficult decision to choose not to bring her to them.
What none of the contestants know at this point is in a few days it will all become moot.
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