‘Big Brother’ recap: Hellfire and eviction
Big Brother is a game. Libra was a player. She always gave 110 percent. She didn’t come here to make friends. She was the puppet master. You have to expect the unexpected. Karma is a bitch.
In case you’re wondering, I don’t usually talk in reality-show clichés, but I’ve just spent the greater part of a work day painstakingly reviewing this week’s three BB episodes in preparation to sub for your usual TV Watcher, Josh Wolk, who found out after going on vacation that his accommodations have no DVR and poor Internet access. I know you’re disappointed, but I promise I’ll give 110 percent, and please don’t be too harsh on the message boards, because karma is a bitch.
Okay, game on!
Sunday’s show opened with Michelle seeing red, and not just because she was still stuck wearing that unitahd. She was furious that Dan had broken his word and helped vote out her beloved Jessie. Jerry, equally furious, accused Dan of ”hiding behind his cross” (an accusation he would repeat ad nauseam throughout the week). Dan defended himself by saying he wasn’t wearing his crucifix when he promised to keep Jessie in, and he later told the camera in the confessional (appropriately enough) that he took it off before the vote. This was oddly reminiscent of Jerry’s statement that he changes out of his Marine garments before doing anything dishonorable. Josh has pointed out that this is like the most obvious poker tell ever, but Dan may have Jerry beat.
Libra told the confessional camera how happy she was to see Jessie go. ”Peace out! Deuce! Shake it till you make it! Make sure you don’t let the door hit you.” (See why I’m finding it hard to get clichés out of my head?) Launching another theme of the week, April and Michelle accused Libra of being a bad mother, a charge that she basically ignored, though she felt compelled to reply when Jerry called her a ”dummy.” ”Last time I checked, I graduated from Rice F—ing University,” she said. ” Cumma f—ing magna, cumma laude, cum, cumma, magna cum laude…look it up!” Kind of reminded me of those ”Harverd” T-shirts. (Read our interview with Libra.)
Michelle acknowledged that with all the hatin’, most people weren’t really up for faking enthusiasm over her head-of-household room, but everyone dutifully shuffled in, and April even managed to rave over photos of Michelle’s pet rabbit and her brother, whose letter Michelle read aloud. ”Make Rhode Island proud,” he’d written, probably before the show began airing.
NEXT: Cross-season hookups
The food competition pitted the houseguests against former BB all-star types like Chicken George, Jun, and a pit-stained Mike Boogie. The current inhabitants had to guess if a news story about something that had happened since they were sequestered was true or false. I would be ranting now about how lame the competition was if I hadn’t gotten so many of the questions wrong, and I have access to news media. The highlight was Jerry’s flirtation with Janelle from season 6 (more evidence he’s a breast man) and Michelle’s with Matt from season 9, a fellow New Englandah. “Call me, Matty,” she said. ”Single, ready to mingle.” Someone tried to spoil the moment by asking, “Where’s Natalie?” Matt didn’t miss a beat, saying, “Natalie’s in the bushes over there.” (Brian, by the way, may have a future in game-show hosting.)
After Renny charmingly revealed her excitement over the Cheech and Chong reunion tour, much confusing backstabbing and bonding followed. Like Josh, I’ve pretty much given up on trying to figure out who’s allied with whom, since at any moment these hotheads can suddenly start attacking other random housemates like Russians and Georgians. (Hey, he does topical references too!) I’d like to attribute this to the pressure of contending for a half million dollars, but I think we’re witnessing the kind of spontaneous, irrational release of collective aggression that you see before pogroms and English soccer matches. Michelle wound up nominating Keesha and Libra.
Like the food challenge, Tuesday night‘s veto competition was more interesting than I expected. Basically, the participants — April, Memphis, and Jerry, in addition to Michelle, Keesha, and Libra — had to chop onions and stuff them into boxes. The twist was that they could choose to put their onions in a power-of-veto box or a mystery-prize box. Feeling safe, Memphis and April went for the mystery prize (he got an onion necklace; she got a bunch of designer clothes), while Jerry and Libra came in first and second with their power-of-veto boxes. In the confessional, Libra said, ”I’m done,” and a triumphant Jerry told one of those jokes that old guys tell about how they’re craftier and more competent than young guys, but I don’t think the old guy is supposed to compare himself to an ”old cow.”
NEXT: The banquet blows up
Peace briefly broke out when the houseguests sat down to eat the banquet they had won in the food competition. Keesha suggested that everyone say something nice about someone else. Memphis offered a toast: “What can I say, you know, um….The best days of our past be the worst days of our future. And if you think about that, a lot of people are like, ‘What?’ ” At this point, people were lunging for their glasses, but Memphis went on. ”If you shoot for the stars and you shoot for the sun, you know, you’re gonna wind up in the stars.” I couldn’t have said it better myself.
Renny spoke next and made both Jerry and Libra tear up (in the latter case, by saying that Libra is not a bad mother), but then we were back to uncivil warring. Jerry flatly rebuffed Dan’s overtures. Keesha reached out to April but got brushed off. ”Well, ya know, they put two blondes in here,” said Renny, who I’m liking more every week. Keesha made a self-deprecating joke about how she was being nice to April because she wanted some of those new clothes. Libra basically repeated the line, pissing Michelle off for some reason. Then Libra asked Ollie to leave the table with her. In another room, she told him that Keesha was the one who had first plotted Jessie’s eviction.
After dinner, Michelle stirred things up with Keesha by telling her what Libra had said about her, without reminding Keesha that Keesha had said it first. (Maybe Michelle and Keesha had too much to drink at the banquet and both forgot.) This led to a four-way fight among Michelle, Keesha, Libra, and, for some reason, April. By the end, it was as if the Georgians had allied themselves with the Palestinians, then the Russians sneak-attacked with the Aztecs, who then made common cause with the Georgians and attacked the Palestinians.
Expect the unexpected, as Jerry said. I’m not sure what signal he was sending with his completely non-Marine outfit at the veto ceremony, but after delivering a speech in which he compared Dan to Judas (and, implicitly, himself to Jesus), he announced he was letting Michelle’s nominations stand. I guess a Marine wouldn’t approach the halls of Montezuma or the shores of Tripoli, call the locals a bunch of Judases, and then sail home without firing a shot. Dan was okay with the decision. ”I’d rather be lucky than be good,” he said. ”So, Jerry, thank you very much.”
NEXT: Renny knows
By Thursday’s show, pretty much everyone was agreeing that Jerry had screwed up and that his attack on Dan was uncalled for. (”Why didn’t he just throw out that he was a womanizer?” asked Memphis.) Meanwhile, Libra seemed to be convincing the others that Keesha was the real threat.
Ollie dodged a bullet while he and April, his house girlfriend, were discussing their growing enmity with Keesha. ”She has it out for you,” he told April. ”It’s because I’m prettier than her,” she replied. A nanosecond passed while Ollie tried to figure out if April was joking, then she made a classic ”duh!” face. ”Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah,” he said quickly, showing the kind of relationship skills that should keep them together until at least minutes after the season finale.
For much of the episode, it actually seemed that Libra was going to survive. She was approached by Ollie and April, who, along with Jerry, gave confessionals about how they ”would vote” for Keesha to be evicted. Dan seemed to be vacillating between the two nominees. The night cam showed Libra weeping over missing her children. And there was a long segment showing how well Libra’s husband and mother were taking care of her adorable kids. Why build up all that viewer sympathy if she was going home?
During all the plotting, Dan and Memphis brainstormed cool names for their alliance, including the Wild Mustangs and the Renegades. Did the food-challenge appearance by Jace, a founding member of the Four Horsemen, teach them nothing?
Julie Chen’s live questions to the houseguests were surprisingly on point. She let Libra say that she was doing the show in the hopes of making money for her children. (I’m waiting for a parent to come on the show and say, ”I really needed two months away from my annoying kids.”) Julie also asked Dan about his religion and ethics. After the finale, he said, ”the first thing I’m going to do is go to confession.” Dan has basically said the same thing before. I’m no parochial-school teacher, but I’m pretty sure that Catholicism teaches that the sacrament of penance won’t work if you treat it like a supernatural get-out-of-jail-free card.
I’ll confess that the editing fooled me, so I was surprised that Libra was voted out 6 to 0. She seemed fine with getting evicted. (Maybe that’s because she’s the first jury member, and she now can look forward to a week with no children and no housemates.)
The head-of-household competition was one of those quizzes that conveniently end before the end of the episode (so you don’t have to worry about live-feed subscribers spoiling the outcome in the message boards below). Julie read a series of quotations from the diary room, and the houseguests had to identify which evicted person had said them. Renny won, responding to the final quote by saying, ”Who is Brian?” Maybe that’s why I’m liking her: She’s apparently a fellow Jeopardy! fan.
What did you think about this week’s episodes? Who did you want to see go home? Is bluffing in a reality-competition show a mortal sin? Did you know the Chinese could prevent rainfall? And do you have any reliable toasts you use at banquets? (Mine is ”There are many types of ships in the world, but the most important is friendship.”)