Big Brother recap: Betrayal! Eviction! More Betrayal! More Eviction!
In a stunning double eviction episode, a power player exits the game, and a housemate makes possibly the most boneheaded move in Big Brother history
Ian, Ian, Ian, Ian, Ian.
Ian. I mean… just… Ian.
[Brief pause as your recapper slaps his forehead several times, makes a pot of warm green tea, and pours the warm green tea over his bruised forehead.]
Has any houseguest ever made a move so completely unnecessary, so immediately ruinous, so utterly ill-conceived as Ian? The adorable nerd Judas goat strolled into last night’s double eviction episode sitting pretty. He was the mole inside the Boogie/Frank alliance — a team that had, since the veto night, swelled to include his one-time flirt-partner Smashley. He was the essential member of the Quack Pack. Really, he was the only reason that the Quack Pack existed. He had single-handedly — albeit somewhat inadvertently — pushed one of the game’s best players out of the game pre-Jury. You could argue that the game belonged to him. If nothing else, he had the easy line to winning America’s Choice, with Frank devolving into paranoiac rambling and Shane revealed as an empty pink shirt with a bad haircut.
And he threw it all away.
At the beginning of the episode, Boogie knew that he was on his way out. He had dressed up for the occasion in an outfit that suggested Uncle Scrooge McDuck after a wacky weekend in Vice City: Pink blazer, hipster glasses, boat shoes, a frozen-gin smirk. Boogie had already gifted his favorite Chilltown T-shirt to his friend and scion Frank.
Boogie hadn’t been so cool earlier in the week. We saw footage of a tense dinner in the wake of the veto competition, with Jenn joining Boogie up on the block. Boogie challenged Shane outright in the kitchen: “Why did you give us the runaround?” Shane blubbered, “Um, errr, Shane sorry, Boogie. A Shane’s gotta do what a Shane’s gotta do.” Frank responded tersely: “Stuff your sorries in a sack, man.” Then Boogie threw down the gauntlet: “You’re just looking like Dan’s bitch right now.”
Cut to the ladies in the couch room, jaws on the floor. Cut to Dan, silently reading his King James Bible, no doubt paying special attention to the story of Joshua at the Walls of Jericho. In the privacy of the Diary Room, Boogie offered his opinion on Dan. “He likes to pretend he’s a Catholic school boy. But he’s not. He’s really Satan.” (Pot: Meet Kettle. You’re both black. But you’ll notice that the kettle doesn’t dress like the grown-up version of the kid from Blank Check.) Boogie tried to get a rise out of Dan. He walked over to the couch and asked, “Hey Dan, why nominate Jenn and not the other two? Hey Dan, are you gonna ignore me all week? Hey Dan, won’t it be great if they’re in the final three with you can Danielle, so you can throw that last HoH and you don’t have to slash Danielle’s throat on national TV?”
But Coach Dan wouldn’t budge. If Boogie’s greatest talent is talking, then Dan’s greatest ability is not talking. Play it cool. Take the blame if you need to, but don’t bemoan your fate. Instant counterexample: Jenn, who spent her time on the block talking and talking and talking. She told Ian, “I’m gonna raise hell!” She told Shane, “I’m so fired up!” She loudly announced that the houseguests had booked a one-way ticket to New Jenn City. We saw a montage of her best lines from the week: “I’m gonna be out for blood.” “Shane made everything really awkward. He’s just not a bright guy.” At one point, she stood in the middle of the Big Brother backyard and screamed “I’m such a frigging wild card!!!” (I bet that, when Jenn is playing poker, her version of a power move is going all in pre-flop and loudly announcing to the table: “Oh yeah, everybody, you better watch out: I got Nine High!” And then everyone she’s playing poker with says: “Actually, that’s a Six. Also, sorry, who are you?”
It came time for the final speeches. Jenn stood up and said: “I’m not going to speak in generalities. But what a summer it has been. What a time to be alive. A great man once said: It was the best of times, it was the worst of rhymes. Everything’s different, yet the same. Things are more moderner than before, bigger, and yet smaller. How true that is!”
Boogie didn’t roll like that. His Boogness stood up and gave a great plea speech, sounding for all the world like Clarence Darrow and looking for all the world like the last person on earth who still thinks roller-blades are cool. He thanked his business partner, said hello to his family, and begged Joe for his vote. (Remember: As far as Boogie knew, Joe was the swing vote.)
NEXT: You broke my heart, Fredo. You broke my heart.Boogie got sent home, all according to plan. And here is where things went off the rails. Boogie shook everyone’s hand, and offered everyone a hug. I think that, in that moment, he was already working out the votes (five people voted against him), and he knew someone on his team had broken. It would have taken him a few more moments to suss it out. In another world, Boogie would have realized Ian’s betrayal as soon as the outer door closed.
Instead, Ian made one of the great poor decisions in Big Brother history. He pulled Boogie close to him. I couldn’t make out exactly what he said, but Boogie paraphrased for us later. “You’re gonna see some things that you don’t like. Get to steppin’.” Mike Boogie did not waste his breath. He turned to Frank and said his last words in the Big Brother house: “Ian is not to be trusted.”
Outside of the house, Boogie took Ian’s betrayal in stride. He said that he loved the kid and helped him out every step of the way — which isn’t true, but allow a dying man his illusions. And he wore a wide smile on his face while he watched Ian’s farewell. I might be wrong, but I think there were happy tears in Boogie’s eyes. Mike has spent the whole season building up Frank as his heir apparent, but in that moment, I think he recognized that Ian was probably his best student in the house. Boogie got Boogied. Sometimes you die a hero; sometimes you live long enough to be a villain; and sometimes you live long enough to be a villain and get killed by the hero you created. It was the best way for Boogie to go out. And how could you not be just a little charmed — by this devil among devils — when he ended his third Big Brother journey with a giggling exclamation of disbelief: “The Quack Pack?!?!?!”
Meanwhile, inside the house, everything was quickly going to hell. The HoH competition was a Before and After competition. Frank and Smashley went out early, and it ultimately came down to an Ian/Danielle showdown. Now, you could argue that — at that point — the winner didn’t matter. The HoH was going to the Quack Pack regardless. But when Ian won the Head of Household challenge — only the second time this season that the HoH crown hasn’t been held by Shane or Frank — he went into a tailspin. He stood up and said, “Things were said after that eviction that have my heart racing.” It seems to me that he was, really, directly referencing what he said — or anyhow, directly referencing what Boogie said in response to Ian’s admission. He nominated Frank and Smashley. “I’m sorry,” he said. “I’m really sorry.” He rubbed his chin. “I’m really sorry, guys.”
Now, maybe this was always the Quack Pack’s plan. Step One: Eliminate Boogie. Step Two: Eliminate the remnants of Boogie. But this decision was very much a personal decision for Ian. It completed his outright betrayal of Frank. It also, in one shocking motion, severed all his ties with Smashley — a contestant he at least nominally had a connection to (certainly moreso than Jenn or Joe.) Now, I’m tempted to read this decision as the moves of a spurned lover: “You make out with Frank instead of me? Then go home, Smashley! Let’s see CBS try to build a Big Bang Theory narrative around us now!” But I’m just as tempted to read this as Ian, realizing his mistake, reacting by throwing a cluster grenade.
Frank looked fired up in the veto competition — we saw him in video, stretching, punching the air, looking for all the world like Rocky prepping for the Ivan Drago fight in Rocky IV. (This was Frank’s fifth time on the block this season.) The competition was a vintage Dig Dug scenario: Find the lucky clovers, win the veto. (Aside: Unlike some viewers, I don’t necessarily mind it when the Big Brother producers rig competitions. The entire game is rigged; indeed, most of our cruel modern existence is rigged. But it must be pointed out that the two competitions last night seemed uncannily tailored to the specific strengths of two players: HoH was a memory test tilted in Ian’s direction, while the Veto competish was a physical showdown that Frank owned right from the start. End of Aside.)
Frank won, and he yelled something. I couldn’t quite make it out, but it sounded like: “In your face, Ian!” (One of my viewing buddies swore up and down that Frank said: “Wash your sheets, Ian!”) Either way, the battle lines were clearly drawn. Frank was swearing a blood oath of vengeance upon Ian. The Quack Pack’s silent partner had become the face of the enemy.
NEXT: You shouldna done that. She’s just a girl. Poor little feller.
Frank took himself off the block. Ian put Joe up in his place. Actually, what he said specifically was, “Pop a squat, man.” That might be the defining moment of Ian’s short, ignoble reign as Head of Household. (We saw Ian talking to Joe earlier, so it could be that the former Mr. Loud was already a willing pawn.) Smashley stood up and gave a despairing speech. She looked like a pretty butterfly who accidentally floated in the path of a crashing zeppelin. (At one point, she said: “Obviously, I’m not articulate,” and the studio audience laughed.) As Julie Chen told her that time was running low, Smashley left us with one final thought: “Ian, I thought you had my back. I thought…I mean…” And the rest was silence.
Literally silence. Joe apparently heard his family’s mental warning. He stood up and delivered the best eviction speech of the season — maybe one of the finest eviction speeches ever. He zipped his mouth closed. He made one motion: Me, Joe, keep me. He made another motion: Her, Smashley, send her out. Everyone laughed. Britney looked utterly charmed. And the vote was a blow-out. Lonely Frank tried to save his couch girlfriend; everyone else sent Smashley out the door.
Outside of the house, Smashley immediately charmed Julie Chen: “I love your side-pony!” And she explained that, when we weren’t looking, she had come up with a new strategy. “I had an opportunity to work with the team that had my back,” she said. It would appear that she formalized a deal with Frank and Boogie, which she thought included Ian. Now, fellow viewers, this was a horrible strategy: After a season of playing the float game, why would you suddenly ally yourself with a team that spent the first part of the week on the block? But give Smashley credit. She looks at the world through rose-colored glasses. Or maybe she looks at the world through roses. Or maybe the world is a rose, and we are all just petals, and Smashley is smelling the rose petals, and they smell like cheese. I don’t know. I can’t say. I’m not scientist. I’m just one more mobile spray tanner in a world without sunshine.
We didn’t watch the second HoH competition — if you know who won, please mark your comment with a big old SPOILER ALERT — but the end of the episode was nevertheless fascinating. We saw Frank, in the household, talking to his fellow contestants. Now, at this point, I don’t see how anyone can deny that Frank is the best outright player in the house. He has weathered more adversity than anyone. He has won three veto competitions and two HoH competitions. He formed a strong alliance with a strong player and held fast to that alliance right up until the end. And he is loyal: He held a weird grudge against Dan, but it’s important to remember that he didn’t act on that grudge, and he forthrightly told Dan about that, just to clear the air. Frank has also maintained a remarkably sunny disposition through it all.
That sunny disposition is now gone. We saw Frank yelling loudly at everyone: At Dan, at Danielle, at Britney, at Ian. Can you really blame him? In the span of an hour, Frank’s entire life in the Big Brother house — the life he has known for seven weeks — came to an end. He lost his best friend and mentor. He lost a close ally and semi-platonic galpal. And he discovered that his only other ally — someone he barely even considered a threat to anyone — was actually his worst enemy. When he looks around the house now, what does he see? Five people who stabbed him in the back, one bad chef, and someone named Jenn.
It seems insane to bet against Frank at this point. The guy has come back from the brink too many times. If he wins HoH, he will run rampant; if he loses HoH, a fourth veto competish beckons. But in the final moments of the episode, Frank didn’t look like a competitor. He looked like a lone survivor on a suicide mission. To me, he’s the most interesting player left in the game. But can he survive without Boogie?
Fellow viewers, last night’s double eviction episode capped the best week of Big Brother all year. What did you think? Was Ian’s confession the worst move in Big Brother history, or the worst move in the history of humans making moves? Or does it even matter — is the Quack Pack so entrenched now that Ian’s betrayal will be vapor in a couple weeks? Surely, Dan won’t be happy that Ian essentially made him go through Boogie’s bullying for nothing. Will Britney go for a betrayal hat trick and turn against another alliance? Will Joe float to the finish line? And how much money would you pay to watch a 24-hour live feed of Smashley talking to herself in the Jury Purgatory Mansion?
Follow Darren on Twitter: @DarrenFranich