There’s no real criteria for winning on Penn & Teller Fool Us, mainly because even well-established routines can be impossible to detect with enough skill. Eric Mead’s performance on last week’s episode is a perfect example of this.
Before beginning his routine, Mead takes great care to explain that he’s going to perform coin magic—one of the oldest tricks in the book—and that while Penn & Teller may know how 90% of the trick is done, it’s the last 10% that will stump them both. By explaining the rules in this way, he then puts the onus on the hosts to abide by his own terms. It’s a pretty stunning bit of verbal misdirection… and then the trick starts.
Even if he didn’t win, Mead’s coin magic employs god-like sleight of hand and enough linguistic gymnastics to win an Olympic medal. Take ten minutes to watch his performance and wonder to yourself all day how the hell did he do that?