“You never know what any people are going to do in here...who would have thought that Jenny would eat that snake? That's going to happen with everybody. You can't underestimate anybody.” - Howie
Given the right conditions, the Big Brother house can be turned on its head. This year, we don't have to rely on a contrived twist to see dramatic reversals. Today was a sort of Perfect Storm for Big Brother - every condition was perfectly arranged to combine into a maelstrom of gameplay.
- Kaysar held individual meetings with the other houseguests.
- The hamsters lost the food competition and must eat PB&J for the week.
- April had heart palpitations and had to be treated in the Diary Room, but she didn’t need to go to the hospital.
- Kaysar’s win has sent the large “core” alliance into a tailspin of wheeling and dealing.
- Friday afternoon, nominations were held: Maggie and James got the nod.
- After a lockdown, the houseguests found a mysterious chest-high chess piece (a black knight) where the gumball machine used to be.
- Kaysar admitted he left his “favorites” list blank, but Big Brother found him goodies - a hookah, Cinnamon Crunch Toast Cereal, and a Guns and Roses CD - that were all items he has talked about since entering the house.
Kaysar approached his HOH victory like a 12-year-old kid off the diving board, trying to make the biggest splash possible. He spent the first 24 hours of his HOHdom creating as much chaos he could between the large “backyard” alliance. I didn’t (and couldn’t) catch every twist and turn; I barely scratched the surface of a day filled with tension, bitterness, paranoia, shock, and regret. There were a few moments of jubilation and excitement, too. Live feed watchers across the internet agree that today’s feeds were downright compelling as each new conversation seemed to turn the house in a different direction.
The initial shockwaves seemed to be the realization (to the girls, especially) that they couldn’t just sit in a large pack and make fun of Janelle. No one really bothered to talk about Kaysar, but Janelle had been the target of hundreds of catty comments and snickers. Now, they realized, they might have to be polite to Janelle or they might end up on the block. They might even have to *gasp* be nice to her. Oh, the horror!
The disappointed houseguests (Ivette, April, Maggie, Eric especially) shared some bitter comments about their loss. The most paranoid (Ivette, April) swore to anyone in the vicinity that they were positive Kaysar would put them up. Ivette, because she is a brave woman who stood up to Kaysar and “tested” him; April, because she is a brave woman who stood up for herself and didn’t give into Michael’s perverted ways. Huh? Yes, April thinks Kaysar must hate her for that. I guess she thinks he expected her to put out for his friend.
Kaysar was reluctant at first, but several people mentioned he should be talking to everyone individually like Eric did, so he told everyone his door was open for game talk. When he got the room, that was. The HOH room didn’t open until later that night. It’s possible they were scrambling for something to fill up his goodie basket, as Kaysar admitted he left the form blank. Much like his “favorites” form published on the official website, I might add. April wasted no time cozying up to Janelle, of all people, to assure her she had always liked her; she just didn’t like Michael. Naturally, she didn’t score many points with Janelle, and afterwards April was found muttering about washing Kaysar’s laundry and hoping he remembers. If you’re catching on that April sounds a bit off-kilter, score yourself 2 points in the home version of the game. Or two shots, if you’re playing the alcoholic version.
Eric, a man who would seem to have a lot to fear from Kaysar, was surprisingly calm. He stole a moment alone with Maggie, and we learned that Eric was certain that Kaysar wouldn’t go against his word and nominate Eric. Apparently, it didn’t occur to Eric that there were other ways to reach him; he thought agreeing to not nominate Eric also meant Kaysar would be open to some instruction on who to nominate. His advice to Kaysar? "You need to cover your ass and don't worry about anyone else." ‘Kay, thanks Eric.
Eric and James conferred, and agreed that Kaysar would probably target Ivette, since she’s such a loudmouth and argued with him about religion. They suspected he would also target April or Jennifer as the two that talked the most trash about Michael. It’s funny how that’s all open and admitted now - April and Jennifer talked trash about Michael, which led to his eviction. What happened to getting rid of Michael for the good of the house? Interestingly, Eric was ready to dump Ivette, saying that it was better she go than James. Maggie and Eric wonder if he will put up Eric, but decide that Kaysar will stick to his agreement with Eric, since “he’s not an unhonest person.” Better Ivette than Cappy. Kaysar hadn’t even gotten entrance into the HOH room, and the alliance that evicted Michael was already splintering.
Kaysar spent as much time with each contestant as they wanted to give him. For some of them, it was a fairly short conversation. April topped out at an hour and fifteen minutes of “talk”. Here’s a very quick rundown of how these meetings went:
Kaysar went over strategy with his closest alliance partner first: Janelle. The two outcasts were worried because Howie had not confessed he was in the house with a partner. Kaysar was pretty sure he is partnered with Rachel, but Janelle was not convinced the surfboard challenge proved anything, saying Howie jumped off and gave up HOH to Rachel because he had to pee. Kaysar scoffed, “You think he would walk away because he had to pee? He hates to lose. He would rather take a dump on himself.” You have to admit, he’s got Howie pegged.
The two decided that if they can’t take Eric out directly (because of Kaysar’s promise - hey, he’s not “unhonest” or anything), they should target Maggie as his partner, and put her up against someone that would expose that partnership. Howie joins the conversation, and makes it known he wants James in that position. Later, Janelle and Kaysar discuss that they realize Howie wants to target James because he and Sarah know that Howie and Rachel are a pair. Kaysar has something in mind for James, so he’s not keen on having him voted out.
Kaysar met with Eric, who asked him to keep his agreement. Kaysar replied that he wanted to play the game with integrity, and got Eric to agree not to play in the Veto competition. Add a lot of overly loud talk about not taking anything personally, and there you have it. Eric always seems to talk like there’s a plane overhead - except when he’s whispering with Maggie.
Next, James paid a little visit. Using his usual strategy of sucking up shamelessly (remember his glowing praise for Eric’s leadership?), he told Kaysar he was glad he won HOH so that he can turn his sights on Eric. He threw in that he saved Kaysar the first week when even Michael was voting to evict Kaysar (that old chestnut-slash-obvious-lie), but Kaysar didn’t want to hear any of this nonsense. He asked James to look him in the eye and tell him whether he had a partner in the house; that he was, in fact, partnered with Sarah. James denied knowing Sarah, saying he was supposed to come in the house with a partner, but the other party had to duck out at the last minute for medical reasons. He tried to explain Sarah’s chemistry with him as the result of that know-it-all, Big Brother. They knew James so well, they put his ideal woman in the house to tempt him. Kaysar was unable to get James to come clean, so he blew his chance to switch sides.
April and Beau both talked individually with Kaysar for a long time. An eternity, is more like it. April repeated herself without saying much of interest, and Beau has yet to make an impact on me in any way, shape or form. Let’s just gloss over their talks, shall we? Of note: after April had met with Kaysar, and after a day of fretting (before the live show) and frenetically worrying about the future (after the show), she went to the Diary Room with an erratic heartbeat. She was pronounced okay, but told to lay off the caffeine and cigarettes. Not to mention the diet of fear, consternation and panic.
It’s been a long night, and even longer day, so forgive me if I get some things out of order; but it wasn’t long before Ivette approached Kaysar with a strategy of her own. One aspect of this plan is to wear down his constitution with a program of rapid-fire conversation peppered every three sentences with, “Do you know what I mean?” or “Do you see what I’m saying?” or “Can you see where I’m going here?” Kaysar struggled through it manfully, but I had to walk away and try to clear my head. She’s got that strategy down pat.
She also pitched an idea: Kaysar should nominate Janelle and Ivette, and “let the house decide” which houseguest deserved to be there. The idea is so ludicrous that Kaysar should have been offended; instead, he let her speak then laughed about it later with Janelle and Howie. I mean, come on!
While the rest of the house was wondering who Kaysar would nominate, the bonds between the HOH and his pals were strengthening. Kaysar told Janelle and Howie that he didn’t want to make unilateral decisions, he wanted the three of them to agree on the nominees. Janelle and Kaysar prodded Howie about his secret partner, but he didn’t take the bait. Complete trust would have to wait a little longer.
The Fight for Food
The houseguests were awoken early by Big Brother to the news that a food competition would start shortly. They primped and prepared as they awaited for the shutters to be lifted, while the crew prepared the back yard. This week, they didn’t blow the budget on set design. Instead, they built a stage, some risers, and a giant wheel of fortune that looked like a pizza.
The hamsters learned the challenge would be a spelling bee. Each houseguest chose a covered platter containing a food, and they would have to spell the name of the food item. If they spelled it correctly, they would earn the right to take down a “slice” from the pizza wheel. Each slice represented the dreaded PB&J, and each space on the wheel would represent a pantry full of real food.
Ivette, James, Jennifer, April, Beau, Eric, and Maggie all spelled their words correctly. James, whom everyone thinks is the most intelligent person in the house, was required to spell “ham.” Janelle, Howie, and Sarah couldn’t spell “spaghetti”, “rhubarb” and “cauliflower”, respectively. Let’s hope the Power of Veto competition doesn’t have anything to do with spelling.
But Big Brother still had a chance to kick them in the pants...and did. Kaysar gave the wheel a spin, and they had more clear spaces than PB&J slices, but sadly, it barely slipped over the edge into third-grade sandwich hell. It was so close the entire house was cheering in triumph when it edged over the line, and everyone screamed in agony. They wandered around the yard, calling for “two out of three!” and hoping for a Big Brother miracle, but nothin’ doing. Maybe the crew was already chowing down on the ice cream. (Seriously, what else are they going to do with all the groceries if the house loses?)
The Game Marches On
Kaysar continued to let the hamsters plead their case with him. Rachel’s visit was friendly, and Kaysar told her she had a place on his side, but didn’t press her about a secret partner. Sarah’s visit was surprisingly emotional, as she tearfully told Kaysar that April told her she couldn’t trust her, and she was crushed. Still, she managed to pitch the idea to nominate Janelle, so she wasn’t that overcome.
Maggie spent her visit telling Kaysar he wasn’t a “hurtful person” and that she trusted him to make a decision based on strategy, not emotion. Kaysar agreed, and they awkwardly decided to drop the game talk. Her discomfort at sucking up even this small amount was obvious.
Meanwhile, the wheels had been turning outside of the HOH room, and Beau was sent to deliver the plan: Eric, Beau, Ivette, Rachel and April would like Kaysar to nominate James and Sarah, please. Kaysar pretended to be interested, and made promising comments like, “This changes everything.”
James went into action. In front of Eric, he was all for the team. Behind Eric’s back, he was desperate to find someone to support him against Cappy. He went to Beau and Ivette and pulled out a trump card: that Maggie and Eric are a *gasp* pair, and he overheard a conversation that proved it. Ivette launched into a defense of her beloved Cappy, saying he can’t base his strategy on something he probably misheard. She said she wouldn’t repeat this shocking accusation, implying that it was too inflammatory. *sigh* Let's just take a moment here to savor the irony of Ivette's righteous indignation. She was eloquent enough that James looked nervous. He told her he probably shouldn’t have said anything. Indeed.
As the day went on, a few themes became apparent. Howie was reviled for spending time with Kaysar, and people realized that he had probably stopped floating and had picked a side. April and Ivette expressed their dislike and distrust of Maggie, which must have frustrated Eric to no end. Janelle, already disliked by the rest of the females in the house for making them look foolish by hanging out fearlessly (and affectionately) with a sexual predator, started to look downright dangerous. So dangerous, that most of the house believed that she had used her feminine wiles on Kaysar and told him who to nominate.
Back in the HOH room, Kaysar revealed to Howie and Janelle that everything he hoped would happen had happened - the alliance had gone bezerk! They were now all talking trash about each other and scrambling for deals. He anticipated every move, he laid out the bait, and they took it. They turned on each other, even more viciously than he could have hoped. Casting aside his sensitive demeanor, he told them he wanted to prove a point. “They shouldn't have made any of us outcasts. They shouldn't have underestimated us.” Turns out, it is personal this time!
The Envelope, Please...
The feeds are blocked during most Big Brother ceremonies and rites, but when we returned to the house, the pot had boiled over. Kaysar had nominated Maggie and James, which apparently nobody expected. Maggie looked like death warmed over - pale, crying, visibly upset. Eric looked ready to bust some heads. From Kaysar’s comments to Janelle (safely ensconced in the HOH room), James was emotional during the ceremony, which he didn’t expect. Kaysar felt bad about nominating James; it’s obvious he wanted to make an alliance with him, but he gave him several chances, and James didn’t take him up on the offer.
Eric marched right up to the HOH room, and told Kaysar there was no hard feelings; it’s just a game. In fact, to prove that he knows how hard it was to nominate those two, he will offer his services in the POV competition. Sure, he already told Kaysar he wouldn’t play in the competition, but this is different because he would play for Kaysar and use the veto however Kaysar sees fit. Kaysar thanked him for the obviously booby-trapped offer.
In the house, the Cappy crowd dropped all pretense of being upset over having two “friends” on the block, and rallied around Maggie. The obvious partisanship must have been especially hard for Sarah to take, since she was still hanging around Ivette, April and Maggie as they counted votes against James. If the goal of Kaysar was to make Eric choose between two allies and expose his partnership, it was instantly successful. He told the others that he would play for veto and honor Kaysar’s request that he not use it. He keeps his promises, he reminded them. Which really proved he was behind Maggie, because James would be voted out before Maggie, and that way he can’t be put on the block himself.
In the chaos, some truly bizarre conversations took place, like Eric telling Sarah that James is “his boy”, and Sarah saying she would support Maggie. Sure, no one knows a thing about the pairs, you chuckleheads. Ivette swore to her group that she had offered to be the “pond” and Kaysar should have nominated her and Janelle. Ivette told Eric that she now questions their decisions, like evicting Michael instead of Janelle. Eric pointed out that they could have evicted Kaysar the first week, but Ivette (glaring nastily at her) had to evict Ashlea. “She was so annoying!” Ivette replied defensively.
Since putting Eric in that position worked so well, Kaysar, Janelle and Howie (now calling themselves the Dream Team) wondered if they could take it a step further: what if they took James off the block, and put Eric in his place? If only James weren’t so hostile...but before long, Sarah was the conduit that earned James a place on the flip side of the house. She tearfully confessed to Kaysar and Janelle that she’s not a liar, she just had to tell them that...that little “eff’er” (her own words) was her boyfriend! She said she wanted to tell them all day, but James kept telling her to wait. Now that James had officially come clean, he was let in on the plan.
Huddle Up - We’re Almost Done...
Their plan for the POV is this: Kaysar has let Eric think he’s playing for Kaysar in the veto competition. James has asked Beau to compete. Instead, Kaysar will ask Janelle to play, which will hopefully shake them up. Maggie has already said that she will pick Ivette; they don’t know if she will panic and pick Eric or not. Hopefully, they will be thrown off their game and will stick with their original plan. The kicker is James picking Howie to play for him instead of Beau. That will be a signal to the house that four players will be playing for Kaysar’s team.
Meanwhile, the con is on. James is pretending to be furious and moody, slamming doors and making nefarious comments about Kaysar and the female canine that controls him. Howie goes into affable horndog mode when anyone approaches (it’s amazing how he can switch that on effortlessly; but when he’s alone with his alliance, he’s all business); and Kaysar is telling people that the nominations were hard for him, he feels terrible. Janelle is bending like a reed even though April & Co. are tormenting her with petty demands about sleeping arrangements. Privately, they can’t believe how easily those people fall into a bully role, even when they’re threatened in the house.
And, as Kaysar, Janelle and Howie noted over an evening smoke, Maggie looked like she was falling apart and Ivette was running scared. Neither seems a likely candidate to win the Power of Veto. Adding to their confidence is the giant chess piece that has mysteriously appeared at the foot of the stairs. Everything should be going their way... as long as they don’t have to spell the names of the pieces.
All the excitement with none of the booze. firstname.lastname@example.org