The Block on Channel 9 – Well well well…it seems things on The Block aren’t quite as friendly as we’d hoped.

In Episode 18, friendships are tested and fractured as the fallout from gnome–playing and judging rings loud – and one team spills all in a gossip session with host Scott Cam.

We kick off the morning after judging and Leah is feeling fabulous.

That’s despite the fact she and husband Ash narrowly squeaked their way to first place on the leaderboard.

The pair played a gnome to nudge their best friends Kristy and Brett down to second place, nabbing the room win (and cash prize) in the process. “It’s a gameplay win,” Leah admits. “There wasn’t a second thought for me. Just straight up, snake it.”

Kristy and Brett, however, have had many second thoughts. The fact they scored highest for their room but lost out because someone played a gnome (which they won at a sandcastle–building challenge, no less), stings.

“We will win that gnome back and we will throw it through House 2’s window at some stage,” summarises Brett.

It’s all joshing and joking as they reunite at McCafe later that day… but there’s a definitely light hint of bitterness in the air and it’s not coming from the coffee.

The Block on Channel 9
Cuddle or headlock? You be the judge. (Nine)

Sisters Eliza and Liberty are also feeling dejected, following more brutal feedback. Turns out no one liked their bold moss wall… and that sentiment is about to continue as the Blockheads take a stroll through each other’s homes.

The sisters like Kristy and Brett’s top–scoring bathroom, but feel even more down in the dumps as they survey the details. They can’t understand why the divide between their room and others is so large, considering others are missing important elements like underfloor heating or face level storage. “I’m over it.” Eliza says firmly.

Everyone else is enthralled by Kristy and Brett’s handiwork. “In my eyes, this is the winner,” says House 4’s Gian. “I do think they probably should have won,” agrees House 1’s Leslie.

When we say “everyone”, we don’t mean Leah and Ash, aka the Gnome–Slayers.

They don’t like the tiles. The shower screen. The drain. The random tiny spider that has taken up residence.

Let’s see how their own bathroom fares.

Turns out, the Gnome–Slayers’ room gets mixed reactions. Leslie ponders if she needs to start “[standing] on street corners” to fund the level of luxury the room is showcasing, while others too marvel at the marble. “They’re really going for that look where you can see the money,” says Steph.

“It is very runner–up… and I think that’s probably what it deserved,” Brett says. And yes, that’s definitely bitterness we smell.

The Block on Channel 9
Distinct second-place vibes, according to Kristy and Brett. (Nine)

It’s contagious, because as they inspect Kyle and Leslie’s miniature bathroom, the girls are now officially fuming.

“There’s three tiles on the floor… I am actually not exaggerating,” Eliza points out, noting their room is not even remotely in the same league.

Leah’s energy levels are in stark contrast. She’s peppier than ever as she takes in Steph and Gian’s powder room and is left baffled by the very large piece of stone the pair used as a vanity. “It’s the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen in my actual life,” she declares.

They reserve their harshest criticism for the girls’ moss wall. “It’s like Shrek’s pubes,” drawls Ash.

It’s the final straw for Eliza and Liberty, who are now at “into the next stratosphere” levels of “over it”.

They always make an effort to share positive comments with the other teams, so hearing their feature was dubbed “Shrek’s pubes” wasn’t the uplifting return show of support they were expecting. They’re now also grappling with an ogre of a budget.

Steph and Gian agree that the Gnome–Slayers are demonstrating a lack of nice comments.

“They’re not good losers, but they’re also not good winners,” says Liberty.

Reflecting on this, Leah has a simple answer for why she isn’t providing validating feedback. “I probably didn’t like your room,” she tells cameras.

“Why do you care what I think?” Leah ponders. “How much more grovelling do I need to do, really?”

Instead, she’s focused on a different heart and that’s the living and dining area they’re presenting this week. “It’s the heart of the home,” Leah clarifies.

She’s planning on going full throttle on the space and she and Ash are channelling ’70s art deco as inspiration.

“We’re calling it ‘psycho deco’, psychedelic deco,” Ash adds.

“I’m scaring myself!” Leah admits, breathlessly. “It will divide opinions and that’s completely fine.”

The Block on Channel 9
“Im scaring myself!” (Nine)

Shoving their disappointment down, Kristy and Brett get stuck into the room ahead, starting with the somewhat depressing task of re–stumping their home. It’s a job they have to tackle every week, having discovered their existing stumps were not up to code and without a room–winning cash injection, they’re starting to wonder how they’re going to also stump up the budget to cover it.

“The pressure’s on big time,” Kristy says. “We’re just haemorrhaging money.”

They do, however, manage to find the cash for a “winner’s BBQ” for their builders, as their way of saying thanks.

One thing they’re not paying for is a pool, which Scott Cam has hooked the Blockheads up with this season. Houses 1 and 2 get their Plungie pools craned in and they slot right into the space.

That may not be the case for everything being delivered to House 1, however. They won a custom Christian Cole dining table back in Week 1, and now they’re wondering how it’s going to fit into their snug combined Living and Dining space. “It’s looking tiny,” admits Leslie.

The glam table is worth $16,000 and it’s the main feature of their room… and it will fit, and fit beautifully, no. matter. what.

Watch this space. Literally.

At the other end of the Block is Eliza, who is struggling to rally and wondering how she’s going to wrangle her now–lightweight budget. She’s spared a little when Foreman Dan arrives and tells her the site builders are loaning them some carpenters to get them underway.

“I think they realised that if they didn’t help us, that they wouldn’t be able to complete the work that they needed to,” Eliza admits. She reveals she is relying heavily on their builder to know what to do when and how. “I’m sort of a deer in the headlights,” she explains.

She’s also very rattled. And the Shrek–pubes comment is still ringing in her ears. The sisters realise that relationships on The Block are changing.

“I feel like the dynamics between contestants has shifted a little bit,” Liberty reveals. Leslie also agrees, adding that Leah and Kristy are very tight–knit (gnomes aside).

The Blockheads spill on exactly who is friends with who (and who is not) in the video below.

Leah is the first to admit her friendship with Kristy and Brett is rock solid.

“They’re our people,” she says. She realises the other three houses are now well–aware of their “unique” relationship.

While away at their winner’s getaway, Leah and Ash outline the dynamics of the various friendships to Scott Cam. The trio share cocktails and gossip… and Scotty loves it. (You can watch the full goss-sesh in the video below.)

The strategic pair start with their feelings on Steph and Gian. “She’s an acquired taste,” Ash says of Steph, while Leah adds Steph often shares feedback, regardless of whether it’s asked–for or not.

But Leah admits the site is a “rabbit–hole,” and it’s unlikely five different couples would seamlessly get along.

“You can’t all be best friends,” she finishes.

The Block on Channel 9
Confirmed – the Blockheads are definitely not all best pals. (Nine)

Besties, frenemies or something in between, the gang do all agree on one thing – it’s excellent to celebrate both birthdays and public holidays on The Block. The two have fortuitously combined, as it’s Eliza’s 37th birthday, so they head off for a group adventure to celebrate.

She’s hopeful of a day full of massages, nail salons and cake eating, but her sister has instead organised a day of surfing. This is absolutely nothing Eliza has ever wanted to do but Scotty has thrown in a major incentive.

The best wave of the day will score $2000 cash and suddenly the focus on surfing skills increases dramatically. Kristy and Brett back themselves in… and with no gnome to play, Kristy manages to nab the win.

Even Eliza ends up smiling… and the grin gets bigger when Scotty awards her $500 for being Most Improved. It’s even more broad when she returns to site to be greeted with sparkling wine, tasty cake and a visit from her family.

The Block on Channel 9
The birthday of Eliza’s dreams. Right down to the towel poncho and workboots. (Nine)

That’s a big deal, considering the reservations Eliza and Liberty’s mum and dad had about them taking on The Block at all. The pair admit they are “so surprised” at what their children have achieved.

But when her parents check out their bathroom, her Dad can’t help but admit he is also not a huge fan of the moss wall.

Even so, considering things started with Shrek’s pubes and finished with bubbles… it was not a bad birthday upgrade.

The Block airs Sunday at 7.00pm and Monday to Wednesday at 7.30pm on Nine and 9Now. Catch up on all the latest episodes on 9Now.

This recap has been used with permission from Channel 9

Special thanks to Lulu Wilkinson at Nine.

Link to 9Now HERE

Link to Lulu’s full recap including with extra video content and info HERE

About The Block

Get ready, Australia. The Block, the number one renovation reality program, returns for an incredible 19th season on Sunday, August 6, at 7.00pm on Channel 9 and 9Now. 

Set in the family-friendly Melbourne suburb of Hampton East, the new series features five houses designed and built in the 1950s and located on the aptly named Charming Street. These grand old dames are now aged in their 70s and way overdue for a contemporary update. 

For the first time in Block history, host Scott Cam will be providing contestants with the full renovation schedule ahead of time this season. So get your cameras out, Blockheads, it’s photo time. 

Adding to the year of Block firsts and amping up the stakes at play during the 48-hour House Decider Challenge, contestants will be seeing all finished designs of the houses on Day 1. Who will prevail and get the house of their choice?

Not only will they get the schedule and designs up front, but in another first, they’ll receive their entire budgets as well. 

However, the Blockheads will soon find out that it’s not all smooth sailing when renovating an original 1950s home – structural issues, extreme weather events, and a mountain of demolition will test our five keen couples every step of the way. 

Plus, The Block’s state-versus-state rivalry will be amplified by the sheer closeness of the houses this year. Who knew being able to peak into your neighbours builds would cause such tension?

The couples in contention are: sisters Eliza and Liberty Paschke (personal assistant, 37, and integration producer, 34, VIC); parents Kyle and Leslie Cottone (firefighter, 36, and teaching aide, 34, WA); parents Leah and Ash Milton (first aid officer, 31, and builder, 36, QLD); married couple Kristy and Brett Beames (project manager, 34, and safety officer, 34, SA); and newlyweds Steph and Gian Ottavio (architect, 27, and start up worker, 27, NSW).

Real estate expert Marty Fox isn’t the only new addition to the lineup this season. The formidable foremen Keith Schleiger and Dan Reilly will be joined on site with the fan favourite from last year, Tom Calleja.   

The nation fell in love with Tom and his wife Sarah-Jane because of their work ethic and relatable marital bickering, and he jumped at the chance to work with Scotty and come back as this year’s official Block plumber. 
The designs of the amazing homes in this series again come from The Block’s resident architect, Julian Brenchley.

At stake is $100,000 for the overall winner of The Block, on top of any profit the five couples can all make on the critical auction day. Plus bragging rights for the winners’ state. 

Since premiering on Channel 9 in 2003, Australia’s richest reality program has awarded a total of $32,592,807.65 in prizemoney.

The Block – on Channel 9 and 9Now

Media Release – Nine

TV Central Nine content HERE

The Block on Channel 9