Entertainment Weekly


Stay Connected


Advertise With Us

Learn More

Skip to content


'Big Brother' recap: Master mind games

It’s judgment day for the most hated man in the house and an unlikely person becomes a major player

Posted on

Sonja Flemming/CBS

Big Brother

TV Show
Reality TV
Julie Chen
Current Status:
In Season

So Josh is gone on vacation. Sad, I know. You log onto EW.com, hoping to find out what your regular recap writer thinks about the latest Big Brother eviction, and then you find…me, Kateus Wardus, someone who is normally half as funny as Josh, and even less so today, thanks to all the IQ points I lose watching this show. And just how does it affect me? I lose so many brain cells, that for three hours a week, it’s hard to focus on anything other than inappropriate placement of pool slides and whether or not I should invest in some muscle powder while — oh, something shiny! Sorry about that. So instead of reading witty discourse from Josh, you’re stuck with my half-baked musings. But hang in there! He’ll be back soon. Now, let’s get down to business before a squirrel walks by my window and distracts me again.

We started where we left off Sunday: on a nauseating swing that sent the houseguests flying into a giant burrito. Actually, the whole HOH competition looked more fun than it did treacherous, which is maybe why producers bait the houseguests with prizes — the first few to drop would be able to choose a box with unspecified content. Though most of the eliminated contestants got nothing, the first two to drop received some pretty dope prizes: Kevin picked the package that contained $5,000, and Lydia won a 42-inch flat screen TV. Of course, neither was happy with their booty — Kevin would have preferred to stay in longer so he could win Head of Household, while Lydia was hoping her box would contain Jessie’s severed ear.

Jordan, meanwhile, was granted a special power thanks to her package: the ability to choose three housemates to be have-nots for the week (she ended up picking their names out of a hat — Jessie, Kevin and Natalie, who used her slop pass). But mostly, the houseguests were just forced to watch their more muscle-bound competitors — plus Michele — dangle from their perches until they dropped. Too bad Michele went out with a hilarious bang. This girl is quickly becoming the only reason to watch the competitions: First, she wipes out in the mud after winning last week’s POV, and now, she somehow loses her pants while falling from her seat? The only thing I loved more than watching that is watching the way Big Brother houseguests treat their competitors during these endurance challenges. Seriously, the way they race over to their fallen comrades — brandishing blankets and using high-pitched tones normally reserved for folks who, say, get shot, or at least bitten by a shark or something — is absolutely ridiculous. I half expect someone to break out and say, Doctor, get him some water and a towel, stat! This man’s been through hell! He’s been riding on a giant carnival swing for 30 minutes! Oh the humanity!

It was a fight to the finish for jocks Russell and Jeff, who endured being twirled in a circle for nearly three-and-a half hours before succumbing to the crotch pain. And like most Big Brother endurance challenges, this one ended with a deal: Russell told Jeff he wanted Ronnie out, and would swear to protect Jeff and Jordan if he were made HOH. Jeff was rightly suspicious, and told Russell he would jump off if he swore to the deal on his injured father. Of course, swearing on your injured father in the Big Brother house is no more sacred than swearing on a plate of mashed potatoes, but Jeff was willing to take that chance. Russell claimed the HOH, which meant he got ”to do whatever I want!” Like unleash his ‘roid rage on a different wall in the house. But really, I feel Russell wholly deserved the title, if only for the fact that he was in direct line of Natalie’s projectile vomit during the competition. (Side note: Anyone else really liking this Russell-Jeff alliance? They’re the ying to each other’s yang — Russell is Hulk, while Jeff is Bruce Banner. And how can that not turn out well?)

NEXT: Who’s the snake in the grass?

Let the butt-kissing begin! Lydia made her plea to stay in the house by handing Russell some backhanded compliments, while Ronnie — perhaps sensing his inevitable nomination — made a plea to America to be the recipient of the coup d’etat: ”My only hope for winning that power is if America’s like, ‘Hm, Ronnie we know would actually use the power in a wise fashion.”’ Really Ronnie? You think that’s what we think? That’s silly — first of all, someone who likens himself to an evil mastermind should know that evil masterminds do not use actually their power in wise fashions. Instead, they just use it to commission giant screws to drill to the center of the Earth. And that’s just a waste of money. Plus, America knows that if Ronnie were to get the coup d’etat, he’d inevitably stand up in front of the room and put Russell and Jeff up for elimination. And when they would get angry, he would say, I didn’t put you two up. Then they’d respond, Yes, you did. You just did it. In front of all of us. Then Ronnie would say, Let it look what it looks like. But I didn’t put you two up. Oh, and see that blue wall over there? It’s red. Let that look what it looks like. Wise? Nuh-uh.

Onto the nominations: As we’ve learned, the Big Brother 11 cast loves their speeches, and Russell delivered one at the nomination ceremony that made me wonder if his dad snuck in a book of metaphors in his HOH basket. After nominating Lydia and Ronnie — surprise, surprise — Russell said to the latter: ”You’ve lied to every single person in this game and you’ve been a snake. Well, if you want to catch a snake, you’ve got to be a mongoose. And I’m that mongoose.”

As always, Ronnie delivered his rebuttal in the diary room: ”Well Russell, what you don’t realize is I’m not just a snake. I’m a King Cobra, and many times, the King Cobra kills the mongoose.” Well, obviously, Ronnie spent too much time playing Dragon Wars as a kid to pick up Rudyard Kipling’s ”Rikki-Tikki-Tavi,” in which a mongoose not only kills a King Cobra, but also saves an entire family of humans from the snake’s wrath. So, video games: 0. Classic literature: 1.

Now for Tuesday’s show. We began the episode with a few revelations: Chima and Russell share some sort of a showmance, Ronnie’s persuasive speaking classes did not include lessons on persuasive crying, and Lydia can channel Synergy with her earrings to morph into Jem (just look at that neon eyeshadow!).

But more importantly, we learned that Michele is officially a power player in the house. At the start of the episode, the neuroscientist was granted the opportunity to take part in the POV competition along with Kevin and Jessie. The setup: the houseguests were forced to dress up in togas and given incredibly uncreative Greek-style names before trying to guess how many objects were displayed throughout the backyard. (Was this a Greek-themed competition because the houseguests have officially ”graduated” high school? If so, when do we get to see Jessie get paddled?) Some of the objects: grapes, rats, arrows, and a bedazzled belt. At first I felt bad for the poor CBS intern who was forced to count all the objects before the competition, but then I realized the Chenbot probably has a built-in tallying system just for instances like these. Some of the contestants could have used her help. Kevin dropped out first, while Michele overshot most of her guesses, claiming she was ”bluffing.” (879 arrows? Seriously? That’s one obvious bluff.) But if that’s what she was going for, it certainly worked — the neuroscientist won her second POV in a row.

NEXT: Michele stirs the pot

She wasn’t too surprised. After all, as she said, ”I’m the one with the Ph.D.” Of course, being a Ph.D. recipient and participating in Big Brother is a bit like a professional boxer playing a round of whack-a-mole — it’s hardly fair. But I had been surprised by how insignificant a game Michele had been playing to this point. Someone with her amount of schooling should have been faring better in the Big Brother house, especially considering the fact that she’s already studied her fair share of Petri dishes. But I’m beginning to think that the brain actually has a chance.

Especially since she’s chosen to side with Russell, Jeff, and Jordan, rather than the dying alliance of Jessie, Natalie and Chima. Ronnie, however, tried to play big bully, telling Michele that she will be blamed for his eviction. Therefore, using his logic, Jessie & Co., would target her if he leaves the house. Of course, this is stereotypical high school nerd logic: Nerd and jock bond during night of partying or hardship, nerd thinks jock will now acknowledge him in the hallway, nerd tries to wave hello to jock, jock puts nerd’s head in toilet. (For a concrete example of said behavior, I refer you to the classic 1990s film, Can’t Hardly Wait.) Did Ronnie think he really was that entrenched in the alliance? He might have been this early, for sheer numbers’ sake, but he was definitely at the bottom-of-the-barrel. Lest we forget, this is the same dude that became the object of anger for everyone in the house just two weeks ago. Sure, he would have been a good companion to take to the final two, but he simply was not smart enough to get that far.

But in his opinion, he was. In fact, he thought he was so intelligent, only he could recognize that Michele is ”touched” and ”stupid.” ”She has a bunch of book smarts,” Ronnie told Chima. ”She has no common sense.” Chima responded by telling Ronnie how she wishes she could tell Russell, ”Get over yourself.” Responded Ronnie, ”He’s not anywhere near as smart as he thinks he is.” That’s a lot of delusion and projection in one conversation, eh? Both participants of that convo might as well have been holding up mirrors while they were talking. And memo to Ronnie: a joystick and bubble stick do not a genius make.

Ultimately, Michele chose to not use the POV — to the surprise of no one — leaving Lydia and Ronnie up for nomination, and jumpstarting the latter’s campaign to slander her as much as possible.

But before we get into the details of that interesting little rivalry, let’s discuss the top of Thursday’s show, in which Russell began a parade of paranoia. One second, Michele and Jordan are sitting in the backyard talking about books (Jordan’s favorite being A Brief History of Time, naturally). The next, Russell’s suspecting them of scheming against him, for no other reason than the fact that he’s never heard of this curious object that they call ”a book.” He tries to figure out what’s going down, and Michele, moving up to his HOH room, tells him that Chima had it out for him a few weeks ago. Of course, this makes Hulk angry, so Hulk invites Chima up to his room and confronts her. Chima, of course, denies it, and invites Michele up to hash it out. And then Michele denies it, lying to both Chima and Russell at the same time. Phew. Got that? I didn’t. The only thing I understood was that Michele somehow turned Chima and Russell against each other by lying to their faces multiple times. Either the pair didn’t catch on, or they really liked the smell of each other’s mouthwash, because they spent the next few minutes nonsensically yelling in each other’s faces. (Mmm, Scope and ‘roids.)

On another side note, I never understand why houseguests get so angry when they’re at the tail end of deception on this show. Getting mad about being lied to in the Big Brother house is like getting mad that you had to make a bathroom run after eating Taco Bell. You knew perfectly well what you were getting yourself into.

NEXT: Ronnie’s last-ditch effort

Anyway, Russell, Chima and Michele had no reason to worry about this week — they were all safe. Ronnie recognized his chances of staying were slim to none, so he attempted to garner one additional sympathy vote in order to force a tie. And, clearly, the most strategic way to secure a sympathy vote is to interrupt burgeoning lovebirds Jeff and Jordan’s first official romantic moment with a mega-fart. But why are you judging Ronnie? Unleashing inappropriately timed flatulence is exactly how Mario attracts the attention of Princess Peach in the Mushroom Kingdom.

It was, however, a good week for Jeff. Not only did he manage to get some lovin’ from Jordan, but he also discovered he was the recipient of the America-voted coup d’etat. Unfortunately, Jeff doesn’t fully understand the power that he could wield — thanks to words that are all French and stuff — but he does get the basic principle: the prize awards him 20 percent off all classes at the Sylvan Learning Center, and the ability to overthrow the nominations just prior to voting.

Obviously, Jeff wasn’t going to use the power this time around. But Ronnie would try to turn on the charm one last time during his pre-vote plea to stay in the house. Said the master manipulator, ”You always have to try to see the good in everyone. There’s so much good in all of you.” Aw. See, why did we judge Ronnie so? The man has a heart of gold! Wait — what’s that you say? He’s not done? ”…Except you, Michele. You, honestly, for your actions in this game, I have come to believe, you are quite possibly, and you know I wanted to say some very truthful things, but I’m gonna be nice and just simply say, you are the worst human being I’ve ever had the misfortune of meeting, and I absolutely feel sorry for you.” Of course, Ronnie’s probably only met about a dozen human beings in his life — sorry, World of Warcraft characters don’t count — so that’s not too bad of an insult.

The tactic didn’t work, and Ronnie was voted out 4-3. And sorry to all those Ronnie fans out there — crickets — but I’m not going to miss him. The God complex was too much for me to handle, especially coming from somebody with the emotional maturity of a baby Ewok. It’s too bad he didn’t stay in another week though — ally Chima won the requisite Try to memorize these non-stop messages from Big Brother fans HOH challenge. Our new HOH, however, probably picked the worst week to win the title — with Jeff holding the coup d’etat in his dreamy hands, Chima has a better chance of delivering Chenbot’s bionic baby than she does voting out a true enemy.

Alright, after two thousand words, I’m spent, folks. What did you think of this week? Did the right person go home? Why was the Lone Ranger in the house? Did you vote for Jeff for the coup d’etat? Will he use it next week? What did I miss in the live feeds? And is a still photo of an aquarium the network’s version of spaghetti cat?

More Big Brother:
Julie Chen blogs Big Brother: Season 11, elimination #4
Big Brother executive producer addresses Jesses’s roughhousing with Lydia, Natalie