Britney attacks Dan, Ian attacks Frank, and one contestant enters the cold, lonely jury house. Plus: The return of the Brigade!

By Darren Franich
Updated August 31, 2012 at 05:00 AM EDT
S14 E22

It is Britney’s destiny to be betrayed by the men she trusts. Two years ago, in her first Big Brother season, Britney made it to the Final Four, and she thought she had a good shot at the half-million. She was well-liked. She had a close friend whose loyalty she could count on — the holy fool Lane, who in hindsight looks a lot like a distant relative of Hodor from Game of Thrones. Certainly, she figured she was a lock for the final three: That goofball Enzo had been floating along all season. Hayden vibed like a handsome athletic puppet — an early-model Shane, with better hair and less pink, with strings waiting to be pulled by the closest gamemaker.

But one lazy night in the HoH throne room, Britney learned the truth. The three boys were in a day-one alliance — they called themselves The Brigade, though the low academic standards in these United States led them to render their team name as “Bragade,” and in all honesty “Brogade” would have been more accurate. Britney was going home. There was no room to maneuver. There would be no negotiation. Britney walked out of the throneroom crying. She had been inside the Big Brother house for three months, long enough for her friends and family in the outside world to become a distant memory. It’s fair to say that, in that moment, her whole world was crumbling.

Britney returned this season to prove that she was more than just the world’s sassiest floater — more than just a meatshield with a mouth. As a coach, she made one very smart pick (Shane, an American Apparel mannequin with the facial hair of Don Johnson and the brain of Don Johnson’s facial hair) and one very unfortunate pick (Willie, the megalomaniac with unresolved little-brother issues). She hesitated for a moment before she hit the reboot button…but she did hit the reboot button, and she dived right into the deep end of player politics. I know some people feel like Britney lucked out by attaching herself to Shane, but I would argue that Shane was just as lucky to have Britney as his unofficial Lady MacBeth. We’ve seen Shane try to talk game to the real players, and Shane no talk so good, talk make Shane’s tongue hurt, ouchy ouch! Dan wasn’t lying on Wednesday’s episode, when he said that Britney was set up better than any other player in the house.

Britney certainly thought she was sailing. “I thought I was at Dan’s funeral last night,” she said at the start of last night’s episode, “And then a giant carrot puts me on the block next to my best friend in the house.” Danielle couldn’t quite look her in the eyes; Shane walked over and gave her the world’s second most awkward hug, falling over her while she sat on the nominee chair. Britney asked Danielle if she knew about this. “I had no idea,” Danielle said.

Britney was still reeling, but Ian was furious. He angrily trotted up to the HoH throne room. “So, guys, how’s it going,” said Ian when he walked into the HoH throne room. Ian was in a speechifying mood. “I’m not too pleased,” he said. “I’m a little blindsided.” He was going for Sam Waterston, but at most he was achieving Charlie in his Lawyer Tie. Frank regarded Ian with a mix of awe and pity: “Ian, don’t raise your voice in here. You can step outside.” “THANKS, I WILL!” said Ian. Outside, Ian patted himself on the back for a job well done, and then he kicked his forehead a few times for good luck.

Downstairs, Britney continued her investigation into her sorry circumstances. Dan was inside the purple pillow room, reading selected passages from the First Letter of Paul to the Corinthians. Here’s how their conversation went:

Britney: “Dan, come on. Don’t you owe it to me to be honest? I’ve been nothing but good to you.”

Dan: [reading aloud from the Good Book]”‘I gave you milk to drink, not solid food. For you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able.'”

Britney: “You’re being so cold. Why, because I’m on the block? So now I’m the plague?”

Dan: “‘For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men? For when one says, ‘I am of Paul,’ and another, ‘I am of Apollos,’ are you not mere men?'”

Britney: “It’s just a game. It’s important to me how you treat people.” [angrily slams door as she leaves]

Dan: “‘What then is Apollos? And what is Paul?’ [quietly whispering] Sorry, Britney. It’s all in the game, yo.”

Finally, Britney asked Jenn point-blank why she removed Dan from the block. Jenn played dumb and said, “I wanted to keep a bigger target in this game.” The Frank/Dan alliance held firm. Downstairs, Shane finally processed the events of two hours ago and asked the question we’ve all been pondering this season: “Where did Jenn come from?”

NEXT: Kicking and ScreamingI had Ian pegged all wrong. I figured that, after Frank called him out at the veto meeting, Ian would crumble. I thought he would crawl across the floor of the Big Brother house, begging everyone’s forgiveness. I thought that he would be carried out of the house by a talented crew of paramedic Zingbots, apologizing all the while to the phantom of Mike Boogie. But no. Ian got angry and stayed angry. When Frank walked by the gathered houseguests at the couch, Shane made a passing salutation to the Head of Household: “Tough call, man. Tough decision.” That led Ian to yell. “Tough decision! That you had several days to think about!” he said. Frank threw Ian’s betrayal in his face, but Ian played dumb: “I had six seconds!” he proclaimed.

Frank was angry. He told Ian, “I thought they were taking advantage of you because you’re a kid. You’re just trying to be sneaky!” Ian: “I’m not sneaky! I cried all day!” Frank insulted Ian for betraying Boogie — and the camera showed us a dynamite cut from happier days, when Boogie gave Ian $3000 (on Frank’s recommendation, no less!) Ian screamed that no one could take Frank to the final two: “You sit next to him in the final two, he wins 7-0!” What I’m trying to say is that hurtful things were being said all around. In the pillow room, Dan laughed and laughed and laughed. Everyone’s reputation was suffering except for his.

But that didn’t last long. Britney seemed certain that she was going home, and so she set off on a passive-aggressive kamikaze run. She held court on the tanning couches and laughed about her sympathies. “This is me crying at Dan’s funeral: ‘Dab Dab, Dab Dab, poor Dan.’ I am the biggest idiot.” Ian perked his head up at that. “No you’re not! Don’t say that about yourself, mistress! You are beautiful, you are smart, you are kind!” “Thank you, Wormtongue,” said Britney, petting Ian’s head and loosening his shackles ever so slightly.

Anyone who thinks that Danielle is a lightweight needs to pay attention to how she reacted to Britney’s tirade. While Britney ranted on about Dan’s status as a previous winner, Danielle covered her face. Britney regularly referred to the Southern gal as her best friend in the house — which means that, even if Danielle didn’t directly betray Britney, her silence constitutes a direct violation of their trust. (I maintain that Danielle is the dark horse in the house, if she has the strength to pull a Dan on Dan.)

Meanwhile, Britney went into the kitchen and challenged Dan one last time. “Do you have nothing to say?” she asked. “You can’t even say sorry?” Dan would not apologize. He didn’t even say anything, really. That was the smart play. Don’t even bother denying; just don’t acknowledge. Compare that strategy to Shane’s quadruple-explanation for putting Chilltown on the block: “Someone told me you were coming for me! Joe! Someone else! Dr. Spaceman! That chick with the tattoos, you know the one, I think her name is Len?”

Speaking of Shane: I have to admit that I was initially a little bit mystified by his actions last night. Jenn and Dan were hardcore in the Danielle contingent; Ian was a Britney devotee. Joe announced that his vote would follow Shane’s, which gave Shane all the power in the house. Shane said point-blank: “Britney was the only person I ever trusted in this game, and now she’s on the block.” But he never seemed to seriously consider keeping Britney around — and, indeed, all of Britney’s extreme reactions in the episode felt like the death throes of an apex predator, or the final arguments of a criminal on her way to meet the firing squad.

We’ve seen Shane go outside of Britney’s sphere of influence only once in the game, when he made a deal with Frank and Boogie. But that was several betrayal cycles ago. My viewing buddy Skilby — an illustrious Big Brother theorist — pointed out that Shane chose Danielle because he believes her to be all alone in the house, thanks to Dan’s “You’re dead to me” proclamation. And it could be that Shane realized he would only ever be a handsome meatshield as long as Britney was still in the house. Either way, this is yet more evidence that Shane no thinky so good, thinky make Shane hair hurt, ouchy ouch!

Next: Vengeance is DeclaredMeanwhile, Outside the BB House: The producers reunited the Brigade. Enzo, Lane, Hayden, and Matt hung out in a bar and had a good laugh about the good old days of backstabbing Britney. Lane said the sentence “Is Quack Pack supposed to be like Brigade Sequel Two?” Enzo proclaimed that Danielle’s obsession with Shane was approaching Amy Fisher levels, and declared that Dan was a werewolf with too much hair: “Shave yer forearms!” Hayden smiled in the background and looked like a man who just came from a refreshing morning swim through a river of dollar bills.

(Aside: Nobody mentioned that Matt himself was kicked out by his own teammates, when he tried to set himself up as the linchpin of two separate warring alliances. I’m not sure that I should necessarily support CBS’ fever for all-star appearances — frankly, I’d prefer that next year’s Big Brother feature an all-new cast and have absolutely no twists, except maybe more appearances by Zingbot. But I’d love to see Matt come back into the house at some point, if only to see what new fake diseases he can invent for his wife. End of Aside.)

Inside the House: The time had come for the final speeches. Danielle stood up and said she loved everybody, especially you but especially you. Britney stood up and thanked everyone for the experience. Then she turned to Dan and said: “To quote a very wise old man: You’ll always be Judas to me.” That was a direct quote from Jerry in Big Brother 10 — another of Dan’s victims. But Dan didn’t even react to that. Earlier, when Julie asked him about the week, Dan just thanked Jenn vaguely. That’s how Dan plays. Don’t deny. Don’t even react.

The votes came out 4-1 against Britney. She walked out, saving her last hug for Dan. She took her time on the runway, shaking hands with every audience member. (She looked so perfect on her farewell walk. Britney’s a smart lady. She knows that this is the start of her second life as a jury member — which is to say, the start of a three-week audition for a potential new gig as the substitute co-host of The Talk, the person Julie Chen calls whenever Aisha Tyler takes a vacation or Sharon Osbourne takes an emergency 48-hour soak in a virgin-blood bath.)

Juju didn’t hold back. She asked Britney the tough questions: “Dan. Is he pure genius…or pure evil?” Britney said he was a fine player. She reminded Britney that this was her second time getting blindsided. Britney tried to laugh about it. She had been so careful! “Did you prove what you wanted to prove?” Julie asked finally. Britney stared into the distance, momentarily lost for words. Britney isn’t dumb; she knows what it looks like when “I don’t know if my point is completely proven,” she concluded.

But let’s give Britney points for savvy. She accurately pointed out that Ian is a strong player in the game, but he needs to pull back — “He’s on the top of everyone’s list,” she said darkly. And you had to admire the cold manner with which she brushed off Shane: “He’s gonna follow the lead of somebody. He’s very expendable, but he can’t see that for himself.” She smiled while she watched her fellow housemates wish her farewell. Dan said it wasn’t personal; Shane muttered something inscrutable about Britney having two chances versus Danielle’s one; Ian, memorably, swore revenge, proclaiming: “This season’s true beauty has been evicted from the house. I will get that hairy orange beast.”

The Head of Household competition began then. It was an endurance competition, with orange chemicals spraying into the houseguest’s mouth as they hung on for dear life. Shane opened his mouth to taste the chemicals and announced “It tastes like blah!” Joe fell off after one minute, and Jenn fell off thirty seconds later. Britney was already gone, onto the jury purgatory. I’m not sure, in the end, that she was a great Big Brother player. In the Catholic Church, you need to perform three miracles to be a confirmed saint; in the Big Brother house, you need to concoct at least one power move. Britney never quite made that move. But let her epitaph note that she held the reins of the house for a long time this season. At one point in last night’s episode, she sarcastically threw Frank’s suspicions in his face: “Of course, I have to do with everything. I’m responsible for Shane’s nominations, I’m responsible for Ian’s nominations. I guess you’re getting out the big bad wolf.” The funny thing is, that was all true. She was the big bad wolf, at least for a little while.

Viewers, are you sad to see Britney go? Do you think Dan and Frank’s newfound alliance can survive for a week, to say nothing of the rest of the game? Will Ian follow through on his promise to Britney? I will say that Ian is my personal pick to win the Head of Household competition — he’s smaller than the other contestants, and the fire of vengeance could keep him holding on for hours. (If you know who won the HoH competition, please mark your comment with a big old SPOILER ALERT). Also, guys, for real: Where did Jenn come from?

Follow Darren on Twitter: @DarrenFranich

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