The first major drama and first veto competition are entirely unrelated.
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Big Brother
S17 E4
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[It is I, your third recapper, arguably the Kathy Najimy of EW’s Big Brother trio! I’m covering Wednesdays, a.k.a. Veto Night, a.k.a. the dramatic mad rush wherein everyone tries to stack their last-minute gameplay and cash in social chips and do everything they can to avoid the absolutely hilarious have-not room.]

We pick up in the aftermath of the Battle of the Block, where Steve and Jackie are up for eviction after failing to build a foam skyscraper, despite Steve’s many ostensible hours playing SimCity and Jackie’s familiarity with the word “city.” Steve is absolutely distraught and spends the episode vocalizing his fear that he’s a target, not a pawn, while Jackie is cool and collected. (Is it my volume or is Jackie super loud? Second opinion, please.)

Contrary to Steve’s fears, the real plan for the vote is based on an alliance that…actually hasn’t even been formed yet. James and newly dethroned (but never de-accented) Jason crunch the house numbers and realize they need seven votes in order to backdoor their target: Jace. They’ve already got Audrey and Da’Vonne, so James begins “scooping people up” to complete their alliance. (Fact: It’s probably never a good idea to build your alliance with a strategy akin to Ben & Jerry’s or whatever brand makes cat litter. I want to say Uniqlo?)

James decides he wants Meg because she has a good personality (which she does) and looks like Taylor Swift (which she doesn’t). He also wants Clay, who he finds in the pantry, where he is arguably at his most vulnerable. (I like to think that Clay likes to steal away to the pantry in the dead of night to look at carbs and lick the extra salt from the edges of resealed bags of pita chips, but he may also consume some select foods as well.)

The scooped alliance of six meets in the HoH room and everyone feels really good about it—except for Da’Vonne, who thinks the group is shaky and not going to last. It’s skeptical, yes, but based on the rest of the episode, it’s also insanely prescient. Could Da’Vonne be our season’s most omni-wise soothsayer?!

Now, if Jace wasn’t already going home, his decision to STREAK ACROSS THE BACKYARD like a fratty homeless Grant Gustin has convinced the house that he’s pointless. In the little we’ve seen of Jace on broadcast, he’s already got the loud mouth of Zach Rance but with none of the charm, so I can only imagine what you live-feeders are experiencing. Austin, as one of Hogwarts’ wisest centaurs, warns Jace that people are getting annoyed with his behavior and encourages him to go hash it out with the HoH.

Jace and Austin then find themselves in a room with James and this season’s HoH Ur-Lurker, Audrey, who entertains their idea of a big move by half-heartedly suggesting Jason goes home. It’s like giving a mouse a cookie because Jace and Austin suddenly think they’re in a full-blown alliance with James and a hilariously bored Audrey. Truly, nothing is sadder than watching two mismatched bros trying to name an alliance that 50 percent of the members aren’t actually in. They toss around names like “The Cloud Nine Alliance” and “The Cloud Squad” before finally settling on “Cloud Town,” which they feel “really good about” but would probably feel better about if they had chosen something artsy like The IT Cloud or Extremely Cloud and Incredibly Close.

When it’s time to choose veto players, James is relieved that neither Jace nor Austin is picked. Instead, they pull Becky (who is excited to break in her new pair of hiking Keds), John (who is excited to breathe air and contemplate the plateaus of mankind’s technological amelioration), and Houseguest’s Choice (who is Jason, thanks to a forward-thinking Steve).

James picks Austin to host—a smart choice, to make him think they’re still close, but also a silly one, since James is essentially raising the stakes for his own betrayal. It’s an inevitability that Cloud Town will soon be smoked out, much like a brisket, convict, or high schooler’s Honda during lunch hour.

NEXT: Counting with Da’Vonne

Before the veto competition hits, our first major bit of drama comes in the form a stand-off between Da’Vonne and basically everyone.

Keen to get a head start on a non-existent counting competition—which is its own WTF strategy this early in the game—Da’Vonne has been exploring the house, counting everything she sees. (Two! Two poker players! Ah ah ah ah!) But when Da’ silently walks in and out of a room where Clay, Shelli, and Jeff are hanging out, they get suspicious.

She’s literally just walking into a bedroom, but Shelli and Clay order Jeff to follow her. “Say you’re looking for hair gel,” they say, and you don’t realize this yet, but you’ve just witnessed the birth of this season’s first drinking game.

Da’ hears the sketchy command and turns back around and leaves the room without saying a word. She walks up to the HoH room, where she immediately begins telling Audrey and Jason about her fury at being followed. What transpires is a series of false apologies and impeccable glances to the camera that promise Da’Vonne will be a hotbed of facial expressions over the summer.

First, it’s Jeff who apologizes for following her, and Da’Vonne doesn’t buy it. (Da’Vonne doesn’t try to explain why she was creeping through the bedrooms in the first place, but then again, she doesn’t think she has to.) A spurned Jeff takes his V-neck down to the storage room, where Clay is smelling the excess liquid in a fresh Fage Greek split-cup.

He tells Clay that Da’ is acting crazy, and so Clay heads upstairs. Clay’s apology isn’t actually an apology at all. He criticizes Da’Vonne’s attitude and uses the phrases “idiotic conversation” and “completely paranoid,” which are defffffinitely two of the best things to say to an angry person. Clay leaves.

Audrey, meanwhile, has been sitting on the bed watching things go down like a surveillance camera at a brothel. She’s trying to talk Da’Vonne out of her paranoia, although the damage has been done and she now recognizes Da’ is a major liability to her game. Still, in an effort to salvage some semblance of an alliance, Audrey goes downstairs to tell Clay to apologize. He’s willing to do so, throwing in an unnecessary “She’s gotta go next week, though” just to make sure you still don’t fully like him. When asked what he should say, Audrey recommends, “Say you’re looking for hair gel.” EVERYBODY DRINK AND THEN SPIKE YOUR TIPS.

So Clay goes back upstairs and his apology seems pretty acceptable, but when they hug it out, Da’ stares down the camera. The second he leaves, she’s ranting again about his insincerity—and then she launches into Audrey! Who she now considers a manipulating puppet-master! Just for telling her alliance member to apologize!

And so, in barely five minutes, I went from admiring Da’Vonne to worshipping Da’Vonne to considering her an absolute loose cannon banana cracker box. She’s crumbling like feta and I bet she barely even remembers how many car beds are in the house anymore. One of the cardinal rules of Big Brother is keeping your emotions somewhat hidden, and she just blew them all out like the last firework on July 4th. Even if you don’t accept an apology, you still have to pretend to in this house.

Oh, and she’s also a have-not (along with Austin, Vanessa, and Liz) and this year’s theme is DENTIST CHAIRS, which is the most hilarious thing I’ve ever seen and I have seen an episode of The Middle.

NEXT: Boogers: A Poem

Austin announces the veto competition, and it’s your standard find-letters-in-sludge-and-spell-the-longest-word. It’s set in a little backwoods Splash Mountain, and Becky is absolutely tweaking because it looks “just like Colorado” because there is a lake and a campsite and she can possibly get her next Ladyfinger Scout badge via this challenge.

Naturally, the odds are stacked in favor of resident smart-person Steve, who indeed ends up pulling out the longest word. He spells TROMBONISTS, which is so hilariously absurd that it should have its own E! special. James spells LIFEGUARDS; Becky spells CLOSEST; Jason spells ZONES; Jackie spells JUDGE; and John, because he’s John, spells BOOGERS, because John.

So Steve’s won the veto, which is a great relief, and he celebrates his victory by psyching himself up in the pantry. Good job, Steve-o, he says, then quickly renegs, I didn’t say anything. Real talk: I’m super happy for Steve. I like the guy, and his so-geeky-he’s-actually-geeky tendencies only make me love him more. Realer talk: He’s gone in a few weeks.

Now, you would think that the paranoia of the night is done, since Steve will take himself off the block and Shaky Alliance will get rid of Jace. But so begins a middle-of-the-night paranoia run by Audrey, who breaks apart Possible Weird And Completely Unexpected Showmance Meg & Jeff, as well as Shelli, and gathers everyone in the HoH room to make sure they’re all okay with getting rid of Jace.

Yes, they say, but it’s like 4 am and now everybody’s furious at Audrey for unnecessary paranoia. Jeff is particularly livid, which suggests a point of conflict in the future of what’s arguably the least compatible alliance since House Tully and Frey.

Veto time comes along and James places Jace on the block, as expected. Jace looks absolutely crestfallen like someone just drank his last Capri Sun. His reaction will probably be a doozy on tomorrow’s episode. Austin’s pretty mad at James’ betrayal—“Jace being blindsided means that I’m being blindsided,” he says, but he doesn’t roar because he’s still more of a Grandmother Willow than a Whomping Willow at this point—but since Austin does seem like a smart dude, I’m surprised he isn’t taking the wake-up call and distancing himself from Jace immediately.

And Kathy Griffin is taking over the house tomorrow so that’s a thing, I guess. See you next Wednesday!

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