“I have a 99 percent chance of coming back into the game with superpowers,” is how Lawon soberly summed up his chances at the start of last night’s episode. Outside the Big Brother house, Julie Chen shared a giggle with the audience. “There is no special power,” said the host. I respectfully disagree. True, Lawon’s big gamble turned out to be a complete bust: His theory of Elimination Superpowers can now join the Northwest Passage, the Fountain of Youth, and the Possibility of Another Good Weezer Album in the sorrowful pile of mythic dreams that will never come true.
And true, Lawon’s whole gameplay looks suspicious in hindsight. Immediately after being put up on the block, Lawonderful started stocking around the house, pretending that he had no clue why he’d been nominated for eviction. This is an exact transcript of his conversation with Shelly:
Lawon: I’m just so confused. Listen, I definitely didn’t volunteer to get nominated.
Shelly: I didn’t say you volunteered.
Lawon: I’m gonna get to the bottom of this before I walk out that door.
Shelly: Walk out the door? You’re up against Rachel! Wait did you volunteer for this?
Lawon: No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be.
Shelly: I didn’t say you were Prince Hamlet.
Shelly could see through Will Lawonka’s scam. It is quickly becoming clear that Shelly has a very particular set of skills. Skills she has acquired over a very long career. Skills that make her a nightmare for people like Lawon. She could smell his lies, and where most people in Big Brother would have just left it there, Shelly strolled up to Kalia’s penthouse and said: “Hey, did Lawon volunteer for this?” Kalia: “Yep!”
In yesterday’s recap, I started talking about my theory that Shelly is playing this game with a vintage Yojimbo strategy — a reference to the classic Akira Kurosawa samurai-but-really-cowboy movie, in which a lone wolf warrior walks into a town torn apart by two rival families and cannily plays both sides against each other. (This story was later remade into the Clint Eastwood classic A Fistful of Dollars and the Bruce Willis misery Last Man Standing, so just imagine Shelly as a mix of Eastwood and Willis.) It seemed for the first few weeks like Shelly was just an ally/pawn of the Veterans. But we’re starting to see the second act of Shelly’s game emerge now.
Consider what happened next. Rachel strolled up to the HoH throne room to finalize her deal with Daniele and Kalia. Queen Kalia played the diplomatic dealmaker, pretending to hold all the cards — even though every passing second was taking her closer to powerlessness. Daniele looked like she’d rather be making a deal with a pile of radioactive slop. Outwardly, Rachel stuck to her party line: “I won’t come after you girls, because you’re competitors, and I only go after floaters.” It’s a ridiculous pitch — it’s like Superman telling Lex Luthor, “Don’t worry, Double Elle, you’re clear: I only go after criminals who aren’t motivated enough to start evil empires.” But the ladies fell for it. Rachel knows the score: She confessed to us that she’d be surprised “If these girls are actually stupid enough to keep me in the house this week.”
NEXT: Old enemies, the best of friends