In which Brendon tries to fool everyone, but mostly just fools himself.

By Darren Franich
Updated August 04, 2011 at 04:00 AM EDT

Big Brother

S13 E12
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“I’m gonna invent something that’s gonna cure cancer” is what Brendon promised Rachel in the early moments of last night’s Big Brother. Keep in mind: This was Brendon trying to prove that he has a rock-solid five-year plan for the couple’s financial future. In the same conversation, Brendon tried to tell Rachel that her heart was a wonderful thing, because it rests behind her mediastinum. He’s a Ph.D. student, remember.

This is how you know that we have reached the glorious moment in this season of Big Brother when the long weeks of relentless paranoia, solar radiation, and Rachel’s wounded-emu laughter have begun to drive everyone in the Big Brother house totally crazy. Like, Lord of the Flies crazy. Like, I’m pretty sure that Brendon has taken to raiding Jeff’s clothes drawer. Fellow viewers, you all noticed that they were wearing absolutely identical outfits during the veto challenge, right? I have a theory — which I can’t prove because my cruel corporate overseers won’t allow me to watch the online Big Brother feeds 24 hours a day — that Brendon has been quietly going all Single White Female on Jeff. Like, I’m pretty sure conversations like this have been happening over on Big Brother After Dark:

BRENDON: Hey, Jeff, check it out! I’m wearing a black tank top and black shorts, just like you! And I’m going to grow my hair out and gel it up, just like you! Isn’t that cool? We’ll be hair brothers!

JEFF: Yeah, dude. That’s cool.

BRENDON: Oh, and check it out! I gave myself a totally cool shoulder tattoo, just like you! Do you like it? I had to carve it with a fork, and I used Rachel’s hair dye for color! Do you like it? If not, I can get laser surgery. I can do laser surgery.

JEFF: Is that blood?

BRENDON: Ha! Hahahaha! Hahahaha! You’re so funny. You’re like a court jester. More like a Court Jeffster! Hahahahaha! That’ll be your nickname! And maybe you can call me “Maverick,” or “Marlon Brendo,” or something. Hahahaha!

JEFF: [stares at his own shoulder] Whoa, you’re right, I do have a shoulder tattoo!

Space Madness has struck the Big Brother house. The newer players are suffering from the worst symptoms. Adam spent the episode prancing around in his elf costume. The usually unflappable Jeff had a near panic attack after flopping the veto challenge. Shelly spoiled a month of stealthily playing all sides by randomly walking into Daniele’s HoH throne room and essentially saying, “Hey, Daniele, are you planning anything that I should tell Jeff and Jordan?” Wonderfully, everyone appears to finally be reaching Lawon’s level of insanity — which, if you ask me, is making Lawon look like more and more of a stealth contender. You know the old saying: In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king, and also LAWON!!!

NEXT: Daniele builds a house of cards. Brendon, perhaps confused, bets all his money on black.I know some people think that Daniele overplayed her hand this week. Certainly, I think she missed a big chance on Sunday: She could have mended fences with both of the Veteran couples by promising to keep them off the block, then nominated both couples’ pawns (Shelly for Jorff, Porsche for Brenchel), thus cutting into their power base without launching a full-on offensive. But Daniele is devoted to the idea of making a big move. (She seems to have been as bored by the first month of BB as some of the viewers.)

It might come back to bite her, but last night she appeared to be sitting pretty. By making a deal with Jeff and Jordan, she managed to initiate a slight-but-firm Jorff/Brenchel split: Notice how dutifully Jeff and Jordan followed all of Dani’s orders, trying to pump Brendon for information. At the same time, Dani made an intriguing overture to Rachel, making it clear that what she was doing wasn’t personal.

Dani clearly had Brendon in her sights this week. This strikes me as strange. For all Rachel’s talk about how Brendon is her “knight in shining armor,” it’s very clear how the Brenchel power dynamic works: Brendon is the fair maiden who gets kidnapped, and Rachel is the homicidal sellsword driven mad with blood rage who kills her way through a castle in order to rescue the fair maiden. To prove the metaphor, Brendon spent the entire episode crying in the Confessional room mumbling about how he was going to sacrifice himself for his fiancée, boohoohoo, there goes Kooky Bukie the Rookie. Meanwhile, Rachel was literally going medieval on Dani: “You say I drew the first sword? Well, I’m back with Excalibur, and that sword is undefeated.” Pause to imagine Rachel and Dani having a Game of Thrones-style sword fight, and Rachel’s sword is glowing, and she’s yelling something like “For glory! For honor! FOR BUKIE!

The veto challenge was a fun one: a tour through previous challenges, with an intriguing time-challenge twist. Porsche said, “It’s like a graveyard of past challenges.” (That was such an interesting thought that it used up all of Porsche’s energy for the day, and she spent the rest of the episode staring up into the sky, mumbling her immortal catchphrase “Me Porsche, toot tooooot!”) Players had to estimate how long it would take them to finish each challenge: The person with the shortest estimate then had to beat that time. Dani played it smart, sticking to the middle of the road. It’s indicative of her overall gameplay style, which typically favors backroom Rupert Murdoch-style dealmaking over frontal attacks. Unfortunately, she wound up outthinking herself, expecting Brendon to shoot himself in the foot — which might be a bad omen for her future in the game.

You know who’s kind of winning me over? Kalia. While Brendon was cheering on his fiancée, Kalia came up with a hilarious thought experiment, imagining that Marlon Brendo’s hilariously direct yells — “Very good. You’re right on time. Perfect form” — were examples of Brenchel’s pillow talk. Like Lawon, Kalia has been identified as a floater. But you know who else is a floater? Jigglypuff in Super Smash Brothers. And Jigglypuff is so powerful, guys.

NEXT: Brendon aims a pistol into the sky…and still manages to shoot himself in the foot.

Brendon did well in the golf challenge — he’s going into the medical profession, remember — which meant he won the power of veto. He told Rachel, “Guess what, Bukie? I’m going to use the veto on you.” Rachel protested: “No, no, a thousand times no, my love! Dearest Bukie, save yourself, and remember me when the sun sets in the west, for truly our love was brighter than all the stars in the sky! Oh, okay, use the veto on me. Thyaaanks, Buuuuukie!”

Brendon decided to tell everyone that he was going to use the veto on himself, the better to trick Dani into a last-minute nomination blunder. Basically, this meant that Brendon spent all day convincing people that he was actually a smart strategist with a totally genius plan. Because the notion of Rachel staying up on the block was driving Dani to distraction. Rachel would have at least two loyal votes from Brendon and Porsche, plus likely support from Adam the Happy Dancing Elf. She could have feasibly sought deals with Lawon.

Maybe Rachel still wouldn’t have gotten the votes. Imagining her sitting next to Jordan on the block reminds me of all the stories you hear about the Nixon/Kennedy debates, with Nixon looking like an unshaven hobo lunatic next to Kennedy’s golden-god charisma. But keeping Rachel on the block would have muddied the waters. And Brendon really played up his subterfuge. To the other housemates, he probably seemed like a completely new person.

Witness Neo-Brendon, sitting leisurely in his hammock, ready and willing to throw his lady love under the bus for the good of his own game. Witness this shocking, confident new player, strolling into Dani’s throne room, a pink bandanna confidently hiding his hairless forehead, swearing that he was ready to reteam with her in the following weeks. “Let’s put the past behind us,” he said. “I’m ready to play with you, just as soon as we get rid of that pesky hunk of fiancée that keeps on following me around.” It’s easy to forget that in the couple of days last season before Brendon fell horribly in love with Rachel, he briefly seemed like a brilliant player — a potential mastermind, even.

But no! Good ol’ Bukie shot himself in the foot, proclaiming to the house that he was using the veto on himself. The look on Dani’s face after Brendon said that was a wonderful mix of confusion and triumph. It was the look of a convicted criminal who walks through a doorway expecting to see an electric chair, but instead finds a Christmas tree surrounded by presents, and Barack Obama is standing there wearing an elf costume, saying “You’re pardoned! And rich! And Indiana Jones 4 never happened!”

Episode Recaps

Dani put Jordan on the block, explicitly as a pawn. Maybe I’m missing something, and maybe Jordan is in more danger than we suspect, but it seems like Bukie just booked himself a one-way ticket to Julie Chen’s Garden of Awkward Questions. Do you think Brendon is on his way out? And if so, are you just a little bit sad that we’re apparently never going to see the long-promised Brenchel/Jorff showdown? Hit me up on Twitter with your thoughts about the episode. I’ll see you back here tomorrow to decompress from the eviction episode, which will feature a sure-to-be-slimy appearance by Evel Dick. Until then, the last train to the Democratic Republic of Commentboardia is leaving the station. All aboard! Toot-tooot! LAWON!!!

Big Brother

Julie Chen hosts as the houseguests battle it out.

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