Speaking of which, is it time to pat ourselves on the back yet? America: We done good. After a season of rubber-stamping the go-nowhere banality of Elissa "Decidedly Not Rachel" Slater, we've selected a Team America composed entirely of players who belong on a future All-Star Season. Frankie is a wolf in peacock's clothing, using his over-the-top style to hide a savvy forward-thinking mind. (He's like a reverse chameleon: He's so obviously there that you don't notice how many moves he's making.)
Derrick is a genuine chameleon, a quiet power player who seems to have 10 different versions of the game playing in his head at once. And Donny is, well, kind of maybe the modern incarnation of the American spirit? He's kind, he's generous, he presents like a prospector in a mid-1800s mountain town who says words like "rootinest" and "tootinest," but he seems completely unfazed (and positively delighted!) by a house filled entirely with neon-haired moon-people, he either doesn't try at competitions or he's secretly great at competitions. Team America is basically Bearded Jimmy Stewart and Robert De Niro from Heat and the most extreme version of David Bowie that ever existed. And these guys are working together. What a season!
So it almost didn't really matter who played in the veto; we were all waiting for the veto meeting, to see if Team America could finally incite a legitimate argument. But the veto competition was still interesting. Donny was picked, and Victoria got to choose Hayden, and Christine was so excited to be picked. "I want to show people that I can win things!" she announced. "I'm gonna keep the nominations the same! I don't want Amber out; they do!"
The Detonators have a problem, and it runs deep. They are the remnant of a much larger alliance that fell apart almost immediately; recall, two members of the Bomb Squad still thought the Bomb Squad was a thing, before Frankie nominated Amber. So there's a certain amount of betrayal baked into the Detonators. Cody and Derrick already formed a Final Two "Hitmen" alliance; Frankie and Zach are in love, sort of, although they both also seem capable of throwing the other under a beautifully adorned pink-painted bus; it's never been clear what Christine is doing in any of these groups, and it feels like the second she strikes against her alliance members is the second that her alliance members try to vote her out.
So the winner of the veto competition did matter, insofar as Christine had Big Plans to detonate the Detonators. And she came close. The veto competition required players to hilariously gallop 60 times on a fake horse, then stack 50 gold bars under a rolling 30-second time limit. Jocasta and Donny and Victoria were barely in the game, and Christine actually thought she won everything... but she didn't notice that some of her golden bars had fallen to the ground. So Hayden won, sort of proving himself as a worthwhile player in the sense that everything he did was for the benefit of an alliance he doesn't know about.
Meanwhile, the Detonators set to work. Amber had already approached Zach and Frankie as if they were still on the Bomb Squad and announced that the nominations should stay the same. Zach and Frankie nodded, nodded, nodded. No, Donny shouldn't go up, you're right Amber! After the veto competition, Amber walked into the HoH room, and Caleb walked out. It was an awkward moment, punctuated by the Lord of Awktown Zach, who asked Amber the immortal question: "Why'd you guys break up?" Amber said that Caleb blew everything out of proportion, which is true. Zach immediately went downstairs, where he told Caleb: "Amber says you blew everything out of proportion! She says you're unhealthily obsessed with a girl who is clearly not into you, and she also says that you should maybe give her some space and not be so weird! Also, she says that Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters was subpar, and the only reason to see it was Gemma Arterton!"
That last one did it; Caleb walked upstairs. "Hey Frankie, I just had a crazy idea," he said. "What if we put Amber up on the block, just to warn her not to float to the other side?" Frankie nodded his head. "Of course, we won't actually vote her out," said Caleb. Frankie nodded his head. "I'm only doing this so she realizes how she's totally into me and not that ridiculously handsome guy who looks like Young John Travolta," said Caleb. Frankie nodded his head and excused himself and went to the bathroom and vomited dollar signs and then walked back into the bedroom and nodded his head some more.
And so to the veto ceremony, and so to Hayden using his veto power on Victoria. Part of what makes this season interesting is how the particulars of a moment like that don't really matter. Hayden could have used his veto on Jocasta; someone else could have won the veto, and used it on either person on the block. Not one of the four people nominated for eviction this week was ever the target. It's almost like the detonators were playing a Zone Offense: They knew their target, and they just needed a bunch of fill-in-the-blank saps to put the target in their sights.
So I would guess that Hayden walked into that veto ceremony thinking that he held all the cards, and I would guess that Victoria walked away from that veto ceremony thinking that she was "rescued," that somehow she was "important" to this week's action. But it all came down to Frankie standing up, saying that "I didn't actually think this was going to happen," and then putting Amber up on the block. She was shocked, but she played it cool. (Another reason this is a great season: Even a not-great player like Amber is smart enough not to act surprised when someone shifts the game board underneath her.)
Then the Team America action went into play. Zach followed Frankie's Manchurian Candidate orders, standing up and laying into Amber. "You're sitting right where you belong! You're on your way out! Beast Mode Cowboy saved you twice for your game! He ate a pickle! He took a supporting role in Ghost Protocol!" Amber didn't respond; chalk up a loss for Team America, although it felt like a victory for sane people everywhere.
Can Amber be saved? I hope so, I doubt it; her strongest supporter is her freaky stalker, and her old alliance wants her gone. We may have to give up on our hopes for an All-Female alliance in Big Brother 16; hopefully a bunch of smart ladies are watching this season and taking notes on How Not To Let A Group Of Dudes Take Control. Then again, tomorrow will see two new Head of Households take control; is it mad to dream of a Nicole-Christine diarchy? Cool glasses for everyone!
Follow Darren on Twitter: @DarrenFranich