Liz and Dick. Brad and Angelina. Lily and James and also Snape sort of. Such romances make history, and Big Brother 17 can proudly add one more pair to the sanctified list of legendary courtships: John and the Power of Veto. In the golden pendant, the Simple Dentist has finally found companionship, understanding and, in truth, himself. O, sweet birth o’ r’mance! O, mystic twining o’ kindr’d sp’r’ts ‘r’!
Even if it’s a piece of metal, at least something finally understands John, who surprised us all this week with his hidden talents of perception and his use of inside voice.
With Jason and Meg off the block, John and James both believe that they’re safe: John knows he was always just a pawn, while James (who reasons that the BoB challenge was “made for a girl” who has a “keen eye” to “recognize patterns” and “not show too much ankle whilst at the town square”) believes that everyone will backdoor Audrey.
In reality, Vanessa and Austin will not be adhering to that plan. They mull their options between keeping the nominations the same and sending James home, or, if given the opportunity, putting up Jeff, who’s ostensibly a bigger target in both game potential and pectoral mass (and who, I would wager, also has the biggest collection of V-necks from Target).
Curious Audrey comes upstairs under the ruse of a lotion hunt (this week’s hair gel) to make sure she’s not being backdoored. Both Vanessa and The Man in the Big Yellow Beard promise her she has “nothing to worry about,” and in fact, she doesn’t—they’ll keep her close and “deal with her later,” says Austin (because Vanessa can’t say “deal” because she’s a poooker plaaaayer).
When Jeff goes up to the HoH room to check his standing, he says a few things that rub Austin the wrong way. He points out that Liz’s “ass looks fatter” and declares, “I love Clay, but Shelli’s f—ing him up.” This is the equivalent of texting smack about your aunt to your uncle. It throws Austin into a tizzy and convinces him further that Jeff has to go.
In the actual veto competition, Vanessa, John, and James go up against Shelli, Austin, and—surprise!—Audrey, who is still technically thought of as Public Enemy #2 (guys, El Chapo escaped). It’s the dice game, one of my favorite challenges. Audrey quickly eliminates Vanessa, John eliminates Audrey, Austin beats James and Shelli, and it’s down to a John vs. Austin showdown. In the moment, Austin allows himself to lose to John (who still could have won anyway, because he had to take a “perceptual ability test” in dental school and is Perseus slaying Medusa and has powers of perception that we as simple dental assistants will never understand).
Throwing the competition is a somewhat smart move by Austin—let the alliance’s plan continue, but with slightly less blood on his hands—but it only works if Vanessa believes he lost, and she’s convinced he threw it. Vanessa is pissed. She’s FURIOUS. She’s now forced to actually be HoH! Austin sheepishly admits bits and pieces of guilt without fully confessing that, yes, he did let John win. Eventually, they make up, but their brief little intellectual smackdown is refreshing if only because neither is a fool.
Speaking of, James is now convinced that Audrey’s loss was his gain. “I knew once Audrey was knocked out, I wasn’t worried about it. I thought, let’s just have fun,” he recalls of the veto competition. It’s so outrageous of a statement that even Percept-i-John points out the flaw: “The point when you start feeling too safe, you’re probably going home. You might want to start giving it a little bit more of an effort,” he says in the diary room, to applause and laughter from around the country. “An apple a day keeps the doctor away,” he continues. “Soylent Green is people,” he opines.
NEXT: The first and hopefully last time we ever hear the name Gronk again[pagebreak]
Toga party! Pool party! Shower party! Living room party! Such are the parties the houseguests are forced to throw, which, granted, are much better than the Librarian Bros and Barbarian Hos parties I went to in college. There’s a hilarious montage of the houseguests getting less and less interested in the festivities, and their bored faces also express the audience’s reaction at having to watch this terrible takeover. Also, Meg wins a three-day cruise. Good for you, Meg. Cruises are doing really well these days.
Back to gameplay: Jeff comes to talk game to Vanessa, and she basically tells him she won’t be putting Audrey up because “imagine how that would look.” (I hate the idea that Audrey’s gender identity has anything to do with whether she deserves to be in the house after all the drama she’s brought, especially compared to the relatively drama-free gang of smiley-variant emoji that remains in the house following Da’Vonne’s beheading.) Vanessa tells Jeff that she’s gunning for James, and Jeff leaves the HoH room shocked and convinced that Audrey has brainwashed yet another person.
That’s the story he relays to Jason and Clay. But then Jeff tells Austin, who acts surprised, and it’s in his googly-eyed facial expression that perceptive Jason (not to be confused with Percept-i-John) knows Austin is lying. “He already knew,” Jason says, and now a flummoxed Jeff is convinced that Austin and Vanessa are in an alliance.
He tells Clay, who is wisely playing dumb to this smack about his own alliance. Clay tells Austin, who then tells Vanessa, and the idea that Jeff is making waves is exactly what Vanessa needs. It’s enough ammunition for her to turn this one match into an expolsion. THIS IS MY FIIIGHT SONG, TAKE BACK MY LI— So Austin and Vanessa storm downstairs and corner Jeff in the bathroom and, in front of Shelli, Clay, James, Meg, Jason, and the ghost of Steve’s gameplay, they make a huge confrontation about things Jeff has said about the housemates—some true, some overexaggerated, but all of them perfect ammo for Vanessa to publicly justify putting Jeff up on the block. (Confrontational highlight: Vanessa calmly yelling, “You must be, like, silly!”)
Sure, it’s a little much, but she’s playing the smart card and making it look like an emotional, spontaneous move, which will be forgiven and forgotten much faster than a strategic, long-con move that shows her to be untrustworthy or manipulative. But even though Jeff is on the block with James, one of them is coming off—and hopefully it’s the less-threatening James.
And then there’s the fact that Vanessa and Austin’s alliance has now been outed to Jason and friends—will Clay, Shelli, and Juliza be dragged out, too? Also, was Jackie in this episode?