Zach prepares himself for an inevitable eviction—but not for the hat-related homicide that accompanies it.

Credit: CBS
S16 E26

Things that never come to an end: Burt’s Bees sticks, the Law & Order franchise, Cher’s farewell tour.

Things that come to an end: All good things, mankind’s fragile existence on this volatile Earth, Zach Rance.

Screw you, Team America. You know exactly what you did. It’s indirectly your fault that Zach is gone. Probably.

When Zach first made his Big Brother debut at the beginning of the season, every hand gesture and overly enunciated diary room shout (with the same decibel level for every emotion) suggested BB villainy. Here was a guy who immediately began terrorizing his fellow houseguests with the kind of class clown playground antics that made him both the most popular kid at school and the most obnoxious one. Look no further than Victoria, whose rivalry with Zach looked like it could have been ripped from an episode of Degrassi (ugh, and one of the bad seasons, like 7).

And yet, in a surprise turn of character-driven events, Zach somehow managed to become the Heart of the Big Brother house this season, if you consider that Derrick is the Brains, Christine the Eyes, Cody the Torso, Frankie the Bottom (well…), Donny the Actual Heart, Caleb the Tail Stump, and Victoria the Phantom Itch You Swear Just Appears Sometimes. Zach is by far my favorite contestant this season for reasons across the board, from his Frankie showmance to his unprovoked demonstrations of emotion (both good and bad) to the very meme-able mound of empathy we call Sad Zach.

But ultimately it was Angry, Irrational Zach that caused all of the other Zachs to pack up their bags and vacate the house. He accepted the inevitability of his turning into E.T. (and going home, baby!) with a semblance of dignity, but like any good player, Zach knew he had to make one last campaign tour and try to curry favor. Caleb wasn’t budging, and Frankie at least pretended to sympathize, but save for Donny, Zach knew he had no options left. And so he teased up his hair like Tracy Turnblad, tossed on a bow tie (that looks 1000000% better than anything Jocasta has ever tied around her neck), and faced his fate with clear eyes, full hearts, baggie full of Froot Loops.

The Greek tragedy of it all is Donny, who could have saved Zach had he been more active. Donny has been saying “I suspect they all might be working together” for weeks now. WEEKS. Every single episode. Now, I’ve heard rumors that he’s been playing a pretty hard game in the live feed, and that’s not being reflected in the show, but tonight we saw Donny try to loop Zach into a trusted partnership, which was promising but too late. Later, he tried to grab Christine’s ear about flipping on The Detonators—even more promising, but also too late. If only Donny had acted on his suspicions a week or two earlier, he could have wrangled up the misfit toys into a loner alliance journeying toward the icy front of the final block (the alliance’s name would, of course, have been The Donny Party). It all could have saved Zach and turned The Detonators into last week’s Chipotle.

Then again, a Donny alliance would have included Christine (because all alliances do), but that would have required her to actually make a big move and defect from The Detonators, which she would never have done but really should have done before she gets ousted herself next week. BUT then then again again, with the re-entrance of Nicole into the house, there’s room for an alliance with Donny and the three girls versus the four boys of the Detonators. That’s the showdown I’d like to see—and it’s the major move that could get Christine to the end, albeit with four jury votes against her for such a late-in-the-game loyalty swap. (But let’s be honest, Christine wasn’t winning anyway.)

NEXT: We need to talk about Victoria

I need to say something about Victoria. My colleague Darren Franich and I have ragged endlessly on this poor photographer (I have a hard time believing she has ever taken a picture in her life that wasn’t a selfie or a photo of a brunch menu), but there is a sassy undercurrent to Victoria that fills her with this hilarious electricity that shocks every once in a while. Sure, she’s a massive floater and a total princess and she kind of sort of looks like Jynx or Wartortle, but Victoria is a woman who knows herself—and that self absolutely hates Zach.

I didn’t know their hatred toward each other was so deeply rooted, but the rivalry was on full display tonight. Zach desperately tried to woo Victoria for a vote, but she saw through it as the latest rude cherry on the sundae of teasing misery that Victoria has been eating all summer long.

So she did something unspeakable. Something truly horrific. She kicked Zach while he was down. And he wasn’t just Rugrats baby’s-eye-view down, but Rick Moranis Honey I Shrunk the Kids down. And Victoria squished him like a bug, ripping his fragile, gator-tattooed heart out with the simple combo of a knife (first mistake: someone handing her a knife) and Zach’s pink hat.

I mean, Victoria’s pink hat. Did we really know it was Victoria’s? Zach took complete ownership of it, much like the early American settlers or Anne Baxter in All About Eve. But Victoria still believed it to be hers, even though Zach was totally leaving that house with the hat, and so she slashed it and sliced it and diced it and gouged its eyeballs out and poisoned its wedding goblet and cut its head off in front of Ned Stark’s daughter and ate it with some nice fava beans. R.I.P. Pink Hat. You were a good pink hat, and Victoria’s horrific act is a crime that would offend both Anna Wintour and Brittany from the Chipettes in equal measure. It was a low blow, even for Victoria, because it crossed that threshold of “what happens in the house stays in the house” by ensuring that Zach couldn’t keep what would have been his most beloved reminder of his time on Big Brother.

Poor, sad Zach’s face was heartbreaking when Victoria revealed her crime in his exit interview:

There’s also the other topic at hand: the jury house reunion of Nicole and Hayden, and the jury competition that earned Nicole a place back in the house. It’s too early to tell exactly how this will shake things up—as I said on the first page of this recap, I suspect there’s one shot and one shot only for Nicole to make a major impact here, and it’ll depend entirely on whether Christine is willing to flip. (Victoria is also a potential flip here, and although she’s cozied up to Derrick, there’s still a volatility there that might only become unleashed when two mean girls team up on her.)

Other interesting things that happened tonight: Jocasta chopped strawberries, Hayden demonstrated a deep love for Ariana Grande, Cody demonstrated a deep hatred for wearing shirts (he immediately ripped his off after eviction), and the Chenbot almost short-circuited when Will Arnett poured a bucket of ice water over her head. On that last topic, I was 99 percent convinced that Julie would re-appear after the commercial break in an old-timey striped bathing suit and goggles, but I’m glad to see that she threw aside that classic Chen glamour and embraced the inevitability of her hair turning into Cousin Itt.

Good night! I’ll leave you with my other possible titles for tonight’s recap: A Mighty Hat, She’s Just Not That Into Hats, Hats We Lost in the Fire, and P.S. I Love You(r Hat)

Episode Recaps

Big Brother
Big Brother

Julie Chen hosts as the houseguests battle it out.

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