Tonight’s episode brings Will Yun Lee, formerly of “Witchblade” and the ill-fated “Bionic Woman” reboot, on board as Katsurou “Mr. Gus, Jr.” Ryouichi. He’s the son of the CEO of the Yokonomo Corporation and the head of its North American division. The Yakuza forces capture Eric and Pam in mid-rampage and deliver them to Gus Jr., who shares Eric’s vengeful hatred of Sarah Newlin; after all, by tainting the Tru Blood supply and creating the Hep-V epidemic, she bankrupted his company. The vampire and the businessman-gangster come to an agreement to share information and split the work: Eric, who knows that Sarah has an infected vampire sister living in Dallas, will kill her, and Mr. Gus will take the body. I would assume that, after a quick stop at the taxidermist, he’d have the corpse stuffed and mounted in the lobby of the Yokonomo corporate headquarters, as a warning to others. But we just found out from “The Bridge” that even in Texas, this sort of thing don’t fly.
It’s Zankie Time in the “Big Brother” household, with both Frankie and Zach serving as Heads Of Household as tonight’s installment starts. That status will change by night’s end, with the weekly Battle Of The Block and the potential for Team America to force a major verbal battle during tonight’s nomination ceremony. Will The Detonators stick together another week, or will that alliance implode?
Let’s find out what happens on this Sunday (July 27) installment…
Another Thursday (July 24), another elimination in the “Big Brother” house. The outcome of tonight’s vote certainly seems all but assured, but in a world where Victoria managed to take herself off the block, anything’s possible.
Let’s get into Stealth Cowboy Mode and spy in on the housemates….
Last time on “Big Brother,” Team America successfully completed another challenge but probably did more harm than good to their individual game plans. This feels like a prime pivoting point in the season, one in which the type of female-centric alliance that Joey tried to form might actually coalesce after Sunday’s semi-ludicrous nominations. Anything’s possible, including someone like Victoria actually doing something meaningful this season. Like I said: anything’s possible!
Let’s get to the live blog for Wednesday (July 23) and find out what happens…
We all know why we watch "Big Brother" -- to explore the dramatic possibilities of chicken wire.
Considering Sunday's nomination episode spent, oh, 40 minutes finishing up the chicken wire game from Thursday, we had no choice but to stare at that damn mesh and fall in love with it. The chicken wire got so much screentime that it is already a more compelling character than Victoria. I believe chicken wire could survive until at least week five. Week six if it stays on Caleb's good side.
The long challenge resulted in HOH grabs for Cody, who respectively nominated Victoria and Brittany, and Frankie, who threw up Jocasta (one of "the fiercest persons" he knows) and Amber. Her nomination had something to do with a lame-ass America's Game challenge that I'll discuss in a minute, but the bottom line is the nominations were both unsurprising and fine. Later, Amber and Jocasta won a chess-themed Battle of the Block challenge that was similarly dull. (L-shaped knight movements? BAD-ASS!) It appears that two of our most beleaguered players, Brittany and Victoria, may be headed for a stern exit interview with Julie "Yes, Frankie, You Look Fierce Too" Chen.
This was a placid episode with some spicy moments of dialogue, including a beautiful promise from Zach to Frankie ("Yes, I will bang you!") and an eye-popping moment of grace and mystery from Jocasta. We'll get to that in a moment.
But for now, here are five important notes I have about this episode and the season as a whole. It's time to call out some surly houseguests.
1. Brittany just said the most unlikable thing of the whole season.
You know, I want to love Brittany. She rolls her eyes at a lot of the right people. Her social game isn't great, but she did once eke her way out of elimination by telling Devin, "As a mother? I have to win this petty game show." In a pinch, she's a player. Or she was. But now that she's back on the block and apparently sore about it, she's hit a wall and just said my least favorite quote of the season to co-HOH Cody. Ahem:
"I really don't care anymore to be honest. Yesterday was like my last day of caring. I don't why. I'm just kind of over it. I can't deal with the fakeness and, like, the lies and the bullsh*t. Maybe I'm just too old for all of it. I don't know. It's just exhausting."
I can understand feeling defeated after you've saved yourself from elimination only to find that you're back on the chopping block. Sure. But nothing is worse than a "Big Brother" player who announces that he/she is better than "Big Brother." It reminds me of people who criticize Ke$ha for being trashy; trashiness is the point. Juvenile pettiness is the point of "Big Brother," and if you tire quickly of deceit, you're pretty dumb for signing up to be on the show. Get in the game, "old girl."
2. Cody's feelings about Zac Efron are secretly a beautiful poem.
Here is a sweet poem by Cody, who talked about how much he loves Zac Efron. It is entitled "Zac!: By Cody."
He is the man.
My man crush
I decided the second I saw him
Zac Efron is the man.
This guy's probably got
The most swag.
He's completely shredded
He's just probably a baller
On all sorts of levels.
A lot of people might think
Zac Efron is soft.
He was in High School Musical. Then he was in Hairspray.
But I'm going to be honest --
If you've seen him recently
And you run into this guy's chest
You might shatter
Into a million pieces.
3. It's depressing when Team America challenges interfere with nominations.
Was anyone else bummed to realize that the Team America prompt affected nominations? Frankie, Derrick, and Donny were tasked with getting a player who is deemed "a physical threat" nominated for eviction. Oh, come on! Is that really a thrilling task? Shouldn't the Team America challenges be more outrageous and difficult, like, "Make Caleb realize he is a horrifying predator" or "Get Victoria to utter a sentence with more than four words in it"? I hate that players are given petty rewards for essentially taking a viable game strategy and running with it. That's what they should be doing anyway.
4. Christine is playing the best game.
Christine acknowledged it herself: By being in the right place at the right time, she has found herself in two different dominating alliances, first the Bomb Squad, and now a smaller Bomb Squad called (ugh) The Detonators. That's pretty great for her! She can chalk it up to luck, but the fact that her housemates are comfortable sharing power with her means that she's considered valuable. Now, it's possible that her unassuming niceness will become suspicious, particularly when you remember Shelly's exit on BB13, but it really seems like there are scores of hotheaded "threats" who will be eliminated well before her. Plus, I just like this girl. Easily the coolest and least headache-inducing member of the household (until Zingbot arrives).
5. Jocasta is filled with ghosts.
Jocasta may be a shrieking ghoul outfitted by Brooks Brothers, but she is the best shrieking ghoul outfitted by Brooks Brothers I've ever seen. Here she is realizing that she and Amber have won the Battle of the Block chess challenge.
That is right. She is speaking in tongues. The Holy Ghost is interacting with the other ghosts in Jocasta's body, and they are all waltzing and screaming and breakdancing together. You'll recall when Donny took Jocasta off the block, she reacted this way:
She is a pile of ghosts.
After four episodes that, in terms of narrative development, largely amounted to the show clearing its throat, “True Blood” sets aside an hour for taking stock, giving its surviving characters a chance to appreciate what they have and how far they’ve come. In a few cases, this means that some of the actors get to collect a paycheck, and rack up some screen time, just by swaying to Marvin Gaye’s “Got to Give It Up” while swigging from red plastic cups. But along the way, there are some nice moments.
Apologies for this late recap of Thursday (July 17) night's "Big Brother." Television Critics Association press tour is causing all sorts of time crunching.
Where were we? Oh right! Donny upset the field and won the PoV and then used it to protect Jocasta, whose most important piece of gameplay all season has been getting violently ill when she was on the Block and letting Donny rescue her.
Let's get down to business!
Here's a meager suggestion: Cherish this time now, because we've arrived at the most enjoyable stage of the "Big Brother" season. While there are still plenty of obvious losers with cellophane eyes and candy brains who need to leave Chenbot Manor and head back to their Not So Elite modeling gigs, we've finally arrived at the moment where we can recognize everyone in the house, identify their weaknesses and strengths, and make real predictions. During last night's Power of Veto episode, I came up with five big points to consider as the season progresses. To validate my points, I'm dragging along Andy Herren -- the winner of BB15 -- to share his thoughts on the players too.
Here are our five biggest takeaway's from Wednesday's POV spectacular.
1. Donny is the best. And the worst.
Andy Herren: I hate Donny. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Donny, but that’s why I hate him. He is already WAY more likable that anyone else on this season, or anyone in the history of the "Big Brother" for that matter. He even makes TERRIBLE game moves (not telling Derrick what he wants to hear, running his mouth too much), yet somehow comes out of it with me being like, “DOG GONE IT, I LOVE HIM.” If my ultimate nightmare comes true and he wins, he will be known as the most adorable winner in the history of Big Brother, and I will look even worse than I already do by comparison. This cannot happen. We need a Victoria or a Caleb to win this season, because then maybe people won’t hate me as much. F**k you, Donny. Also, please be my best friend and follow me around everywhere, constantly uttering your irresistible Donny-isms.
HitFix: I worry that Donny is a more charming version of Adam from BB13. Way too trusting, expendable, and secretly hostile about others questioning his gameplay. The chalky brambly facial hair doesn't help either. His sweetness is endearing and I think he has some secret reserves of savviness that could help in the long run, but I'm annoyed by the fact that he almost botched the "Team America" challenge with his awkward rumor-starting tactics about Zach's fake relation to Amanda Zuckerman from BB15. When Nicole said later, "I felt it was almost a setup for me to start a rumor, so I wasn't going to [pass it on]," that was a pretty clear indication that Donny isn't cut out for propaganda missions. No big deal, but AMERICA is at stake.
2. Is Victoria secretly the star?
Andy Herren: Is it just me, or is Victoria (also known as “Vicky,” in my eyes) the most fascinating person on the show? It seems she doesn’t even realize she is competing for $500,000. Hell, does she even know she is on television? I worry that she may have somehow wandered onto the CBS lot and been corralled into the "Big Brother house," when in actuality she was there trying to find Sarah Michelle Gellar’s dressing room (side note: Sarah Michelle Gellar’s show "The Crazy Ones" has been cancelled for months, but I doubt Vicky is aware). The only moment of screen time Vicky got during tonight’s episode was when she was shown being like, “LMAO I TOTALLY KNEW ZACH WAS RELATED TO THAT AMANDA GIRL FROM LAST SEASON! I ALSO KNOW THAT I AM LIVING IN A HOUSE AND THAT THERE ARE WALLS AND SOMETIMES WE ARE ALLOWED TO GO INTO THE POOL.” I hope she gets second place.
HitFix: I think Victoria is "laying low" (as Julie Chen once poetically put it) because she's still congratulating herself for memorizing three facts about herself in the first episode of the show. "I'm Jewish!" she declared. "I love pink!" she said. "I'm the hottest girl in the house!" she murmured. Who needs gameplay when you have producer-scripted facts about yourself to recite? That's the real question. I feel like this season's houseguests have a strong distaste for non-players. She's not even slightly athletic like the similarly useless Porsche from BB13, so I doubt she'll make it far, but I would watch a half-hour series where Victoria smiled into a camera and recited three-word trivia items about herself.
3. Is Zach the most well-positioned player in the game?
HitFix: Remember last week when Zach made snafu after snafu, eventually getting himself nominated for eviction in a moment of pure horror? He even betrayed the other half of Zankie, whose magenta streaks reddened in rage. But Zach survived that week and it seems his astounding death spiral has been all but forgotten. You know who that reminds me of? Ian from BB14, who was so erratically behaved during his first week in the house that no one could've suspected he'd make it to the end. Then he won the whole thing. I have a feeling Zach's arc in the house is longer than everyone wants to give him credit for.
Andy Herren: Zach is absolutely adorable. With every Diary Room confessional where he screams at the camera, I fall more and more in love. I just want to put him in my pocket and carry him around all day while he hugs me and yells cute adorable nothings into my ear. Also, I think he is in a good position in the game. He’s volatile and impulsive, which will actually help him. People are going to be like, “Let’s keep him around. He will always be a bigger target.” If he can pull out a decent mid-to-end game, he could ultimately do well. I think Christine is also playing very well. She’s riding the middle, not being seen as an ultimate floater (oh hi, Jocasta and Vicky) or as a dominant power player (Derrick, Caleb), but she’s doing it strategically. She’s still my pick to win this whole thing.
4. Yes, we hate Devin. But is this how his game should end?
HitFix: My resting b*tch face turns to rage every time Devin is in the Diary Room. He is infuriating, self-absorbed, obsessed with announcing how well-intentioned he is, and utterly awful at social interactions. He is one of my least favorite nouns, period. It's heartening to see that he'll most likely be eliminated tomorrow, but a part of me is disappointed that no brilliant players (so far) are stepping up to use him as their pawn. Face it: He is powerless. He has been defanged in front of everyone. Why isn't anyone -- like, say, Brittany or Donny -- stepping up to save him for the sake of their own game? Granted, Devin's fickleness makes him unpredictable as an alliance member. (Remember how he swore to Paola that she wouldn't be going home?) But I still think his pathetic vulnerability could be useful to a very smart houseguest.
Andy Herren: I love how the house hates Devin SO MUCH that they all openly cheered when he lost the Power of Veto. He put up a good fight, but he was ultimately taken out by “competition beast” Donny, who everyone is seriously starting to think of as a threat. Sure, Devin is the absolute worst, but he also makes for great television. I think he is probably going to be sent packing tomorrow, and I’m going to miss the chaos that he is known for throwing the house into. Here’s hoping that Caleb murders Cody or Amber once Devin leaves. We need something dramatic to happen.
5. Final thoughts: Excellent Power of Veto game and a more excellent victory striptease.
HitFix: Maybe I just enjoyed watching Devin work 20x harder than his competitors in order to stay alive during "Tumblin' Dice" (also a fine Rolling Stones tune), but the strategy involved with rolling around in a giant die and figuring out how to toggle properly was kind of a real treat to watch. Poor Derrick turned into a scared dice prisoner with robot moves! Good for Donny, who won this Power of Veto and will use his winnings to do something cutesy like hug a tractor or talk to a squirrel.
Andy Herren: Cody’s striptease at the end of the episode. I’m dead. RIP. Cause of death: Abs.
Last week, "True Blood" went on a killing spree, dispatching major characters and lesser recurring characters and bit players and new characters—including a few that had potential, such as Sarah Newlin’s guru boyfriend—with an indiscriminating, bland casualness. The only loss that was supposed to mean anything was the unexpected, last-minute killing of Alcide, but his shooting—at the hands of a couple of random gun nuts, just after he’d appeared from out of nowhere to help rescue Sookie from the infected vamps—was such a hectic mess, and carried so little dramatic weight, that the only real emotion came from the slow, mournful version of Steely Dan’s “Fire in the Hole” that played under the closing credits.
When we left things on Thursday, Nicole and Derrick had just won Head of Household, which made me somewhat happy, because I like Nicole and I'm fine with Derrick and I was honestly going to be satisfied with ANYBODY being HoH, since Devin couldn't win and everybody is planning to target Devin, at least until they abandon that plan in a moment of suspicious or just-plain-silly strategy.
But who's going up on the Block tonight? And then who's going OFF the Block tonight?