All houseguests must die, or so they say. Death is but a metaphor on Big Maester—eviction is its true form, and Julie its macabre hostess—and it is coming for one half of the royal couple. But should the violent hand of elimination strike fair Lady Shelli, we can take solace that Sir Clay will find warmth and comfort in poor onion seller Meg, who has been keeping her unrequited love for Clay a secret until this very moment. Or at least until Shelli gets booted.
On this, Day 44, the Queen and her hound are facing a dilemma. Shelli and Clay, having finally been put up on the block, are aimless and lost in a house that has seemingly decided they’re no longer fit to rule, despite weeks of proving that they totally haven’t done anything wrong. No, not them! They’d never betray James! They’d never evict Jason! They’d never silently plot assassinations whilst soft-pretzeling in the smart decor of the HOH bed. Up on the block, Shelli and Clay are cooks without a kitchen, or cheerleaders without a squad, or quarterbacks without whatever it is quarterbacks lead (I want to say… gaggle?). And they’re taking out their anger on everyone.
Clay picks a fight with James, who ain’t scared of having blood on his hands because he spent three years in prison. (Um, WHAT? Tell me more, Chapman.) Clelli also point their rage towards Vanessa, blaming her for getting them put on the block. It’s actually not an unfair accusation since Vanessa let Austin manipulate her into putting up Jason last week, but given their storied history as the three terrors haunting this mansion, they’re inextricably linked in their guilt across all weeks. Still, Vanessa gets emotional at being shut out, and so storms out…
Oh, how we must honor Vanessa’s brilliance. The mastermind takes her “Hell is… other people!” existential meltdown outside to the backyard, in front of every other houseguest! And she actually gets sympathy! For being blamed entirely for the thing she should only be blamed for partly! It’s like if Voldemort ran to the Burrow and started crying about Mr. and Mrs. Malfoy. James takes a sympathetic knee, recognizing that Clelli have yet again pretended to be washed clean of dirty hands. And so, regardless of how this shakes out, Vanessa has somehow miraculously come out on top yet again. She even reconciles with Shelli and Clay, suddenly regaining her spot in the inner circle as the cunning handmaiden who commits the murders the Queen gets blamed for.
Desperately, Shelli and Clay try to make nice with James, lying about how they’ve never betrayed him, but ex-con James knows better. “Y’all had y’all’s hands in all the cookie jars!” he cries. “It’s spilt milk!” he says. “Happy families are all alike!” he opines. No nice will be made here.
The medieval-themed veto competition is a numbers comp called ‘Game of Throws,’ which I am partly confident is a spoof of the Starz docu-series Game of Thrones although I cannot be sure. James, Shelli, and Clay are joined by fellow veto players Jackie, Becky, and Vanessa, which is like competing against rainbows, bubbles, and one of those industrial blade cutters on Unwrapped. (In a moment of sweetness, Becky woefully contemplates being caught between two sides of the house if she wins, which is doubly hilarious because of both her belief about her alliance status and her veto competition ability.)
In the high-low hit-a-number game, Shelli hits a zero—she was so close to the edge of the GIANT GAME BOARD—and is eliminated. When it’s down to James, Clay, Becky, and Vanessa (Tyrion, Jaime, Sansa, and Lead White Walker, respectively), Clay finds himself out, too. As the reality of James’ victory sinks in, dry eyes make themselves scarce as everyone realizes that the house is about to get a little less attractive.
“We’ve got something way better than winning this game,” Clay says, comforting his soon-to-be long-distance lady. (Is it their love? A hot tip on oil?) But in the face of death, the question becomes: who’s actually going to be evicted? Clay makes it thoroughly clear that he’d rather see himself eliminated first, and he even begins to campaign that notion around the house.
That brings him to Meg, who has seen her closest allies be evicted and turns to her collection of beach-ready fedoras for comfort. Clay asks for a promise of eviction from Drunk Meg, emotionally weepy off of bathtub moonshine and a jar of Jason’s tears. Suddenly, in front of God, the audience, and sweet virginal Johnny Mac, Meg can’t help but get touchy-touchy with Clay to express her devastation at his elimination. It’s obvious that she’d rather see Clay stick around than Shelli, if only so she can make the move she’s been waiting for all summer. Question: Has this been alluded to on the live feeds? Because it came as a shock to me when they got so intimately close, I half wondered if Clay was actually going to kiss her. And by the time the hashtag pops up, it’s a #BBScandal INDEED. Meg, get your PAWS OFF OF HIM. He is NOT YOUR MAN! He is PROPERTY OF SHELLI. She GOT HIM REGISTERED. He HAS BEEN NEUTERED. He WILL NOT GET DRUNK WITH YOU IN NEW YORK CITY, BABY. Clay, skeezy as ever, tells her not to tell anybody, and Meg sulks away under a dark stormy horny rain cloud.
Shelli and Clay make one last-ditch effort to convince James to pull one of them off and put up Austin instead. He entertains it, as one entertains pants on a Saturday, but ultimately leaves Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dimpled Lower Back on the block. And here they lie, ready to await the cruel guillotine of Jackie and Becky.