Was that the craziest double eviction in years?!

By Marc Snetiker
Updated August 16, 2015 at 09:19 PM EDT
Credit: Sonja Flemming/CBS
S17 E23

Julie Chen seems far too excited to begin “the craziest night of summer,” doesn’t she? Now, it’s easy to imagine that it’s because the Chen already tastes blood waiting to be spilled on double eviction night. But I prefer to imagine that Julie, in that oh so prescient way, senses that tonight will be a double eviction that goes down in the BB history books.

Eviction: The first part of the double eviction goes wildly unexpectedly, at least from my point of view. I assumed it was an easy slam dunk that Vanessa would go home, so as someone who simultaneously impressed and infuriated me this season, nothing is more fun than watching Vanessa see the world crumble from beneath her. First, she tries to go to Becky, who won’t get off her high train and doesn’t deign to sugar-train anything about what she thinks of Vanessa at this point train. Then Vanessa takes on Steve, who she thinks is an easy vote, but Steve turns out to be more worried about what cool Fonzie figure Johnny Mac will think. Having now gone full Audrey, Vanessa goes to pitch James — and it’s this act of cunning desperation that ultimately, incredibly saves her.

Vanessa reveals how Becky ratted out James’ plans to Shelli and Clay — a largely innocuous slip of loyalty considering the magnitude of so many other possible inter-alliance betrayals in this game — but it’s enough to throw James, Meg, and Jackie off balance from following Becky’s plan to evict Vanessa. Suddenly they’re all convinced that Becky’s a rat and Shelli will come after them if she sticks around (a leap of conversational logic that definitely could have used more airtime). Perhaps they planned to get Vanessa out the following week? It also tracks that Vanessa, at the very least, would be in their debt if she stayed and would likely target Becky anyway.

So James, Meg, and Jackie — an alliance of Psyducks — end up going into the eviction with a new agenda to rid the house of Shelli. It’s an 8-0 vote, and Shelli seems pretty unsurprised by what I construed to be a big blindside, which means that somewhere in the live feeds was an extensive conversation that would illuminate this sudden turn of events but couldn’t make it to air because of the very serious programming of a double eviction. Poor ousted Shelli holds it together in her exit interview, is reminded that Clay is 10 years younger, and is unceremoniously booted to the jury house, where she will spend just under an hour alone before being joined by not-Clay.

HOH: Onto the next. The HOH competition is a simple trivia competition, and here’s where this episode goes from interesting to legendary. STEVE IS THE WINNER. Steve. STEVE. Steve. Of course Steve is HOH for 20 minutes. It’s the most outrageous victory for a double eviction, to have Steve go from zero to ABSOLUTE POWER on the most important night of the summer. It’s part of what makes him this season’s saddest clown, a Pagliaccian mantle that has just barely skipped over Vanessa’s beanie and Becky’s lifetime membership at Big 5.

We sadly don’t get to see what Steve’s reign of terror — or HOH room requests, which are probably just Gushers and pictures of Becky with her eyes X-ed out in red Sharpie — would be.

Nominations: Down in the living room, and out of absolutely nowhere, wildcard Steve nominates Meg and Jackie. Not Becky, like he’s been grumbling for months. Not Liz or Julia, who probably still don’t know his name. Not Johnny Mac, that cool cat. No, Steve opts to put the girls up and thereby proves that he has no semblance of a traceable alliance, save for a light friendship with John and the kind of obligatory acquaintance with Austin that’s more magician-and-rabbit.

Meg and Jackie are total wildcard picks, and neither of them is handling it very well in the brief moments we see of their runny mascara.

Veto: John, James, and Vanessa find themselves chosen to compete in the veto competition. Again, given who’s on the block, it’s a shame we don’t have more time to see what the pre-competition strategy would be. Who would Vanessa have used it on? James would surely save either Meg or Jackie, although it would be the ultimate Sophie’s Choice for him, having to choose between two different flavors of vanilla. But James doesn’t get the option because Johnny Mac very quickly wins the power of veto.

The good dentist decides not to use it on anyone — possibly a wasted move, but largely a safe and neutral one. And after John’s stay, Steve has a brief but absolutely telling meltdown. If I had to guess, I’d say Steve’s minor freak-out is because his plan was probably to backdoor Becky. He likely assumed that Meg or Jackie, whomever was left on the block, would easily stay over Becky. But if this was Steve’s plan, he blew it by hoping for a backdoor instead of going through the front (as have ended so many of my friends’ relationships in college). And of course, it might not have been his plan at all, as evicted Jackie explains that Steve thought Jackie was going to backdoor him, like, two weeks ago. Yes, poor Jackie is sent packing, and the house just got a little less…I don’t know, tenant-filled. That’s an adjective to describe Jackie, right? Tenant-like?

Oh, to be Steve. To live in Steve’s world, a K’NEX bubble of misguided assumptions about social dynamics. Ignorance is bliss. Ignorance is Steve. And so ends this insane hour of Big Brother, probably its most shocking this year, if only because of the sheer unpredictability of what just went down in this whirlwind 60 minutes. These double-eviction nights can often go either way, and this was certainly one of the most WTF-worthy in BB history. I thoroughly anticipate Sunday’s explainer for what the hell state of shambles we’ll find the house in next week after the short but memorable destruction of Hurricane Steve.

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