Rumors are flying that someone will return to the “Big Brother” house tonight. May that person have a that elusive quality known as a “personality” and save us from these recent doldrums. However, the “Lost” fan in me is hoping that Tricia Tanaka shows up and attracts a fireball from the sky to come crashing down on the whole endeavor. Who will be voted off? How instantly will the game change once it’s down to single elimination? Will the live audience continue to have that glazed, “I’ll be good, just don’t hurt my family” look that they always seem to have? Only one way to find out! Unfortunately, that one way is to actually watch the episode.

“Daniele has been BUSTED,” declares Julie Chen in her opening salvo. Oh no she DIDN’T. Inside the house, Daniele is stunned post-PoV that Brendon and Rachel didn’t backdoor Jeff and Jordan, and goes to talk to them in the HoH room. As Rachel’s cleavage solemnly looks on, Dianele and Brendon have it out over whom to vote out in tonight’s elimination. She’s not exactly happy when he talks down to her the way he does to his fiancée. It’s détente time for the veterans, with neither side backing down. 

Kalia and Jordan talk in The Softly Padded Yet Vaguely Smelly Have Not Chamber of Secrets. We learn, in flashback, that Kalia knew about the plot to backdoor Jeff and Jordan. (Flashbacks? This IS “Lost”! Tricia, look forward to seeing you soon!) Jordan is worried that someone’s stirring up problems in the house, which doesn’t seem like a bug some much as a feature in this game. Over n the kitchen, Jeff confronts Dominic about the backdoor plan, which leads them into the Purple Room for a confab. Inside Barney’s Man Cave, Dominic’s unwillingness to fess up to creating the plan confirms Jeff’s decision to vote him out of the house. Only one way to solve this: house meeting! “Then, we go to war,” Jeff declares.

Realizing he’s essentially screwed, Dominic goes into the HoH room to plead for his life, seeking to position himself as an asset to be used later in the game. Once again we have Jeff demanding to hear the truth and Dominic refusing to admit it. It’s like the climatic courtroom scene in “A Few Good Men”, but with morons instead of talented actors. “You’re an accessory to backdooring me!” yells Brendon, a phrase which in no way sounds sexual. Brendon heaps on the nastiness, calling Dominic “tainted” as a player. I need a shower. Dominic’s only potential saving grace: Rachel has a soft spot for him over Adam, due to her antipathy towards floaters.

Kalia meets Brendon in the backyard, worried that she’s no longer inside the inner veteran circle. “I’ve studied rocket science, and this is way easier than rocket science,” he replies, calling her a lying liar than lies. Jesus, did everyone take angry pills this week? “We all know you have your little spies!” she screams at him, which gives me the odd visual of Brendon as Varys in “Game of Thrones.”  Man, this is the most screen time Kalia has gotten in weeks. And all it took was for her to lose her damn mind. She starts playing idly with a water bottle, and I half expect to start muttering, “Out out, damned Head of Household!” any second now.

It’s House Meeting time. Oh good, this is gonna be mature and healthy. “We’ve been here for three weeks, and it’s already hell!” Kalia screams. Right there with ya, Kalia. Smartest thing you’ve said all season. “You…are taking the fall for someone else, and you didn’t even do anything!” retorts Jeff. Which is true, but he’s the one yelling at the people that supposedly didn’t do anything. Someone get these people copies of “What Color Is Your Parachute?”, quickly. Daniele sits silently the entire time as the other veterans throw her under the bus, until Rachel’s sonorous voice wakes her from her stupor. Accusations fly left and right as Daniele finally owns up to masterminding the plan, but they are so petty and stupid that transcribing feels like a hate crime against HitFix readers.

After all that pleasantness, it’s time for interviews with our illustrious host. Julie Chen asks Kalia about the drama during the house meeting. Where do things stand now? “I think everyone in here is a grown up,” Kalia helpfully dissembles. Brendon agrees that even if tempers get raised, they all know it’s a game. (It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to come up with THAT statement, bro.) Jeff admits to playing the game more personally than others. While he knows the backstabbing makes for good TV, he thinks it could be played in an ideal world with some combination of hugs, puppies, and rainbows. He’s glad the house meeting happened, because it allowed them to rip the band-aid off the big weeping wound of madness rather than let it gradually seep out. OK, he didn’t put it EXACTLY like that. Julie turns to Daniele, wondering if she’s surprised how quickly things got personal. Daniele says no, and that she’s been through much worse. Like having Evel Dick for a father, I presume.

Adam stands up to make his case for staying. He dubs the man that walked into the house a “stranger in a strange land,” but thanks everyone for the experience and invites them to vote based on game play needs. Dominic gets up afterwards, says he loves everyone in the house. He then takes a page from the “Susan Hawk Guide to Influencing People Friends and Impressing Reality Show Contestants” and proceeds to call some of them “spineless jellyfish,” with no chance of winning if they continue along their current path. Yowzas. I’m guessing he’s been listening to a lot of Jon Bon Jovi’s solo work, as he appears determined to go down in a blaze of glory.

Well, it’s voting time. It goes down like this:

 

Jeff: Dominic

Jordan: Dominic

Kalia: Dominic

Daniele: Adam

Brendon: Dominic

Shelly: Dominic (making it official)

Lawon: Dominic

Porsche: “This jellyfish votes to evict Dominic.” (Unofficial auditions for “The Price Is Right” continue for her! I’m delighted.)

Julie announces that Dominic has been voted out 7-1. As Dominic makes his way to Julie, more than a few people are crying. Not sure why, but there you have it. Back in the studio, Julie asks him about his interesting pre-vote speech. He mourns the ineffectiveness of the Regulators, noting that the other newbies often went to a veteran at the first sign of weakness. (Um, you did too, Dom. I’ve been watching. Against my better judgment, sure. But I’ve been watching.) He also states that the speech was meant more to help Daniele in the new world order now that it’s single elimination. Julie tries to hint at possible romantic feelings on his part towards Daniele, but it’s more about trying to figure out Dominic’s sexual orientation than anything else. (Least that’s the vibe I got.) We then get the goodbye videos, during which Lawon compares himself to a pimple in Dominic’s life that he can’t pop. Um. Er. Uh. I need my mommy.

Back in the house, Julie appears on the TV in the lounge area. She announces that everyone is on their own, playing from here on in as individuals. “But the twists are far from over,” she warns, potentially spoiling that Chubby Checker will show up at some point in August. This week’s HoH competition features players standing on skies next to a makeshift ice wall, and it’s called “Big Brother Slalom.” The last houseguest on their skis becomes HoH. The first five eliminated have to pick up a large snowball upon being knocked out. Some contain good things, some contain bad things, and one contains $10,000.

The competition starts, and we see that this competition is like a super skanky version of those Ab Glider commercials. Just hips and junk gyrating everywhere. The mountain starts to tip over towards the ground, making it more difficult to stay on. After that, a snow machine starts blowing. And then…the show ends. We don’t learn who the next HoH is. I think Daniele’s pelvis was trying to tell me, but I couldn’t make out what it was saying through all the faux flakes. Being a newbie this year to “Big Brother,” I don’t know if this is the first time they haven’t announced the new HoH right after the elimination vote. [Ed. Note: It’s not.] But it certainly seems like a better way to build up excitement for Sunday’s episode for those that don’t follow the live feeds. “Excitement” is of course relative here, but I’ll take what I can get at this point.

Who is in the strongest position now that it’s down to single competition? Will the jellyfish start to whither and die, or will their strategy keep them safe far longer than the veterans? And any guesses on the “twists” coming down the pipe? Sound off below!