Frank tries to flip the house

By Darren Franich
July 28, 2016 at 01:52 AM EDT
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S18 E17
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Bridgette’s not taking it well. James lied and threw her and Frank up on the block. Everybody lies in Big Brother eventually, but Bridgette didn’t see this coming. Maybe Frank did. This isn’t his first rodeo, if you recall. In his first Big Brother go-round, everyone started gunning for him, and he only stayed alive for a few weeks through sheer force of competition-beast will. Then he put his trust in Coach Dan — and that was the end of Frank.

Still, he’s confused about one thing. Why is everyone gunning for him? “I wasn’t a scandalous player in my season,” he tells James, hunting for a new ally. Frank thinks he can flip the house and point everyone to the true nemesis: Da’Vonne. But this is Da’Vonne in her imperial phase. Everything is going right for her; at the veto competition, her button is picked, the forces of fate demanding she be present at Frank’s final reckoning.

It’s an OTEV competition, with DJ OTEV spinning mad tracks guaranteed to make you fleek out on the dance floor, or whatever it is kids do on the dance floor these days. History haunts our Frank in this moment: Losing an OTEV competition led to his Big Brother eviction last time around. Things get off to a good start; enemies drop like flies, leaving Michelle, Bridgette, and Frank to fight it out. But Frank proves to be too slow — and Michelle defeats Bridgette by a mile. “Meech! Meech! Meech!” screams Paul, the most annoying man in the whole wide world.

Frank has an idea. He talks to Michelle. He knows she’s a fan; he knows that she knows that fans like big moves. “They’d love to see people back-doored,” he says. “They’d love to see the house flipped.” Right now, Michelle holds all the cards — but surely she realizes the numbers are against her, that the big pack of people gunning for Frank and Bridgette will come gunning for her next.

And Michelle has a reason to take Frank seriously. He’s a good competitor, with an excellent social game. And: “I had a bit of a crush on him at the beginning.” She wants Frank to stay. He’s hilarious. He’s a good person. He could help her — but not with Bridgette around. Michelle hatches half a plan to save Frank and expel Bridgette, and that’s when Paul waltzes in.

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Paul. Paul, Paul, Paul, Paul, Paul. Paul starts a loud argument about how Frank has been comporting himself, the main point of the argument being that Paul has been observing things and Paul doesn’t like what he’s been observing! Paul represents the side of the house that is entirely united this week, a rare enough thing in the Big Brother universe. The move for Paul right now would be to sit back, relax, and not spread paranoia throughout the house, therefore identifying himself as a hothead madman who should be eliminated at the earliest opportunity.

NEXT: Frank has a bit of déjà vu

A house meeting is called. Frank lays it on the table: He wants the veto used on himself, and he wants Da’Vonne to go up in his place. Maybe Frank doesn’t realize just how completely the house has turned against him; maybe Frank is just tired of feeling everyone gun for him. I’m hard-pressed to think of any player in the last several seasons of Big Brother who has been more completely built for this game — someone with a strong and congenial social game, someone willing to make alliances and prepared to make big moves, someone who performs so well in every kind of competition. Frank’s tragedy, actually, might be that he’s so obviously built to be great at Big Brother, which has made him a big and immediate target in two different seasons of the show.

Paulie gives it to Frank straight up: “The numbers aren’t in your favor. Stop making yourself look like an idiot.” Every part of this interaction is bizarre to me — have people never seen someone on the block try to negotiate their freedom? – but the effect is complete. Frank has no more avenues. Bridgette tries talking to Michelle, to no major avail. Michelle admits she got jealous, which confuses Bridgette. (The Bridgette/Frank dynamic isn’t quite a showmance, but they’re nevertheless experiencing the kind of blowback showmances usually receive.)

In the end, Michelle doesn’t use the veto. It’s a move she may come to regret, but the will of the house is the will of the house. “Maybe a coup d’état will somehow find its way to me this week,” says Frank, in maybe the single-most depressing shrug of a strategy I’ve ever heard from a good Big Brother player.

It’s hard to imagine a world where Frank stays in the house; he is Nemesis this week, and all the major players want him eliminated. Does Bridgette alone have a chance at vengeance, or can Frank talk his way off the block? Bridgette has said she won’t campaign against him. That’s a good, honest thing — but as Frank can verify, good honesty gets you nowhere in Big Brother.

In conclusion: Everybody dance!

Episode Recaps

Big Brother

Julie Chen hosts as the houseguests battle it out.

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