The Block 2017 recap: Defect dramas and delays

Richard Whitten 11 October 2017

Title screen for The Block 2017

Time is running out. Time will never end.

With ten days to go the end is coming and no one is ready. Time is running out and the contestants can feel the unplastered walls closing in. But for we the viewers time feels near-infinite. This thing may never end.

Nothing much happens this episode and yet there is so much to do. Let’s admit it: we’ve gone on too long. There are too many episodes, too many rooms, too much stuff. This week the teams are working on a three-car garage and studio space with en suite – a larger space than whole houses in previous seasons of The Block.

It’s a terrifying thought. Inside each Block, another Block, nested like Russian dolls in infinite regress.

Everyone is stretched thin. Not once but twice this episode the contestants, haggard and exhausted, giggle for entire TV minutes about piss and poo jokes. Clint’s eyes’ have contracted to tiny points of black light. Ronnie seems to have changed colour.

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OK, keep it together. What’s happening? It’s day three of studio and garage week. And surprise, surprise Jason and Sarah are well behind. If time is running out it’s well and truly lapped the hapless couple. Every step forward seems to take them further away from the finish.

Sarah and Jason’s hopes lie with a team of plasterers working super fast on their cavernous studio and garage. But they lack the necessary insurance paperwork to get inducted. Jason, master builder of his own misfortunes, forgot to organise it.

Sarah and Jason

Tesch Electrics is probably regretting this product placement to be honest.

But everyone really is breaking down. Clint’s spent half the night insulating and is slurring his words like a drunkard in a Russian novel.

Hannah and Clint are taking design risks with their kitchen redo this week: they’re going for brushed champagne kitchen cabinets. Brushed champagne! Their cabinets gleam like the gold in a pirate’s filling.

The houses too are breaking down. Keith and Dan are going through each property and hunting for defects. They play The Block bad cops so well I’m surprised Channel Nine hasn’t already signed off on Law and Order: Special Foremen’s Unit.

Law and Order: The Block

In the Australian construction industry the builders are represented by two separate yet equally important groups. The foremen who investigate defects and the judges who evaluate contestants. These are their stories.

It isn’t long before they discover problems: Ronnie and Georgia’s house has electrical faults. It isn’t up to code. They have no choice but to shut the house down.

Ronnie tries to play it cool while Georgia alternates between tears and swearing. Of course none of this is her fault. She’s genuinely upset and the cameras are filming her through some shrubs with choppy, guerrilla-style cuts. It’s a refreshingly bold artistic direction for The Block and indeed Channel Nine as a whole and yet somehow it still relies on the voyeuristic violation of someone's privacy.

Guerrilla filming

Alfred Hitchcock presents The Block

With time running out Sarah and Jason’s plasterers still haven’t turned up. They try lifting the plaster boards in themselves and one breaks. Jason is quick to blame Sarah, who’s quick to snap at him. Poor Sarah. The Block will end, eventually. But win or lose she has to keep Jason.

Meanwhile there’s a bit of wheeling and dealing involving waterproofing and vouchers. If time weren’t so pressing the producers could have wrung fifteen minutes of drama out of this. But there is no time.

And yet nothing is really happening. Ronnie’s playing ping pong. Wombat journeys up to the roof to see the solar panels (this is actually the best part of the episode and I could watch Wombat enthuse over nature and clean energy all day long). People are drinking wine in the spa.

Solar panels and wombat

Wombat is too pure for this world.

Man flu has also struck The Block. But it isn’t really the flu. Time is breaking down and with it our contestants’ bodies. The plastering is split. The wires are exposed. Ronnie’s face has turned the sickly yellow of brushed champagne.

Setting up for the next episode, Sticks and Wombat have few defects in their house while Elyse and Josh have almost none. But Hannah and Clint are deep in defect territory, with even more problems than Sarah and Jason.

There’s so much to fix. So much to do. Time is running out; time stretches forever. The contestants have almost no chance of finishing by auction and yet we know that they will. The conventions of television demand it. The property market demands it. We the viewers demand it.

Missed an episode? You can read our recaps of every episode of The Block 2017 here.

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