It’s a thin line between villainy and heroism in pop culture. In The Terminator, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s unstoppable machine was a golem of death and hilarious understatement, but in the sequel he was practically cuddly. We all cried when he died, where earlier we cheered. Grendel got a reevaluation, and even Cobra Commander would occasionally put aside his nefarious plans to join up with the G.I. Joes for the greater good. Every monster has got at least someone who loves him. (R.I.P. Jabba’s rancor.)
As Top Model’s editors toned down the levels of Alexandria’s nastiness (and upped the levels of the other girls’ cattiness), she somehow morphed into something less than utterly mean and almost crossed the hero/villain threshold. While she may not have been this week’s protagonist, per se, Alexandria was certainly more victim than villain, facing the harsh words and barbed criticisms of her compatriots rather than doling them out. Brittani led the charge, waving the anti-Alexandria banner like a 7th-century caliph, but ended up getting chewed out by Tyra for it and almost sent home. It reminded me of when a bully hits some poor kid in math class and then the teacher turns around just in time to see the bully get hit back and sends the kid to the principal’s office. Of course, in this instance, the principal is a crazy six-foot-tall woman wearing far too much rouge. Actually, come to think of it, aren’t they always?
With Tyra being so, so disappointed in Brittani, you almost forget that she won last week. When the models got back to the house, it was her picture on the monitor, in front of the seven mystery satchels that awaited them. Ooh, goodie bags! Would they be filled with Ring Pops and temporary tattoos like every single goodie bag of my youth? No, just some scarves and symbols representing the Warriors in Pink campaign against breast cancer. This wasn’t nearly enough to cheer up the house, and presently everyone was back to their usual sniping. Brittani declared Alexandria to be on her list of “top most annoying bitches ever,” which actually sounds like an uncomfortably appropriate replacement title for “Top Model.” A shot of Alexandria crying in the bathtub was intercut with sepia-tinged clips of her greatest (read: worst) hits, officially making her the cycle’s most nuanced character since Molly’s weave was cut off.
NEXT: It’s cancer, not can’t-cer!