Friday, August 13, 2010

Searching For Signal: #153 - “Big Brother” - Season 12, Episode 16

And we start with the traditional review, where the Announcer Guy is babbling about Brendon being on a quest to destroy his reputation in the house. (Shouldn’t be too tough to do, right? They already hate him. Almost as much as they hate the High-Kicker from Hell.) Then Julie marches out into the live studio audience, wearing some boring white pants and an equally blasé blouse.

Julie: Whoever goes home tonight will be the first member of the jury. Yay! Then she goes right to the Brendon thing, informing us that “Brendon is determined to sabotage” his chances. Just in case we don’t understand, we get more of the same shots of Brendon yelling at Dolly Parton that we just watched with the Announcer Guy. I think we get it, guys. This show is going to be all about Brendon being mean. Check.

We finally pick up where we left things in the last episode, with Brendon having just lost his mind on the Nomination Block. (Hey, did you know he did that? Just making sure.) As everyone hops to their feet and tries to act like that wasn’t really awkward, Ragan decides that he can’t pretend. Bellowing for all to hear: “It was like that ‘Cable Guy’ movie, where the Neanderthal made an idiotic speech.”

(Disclaimer: Haven’t seen the movie, but I’m assuming that Ragan was not being kind.)

Britney in the Diary Room: Brendon is “the spawn of Satan!”

Rachel slinks up to Brendon: “Could you go with me to the storage room, please?” They totter off. Once there, Rachel: “What were you thinking?” Then she fesses that she’s not sure if that was really stupid or the nicest thing that anyone’s ever done for her. Then she cries, and they paw at each other.

Rachel in the Diary Room: “Brendon is the most amazing person that I’ve ever met.” And yet she lives in Vegas. Does she even know where The Strip is? Surely she can find somebody there with a little more flair.

Brendon in the Diary Room: “I’m in love.” If that makes me an idiot, so be it.


Rachel and Britney, somewhere. Rachel: “I didn’t know he was going to do that.” Then she turns on the waterworks because it’s instinct with her. Britney: “Your worst mistake was hooking up with him. He’s a sinking ship. He hates women.” Too bad you love him and all that.

Then Britney marches outside and up to Enzo, Lane and Hayden, where they are once again trying so hard to hide their alliance. Britney: “Brendon’s come after every woman in this game.” Then she marches off. Not sure what that was all about, they already hate him. They watch her go, then decide to get all cocky about things because that’s really the only skill in their repertoire.

Enzo in the Diary Room: “The Brigade is running the house. WE decide who goes home.”

Look, all you guys are doing is reacting to everyone else self-imploding. That’s not really strategy. That’s luck.

Ragan and Matty, somewhere. Ragan is still going off over Brendon being a Neanderthal. (Ragan really likes that word. I’m already over it, mainly because it takes too long to type out.) Matt in the Diary Room: “People are re-thinking” sending Rachel home.

Later that night, Rachel approaches Britney and Ragan as they lounge in the hammock, because it’s really tiring being pretty for the cameras all the time. Rachel is trying to make nice, but she does so in her trademark way of always appearing to be fake and condescending. Ragan cuts her off. “We operate on two different levels. And the one common denominator in every argument in this house? It’s you.”

Rachel, convinced that she can’t be hearing things correctly, pushes an acre or two of hair away from her ears. Really?

Ragan: “You’re not a good sport.”

Rachel bursts into tears and runs away. (Meanwhile, Kathy joins Britney and Ragan. I only mention this because Texarkana Girl doesn’t have a lot of face time in this episode, so I need to name-check her when I can.)

Brendon, spying his Squeeze Box crying and stomping off, goes up to the three on the hammock, and proceeds to tear into Ragan. It’s clear that Brendon does not have a degree in English or Logic, because what he’s spewing doesn’t really make any sense. Ragan holds his own, accompanied by Britney cackling away and scratching Brendon’s chalkboard even harder.

Then Brendon turns his fury on Britney, and they really get into it, so much so that they have to start running around the courtyard and making demonstrative hand movements. Britney does not back down, and Brendon finally goes in the house. Britney can’t help but open the sliding glass door, toss off a few more insults, and slam the door. Then she wanders off to check the latest receipts for Dollywood.

Hayden, Enzo and Lane, still hiding their alliance, sit around and discuss whether to send Rachel or Brendon home. It’s a long discussion, short on actual interest, but they seem to be thinking that keeping Brendon will be better, since he will be useless as a competitor and a sitting target.

Hayden in the Diary Room: But it really comes down to “who is going to help The Brigade more.” Well, think about it. Wouldn’t that be Rachel? She actually wins things, and if you can swing her to your side? Heyyy. Besides, she’ll get over Brendon quicker than he will get over her, and she really wants to win. He just wants to find his Mommy.

We have Ragan going to the Diary Room so he can pick out his next Saboteur act. Once again, it’s cheesy and kind of stupid, but he goes with starting a rumor that “the voted-out person isn’t really leaving.”

Cue another Darth Vader video: “Don’t sweat this decision too much. Because they might not really be going home. True love really does conquer all.”

Excited, Rachel and Brendon run from the room, giggling.

Rachel in the Diary Room: She’s overly ecstatic and very cocky, actually thinking she’s safe. I guess it doesn’t cross her mind that this is a Saboteur thing. Who knows what the truth is.

We see the rest of the house, sitting around totally perplexed. They try to figure out the real meaning of the video, and lots of ideas are tossed out. Then they go back to deciding on what to wear at the next competition.

Live, Julie talks to the assembled house guests in the Couch Room. She shows them scenes from the Giant Paint Can competition, and they all laugh, because it’s so much fun seeing themselves on the TV. Julie tries talking to Lane about something, but he doesn’t get it, so she gets bored and switches to Matt. Regret the Pandora thing? Matt: “The reward was not worth the result.” Yeah, right. The rest of the house still doesn’t know that he has that Power of Madonna Veto shoved in his suitcase.

Julie asks Kathy: Why no apology to Rachel? Kathy, resisting an urge to take Julie’s life for bringing that mess up again, states her valid case once more. I won and I was happy. Done. Julie: Whatever. Hey gang, it’s the halfway point in the game. Yay!

They yay.

Then Julie asks them to vote on the “most underestimated player” left in the house. Matt says Kathy. Lane, Britney, Kathy and Ragan (no shame here) vote for Ragan. Enzo fingers Hayden, with Hayden and Brendon nominating Britney. Rachel spouts “Everybody!”, which is probably the best answer.

Julie shuts off the monitor, because you can only take so much of those people, and then lets us know that we are about to meet Brendon’s ex-fiancee. Oh? This should be fun. But first we have to tolerate several showmance scenes between Brendon and Rachel, which kind of drags things down a bit.

Then we cut to “Candice”, who was engaged to Brendon for 6 months. She broke it off because “he was trying to change who I was. Everything he’s said to Rachel, I’ve heard before.” (She’s not bitter at all, can you tell?) Next we have Candy’s mom, thrilled that her look-alike daughter didn’t take the plunge. We end with Candice advising “Rachel has to be prepared to be emotionally drained.”

And the whole time, I’m thinking, wow, Brendon sure seems to like women who really, really, really love wearing lots of makeup.

Time to vote, and the “save me” speeches.

Rachel: Some mess about having fought really hard to be here, and finding her new pet, Brendon, without having to go to one of those tacky animal shelters.

Brendon: Slams Matt for lying about Pandora (which IS true), then somewhat chastises the rest of the crowd for not making this game more fun, strong, amazing, something, something. Then he actually compares his persecution in the house to the Salem witch trials.

Really? Dude, get on the horn with your home planet and send a distress signal. They obviously need to come pick you up. Your assignment on Earth has failed.

Anyway, we vote, and it’s unanimous. Rachel is going home.

She only bothers to hug Brendon, then grabs her bag. He lingers at the door, panting and pining for one final doggie treat.

Outside the house, Julie tries to interview Rachel, but she turns out to be pretty boring, basically answering every one of Julie’s questions with “they were scared of me”. Julie, out of desperation, turns to the “goodbye” videos. As expected, some of the house guests are really mean and hateful (Britney) and some are surprisingly cordial and well-wishing (Enzo and Hayden). Of course, Brendon’s eyes brim with tears the whole time. Rachel, for her part, remains completely dry.

Then Julie surprises me by saying to Rachel: “This may not be the last you’ve seen of the Big Brother house.” What? Rachel immediately perks up, ready to sleep with whoever she has to in order to make this happen. But Julie is done with the teaser, saying nothing more on the matter.

Time for the HOH Competition.

It’s a giant grid, with ropes knotted and tangled throughout. The houseguests have to follow their particular rope, get it untied, and drag the whole thing to the finish line. As a bonus, the winner will also get to pick 3 people to be “Have-Nots”. Ready, go!

Banjo music fills the air, which is entirely appropriate. We watch the initial scramble.

Julie mutters something about “chickens on the loose”. This is followed by feathers falling down and coating the players as they toil through the muddy grid.

Cut to Julie, who has a burning question: “Will Matt use the Diamond Power of Veto next week?” It’s the last week he can do it. Join us and find out. And hey, keep sending those Saboteur ideas, because they’ve been SO intelligent and creative so far.

Back to the HOH grid, with Julie now muttering “a storm is brewing”, cuing water to start pouring down on the houseguests. (I think Julie gets a bit too much pleasure out of this Mother Nature thing.) Judging by the way the soundtrack keeps cutting out, meaning the censors are bleeping salty language, the houseguests are none too pleased with Julie’s atmospheric gifts.

And thus we end, not yet knowing who the next HOH will be.

Hate that. What’s wrong with short competitions? Seriously.

Roll end credits.

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