Lines are firmly drawn with an unsurprising eviction, followed by an even less surprising HoH win.

By Marc Snetiker
August 15, 2014 at 03:45 AM EDT
CBS
S16 E23
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Is it possible for an episode of Big Brother to be one half The English Patient, one half World War Z? One part Steel Magnolias and one part 28 Days Later? One part the scene in Lost where Charlie uses a Sharpie and saves the island, one part the moment in The Ring when the dead girl’s face turns into the Ghostbusters logo?

What I’m saying is, tonight’s episode began with sadness and ended with zombies, as is the case with most of my Thursday nights. It was a pretty bleak week in the Big Brother tree house, with Nicole pretty devastated that she was put on the block by her former BFF Christine. By picking Nicole, Christine has officially chosen sides, and she’d better hope the Detonators don’t turn their back on her. (As we can tell from their brief celebration in the HoH lair, there are enough ass-spanks to go around to keep this alliance going for another few weeks at least.)

But Nicole is a moper, much like Eeyore, Charlie Brown, or Minnie Mouse behind closed doors. So she confronts Christine to ask why she was put up, and it all makes sense—with her back against the wall, Christine had to pick sides with The Detonators, and it’s a game play move that Nicole respected, as she revealed in her exit interview. Nicole also mopes to Victoria, expressing that her deepest concern is not sticking around long enough to get made fun of by Zingbot.

The sadness continued with Donny “I’ve Been Alone This Whole Time” Thompson, who teared up when in the Have-Not room with Zach. As it happens, Donny feels like he’s been left out of conversations, which is definitely true. Have you ever stopped to think about how lonely the rest of the house must feel when practically every conversation has taken place in the HoH room? Poor Donny must get, like, six hours of human interaction a day, not counting the three hours he spends recalibrating Victoria’s circuit boards and the five hours spent making each individual beard hair feel loved. Zach repeats the phrase that will forever come to define Donny in future seasons: “Fear the Beard,” which coincidentally should also serve as a motto for up-and-coming gay actors and actresses in Hollywood.

And finally, the third saddest thing that happened in the episode: Cody hit himself in the face. (Fourth saddest is his haircut, which looked great from the front but horrific from the back.)

Nicole, for what it’s worth, did some good recon this week. She’s pleading her case to Christine—get rid of Donny—and it’s kind of working. But the key to every eviction, week after week, is Christine. Nobody has ever successfully ganged up on The Detonators, and she’s the reason why. Everyone who has ever wanted to form a new alliance has tried to involve Christine—maybe it’s the inviting glasses or the knowledge that she can make a mean ice-brewed chai—and her involvement in The Detonators has precluded those plans from materializing. Every single plot revealed to Christine has gone back to The Detonators, an alliance that literally landed in her lap, and Christine’s gossip has fueled most evictions. Love her or hate her, Christine is the reason The Detonators have continued to avoid any minority alliances. Personally, I would love to have seen Donny, Victoria, Christine, and Nicole make a power play in weeks past, back when Hayden and Jocasta were also available. But then we’d still have to see Hayden and Jocasta and nobody wants that.

NEXT: In which I debate the merits of Jerry Jones vs. Cherry Jones

[Do I really have to acknowledge the blatant promo for CBS’s Thursday Night Football? Arguably the worst thing to happen to Thursday nights since Whitney? Caleb, Christine, and Frankie, having won last week’s BoB competition, earn a field trip outside of the house to the Dallas Cowboys training camp. “Oh my God, I love country folk,” Frankie pedantically remarks. Caleb is in absolute heaven, though, and it makes me happy to see him so happy. Caleb wants to meet someone named Jerry Jones—who I suppose stole his name from renowned Broadway legend and Emmy winner Cherry Jones—but they also get to meet a number of other interesting players: Jason Witten, who is tall, and Tony Romo, who dated Jessica Simpson for a brief time I think, and Dez Bryant, who I imagine must have grown up with the nickname Dez Pispenser all his life. It’s a thrill-shill for everyone.]

Back at the house, before evictions, Julie asks Victoria what she thought was the most surprising thing about this week. Naïve Victoria thinks the question is about her emotional breakdowns, but her answer was supposed to have been, “Ariana Grande.” But considering that nobody in the house really even knows how much of a superstar Ariana Grande became this summer, I can’t help but feel that, legitimately, nobody cares. We also find out Zach and Frankie have made up, and that Derrick thinks Nicole is one of, if not the most intelligent people in the house, and that Victoria thinks Nicole is a “blonde bombshell” (wait till she sees Courtney Thorne-Smith!).

So Nicole’s ousted, and the super sad half of the episode is over. Which means it’s time for PART TWO: THE ZOMBIEING. One can’t help but wonder if the timing of all this Ebola business casts a dark portent over the whole “rapidly spreading zombie virus” thing, but whatever, it’s Big Brother.

The mass hysteria begins the night before eviction when #BBZombie appears in the mirror to make Nicole feel like she is truly losing her mind. Then they scare Frankie, and everyone decides to go to the fire room together to be scared en masse like a quartet of tweens at a sleepover who all had to go down to the basement together because Katie thinks that’s where they left her Mall Madness.

And so we meet Big Brother Emergency Broadcast System, who could give Zingbot a run for his/her/its/Ariana Grande’s money when it comes to robotic emotionless comedy. (The highlight here is, of course, the moment when Cody pretends to initiate a showmance with Nicole, which is kind of a perfect pairing if you think about it, but then probably less of a perfect pairing the more you think about it, which is exactly what the writers of Friends must have realized when they decided not to ship Phoebe and Joey.) It all leads into the HoH competition, based on trivia from the emergency broadcast system announcements, and lo and behold, it’s only Detonators left at the end. Sigh. In a season of thrilling drama inside the house, it appears that all the suspense of the competitions has been largely eliminated due to the fact that this alliance just dominates week after week. Derrick and Frankie win, huzzah, great, hooray. I guess. Not that I don’t want Derrick to win, because I do—I think we all do at this point, right?—but a little HoH shakeup wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. Don’t you want to see Victoria get her moment in the sun?

No?

Anyone?

Follow me on Twitter: @MarcSnetiker

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Julie Chen hosts as the houseguests battle it out.
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