The Block 2017 recap: Front yards, facades and faults to fix

Richard Whitten 18 October 2017 NEWS

Logo for The Block 2017

Our contestants are rushing to the finish, with defects to fix and agents circling.

Good evening, Blockheads.

The end is so close now we can feel it in the damp Melbourne air. Phantom buyers stalk the half-finished houses, poking at skirting boards, crouching in unfurnished study nooks. The distant pounding of the auctioneer's hammer rings louder by the hour.

The pressure's clearly got to Sarah. She has lapsed into a breathy but unconvincing British accent as she paints, her eyes piercing the camera with a thousand backyard stare.

The show starts with some early goodbyes. The McCafe truck is dragged away with appropriate ceremony in a final product placement procession as the contestants and builders recount times past where they drank soy caps and shilled for the big M.

Ronnie, still recovering from man flu, says he's going to miss everything about the Block.

But there is work to be done. So much work. Keith and Dan are giving out a $5,000 prize for the couple who can fix the most defects. Suddenly Georgia decides she shouldn't have gotten so angry at "Defect Dan" for... enforcing standard, legally required building codes.

Then we're treated to a brief family reunion, reminding us all that our contestants are actual humans and have lived entire lives outside of these heritage panelled, feature-walled rooms. It feels a little like a prison visit, with Sticks reflecting on how his young son has grown during his long absence.

Sticks and son

"Dad wasn't around much when I was a kid. He was a contestant on a home reno reality show."

Then it's insulating time. Some of the houses really look unfinished. Sarah's weird British accent has sharpened quite aristocratically under pressure. She's entering the lucid stage of Block madness. Soon she'll be wearing an old white dress and haunting whoever moves into her house (if it ever gets finished).

Hannah and Clint have more defects than a second-hand Soviet ute. But if they fix enough of them they could win Dan's $5,000 prize.

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We really are running out of time. Scott Cam says he's locking the doors on Sunday whether the houses are finished or not (somehow I don't really believe him). Fatigue seems to have shrunk Jason into a smaller, more recalcitrant man. It suits him.

Poor Clint has painted half an exterior wall with a comically tiny paintbrush while Ronnie smashes half a house with some cool automatic spray gun. Where did he get that from? And why are Ronnie and Georgia starting to look like the villainous rich kids in a children's cartoon?

Now that we speak of villains - the real estate agents are in for a visit. They stride through the construction site mud in their fine suits to deliver serious advice and tongue-wagging in equal measure. They look like minor villains in a Dickens novel.

Three men in suits

Left to right: Pilkins Trimbleby, bursar, Sir Porthrop Choames and Reverend Quilton Clampwick

Hard on their polished heels is Alice from Domain, who awarded Josh and Elyse the Domain prize in an earlier episode. She's got a nice mock up of the magazine with their house on the front cover. Nice work, guys, and thoroughly deserved.

As the competition nears its end the contestants are starting to view their near-finished houses through the eyes of prospective buyers. Snarky observations intensify.

Elyse's mum causes a minor scandal: she's been helping Josh and Elyse with cooking and cleaning - unpaid! Sarah's not happy about this and of course Georgia thinks it's cheating. Ronnie's younger brother is on hand to help them out but they're paying him. But here's a life lesson, Georgia: Josh and Elyse will get away with it because they're nice and everyone likes them.

Ronnie meanwhile sizes up the front verandas of his competitors: "Josh has a little one. I've got a decent-sized one." Lol, prime time-appropriate dick jokes!

Checking out the competition

The Block (and tackle)

Clint and Hannah have made progress with their truly enormous defect list but Keith has some bad news: their floorboards require a five millimetre gap, not three millimetres. With such a small gap swelling is inevitable. This will ruin the floors. Keith's completely serious. Clint and Hannah will have to tear up and redo their floors. With two days to go. This is a true disaster for The Block's unluckiest couple.

Defect dramas

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Judgement day is coming and half the houses look less than half-built. Insulation strips are falling out of frames. Beams remain unpainted. Floors are quite literally coming off. It will all come together in the end, but it could all fall apart before we get there.

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

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