Shift happens. If you live in earthquake country, you’ve probably read this bumper sticker on the SUV in front of you at the drive-through Starbucks. There are certain elements to the Big Brother game that are as unpredictable as an earthquake. But just as those of us living in the Ring of Fire know that The Big One will strike one day, Big Brother hamsters know that the house can “turn on a dime”,to quote the recently departed Cappy. Hey, he should know.
Since the Eviction...
- In a food competition based on a ‘70's game show (Match Game), the houseguests won food for the week. In a bonus round, they won a birthday party for April! Some of them wore outrageous costumes.
- They also won two more numbers for the gold room safes.
- With a little help from Big Brother (read: fishtanks), they cracked the first safe! Inside they found...sandwiches. Yup. Sandwiches.
- They divvied up the sandwiches, and Janelle found a prize in hers: a PB&J pass! She is exempt from the PB&J diet for the rest of her stay in the house. She can loan it out for a week, but it will always return to her.
- April had her birthday party; Big Brother provided booze for the occasion.
- Enough of the fun stuff. Maggie announced her nominations: Kaysar and James.
The HOH Shuffle
A reversal of power means the usual players get out their soft shoes and start to dance. First to try her song and dance routine on the new HOH was Rachel, who knows she is an obvious target as one half of a living pair. Will Maggie nominate her simply because she’s got a buddy in the house and Maggie has lost her beloved Cappy? Rachel meets with Maggie in the privacy of the HOH room, and quietly answers all her questions. She expresses the simple desire that they all get along in the house - just hang out, have fun. Maggie (rightly) asks if that’s a realistic goal. Rachel replies that she hopes so. Of course she does. Sitting in her bathrobe, hair drooping in her face, Rachel is clearly in her plain Jane mode, working to be as inoffensive as possible.
Maggie orders Howie to join them, and he’s less conciliatory to Maggie...but he says he will defer to Rachel in all game matters. Maggie wants to know if Howie was the one to suggest Eric and Maggie be nominated last week. Howie emphasizes that he’s playing a strategic game, and will make moves where he sees them. Maggie asks if they can agree to keep her safe for one week if she doesn’t nominate them, and they agree. Their manner is casual but you can see that Rachel, especially, is grateful for the offer.
Throughout the interview, what stands out is Maggie’s manner. She is calm, unassailable, and focused. When an awkward silence falls in the room, she doesn’t cave - she waits it out until the other person starts talking just to fill the quiet. She challenged Rachel gently on her loyalties, and just when Rachel and Howie were starting to squirm, she put an offer on the table. She’s damn good at it...almost as if she’s done it before. Hmmm.
Kaysar meets with Maggie, telling her that he wanted to talk to her and Eric before he left the house, but that Eric wouldn’t talk to him. Now he wants her to know that his decisions weren’t personal. The previous week’s machinations are hashed out again, but the most significant point was that Kaysar told her about Eric offering to play for him in the veto competition, which he saw as an obvious ploy to win the veto for his own safety. He tells her that it was a breach of contract, and after that, all bets were off. Later, Maggie tells her alliance that Eric never approached Kaysar to play the veto competition. A lie, or a miscommunication?
Maggie uses the time with Kaysar to lecture on what one’s “word” means to her, and to tell him she won’t give her word any more in the game. Kaysar says that he won’t swear to her, because he knows she would be insulted. At one point, he starts to say “I swe-“ but he catches himself, and tells her that he doesn’t intend to swear. Every word adds to the dramatic tension, and we’re deep in drama here. It’s enough to make a feed watcher swear.
James interrupts Kaysar and Maggie’s talk, with the promise that he will only be five seconds. Kaysar wisely takes off, knowing that James the Talker couldn’t order up a cheese pizza in five seconds, much less talk about strategy. Maggie is angry, but ice cold to James. He apologizes to Maggie for the events of the previous week, saying he now thinks there were misperceptions along the way that would have kept him from defecting if he knew the truth. Maggie doesn’t so much as blink an eye as James struggles to find a ounce of sympathy in her face. James stumbles over an explanation that he thought he would be evicted before Sarah’s birthday; he panicked. Maggie doesn’t seem to care if he missed Sarah’s party.
Maggie asks James who he would nominate, and he thinks, sighs, groans, and shakes his head. He doesn’t want to name anyone. Maggie doesn’t say a word. He frets some more. After a good solid four minutes of this, James starts to cave. He tells her she’s good, almost as if she’s had practice at this. He thinks he’s good at reading people, and he just can’t read Maggie. She’s inscrutable.
Maggie responds calmly, “What do you do for a living?” James sweats for a moment, but doesn’t answer. “What if we do the same thing for a living?” James is looking really nervous at this point. “Are you a cop?” he asks. “Are you?” she counters, cool as a cucumber. James looks completely freaked out.
At the door, he sputters out that his recommendation for a strategic nomination would be Kaysar and Janelle. He’s trying to keep up the fiction that he’s working with Maggie’s side - and I call it fiction not because he’s being a slick liar, but because there’s no way Maggie is ready to let him back into the fold, problems forgotten.
In the Gold Room, James tells the rest of the (don’t make me say it! *sigh* Okay...) Sovereign Six that Maggie is trained at interviewing. He’s absolutely convinced she is either a cop or holds some kind of military position. He describes her manner, her technique, until Kaysar says that she sounds fascinating; he wants to talk to her to compare impressions. James quashes that idea, probably thinking that Maggie would gleefully tell Kaysar James had suggested his name.
Back in the HOH room, Maggie is recounting her talks to her devoted following - April, Beau and Ivette. Sure, she exaggerates her brave stance in standing up to Kaysar and James, but she also is fair enough to admit they were not trying to “play” her. What clearly emerges is that she does not like Kaysar; she says she can’t comprehend his attitude, and doesn’t follow his thinking. She likes Rachel, and doesn’t mind Howie, as long as Rachel has him in line. As for James, she truly detests him. *ding ding* We have a nominee!
April and Ivette try to convince Maggie that Kaysar is a bigger threat, but she is focused on James like a laser. You can practically see the flames in her eyes when she mentions his name. She scoffs at his worry about Sarah’s birthday - “as if I give a F***” - and gleefully recounts how she made him squirm. She didn’t ask James if he thought he would be put up, she asked him who he would like to see on the block next to him. Oooh! Ice burn.
April shares that Kaysar approached her and Jennifer during the previous week. The point of her story was to put the focus on Kaysar, and to portray the rest of his alliance as mindless followers (funny how each side thinks exactly the same thing about each other on this point). But Maggie cuts right through the gossip and wants to know why April didn’t mention this sooner. Um, because you hadn’t won HOH yet, Maggie. Duh.
The hamsters have suffered through a week of PB&J, so they came together with happy hugs after the successful food competition. But the crankiness didn’t take long to come back, starting with Ivette being annoyed with Janelle during the safe cracking. Apparently, Janelle was turning the knob on the safe while the whole house watched, and either Ivette wanted to turn it or she felt someone else deserved it more. When it comes to Janelle, Ivette will always find someone else more deserving.
The bitter complaints multiplied after Janelle won the PB&J pass. Ivette fumed to Beau that the person who hogged the safe cracking took a sandwich before her; that pass should have been hers! “Me, me, me, me, me!” yapped Ivette, pretending to be Janelle. *sigh* Okay, I’m going to give Ivette a pass in deference to her delicate emotional state. She is still distraught about Cappy, and keeps bringing him up: Cappy would love this, Cappy would love that. Even April is starting to have an edge in her voice when she says, “He’ll be there at the end waiting for us, Ivette.” I admit that I don’t understand the depth of Ivette’s devotion to Cappy. It’s like she’s a closet heterosexual.
Sarah was a weepy mess by the end of the day; in an odd moment, she was comforted by April. Yes, she’s been fighting hard for her man, and had a long conversation with Maggie and the others about how difficult it was to switch sides, and how she really misses being with them. She’s just a weak player, she says, and she doesn’t want to stay in the game if James *sob* goes. Her nightmare would to be in the sequester house without her dear heart.
Meanwhile, James has been resurrecting his relationship with Ivette, and might be making some progress. Ivette tried to persuade James to defect again to the “good” side of the house. She pointed out that under Maggie’s reign, people don’t hang out in the HOH room and talk trash about the other hamsters. *smacking forehead* I must not have seen April, Beau and Ivette grab sleeping bags and camp on the floor of the HOH room last night. Still, Ivette seems to be warming to James. She did wish James and Sarah good night, so maybe she’s feeling sorry for Sarah’s sad state and James’s frenetic near-panic. Ivette’s not really about empty gestures: if you’re on her hit list, she’ll be giving you her sour face.
Kaysar, Janelle and Howie are aware of James campaigning with Ivette; in fact, they may work it into a way to save James over Sarah. Janelle would have to win HOH first, and take Kaysar off the block. Yeah, tomorrow is another day.
This kitty is hanging in there. firstname.lastname@example.org