Tuesday (July 21) night's episode of "Big Brother" played out as an expert piece of sleight of hand courtesy of the "Hermano Grande" editors. For roughly 55 minutes, the episode unfolded perfectly according to plan only to reverse course at the last second, showing viewers how out-of-the-loop we really are. 

Then again, either the editing left out a lot that live-feed viewers saw coming or else only one person is really in the "Big Brother 11" loop: Darth Ronnie.

[Recap of Tuesday night's "Big Brother" Power of Veto challenge and its aftermath after the break...]

We were meant to think all along that Darth Ronnie had a master plan: Sure, he'd put Jeff and Laura up for eviction during Sunday night's show, but everybody figured it was a ruse. We all just assumed that Ronnie was hoping to backdoor Russell. Even Russell suspected that Ronnie was going to backdoor him. The only person who didn't believe that Ronnie's goal was to rid the house of The Shotgun? Laura, who we should probably start calling Cassandra, except that this would confuse her.

Need I remind y'all of Cassandra? Perhaps. I'll pretend you're all like Jordan. Isn't that awful of me? Well, Cassandra was pretty hot, so hot that she made Apollo fall in love with her, which isn't all that significant, since the Gods in Greek mythology were constantly falling in love with hot mortal chicks, probably for the same reason Matthew McConaughey's character dug high school girls in "Dazed and Confused." Well, Cassandra probably thought she was hotter than she actually was (or she was too virtuous to canoodle with a philandering God), so she declined Apollo's advances and the vengeful diety cursed her: Cassandra would be able to predict the future. That's the cool part. Unfortunately, nobody would ever believe her prophesies.

Well, Laura spent all of Sunday's episode telling anybody in earshot that Ronnie was not to be trusted. Then, when Ronnie put her up for eviction, she told anybody in earshot that she'd predicted that Ronnie wasn't to be trusted.

Now we all know that Laura is absolutely correct: Darth Ronnie is not to be trusted. 

But given the choice between listening to the insufferable oracle or throwing common sense out the window and believing in Darth Ronnie... Well, is there any question? Tell us lies, Darth Ronnie. Tell us sweet little lies.

Just as we thought that Laura and Jeff were being used as pawns, the editors of "Big Brother" used Russell as a pawn on Tuesday. The Shotgun was made to look as horrible as possible, a depiction he aided with a handlebar moustache he borrowed from one of the gay biker bar extras in the Al Pacino opus "Cruising." The guy looks like all manner of rough trade. And he treats everybody like trash, or so it seems. 

Russell's big indiscretion was wandering around like a crazy man talking about the game and how he wished people could pause their strategic conversations just for a few moments. He walked into the kitchen, heard Natalie having a conversation about strategy and asked her to stop. From another room, Lydia interjected that she wasn't talking about strategy and that Russell should mind his own business. Russell blew up at her and bellowed, far out of proportion. Lydia run off bawling, because that's what Lydia does and the editors made it look as if Russell had done this ridiculous thing.

Point of Fact: Russell *wasn't* talking to Lydia and telling her not to talk strategy. He wasn't communicating with her at all. Lydia instigated the fight completely and totally. Was Russell's reaction a bit insane and of-a-piece with his verbal assault on Jeff last week at this time? Yes. Russell's an obnoxious hot-head, but Lydia's "Woe-is-Me" victimhood is absolutely getting on my nerves as well. Crocodile tears pouring down her face, she went to Ronnie and suggested backdooring Russell and Darth Ronnie nodded patiently, as if this were the first he'd thought of it. 

That set up Big Brother Mint, the Power of Veto challenge. With Ronnie, Jeff and Laura up, it was the second straight week the worst case scenario for randomly selected competitors would be the Athletes. And, for the second straight week, the luck of the draw filled the challenge with Athletes, specifically Natalie and The Shotgun.

The competition, sponsored weirdly by Coinstar, asked competitors to dig into huge piles of change and grab exact sums of money without time to properly count. Ronnie crashed out first, blowing the first count so spectacularly that Michele assumed he was throwing the competition. Jeff proved to have spectacularly even-measuring hands and he finished first in three of four heats, including the climax, in which he beat Russell, claiming the PoV. 

See? Everything is going according to plan, right?

Ronnie called in one person after another, suggesting he might backdoor Russell and everybody either agreed that it was the right move, or promised to go along with him regardless. Only Jessie tried saying that this wasn't the right time to boot Russell, because Laura poses the bigger threat, an idea nobody gave much credence to.

At the Power of Veto ceremony, Jeff shocked nobody and used the PoV on himself. Ronnie, saying it was something he hated to do, replaced Jeff with... Jordan.

Huh? 

As a move, it made total sense. Even though Laura swears Ronnie's about to get a taste of his own medicine, there's no way she can out-poll popular Jordan. So if Ronnie really did think that Laura was the biggest threat and if his intent was always to get rid of her, he just replaced one pawn with another. I'm not exactly sure I get the strategy. Laura's only stategy involves her surgically augmented bosom and nobody in the game has been even slightly enticed by said bosom, so what power does she have? She's unlikable and her intelligence is questionable, which makes her a minimal threat in my book. But I trust in Darth Ronnie.

Or maybe Cassandra is right when she tells us that everything Ronnie says is a lie, which would mean that he's lying when he says he wants Laura out, which would mean that Jordan's on her way out on Thursday night. But who would believe a crazy thing like that?

 

Other thoughts on Tuesday's episode:

*** By far, the episode's most endearing scene featured Jordan admitting to cuddle-buddy Jeff that she can't tell time, that when people say it's "a quarter to" some time, that confuses her, because the concept of a quarter confuses her. Jeff, a taco short of the intellectual combo platter himself, tried patiently to talk her through basic division, but Jordan kept getting hung up on the idea of "a quarter" equalling 25 of something. This scene proved forshadowing: First, it let us know that no matter how dumb we think Jeff is, he's better at math than spelling, which served him well in the PoV competition. 

*** By far, the episode's least endearing scene featured Casey and Chima ducking into a private room to watch "The Ugly Truth." The editors struggled to find believable footage of either contestant laughing at a movie I've been assured by a half-dozen trusted sources is as funny as a colonic. Casey called it "awesome" without any conviction. Chima just said that it was a good escape from the house. Neither said the movie was funny. Both were much more excited about the free candy they could stuff in their pants. As product plugs go, this was a failure.

*** Did anybody need the closing scene in which Ronnie gloated about the quarters he found wedged in his buttcheeks? I didn't think so.

*** Part of me wants to think Ronnie only kept Russell around so that Lydia wouldn't think she was controlling things in the house. She's unappealing. 

 

Is Laura on her way out? Or will Jordan leave without ever doing her New York accent again?