Big Brother recap: The Eyebrows, the Eviction, and the shocking new Head of Household
Aaryn makes a last-ditch plea to save herself from the chopping block, while Elissa goes rogue
I’m going to go way out on a limb here and say that Kaitlin seemed like a reasonably cool person. I use the word “cool” loosely and the word “reasonably” very generously. She made mistakes. After the first week, she had three close friends in the house: Jeremy, a tall man who lives in a small boat, possessed of a forehead that appeared designed specifically to crush beer cans on and arm muscles that appeared specifically designed to lift nerds up and stuff their heads into toilets; Aaryn, who before she appeared on this season of Big Brother was last seen transforming into a dragon outside of Cinderella’s castle; and GinaMarie, who graciously donated her brain to science and forgot to die first.
Kaitlin had poor judgment, is what I’m saying here. But she knew that. She was self-aware. “I definitely picked the wrong side of the house,” she said on last night’s episode, by way of post-mortem. She did some cruel things with her cruel allies, but in the psychological contest of the Big Brother house — which is basically the Stanford Prison Experiment with bikinis and worse food — you can believe that she allowed herself to be carried along by bad people. She was situationally evil, but perhaps not totally evil. (Like, in Spider-Man Villain Terms, Aaryn is the first Green Goblin — pure evil, power-obsessed — but Kaitlin is the second Green Goblin — cursed with bad influences. In this metaphor, GinaMarie is the Rhino.) In the first week post-Jeremy, she vibed like a player. If Aaryn went home, you could see her rising.
“If Aaryn went home.” That was the problem. Aaryn has spent the last two weeks in the Big Brother house beset on all sides, fighting for her life while essentially living on the block. She had a target on her back. She had a target on her head. Aaryn’s whole body had quite literally transformed into a giant walking target. It was easy to count her out. Most people in the house did. Aaryn had dug a very deep hole for herself. She made racist comments. She made homophobic comments. She got into shouting matches with her fellow contestants. She clubbed baby seals to death with cricket bats. She sabotaged the Apollo 13 Moon Landing. She rigged the votes so that poor Ben Affleck couldn’t get a Best Director nod for Argo. She stole the Eiffel Tower. (She framed Carmen Sandiego.) Aaryn had played such a singularly toxic game that everyone in the house decided to keep her around, because it was unthinkable that she could ever actually win this thing.
This had the curious effect of giving Aaryn an amazingly strong position in the house. And Aaryn knew this. Aaryn walked up to the HoH thronebed and whispered into Judd’s ear. “Kaitlin is a big threat,” said Aaryn. “Kaitlin is a big threat!” said Judd. “Kaitlin’s the strongest player,” Aaryn continued. “Kaitlin is the strongest player!” Judd affirmed. “Your clothes. Give them to me,” said Aaryn. “Here ya go! M’clothes!” said Judd. She mind-tricked him. Jessie was there, too. (I suspect when we close the book on this season, many exciting things will have happened, and as an addendum, we will note: “Jessie was there, too!”)
Aaryn departed the room, and let Judd talk to Helen and Elissa. “Say, guys, don’t you think Kaitlin is a big threat? She is the strongest player,” he explained. “Judd, why are you naked?” asked Helen. “And why is there tiny devil on your shoulder with Aaryn’s face?” asked Elissa. Judd, getting nervous from all the questions, went to go spread the new anti-Kaitlin Gospel. He told Candice and Howard that he was thinking of keeping Aaryn. “I think maybe it’s smarter to keep Aaryn, even though it’s kind of disgusting to keep her,” he said. Howard nodded; the man came here to play the game. Remember, kids: Keep your friends close, but keep your grasshoppers closer, so the ants can kill the grasshoppers.
Everyone came around to this new way of thinking. Helen told Elissa: “I’m a minority. I get it. But…she’s always going to be a bigger target in the house than you or me.” Aaryn had made promises to Helen. If Aaryn won HoH, she would not put Helen or her allies up on the block. The inherent problem with all of this, of course, is that Helen is treating Aaryn as if she is a typical player in the Big Brother house, and not the demonspawn of a thousand satans created by Robo-Frankenstein in a zero-gravity space lab with the express purpose of spreading chaos inside of the Big Brother house.
Elissa tried to tell people this. But the tide was turning against Kaitlin. The final blow came when Judd told people about the incipient alliance forming between Howard/Spencer and Kaitlin/GinaMarie. In that moment, Judd seemed to decisively choose his side of the house, with Jessie, Helen, and Andy. (ASIDE: In the process, Judd also helped to outline the current grouping of the house. In one corner, the remnants of the Moving Company and the Mean Girl Brigade; in another corner, Helen’s legion, mostly composed of people who were burned by Aaryn; and, in the middle, McCrae and Amanda, which I’m going to refer to as “McCramda” until you give me a better idea. END OF ASIDE.)
But Elissa was not finished.
NEXT: Elissa seeks vengeance
Here’s the thing. Like her sister before her, Elissa is a crazy person raised on some distant island continent where everyone talks like Cher in Clueless and looks like Jessica Rabbit in Who Framed Roger Rabbit? Unlike her sister, Elissa is not particularly good at Big Brother. But Elissa does share one thing: Rachel’s overdeveloped passion for justice. She has a moral code. She did not appreciate Aaryn’s derogatory comments. And she most definitely did not appreciate Aaryn gunning for her so early in the game. They are enemies. Elissa will not rest until she has vengeance. (In my Big Brother Spaghetti Western FanFic, the season is going to end with Elissa and Aaryn staring each other down in a gun duel, with Elissa wearing Clint Eastwood’s serape from A Fistful of Dollars and Aaryn wearing a black cowboy hat, and Jessie and Judd are soundtracking the duel on a trumpet and a banjo, respectively.)
So Helen told Elissa and Amanda about Kaitlin’s Secret Alliance. Elissa could see the forces aligning against Kaitlin. So she went into the kitchen and told Kaitlin the house was gunning for her. “I know youse ain’t the real killer,” Elissa said basically, “But Don Aaryn’s playin’ you like a patsy, and if you ain’t careful, it’s da chair for youse!” Aaryn overheard this, because Aaryn has the incredible ability to hear any conversation wherein her name is mentioned, just like Voldemort and Bill Clinton. So Aaryn told Helen. And Helen got exasperated. She has worked with Elissa, saving her life, when everyone else in the house wanted nothing to do with her. This is the payback she gets? You could see, in that moment, a weird mental calculation in Helen’s eyes: Am I now at the point where I trust someone less than I trust Aaryn?
It led to a shouting match between Aaryn and Elissa, with most of the house watching. Nothing was really decided, mostly because they didn’t really talk about the germane topic — the fact that Kaitlin may have been plotting with Spencer and Howard. Instead, they mostly conducted an elaborate debate about what Elissa said to Kaitlin, and whether Aaryn had the right to listen in on the conversation, and a wide variety of other fascinating topics better left to boring civil-liberties classes. Suffice it to say that Aaryn and Elissa came off like two sides of the same coin. The same very loud coin. Except one side of the coin is racist and the other side of the coin has lips the side of walrus tusks.
And so, we came to it: The vote for eviction. It was a landslide. Every single person voted for Kaitlin. Most of them did so sadly. Elissa explained that she was voting “sadly, sadly, sadly.” Pretty much everyone seemed to agree that keeping Aaryn around was a horrible decision, but they did it anyways. Kaitlin walked out of the house, hugging only GinaMarie — who, really, was the only person this week who didn’t betray her. In her exit interview, we got an exciting preview of how the fifteenth clone of Julie Chen will interview Aaryn and GinaMarie whenever they meet their maker. She told Kaitlin that America called her clique “The Mean Girls.” She took her to task for her role in the bed incident. Kaitlin followed her boy-crush Jeremy out of the door, but didn’t seem too interested in contacting him anytime soon. She’s going to Vegas. She has left the saga. In the process, she becomes the fourth straight member of what I’m going to generally refer to as “The Confederation of Evil Hottie Alliances” to leave the house. She left behind a house which, however briefly, was united.
That unity seems destined to end. Because Aaryn won the Head of Household competition. The competition involved rolling a ball down a ramp to a giant roulette wheel. Aaryn walked right up with a look of concentration. She looked as if she had been practicing this Ball-Ramp-Roulette game since she was a young girl, living during the Dark Ages with a pagan tribe of cannibal witches in ice castle bordering a Hellmouth out of which flowed a river of blood, in France. Aaryn got 36, the highest score on the wheel. Both Amanda and Elissa came close, very close, to getting that same score. (To return to the spaghetti western metaphor, Amanda is almost certainly Tuco to Elissa’s Blondie and Aaryn’s Bright Eyes. I don’t need to hyperlink that, do I? We all know The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly, right? If not, here’s a more apropos metaphor: Aaryn is Yosemite Sam, Elissa is Elmer Fudd, and Amanda is Bugs Bunny. And GinaMarie is the big red hairy monster.)
So now Aaryn is in charge. For her fellow housemates, how is this not the apocalypse? Everyone in the house made a horrible bargain: They agreed to keep Aaryn around, with the full knowledge that she cannot win this game. They forgot that Aaryn can still radically affect the game. (They also forgot that Aaryn, for all of her tremendous faults, can be a fierce competitor when she gets her Irish up.) What will the second reign of Queen Aaryn look like? She has a serious score to settle with Elissa; she does not like Amanda, or Andy, or Jessie. All of those people are linked, firmly or loosely, with Helen. Will she betray Helen? Will she aim for Spencer/Howard/Candice? Will she bathe in the entrails of a wild boar and sing a demonic prayer to The Black Goat of the Woods with a Thousand Young? Aaryn’s days in the house might be numbered. She could very well be going home in two weeks. But right now, she holds all the cards.
Fellow viewers, what did you think of the evening’s shenanigans? Were you as surprised as me to see Kaitlin walk out the door? What do you think will be Aaryn’s first move as HoH? And what’d you think of the appearance of Ol’ Jeff? He seems to think McCrae is the best player in the game right now. Personally, Helen’s my current fave — like many other great Big Brother players of lore, she does her best work between competitions, making savvy and rather bold social-game moves. After a full month of gameplay, who’s your current pick to win it all?
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