What happens when you go away for a month-long European vacation, leave your watch at home, (mostly) unplug from Twitter, Facebook, American television and FoRT while enjoying friends, family, nights out and museum visits in a far off land? I'll tell you what happens: you come back and you have no earthly idea what's going on on Big Brother anymore. Hell, you can barely even find your remote amid piles of souvenirs and laundry. Call 911! Uhm, I guess, such a drastic measure is not exactly necessary but I have to tell you one thing: when you don't remember who that chick with the big hair and even bigger mouth was, you know, the one who got so unceremoniously bounced by Big Brother a couple of episodes ago, let alone that dude with the glasses who is no longer on the show either, it means you did something right with your summer. But enough with my lame attempt at making my readers jealous, back to the show.
State of the Union
Looky! The Chenbot's baby bump is much bigger, her delivery somewhat less robotic but she's babbling on about stuff I only vaguely know about such as the Coup d'Etat and stormy times in the BB house. Clearly, I need a quick refresher course here so don't mind me. I'm happy to report what you all know already, namely that Jessie has been evicted and Chima was thrown out with the bathwater as well after apparently thinking she could diss the BB gods and get away with it. Nobody messes with Groder, nobody! The way things stand now Jordan is HoH, Lydia is wearing the hideous unitard made forever part of my BB nightmares by Jen and Sheila, and she's on the block along with Natalie. Yay, awesome nominations! But who the hell is this Natalie? Oh, well.
It also looks like I've come back just in time to witness the season's first quickie episode in which the veto competition, veto ceremony, eviction and new HoH all happen live and in living color. Does this mean less touching scenes with family and friends talking about how awesome the HoH or one of the other housguests is? I truly hope so; I can't stand those fake, sappy segments.
My joy is, of course, premature. See below.
The pain of the opposition
So, it looks like Kevin, Natalie and Lydia are in an alliance and Jesse used to be their sweet brother in arms until his ass got canned. Now they're left with few options. Lydia whines pitifully in her confessional about having been nominated four times in a row now and how terrible and unfair that is. Boofreakinhoo! Natalie isn't a happy camper either, says she has no friends left and she's going after Michele. Michele just wants the veto so she can keep the nominations the same. Jeff wants both Natalie and Lydia out because they were both Jessie's girls. No, not in that way! At least I hope not, for their sakes.
I'm still wonderfully clueless at this stage. Keep reading.
Blondie Jordan assures Natalie that she's just a pawn and won't be evicted, a statement which on any other season would have meant “I'm gunning for your ass!” but on this season, for all I know, it could just mean she won't be evicted. Jordan later says she meant it but she “reserves the right to change [her] mind”. Wow, clever girl!
Meanwhile, dark plotting is the name of the game all around: Natalie tells Kevin she's going to “go off on them”; Lydia whines and sulks under the covers and mumbles about never being safe; Russell declares his loyalty to Michele calling her another “lone wolf” like himself and vowing to save her if she's ever nominated. Jeff walks in on that convo and say he thought Russell was napping. Dun, dun, dun! The dark half moon of suspicion hangs ominously above the Big Brother house.
Dark plotting in the Senate
Later, it's time for some night-vision action in one of the bedrooms. Natalie wants to know how many times Lydia had hooked up with Jessie in the house – Holy Eviction! I've really been out of the loop! - but Lydia shyly demurs, saying she won't reveal that juicy detail. Well, she won't but BB will! Cue helpful footage of Lydia doing a little somethin'-somethin' to Pinhead Jessie under the HoH covers, once, twice, three times... I guess, they need to keep the fun stuff to a minimum what with a jam packed schedule tonight and all, so we don't get to actually count the many ways Lydia has apparently tried to keep herself from being evicted all this lovely time I was away. I already knew going on vacation was a good idea, I just didn't know how good of an idea it really was. Wise Kevin finally has to tell them that Jessie the Pinhead was playing them both individually and against each other, with his big Plan A being Lydia and Plan B being Natalie. I suspect Jessie's Plan C was Kevin but he got evicted before we could get to that vastly more interesting angle. In the end, Kevin tells the girls to take their Jessie issues to another room so he can sleep.
So, I guess, Jessie was in high demand all this time. Who knew BB would manage to cast the only two people in the country not repulsed by the Pinhead... Somebody deserves a raise. Or needs to be fired ASAP.
In an unusual moment of introspection, Lydia and Natalie dissect their complex relationships with Jessie the Pinhead and reach the conclusion that they've both been hurt and played by him. Oh, the abject embarrassment of being played by one of the stupidest and most ridiculous people to ever play this game! Natalie advises Lydia to be the HBIC – that's short for Head Bitch in Charge for those of you not down with the lingo - around the house once in a while. They agree that the only way to do that is to dispatch some of the enemy. Well, that's deep!
The triumvirate – I wonder which one of them will turn out to be the Caesar of this outfit - continue their plotting the next day, and it's Kevin who comes up with the goods: what they really need, he says, is a “complete fabrication” that hopefully the enemy would buy. Natalie's idea is to say that Michele and Russell are in an alliance and gunning for Jeff next week. She suggests they say that they overheard a conversation in which the two were plotting together. They also ambitiously plan on winning the veto and getting Jordan to put up Russell. Natalie calls their endeavor “Operation Boseley and the Two Angels”. Gag me with a blow dryer!
As night falls on the BB house it's time for the big plan to be set in motion. Kevin claims to be a bad liar so he's been practicing his speech to Jeff in his head, a speech which opens with the words “I just wanted to open up a line of communication with you” which is so formal and ridiculous it would have made even Mother Theresa suspicious. Would Jeff buy this malarkey? Apparently, Jeff, while in possession of a decent haircut, a passing pair of biceps and some discretely appealing tattoos, does not have a very finely tuned BS detection system. Kevin feeds him the fake Michele-Russell convo story complete with accounts of Kevin overhearing them from another room. He even injects a fake quote he says he heard of “We have to split up the couple” and something else about going to the end as a duo. Not only does Jeff buy it all but he runs straight up to the HoH to share his new insight with Jordan.
Jordan gasps out loud but says she trusts Michele and wants to get out Natalie. However, Jeff says that if somebody wins the POV they might backdoor Russell right away. Jeff is irritated that he saved Russell and is now being betrayed by him. They both agree that Kevin wouldn't lie to them, because, you know, nobody ever has a reason to lie in the BB house. BB lives up to it's evil reputation once again by showing footage of the great Unholy Triumvirate jumping up and down in joy down in one of the bedrooms. Whatever happened to the secret HoH camera? Hmm.
Finally, the action moves live to the Living Room where Julie wants to know whether Jeff regrets using the Coup d'Etat. He doesn't. She asks Kevin about feeling guilty over Chima's expulsion. He feels he could have prevented Chima's outbursts by doing more to calm her down, so he feels some responsibility for that. Oh, whatever! There's one less wacko in the house, Kevin. Lydia is questioned next about how hard she cried over Jessie the Pinhead and whether she moved on. She says “hell no” and promises to tear him a new one if she's sent to the jury house. Julie gleefully muses that she'd like to see Lydia evicted just to have that happen. Lydia's death warrant is now signed, sealed and Chenbot-certified in advance.
Moving on to Jordan, Julie asks her a softball question about what was the best part of being HoH. Apparently, the best part for her was taking bubble baths in the HoH bathroom. Never mind that whole power to nominate people thing. On that note, the niceties are over and Julie lets them in on tonight's schedule which starts with the live Veto competition.
Before all that, however, we get to see Natalie have her phone call with her father which she won during a previous competition. I won't bore you with the standard family friendly cheese and TV tears because I'm just a meanie that way and I don't give a damn about how Daddy has dinner with Natalie's boyfriend every week, how homesick Natalie is, how hard she can bawl when the cameras are on. Sorry. Moving on.
I secretly knew BB would squeeze in some awful sap, no matter how pressed for time they were. Why did I ever doubt them? It must be jet lag.
The Power of Veto
The Veto competition is a backyard affair, with the standard steps-and-dividing-walls setup. We all know the drill: Julie asks questions of things that happened in the house and the answers are either Before, one step up, or After, one step down. Whoever is left in the end wins the Veto. The only person not playing is Russell, who was neither nominated, neither the HoH nor picked in the random draw before the game. Lydia, Jeff and Natalie are eliminated on the first question, followed by Kevin on the second. Michele and Jordan do really well for a few rounds so that Julie is forced to go to a tiebreaker round. The question is: “In the Veto competition, When Pigs Fly, how many truffles were in the giant mud pit?” Michele says 50, Jordan says 60 with the correct answer being 104. Thus, Jordan wins the Veto. Lydia looks dejected or resigned, I can't really tell.
After a short break, the two nominees are given a chance to make a useless speech that will change nobody's mind. Natalie says something about respecting whatever decision Jordan makes while Lydia chirps that there will be no hard feelings if Jordan doesn't use the Veto on her. Aww, how civil of them both! Naturally, Jordan declines to use the Veto so we move straight to the final speeches. I must say I like this accelerated pace. Just imagine! With three shows a week, each revved up on crack like this one, we could have been good and rid of these people in less then three weeks. Alison Groder, you dropped the ball!
Natalie's final speech is full of how she's all alone in the house and how much she still wants to play all by her sweet lonesome and journeys and such. Lydia wants them to vote to further their own game, as if they'd vote any other way. Has that hot pink dye seeped into her gray matter that much or perhaps the aviator goggles are on too tight? Russell, Michele, Jeff evict Lydia while Kevin evicts Natalie. After the vote, Lydia is quickly dispatched from the house. She says goodbye to Kevin only, pointedly disses Natalie and never even looks at the others. Such class, under all that pink and red!
Outside, it's briefly the Lydia show as she strikes a couple of embarrassing Captain Unitard poses for her screaming fans. Julie wants to know about Lydia snubbing everyone except Kevin to which Lydia says that he's the only one she wants to win and doesn't care about the rest of them. Almost my sentiments, almost. Except I don't care about Lydia either. There's more talk about how Lydia had enough of being in the house, Chima's antics and the effect her leaving had on the game, but I doubt anybody reading this really cares about Lydia's philosophical take on Big Brother strategy, at least not now when it no longer matters. The only noteworthy thing out of this fairly civil exit interview is Lydia's promise to go ballistic on Pinhead in the Jury House - read music to producers' ears. Expect a nicely staged, high decibel, Captain Unitard vs. Pinhead cage match in 1, 2, 3... My money's on the pink lady.
All you can do
With nothing left to do but decide the new HoH, we move swiftly to the backyard for the last bit of tonight's action. The setup is a high platform with the hamsters lined up at its edge in front of railings. There are two big barrels of empty soda cans behind each of them and two plastic tubes below the platform along the wall. I'm not explaining this very well, but the name of the game is Can Do and is a sort of recycling game with the object being to fit 24 cans into their tubes within an hour. If nobody can drop down that many cans, the winner will be the hamster with the most cans stacked. Obviously, this is a game of who can aim better and faster and after the break Kevin and Michele are tied in the lead already with four cans apiece. BB then ups the difficulty factor with a set of shelves that move in and out of the wall above the tubes to make dropping cans that much more difficult.
Want to know who made it to the HoH suite this week? For the impatient, I recommend a trip to the Live Feed forum, otherwise one of our lovely recappers can fill you in after Sunday's show. See me back here next week for more eviction fun times.
Thanks to LG and iguanachocolate for filling in for me while I was off living the good life.