Big Brother recap: MVP, Veto, and the Gender War
With the Mom Squad on the block, Elissa strikes against a strong player, while Candice looks to overthrow the fratboy regime
Aaryn has dominated the media chatter around Big Brother the last two weeks. But the noise makes it easy to overlook one essential truth: Even though she’s the Head of Household, and even though she’s rallied the hot-person demographic in the house around her vengeful crusade, the hatemongering new-unemployed model has arguably made herself utterly irrelevant. Last night’s episode foregrounded the fascinating conflicts building in the house, and in all of those conflicts, Aaryn is essentially a clueless bystander. She’s taking marching orders from Jeremy, the frontman for an all-male alliance that plans to excommunicate anyone without Y chromosomes. She’s surrounded herself with vapid yeswomen who all seem to think that Elissa is the biggest threat in the house. Two of those yeswomen — Kaitlin and GinaMarie — have thrown themselves at Moving Company dudes. Aaryn’s closest ally in the house isn’t even in the house anymore. The ghost of Dudebro haunts her; she spends her long leisurely bikini afternoons staring into the cold unfeeling eye of the Big Brother camera, promising her beloved that she is doing everything for him. “It’s all for you, David,” she says, still wearing her wedding dress and staring into the dying fire while maggots devour the uneaten wedding cake, “All for you, David.”
Meanwhile, the rest of the house descends into quiet warfare. Helen and Elissa formed the Mom Squad out of necessity. They both landed on the block this week. Helen vibes like someone who could be a serious player. She walked into the HoH room and told Aaryn she made the right move. They’re both grown-ups. They know Helen’s not the target. Helen once again offered Aaryn a Criss-Cross deal. Nobody would ever imagine Aaryn and Helen together; they could take out each other’s allies, one by one. It’s a smart play. Aaryn likes the sound of it. But Helen tried to sell her this idea before the nominations, and got nowhere. Returning with the same offer, from a position of even less strength, is a downward-spiral play.
Elissa won the MVP again. The first week, it seemed unfair — the clear result of Elissa’s favorable bloodline. This time around, it made just as little sense, gameplay-wise. Elissa came into the house making noise about an all-female alliance, but she lost the trust of more than half the house by keeping her BB lineage a secret. But the difference is that, since last week, Elissa has revealed herself as one of the most by-default likable people in the house. She plotted with Helen. There was a brief notion of backdooring Jeremy: Nominating Kaitlin, throwing the Veto, hoping that Kaitlin left the block. But Helen decided it was too risky. Nominating Jeremy made more sense; they would just have to fight for the veto. I admire the gusto of their play, but again, you can see them operating from a position of weakness. When you’re playing Big Brother right, you don’t need to depend on the veto competition going one way or another.
Truthfully, Elissa and Helen were in a bad position. Right now, the Moving Company looks nigh invincible. GinaMarie is throwing herself at Nick. Literally, throwing herself: She jumped into his arms and nibbled on his neck, while he looked around embarrassed, like a man who picked up a cute little chihuahua and realized too late it was actually an oversized sewer rat. We saw a lovesick montage. “He’s from New York, he’s super cool, super smart,” she gushed. She told him, straight up: “If I ever kiss you, it’s gonna be amazing. I can’t wait for that day to come. It’s gonna be good. I’m excited.” Nick, responding: “I’m excited for you being excited.” (This is the second woman to throw herself at Nick, getting nothing in return. See also: Jessie, who already looks like this season’s reigning floater.)
Meanwhile, Jeremy made the ultimate goal of the Moving Company clear. Nick pointed out that all the chicks were going crazy. “I just can’t wait to send them all home,” he said. “I can’t wait until this is a house full of champions.” The Aaryn Hottie Coalition is a puppet government this week for the Moving Company, and all their scopes are turned towards Elissa. When Elissa shadow-nominated Jeremy for the veto competition, he positively leapt with joy. He turned to Kaitlin and explained, “Babe, I’m about to go into Beast Mode.” He’s a caged animal. A manimal. The guy has spent two weeks having alliances thrown at him, winning competitions, getting an extremely close look at Kaitlin’s eyebrows. He will never be a Have-Not. The universe is bending to the will of Jeremy, according to Jeremy. It’s early days yet, and you could argue he’s peaking too early, like the high school quarterback who doesn’t make the cut on his college team. But it’s fun to be the high school quarterback.
NEXT: The Fembot BitchThere is something about the women in the Reilly family that people just do not like. Like her sister Rachel, Elissa has a let’s-call-her extreme personality. She makes jokes that sound like threats and has a laugh like a demon hyena. And yet, even moreso than Rachel before her, the people who hate Elissa wind up looking much worse. Example: Queen Aaryn in her throneroom, announcing, “We lost one of our army to this fembot bitch down there. We’re not losing another one.” Aaryn has decided to spend her HoH on a vengeance kick, taking aim at public enemy number one. This is a fine short-term goal that indicates a lack of foresight; it’s never a good idea to squander your HoH on a vengeance kick, since it leaves you wide open for the enemies in your midst.
Elissa decided to have a chat with Nick. I barely understand what happened. She asked Nick to throw the veto so the Mom Squad would have a chance, and she told Nick that if he did she wouldn’t go after him for two weeks, and she threatened to put Nick on the block if he took Jeremy off, and she swore she wasn’t the MVP. When you make a move like that, you have to be clear. Clarity is not Elissa’s strength. She basically told Nick: “Please throw the veto. I’m asking you as a friend. If you don’t throw the veto, I’ll put you on the block. But I’m not MVP. Just give us a chance. I’ll leave you alone for two weeks. I don’t have any power. I have all the power. Everything I say is a lie, except that and that and that and that…”
In the Have-Not room, we got a nice moment with a crying Helen and Elissa, both missing their families, both feeling like the whole house was against them. Howard came over and offered to pray for them: “Dear Lord, Thank your for another day. Thank you for these two strong mothers.” Howard has been a quiet player so far, the most silent member of the Moving Company; he explicitly confessed that he was keeping quiet about the bigoted comments in the house, because he didn’t want his gameplay to be impacted. But this episode saw a more intriguing side of Howard emerge. He prays, a lot: With Elissa and Helen, with Judd, even with Jessie. (She quoted Proverbs to him.) And he is thinking far ahead; we already know which member of the Moving Company is first up in his sniper scope when the alliance falls apart.
The Veto Competition saw host GinaMarie walk into the house wearing, literally, a Sexy Baby Huey outfit. It was a baby-themed competition, introduced by our old pal Britney — who is, herself, having a baby. Contestants were dressed up in comical onesies and tasked with hanging stuffed animals onto giant baby mobiles. The first contestant to perfectly balance ten stuffed animals would win. Elissa and Helen had trouble from the start. I was hopeful that Amanda might pull it out. The former fling of McCrae is the wildest wild card in the house right now. She hasn’t quite declared war on the Aaryn/Jeremy brigade, but she’s close. She came close twice, but she couldn’t quite achieve the perfect balance.
And then Jeremy won. I don’t know what kind of particular set of skills you need in order to win Big Brother competitions. I don’t know how it’s possible that one guy can be so good at holding onto giant popsicles AND filling jugs with syrup while sliding over slippery ground AND hanging stuffed animals in a weirdo nursery while wearing a onesie. But that man exists, and Jeremy is him. He cannot be defeated. Witness Jeremy at his utmost utmostest.
Of course, you could argue he’s just painting a big old target on his back. “I’m happy for him,” said Howard. “Keep winning. You’re just strengthening my case that you’re the strongest man in the house. Maybe that’s gonna help me get you out.”
NEXT: Pillow TalkJeremy rejoiced. He lay with his lady love Kaitlin in the HoH thronebed. (And why not? Is he not, after all, the wily puppetmaster pulling the strings of the mad leader this week? He’s Tywin Lannister; poor, blonde, vengeance-obsessed Aaryn is just Joffrey with better hair and worse interpersonal skills.) But Kaitlin was worried. “I’m 100 percent about to go on the block,” she said. “Kiss me, Funny Face,” he said. “The same thing that happened to David is about to happen to me,” she said. “Nonsense, honey baby,” he said. “If that is going to happen to me, you’re not gonna tell me the truth,” she said. “I’m not gonna let you go out unknown,” he said. “You’re gonna know.”
This was an interesting conversation for all kinds of reasons. First and foremost because Kaitlin seems to know she shouldn’t really trust Jeremy; she had to beg him just to let her know if the knife was going in her back. But also because Jeremy, for all his bluster, actually did his best to assure Kaitlin’s safety. He pulled rank in the Moving Company. He told Nick that, if anyone but Elissa went home, he’d leave the alliance. He gave the same line to Howard, to Spencer, to McCrae. His teammates were confused, and on alert. “We’re talking a monarchy, not a business,” said Nick. “Pump your breaks on giving orders,” said Howard. “You died and made you boss?” said McCrae.
None of them said anything to Jeremy’s face. But if four members of the Moving Company pull a backstab on Jeremy, it’ll come right back to this moment. Jeremy is flying high right now. Icarus flew pretty high, too. And we all know what happened to Icarus. The Martians killed him or something.
Meanwhile, Candice talked to Elissa and Helen. Candice is a lonely voice of reason right now. She keeps peddling this paranoid conspiracy about the all-male alliance, and she’s absolutely right. “Guys always run this game,” Elissa bemoaned. “Girls never make bold moves,” Candice agreed. She pointed out that Nick and Jeremy were clearly a united front. “We need to sever that,” she said.
Elissa thought about honoring her promise to Nick, whatever that promise was. She asked Nick point-blank if he would vote for Kaitlin, and Nick said nothing. She asked if Nick would vote for her, and Nick said nothing. The look on his face spoke volumes. He simply didn’t see any need to respond to Elissa. Nick has a better pokerface than Jeremy, but he clearly believes that — at this point — he holds all the cards in the house. What can Elissa do to him? Put him on the block? Nick has an alliance that has an alliance with another alliance. He might not like it when Jeremy pulls rank, but he has a pretty clear idea of his place in his alliance: He called himself “The CEO of the Moving Company.”
So Elissa put him up, and Helen revealed their plan to turn the house against Nick. Do they have the votes? Candice is a guaranteed yes; everything else is less clear. Last week, Amanda, Andy, and Judd all voted out Aaryn’s boyfriend, but it’s tougher to link Aaryn to Nick. (Conversely, Jeremy would have been in trouble from all three of those people.) Jessie spent a day fawning over Nick; turning her against him seems unlikely. And on the other hand, Nick has four people in his alliance, plus his faux-alliance with GinaMarie and his proxy alliance-in-law with Kaitlin.
All of this could change if Candice, Helen, and Elissa can make a legitimate case that Nick is the on-the-block representative for a strong all-male alliance. It’s still early days; a coalition of unaligned parties could still strike a blow against the Moving Company. But it’s striking to see, after just two weeks, how completely boys’ alliance is running things while staying invisible. (Aaryn is taking all the credit — and the blame — for their machinations this week.)
Fellow viewers, what did you think of the Big Brother episode? Would you be sad to see Elissa go home? Can the ladies’ semi-alliance pull a rabbit out of the hat and kick Nick out of the house? Also, if you want to hear two men overthink this season, be sure to check out my newest podcast with fellow Big Brother obsessive Jeff Jensen. Listen below, or download it here. See you tomorrow night for the eviction.
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