Big Brother recap: The Rebellious Ants vs. the Dominatrix Grasshopper

New alliances form and old friendships fracture, while the mysterious MVP twist leads to a surprising nomination
Ep. 12 | Aired Jul 24, 2013

SHOWMANCE AND TELL Howard and Candice, a pair of wild cards. Howard was the last good soldier for the Moving Company, quietly sitting back while bigger personalities were sent packing; suddenly, he's leading a counterrevolution. Candice was a linchpin member of the anti-Aaryn brigade; but she's not so close to Helen or Amanda. Or maybe she's just close enough for an old-fashioned backstab. Also, they both love God. In my Big Brother 'Shipping FanFic, Howard and Candice wind up battling McCrae and Amanda, but then have to join forces to fight Aaryn after she transforms into Ganondorf.

CBS

This season, the evil Swiss psychiatrists who create the Big Brother competitions have really outdone themselves, and they had a lot of fun with the human lab rats in their latest veto competition. It was an election-themed game. The contestants -- the three nominees, Judd, Helen, and McCrae -- all put on their finest suits and pretended to be politicians. They had to crawl through the mud and grab votes in order to win. It was a highly accurate depiction of the American election process, except with less sex scandals and better hair. Everyone complained about the mud, which smelled like manure and also coincidentally looked like manure. Aaryn refused to dip her face in. "If my face was covered, I'd be useless!" she said, while her vacant eyes stared into the middle distance and she imagined the heads of all her enemies on spikes outside of her castle made of candy canes.

The contestants had to suffer for their points. Judd picked up an 18-pointer that guaranteed a 24-hour stay in solitary confinement. Helen picked up a 10-pointer that required an 8 PM curfew. Elissa snagged a 20-pointer which required her to give up playing the veto competition for a week -- essentially putting an even-larger target on her back for next week. (McCrae, for his part, opted to essentially throw the competition and take a $5000 check.) Elissa wound up winning, confirming once again that she is a legitimate player when her back is up against the wall, just like her sister. Unfortunately, she's also incredibly good at turning the entire house against her...just like her sister.

Judd went into his isolation chamber, where an alarm clock blared every nine minutes. (I assume this was a reference to Desmond's 108-minute routine in Lost. Generally speaking, it's an enriching experience if you watch Big Brother and pretend it's a spinoff-sequel of Lost. In this metaphor, Julie Chen is the Smoke Monster and Zingbot is Ben Linus.) Meanwhile, everyone thought it would be fun to plot an elaborate birthday ritual for McCrae. So Amanda dressed up in a one-piece bathing suit and plotted a whole burlesque hour. (She gave McCrae 24 birthday lashes. Ah, romance!) Elissa offered a whole series of pointed critiques. "I don't even know who makes a one-piece bathing suit," she said. "You look like you're working at a strip club," she said. "It's pretty frigging gross," she concluded.

Now, after Elissa said the first thing, Amanda and everyone else laughed it off. After the second thing, everyone looked awkward, and Amanda made a little self-deprecating joke. After the third thing, Amanda stormed off to cry, and everyone looked at Elissa like she was a crazy person. Seriously, I wouldn't have been surprised if Aaryn had briefly paused her nightly ritual of hunting the children of Elm Street in their nightmares, and walked over to Elissa to say, "Yo, girl, that's not cool." Seriously, why did Elissa say any of that? I have three theories:

1. Elissa realizes that everyone in the house -- Amanda, sure, but also her nominal friend Helen -- only really cares about her insofar as she has MVP power. She also realizes the Rachel's Sister gravy train is about to run out of gas, and she's acting out like a petulant child.

2. She honestly had no idea that anything she was saying was hurtful. Keep in mind: Based on what we know about Rachel, it's entirely plausible that these woman were raised far from society in a distant jungle kingdom where they frolicked with the water buffalo and hunted butterflies for sport. By which I mean: Rachel and Elissa are not so good with normal-person social etiquette.

3. Per McCrae, she was just upset that everyone was paying attention to Amanda and not too her. This is a slight derivation of #1. Of course, the weirdest thing about Elissa is that, despite her lineage, she has never really demanded the limelight in the house. Indeed, she barely even seems to talk to people. Elissa's gameplay can be summed up with a monologue: "Don't look at me, I'm nobody. Why isn't anybody looking at me, don't they know I'm Rachel's sister? Oh god, why is everyone judging me just because I'm Rachel's sister? Oh, America loves me because my sister has so many fans! Oh no, America, why don't you love me anymore, don't you know I'm Rachel's sister?" And also various yoga poses.

Elissa took herself off the block, natch. And in the end, America pulled its own backdoor strategy: GinaMarie ascended to the podium. Flanked by Aaryn and Kaitlin, the ultimate nominations this week show that the old order inside the Big Brother house is truly dead. One of the Popular-Girl clique is going home, although they aren't popular anymore. If I had to bet, I'd say that the bell finally tolls for Aaryn, just because Spencer and Howard seem focused on bringing GinaMarie into the fold. At the same time, it's entirely likely that the deep hole Aaryn dug for herself will save her again; I'm not sure it's a legacy she'd want for herself, but Aaryn has set a new benchmark in quickly becoming the most-loathed person in the house, which means even the worst player in the house can look at her as a meatbag.

Fellow viewers, what did you think the night's shenanigans? Is Amanda going full-Lady Macbeth too early? Is Elissa going crazy? Would you get behind a Remnant Alliance of the Moving Company (Howard/Spencer) and the Aaryn Brigade (Kaitlin/GinaMarie)?

Follow Darren on Twitter: @DarrenFranich

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