8:00 p.m. ET Why am I doing a minute-by-minute recap for a Thursday "Big Brother" episode that isn't going to feature an elimination? Well, force of habit for one thing. Also, I know my blogging structure for "Survivor" and "American Idol" and "The Amazing Race," but other than minute-to-minute Thursday elimination recaps, I don't have a feel for "Big Brother" and with less than a week left in the season, why am I going to bother experimenting with formats? Exactly. Plus... Final Head of Household!
[Full recap after the break...]
8:02 p.m. "Big Brother" is lucky that we're nearly done with this season. Wednesday's episode was woefully disheartening. First of all, I lost Britney, who was a source of both eye-candy and occasional snarky humor. But, to make matters worse, Lane, Hayden and particularly Enzo were spectacularly obnoxious in the way the revealed The Brigade to Britney. With only a week to go, I no longer have anybody I'd like to see win this game.
8:05 p.m. We return to the first phase of the Head of Household challenge, the one that ended Wednesday's episode, a task Enzo calls "the funnest of the season." Then again, Enzo hasn't evolved that far from the jungle. Hayden admits that things were fun at first, but after a few hard collisions, he tires of the impact.
8:07 p.m. Matters get worse when "rain" stars walling on the contestants, soaking the hamsters and their ropes. Suddenly, this isn't nearly so fun for Enzo.
8:09 p.m. The Meow-Meow is the first to fall-fall after 19+ minutes. "These competitions just make me look like I'm weak," Enzo says. Well yes. Just like competitions have been making you look weak all season long. Hayden mocks Enzo's intestinal fortitude. Both Hayden and Enzo are convinced that they need to win HoH to make the Finals.
8:11 p.m. The challenge continues, but Enzo is taking some "nice alone down-time." He's simultaneously making pizza and pasta in the house. He brings his feast outside and taunts his rivals with his food. "If I could move my lower half right now, I'd crawl to you and slap you," Lane says in the Diary Room. Lane seems to be struggling outside. As he put it, he just ripped his whole a$$. Really? Ouch. "We're men. We're not girls. We don't have ponies. We don't have dolls. Deal with it. Block it out. Stay on the rope," Lane announces. Dang. I want that on a shirt.
8:13 p.m. After two hours and 35 minutes, Lane goes down.
8:17 p.m. In a live component, Julie Chen asks Enzo how they're still around. Enzo doesn't know, but guesses that it was his personality. Lane says that it was hard for him not to tell everybody all season long. Does Hayden worry about how the rest of the Jury will respond to Britney telling them about The Brigade? "They're going to hate us... however they vote is up to them," Hayden says.
8:19 p.m. So we won't actually learn who the last Head of Household is. Julie Chen tells us that we won't get the third leg of the HoH competition until next Wednesday. First, though... We have to meet Enzo's family.
8:20 p.m. Off in Bayonne, we meet Joella, Enzo's wife. She's a very pretty gal and less stereotypically "Jersey" than I might have guessed, given Enzo. We learn that Enzo is Mr. Mom to his adorable daughter. Less surprising, Enzo is a Mama's Boy. The Mama in question is Teresa, introduced making meatballs. Italians, Teresa tells us, are a very happy people. The Family Enzo was loving watching their patriarch in his penguin costume, even getting his daughter a stuffed penguin. Joella tells us that Enzo planned on establishing an alliance before the game started, raving about his social game, saying that the other players don't even know they're being manipulated. And Teresa pronounces that Enzo has done Jersey proud.
8:26 p.m. This is bound to be heartbreaking. We're off to watch Ragan's arrival at the Jury House, where Kathy is still raging at Matt for his lie about his mother's health. How will Ragan respond to Matt's deceit? Our hunch? Not well.
8:28 p.m. Ragan arrives and announces "Another showmance in the jury house," giving Matt a big hug. Rachel's ready to fight with Ragan, who she calls a bully. Because she's evil and nasty. I wonder if she'll be able to resist the homophobic slurs she was making last week in the Jury House.
8:29 p.m. Matt asks to take Ragan aside. Kathy warns him that he'll need alcohol. They go outside and Matt lays out the reality. And Ragan looks, as you'd imagine, horrified. "Wow, Matt. That's pretty hardcore.... I have nothing to say right now," Ragan tells Matt, telling the camera that the lie was "catastrophic." He compares it to being kicked in the gut, to being Charlie Brown when Lucy pulls the football away.
8:31 p.m. With Rachel practically cackling in the background, everybody goes out to console Ragan. At this point, Ragan admits that he'd lied all season long about his academic background. He uses his skills to explain to Rachel why her social game stunk. She doesn't understand. Ummm... Rachel... If everybody hates you, it means your social game is awful. With your chemistry expertise, surely you should understand that? That's an easy one. Rachel and Ragan get into a fight over whether she was the cause of all of the drama in the house. She says she wasn't, but even Brendon can't be bothered to defend his sweet baboo. Rachel tells Ragan to "grab a tiara and be a f***ing queen" and storms out. Ewww.
8:38 p.m. Thank heavens. We're done with Rachel. Her vote should count as a negative vote during the finale.
8:39 p.m. Stage 2 of the HoH is called "It's Alive" and featured Frankensteined pictures smooshing features from two hamsters. This is exactly the competition Ragan was prepping for two weeks ago. Ragan, unfortunately, is stuck with Rachel in Hell.
8:40 p.m. Lane is up first, buzzing in at 1:13, correctly identifying all five.
8:41 p.m. After two minutes, we're back for more commercials.
8:47 p.m. Six minutes of commercials, in fact. Laaaaaaaaame.
8:48 p.m. Enzo is up next. And the show wastes nearly a full minute on Julie Chen repeating the full set of "It's Alive" rules to Enzo. Couldn't the Chenbot have done that during the commercial break? Unlike Lane, Enzo begins by unveiling the Frankensteined portraits bit-by-bit. It's hard to tell if that's his undoing, but he gets stymied and finishes at 1:42.
8:50 p.m. We know that even though both men got all five portraits correctly, Lane finished first and thus won. But instead of giving the results, it's off to another commercial break.
8:54 p.m. Another three minutes of commercial for the grand revelation of something we already knew and could have announced already. And, not only that, the Chenbot's reading settings have been set on "Slow."
8:55 p.m. "It's tough. Julie, it sucks," Enzo says of having his fate in Lane and Hayden's hands.
8:56 p.m. Now Julie's telling us what's going to happen on next Wednesday's finale.
5:57 p.m. Kids, the last 25 minutes of tonight's "Big Brother" contained *four* minutes of actual relevant programming. That's pretty amazing.
Are you happy for Hayden and Lane? Or are you still sad about Britney's departure? Yeah, you know you are.
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