Recap: 'Outlander' - Castle Leoch: Official home of the Scottish Santa Guild

Will Claire's cover story hold up under the interrogation of Laird High Santa?

Welcome back, ladies and gentleman (men?). Last week we left Claire in the tender care of Scottish Santa and his merry band of disoriented-by-female-agency helper elves. Will Jamie (not Jaime from “Game of Thrones” as I was spelling it last week…though let’s be honest ladies, we wouldn’t kick Nikolaj Coster-Waldau off the horse, if you know what I’m saying) and Claire continue their tentative friendship? Or will figuring out day-to-day life in Castle Leoch overwhelm our combat nurse? Let’s find out!


We begin exactly where we ended last week, with Claire entering an ancient stone castle on horseback. Only now all the hay and peasant structures have moved inside because TV shows have budgets dammit, so they’re getting as much use out of Leaning Shack #4 as they can. To differentiate from the outside, everything now also has a layer of mud on it. Spring cleaning has obviously not been invented yet, because grime is caked on everyone and everything. Honestly being a peasant would be more hygienic than being aristocracy if this is the gold standard of living.

Claire stands out like a sore thumb in her white dress as everyone else dismounts and goes about the process of unpacking the horses. She looks uncomfortable and mad at herself for being uncomfortable. I would like to take this moment to just appreciate Caitriona Balfe’s micro-expresssions. 

One of the Scotsmen says something about a gathering later and I can only assume he means a gathering of Scottish Santas because Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ THEY. ARE. EVERYWHERE. Scottish Santa in the mud. Scottish Santa with his bud. Scottish Santa looking down from above. It’s an infestation!

Just as it occurs to me Claire is seriously outnumbered by bearded men in kilts, with nary another XX chromosome to be seen, 18th century Mrs. Graham appears. Her name is Mistress Fitzgibbons and thank God there’s only one of her because clearly I can’t keep my industrious middle-aged women right…apologies to the maligned Mrs. Baird of Episode One.

Mrs. Fitzgibbons tells the men they smell terrible, which must be TRULY awful since living in this castle would make anyone nose-blind to all but the most pungent of odors, before noticing they brought home a stray. With the resignation of any mother who has ever indulged a child saying “It followed me home, can I keep it please? Please??” she attempts to bundle Claire off into a Makeover Montage. But Claire is having none of it. She’ll worry about her immodest appearance later because right now it is time for flawless Bitch Face™. Jamie clearly needs his wounds disinfected before he rolls around in the bacterial heaven that is everything…just everything.

I cant tell if Mrs. Fitzgibbons is impressed with Claire’s gumption and medical knowledge or is secretly trying to guess what size stick they’ll need to burn her on a witch pyre. 

So off we go inside. All that setup in Episode One pays off in spades as Claire is led through the castle. We’re treated to a flashback of her walking in the 1940s with Frank spliced in with her current predicament because remembering things from a week ago is strenuous on the audience. 

My main takeaway here is medieval castles were dark and gloomy and depressing as hell. Maybe Scottish Santas are allergic to excessive sunlight? It discolors their magnificent ashen beards, which are obviously the source of their power.

After setting up the impromptu nursing station, Mrs. Fitzgibbons says we can just call her Mrs. Fitz which bless her because typing out her whole name was gonna give me carpal tunnel and/or continuous giggle fits because the idea of gibbons in Age of Enlightenment dress is hilarious and I am five years old.

Um, someone call Frank because THIS is how you do exposition. Jamie is shirtless and has enough scars on his back that he’s either been flogged or is secretly an alpha werewolf struggling to protect his pack and his secrets and…nope he was just flogged. By Black Jack Randall. What a small, plot convenient world. While Claire changes the dressing on Jamie’s bullet wound, he regales us with the story of how he was beaten for stopping Randall from raping Jamie’s sister Jenny. During this story, we learn several things.

    •    Jamie’s parents had a thing for alliteration.
    •    Randall definitely has an M.O. and it is that he is an asshole.
    •    Jamie is really bad at what constitutes as a ‘seduction’ story.
    •    Alternatively, Jamie is really GOOD at what constitutes a ‘seduction’ story because now we all know he is anti-rape which is a fine quality in any potential mate.
    •    Jamie has a fantastic immune system to have not died from his wounds.
    •    18th century women’s clothing can magically restitch after being torn down the front.
    •    Jack Randall is not worthy of his line, “That’s interesting.” You are no Jack Sparrow. In fact, you are a disgrace to the name Captain Jack. Good day to you, sir. I said good day!

There is then talk of levies and history and four years ago the British government sent out parties to collect food and other taxes and oh noooooooo! Guys Jamie has been infected. He is vomiting exposition. Is no one safe from this scourge!? 

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Recap: 'Big Brother' Thursday - Eighth Eviction and a Zombie Apocalypse for HoH
Credit: CBS

Recap: 'Big Brother' Thursday - Eighth Eviction and a Zombie Apocalypse for HoH

Did Nicole or Donny get to talk to Julie Chen tonight?

I don't want Donny *or* Nicole to go home.

So I'm not at all pleased with Thursday's (August 14) "Big Brother" elimination episode as we begin. 

Donny's just been playing the strangest of "Big Brother" games, winning key POV challenges and getting support from Frankie and Derrick on Team America, but in a House of alliances, he hasn't made any.

And Nicole has been excellent at winning Head of Household challenges, but not so effective at wielding her power. 

Let's see how things pan out on tonight's episode...

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Victoria on Big Brother 16

Recap: 'Big Brother' Wednesday - Who's Most Embarrassing?

Who was the most embarrassing houseguest this week? Match your rankings with ours.

I wish Gilbert Gottfried, who voiced Otev last night in "Big Brother's" traditional POV challenge centered around the fictional boss, had really ripped into the houseguests and said in his trademark screech, "What an annoying bunch of houseguests this year! What horrible voices! For Christ's sake! MORONS."  

Because they are annoying this year. Frankly, with Jocasta out of the house for now, we're really missing a core type of personality in the game: a happy person. Yeah, Cody is sort of affable. Christine seems friendly, and I loved her HOH blog this week. Donny is part possum, and possums always seem satisfied. But Jocasta truly beamed. She was never dogged by being on the block, and she usually responded to the threat of elimination by dialing herself up on a fake phone and throwing down an incoherent one-liner about God. Oh, how I miss it. Rumor is God does too.

This was an unusually embarrassing week for many of the houseguests. I thought we'd honor the memory of Jocasta, our Biblical bow-tied bisexual bae, by ranking the remaining houseguests in order of ascending embarrassment this week. Ahem:

9. Derrick (least embarrassing)

As far as I can tell, Derrick is still playing a flawless game of "Big Brother." To call him an embarrassment would be calling the very institution of "Big Brother" an embarrassment, and we know that's impossible because nothing about a show with contestants who spell out "CALTORU" and hope it's a real word is embarrassing. I was mesmerized listening to Derrick narrate Frankie's attempt to endear his alliance by coming out as Ariana Grande's brother/stalker/oldish superfan. It was like he'd been watching his own season on TV along with us. "He's throwing a line and hoping somebody grabs on," Derrick explained. "Frankie is extremely intelligent, he realizes that his back is against the wall, and he needs something else to spin this house around. He kind of diverts all the attention from the fact that he's told a bunch of lies these past couple weeks." Perfect description, Derrick. It makes me believe Derrick can really mastermind something unbeatable against Frankie when the time comes. For this alone, I forgive Derrick for having a head shape and eyeholes that resemble a bowling ball exactly.

8. Christine

Did you know that "BB" fans consistently rank Christine as their least favorite houseguest? Here's a complicated question I have about that: Why? She's goofy, not petty, strategic enough, and clearly a fan of the game. I swear to God the average "Big Brother" superfan watches the show just to idolize the contestants who ask to be idolized. Note: Of all the cocky contestants in "Big Brother" history, only Dr. Will is worthy of that reciprocation. The others are just horrifying raptors in swimsuits. This week HOH Christine was forced to replace Zach on the chopping block with basically the only other conceivable pick, Nicole. You hate to watch Christine officially side with the Detonators over Christine, but that upshot wasn't embarrassing so much as awkwardly inevitable. I think a Derrick/Christine final two would make for an exhilarating, competitive final debate for the $500,000. Imagine BB15 winner Andy Herren in the final two arguing with someone like Helen for the final prize. Not saying she'd win, but she'd certainly be able to complete a sentence without screaming, "I'm an open book!" or "Miss you, Nick!" in GinaMarie's emphysemic smoker rasp. 

7. Cody

Cody is a floater. Definitive floater. But he's not annoying in any way, so no one really cares to call him a floater. "Floater" is a term most often hurled at diplomatic contestants that people have already decided to hate. It's like when Madonna gets called "old." The snarker is pretending to have a point when they're just pointing out that the houseguest/pop superstar is doing her job: surviving and thriving. But Cody has lucked his way into the pillowy embrace of Derrick and the good graces of Zach and Frankie; I'm waiting to see when he makes a move to eliminate Derrick, the true manipulator of this season, and become his own player. He's had it so easy in this game that an attack on Derrick is really the only move he needs to make. 

6. Donny

Ohhhh, Donny. I want you to be the wizard of this game, magically winning POVs in a clutch and casting a spell of infallibility over the CBS lot. But you lost that damn Otev-branded POV almost immediately, and now it looks like you're about to be sent home in a near-unanimous vote. If you didn't sound so much like the twangy brother to "South Park's" Mr. Garrison (like the Spike to Mr. Garrison's Snoopy), I'd be less bothered by your elimination. But as such, you just don't have enough game to compete on "Big Brother," even if you seem aware of the qualities that make a good player. So long, moonshine Merlin.


5. Caleb

Caleb's been less embarrassing since Amber left the house, but he still is not self-aware enough to realize he says horrible things. Did I hear it right when he told Frankie, "If we were out of this house, I'd have kicked you straight in the teeth"? And he said that because... Frankie admitted his sister sometimes collaborates with Iggy Azalea? That's worth a quick slap, not a kick in the teeth. (Iggy Azalea is basically just the freshman girl waiting for Gwen Stefani under the bleachers in "Hollaback Girl." Harmless, sassy, and a little scared.) I also cringed during the Otev-starred POV challenge when Caleb declared that he wasn't a tool. The gray henley tanktop says otherwise, kid.

4. Victoria

It seems unfair to call Victoria embarrassing because it's only right to call her nothing. But come on. How can you be a functioning adult with a pituitary gland when you literally believe "escapegoat" goat is a word? "Escapegoat." She said it. She said it loud. There was no escape(goat) from it. And then she had the nerve to break down when she Zach blabbed to her about Derrick's shifty allegiance. Basically, Victoria was horrified to learn that people on "Big Brother" are playing "Big Brother." She thinks "Big Brother" is a conversion camp for people who want to be Sims. Except Victoria could never be a Sim because her gibberish isn't funny enough. 

3. Nicole 

It's unfair to put Nicole this high. Her Cindy Lou Who whine has its charms, and her rapport with Hayden was always adorable. But man, when she got backdoored into potential elimination this week, her Diary Room complaints were awfully pathetic. With the most sluggish, pained wail I've heard this season, she cried, "I don't want to be around these people, honestlyyyyy." Well, that's convenient. They're nominating her for eviction! It all works out.

2. Zach

On paper, Zach was the most embarrassing player this week even though he won the POV. He caterwauled that he'd "marry" his veto medallion, he screamed that Frankie "built a house of lies," and he sincerely wept on camera when Frankie admitted he's on "Big Brother" for charity. "I have no chance! I have no chance!" Zach screeched about his game. "This kid's playing for f*cking children in Africa. Why wouldn't he win? This guy already won Fan Favorite! He's donating the money to kids in Africa. Why the f*ck isn't he not going to win? Give him the f*cking money, I'm wasting my f*cking time right now!" He was about a nanosecond from ending that speech with, "And I live in a van down by the river." So histrionic and egomaniacal and extreme and hilarious. But as Mariah Carey once proved with her woozy, pre-hospitalization appearance on "TRL," there is such a thing as being so embarrassing that you become heroic somehow. But then again, Mariah Carey never told Frankie Grande that he was "the smartest, funniest guy I've ever met." Now I need to be hospitalized for exhaustion just remembering that. Ugh. Zach! Come on!

1. Frankie (most embarrassing) 

I wouldn't hate if Frankie won "Big Brother." He's sly enough to win. And his hair has morphed into a strange Neapolitan ornament on an ice cream cake from hell, so what can you do but fear and honor him, you know? I hope we can all admit that he's got a good head for this game. But right after we admit that, we must also admit that Frankie's soliloquy about his sister's true identity this episode was pathetic. Why did he have to bring up having "1.5 million subscribers"? Why did he have to call Ariana a "mega, mega pop star" when she has three singles and two mod dresses to wear? And most importantly, who did he think he was going to endear with that tale? Derrick diagnosed Frankie's intentions explicitly and no one else seemed too in the dark either. It was one of the weirdest moments of the season, and I hope Frankie reverts back to effective manipulation very, very soon. Or else this ice cream cake is going to melt into irrelevance fast. 

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Recap: 'True Blood' - 'Almost Home'
Credit: HBO

Recap: 'True Blood' - 'Almost Home'

It’s not a very quiet week in Bon Temps…

The big news: Eric is cured, praise Godric! There’s not a lot of wasted time building up suspense about it, either: in the opening minutes, he grabs ahold of Sarah Newlin, who begs him to kill her so that she can “return as the Princess of Peace, the Messiah!” Instead of killing her, Eric chomps on her, and lo and behold, the map of blighted veins spread across his body like deadly tattoos clear right up. But there’s no time for celebrating: there’s business to be conducted. Eric, Pam, and Mr. Gus, Jr. and his yakuza minions repair to Fangtasia, where they chain Sarah up in the basement, which is turning out to be the single most overworked set on this final season of “True Blood.” Mr. Gus, Jr. explains that the work of synthesizing Sarah’s blood has been done, but he’s not going to be rushing out to market just yet. What they have must be tinkered with, for maximum exploitability. “We don’t want it to work too well,” he says, sounding all Montgomery Burns as he lays out his plans for New Blood. “We want it to be a healthy habit. Not a cure.” He doesn’t actually throw his head back and laugh “Mwah-hah-ha,” but that’s clearly implied.

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Recap: 'Big Brother' Sunday - Nominations and best laid schemes gang aft agley
Credit: CBS

Recap: 'Big Brother' Sunday - Nominations and best laid schemes gang aft agley

Everybody hates Frankie and plots against him, but Frankie has other plans

Welcome, East Coasters, to a special late night edition of "Big Brother," delayed nearly three hours by the conclusion of the PGA Championship. 

Or, perhaps, Welcome East Coasters who missed tonight's "Big Brother' due to the lengthy delay and want to find out what happened.

This is why everybody should live in the Pacific time zone. Our CBS Sunday lineup always airs on-time. Earthquakes, mudslides and the occasional wildfire are a small price to pay.

But anyway... When we left things on Thursday, Jocasta had been sent home under normal circumstances and Hayden was the victim of the Week of "Big Brother" in 35-ish minutes. I miss The Rationale already.

Let's see how things shake out.

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Outlander S1E1Pilot

Recap: 'Outlander' - You say 'Sassenach.' I say 'Gesundheit!'

Claire Randall, you just fell through time! What are you going to do next?

Upfront disclosure. I've never read Diana Gabaldon's "Outlander" series. And before the Starz media blitz had never even heard of it. Somehow despite utilizing both time travel and historical fiction — two thing I love reading about — I missed it. 

So based only on the ad campaign, I know this is a historical sci-fi drama about a WWII era British woman who gets mysteriously thrown through time to 18th century Scotland.  Somehow her modern immune system manages to instantly adapt to this bacterial utopia (life finds a way!) and our plucky heroine is forced to navigate her new reality.


We open in Middle Earth. Sweeping vistas of the Scottish highlands are breath-taking but somewhat marred by our heroine’s voice over narration. I keep looking for the Fellowship but alas, Gandalf and the Balrog are on a smoke break. Bagpipes play as Claire laments how people vanish all the time...and sometimes, they’re never found.

Cut to Farrell's General Store. Narrator Claire waxes poetic over never having lived somewhere long enough to own a vase. Meanwhile her onscreen self gazes forlornly into the shop window. Look, I’m not going to tell Claire how to measure the quality of her life but maybe chill out about  £.35 flower pants.

Suddenly there is flashback within this flashback. Double flashback all the waaaaaaaay.  Gone is Scotland with its existential crisis vase, replaced with a makeshift WWII hospital. And shit just got real. Claire is trying to stop a femoral artery bleed-out, slipping in blood while the patient writhes and screams in a puddle of his own gore. Dude this show needs a “Saving Private Ryan” style PTSD disclaimer. 

A shell-shocked Claire is still literally dripping blood when a fellow lady solider runs up with a group of exuberant cohorts. The war is over! Which is kind of a George Bush “Mission Accomplished” level gaffe when extras are still bleeding to death on the hospital tables. Claire is smart enough to know this and chugs a bottle of celebratory champagne like the jaded field nurse she is. Guys, I think I just fell in love.

And just like that, the magic of the moment is broken. Claire is back on about the blue vase. So is this vase important? Is blue important? Blue roofs, her blue dress, blue gargoyles on the town well. Is this like red in “The Sixth Sense?” Will blue be the context clue for Important Shit™?

We return from the credits to strains of 1940s music as Claire and husband Frank drive though Middle Earth. It’s supposed to help set the mood but since modern audiences are more likely to associate post-war pop hits with with video game dystopias like “Fallout” or “Bioshock,” I instead feel the need to shoot bandits or splicers. 

Upon reaching the quaint village they’re vacationing in, Claire is 100% unfazed by bloodstains on the door frames of the villagers’ homes. Maybe this IS a video game dystopia?

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Caleb and Christine of "Big Brother 16"

Recap: 'Big Brother' Thursday - Double Eviction Devastation

Two houseguests pranced out of Chenbot Manor. Who were they? And does it matter?

(You like the picture I chose above? Doesn't it look like a creepy Victorian portrait of two dead Silverlake hipsters? Anyway.)

I didn't think there was a way to make a double eviction night on "Big Brother" anticlimactic, but Julie Chen proved me wrong when she announced several times (in her favorite "sinister newsreel" voice) that the evening's evictees would earn the chance to reenter the game. Ugh. What? Already? I half-expected Julie to kick a hole through the big studio TV screen and laugh, "This episode doesn't even matter!" There is nothing about getting 10th or 11th place on "Big Brother" that strikes me as reentry-worthy, but tonight's evictees, who would normally rank 11th and 10th, may well be on their way to a highly unimpressive victory. Hooray?

Bottom line: It's hard to know what to make of tonight's episode. So instead of lamenting the evictions of bow-tied sorceress Jocasta and goofball prince Hayden, let's count up 10 moments that did matter in this kooky, breathless hour of TV.

1. Cody revealed he is terrible at looking unsuspicious.

Though Cody ended up in the right alliance, one that would end up saving Zach and voting out Jocasta, he sure looked like a damn moron trying to play cool as other houseguests walked in on him conspiring. When Frankie waddled in on Cody and Derrick's discussion about evictions, Cody's immediate cover-up was to -- yes, this is real -- yap, "Hello, sir!" in a cockney accent. That impenetrable ruse. J. Edgar Hoover developed that technique in the '30s, and it's still the FBI's chief form of espionage. Cody added to his brilliant disguise by asking, "How was your nap? W-was it good?" Cody may as well have covered his eyes with his hands and cried, "YOU CAN'T SEE ME, FRANKIE, SO THERE'S NOTHING SUSPICIOUS HAPPENING HERE."

2. Frankie looks like Diddy Kong when shocked.


And when we can see his hair, he's more Dixie Kong.

3. Zach's rhymes? Were hot.

Even when we knew Zach wouldn't be going home during the eviction ceremony, he dazzled us with an inspiring and defiant series of "Seussical"-style rhymes for his pre-vote speech. The final quatrain in the poem was pure magic: "Your decision tonight is crucial / The wrong choice may cost ya / So when you walk into that Diary Room / Please vote to evict Jocasta." Leave it to Zach to point out that "cost ya" rhymes with "'costa." Love you, new Chaucer. 

4. Jocasta revealed that God is a sh*tty ally.

After Jocasta (literally) sashayed out of the house during her eviction, Julie quizzed her about her performance in the game. Was she shocked by her elimination? "No! God gives you great discernment! I think this is what God wanted! That's my homie!" Apparently Jocasta worships a god who wants her to finish in 11th place. To quote the immortal Tori Amos, "God, sometimes you just don't come through."

5. Ariana Grande is a ponytailed Chicken McNugget from an '80s McDonald's commercial.

Frankie's sister, the renowned problem-haver Ariana Grande, appeared in the audience for a brief moment this episode. We caught the footage on tape. At 0:05 she even gets in a fun soundbite.

6. There hasn't been a grimmer moment on TV than when Caleb of all people won a challenge called "Mathcathlon."

Caleb won a math-based challenge for HOH. Spoiler: Caleb is stupid. This is horrible. The only math he knows is how many times he'll let Amber refuse his advances before giving up on a date with her. The answer is double infinity + never. 

7. After being put up on the block, Donny won the veto challenge for reasons I still don't understand.

Caleb threw Hayden and Donny, two of his four non-alliance members left in the house, on the chopping block as HOH. The Power of Veto competition was a "Big Brother" classic: Jump into a ball pit and retrieve objects in a speedy fashion. In an outcome that defies all sense of normalcy and decency, kindly caterpillar Donny defeated Hayden, Zach, Caleb, Christine, and a non-living pile of molecules named Victoria. What? How? Donny is SLOW. I'd be suspicious except Donny's entire life seems to defy space and time. After the competition, he panted loudly and for a long-ass time like Odie after being kicked off a table. Whatever. Wheeze on, Donny, you precious prospector prince.

8. Angry Nicole is the best Nicole.

Nicole tried to act angry after Hayden was evicted. She announced, "This is ridiculous!" She sounded like this.

9. Hayden was blindsided by his elimination.

He declared, "I got boned!" Then he awkwardly laughed and added, "Sorry." Word to the wise, Hayden: Never apologize for getting boned.

10. Turns out we still have two HOHs to worry about. Ugh.

I thought we'd heard the last of the Battle of the Block competitions, but they'll resume this Sunday. I suppose that's better than the old standby, those pointless Have/Have-Not grudge matches. The only slop I want to hear about is the mushy affection between Frankie and Zach, thanks. 

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Big Brother

Recap: 'Big Brother' Wednesday - 7 Crucial Observations

HitFix and guest Andy Herren, winner of BB15, break down 'Big Brother' with seven heart-stoppin observations.

Julie Chen says the phrase, "It's a double eviction" the way the doctor in "Love Story" tells us Jenny has leukemia. Grim, unsmiling, heavy monotone -- and she's right to establish the stakes. It's a life-or-death moment, and I'm glad we're getting to the most dramatic type of "Big Brother" week just as I realize I can't take another minute of the "Battle of the Block" rigamarole. Two houseguests are voted back into society tomorrow (which is a scary idea as is), and it seems like spanky Zankie is in grave danger. Is this good or bad for "Big Brother 16"?

Instead of recapping every moment of this better-than-usual Wednesday episode, we're breaking down the events with seven crucial questions about the game at hand. Who's game is most impressive right now? Whose game is suffering from dramatic setbacks? Who does the best job of remembering Victoria's name? I consider all of these questions along with guest commentator Andy Herren, who won a freakish little season of TV called "Big Brother 15." Without further ado, here are the seven observations Andy and I consider most important and Earth-shattering and Chen-hardening at this given moment. 

7. Victoria isn't playing a winning game, but she's playing a game.

Andy Herren: Victoria is going to get second place. Seriously. She’s dead weight, and she cares more about shopping than winning "Big Brother." I still don’t know if she understands that shopping does not exist in the Big Brother house. Someone smart will drag her to the end. I cannot wait to hear her pleas to the jury. I imagine her saying something along the lines of, “…….I have a cat!” Zach will probably vote for her to win.  

HitFix: I haven't seen the live feeds recently, but I'm told that Victoria is more endearing when experienced in real-time. I relished her torturous sentence with Caleb, who by now has the dead, sad eyes of a washed-up porn star. I noticed that Victoria has a sense of humor, but for the most part she spends her time assuring us that she's a princess and responding to almost any problem by nervously muttering that she's over it. Infuriating and juvenile? Yes. But is her unassuming presence a surefire way to blow past people like Christine, Nicole, Derrick, and Donny when they're revealed to be double agents? Also yes. (By the way: Her performance in the veto challenge was horrifyingly pitiful.)

6. For some reason, the world is still ignoring Jocasta's star power. 

HitFix: You know what seems unfair? Jocasta's alliance with Jesus. Those two get along like a couple of old hens high-fiving and freak-dancing the night away. Some tweeters have indicated that Zach might've wriggled his way out of a near-guaranteed elimination this week, and I'm stressing out that we may lose Jocasta. She's full of loud soundbites that don't always make sense, but her attitude is so positive that she kind of transcends the game. I hope we get to see her dial up "the old Jocasta" on her hand phone at least once more.

Andy Herren: Jocasta is the star of the show, and nothing you say will change my opinion. The bow tie wearing formerly bisexual minister has the best Diary Room sessions of any houseguest, frequently receiving phone calls from The Block, which she has a penchant for ignoring. Her excitement at getting third place OUT OF SIX COMPETITORS tonight solidified how perfect she truly is.  

5. Christine isn't given enough credit for being a dynamic player.

Andy Herren: Christine is being prepped as the new villain of the season. This is a stretch, as Christine is generally rather friendly with everyone, but she is driving a wedge between Hayden/Nicole and Frankie/Zach, and if we know anything about "Big Brother," it is that stupid fans hate it when anyone tries to break up a showmance, as evidenced by Rachel Reilly exclaiming, time after time, “Nobody comes between me and my Neanderthal, er…man.  Yes, man.”  

HitFix: You'll have to excuse me, but I always sympathize with the most human-seeming player in the house. One year it was Kalia. Another year it was (ugh) Andy Herren. I root for the players who acknowledge their own neuroses and shortcomings while having a sense of humor about the game, so I'm into Christine this year. She seemed to be weaving between alliances with some style for awhile, but since Nicole told Hayden about her shady rumor-starting, her game is in jeopardy. Look, she messed up, but I think she's savvy enough to realize she messed up. I could get back to championing her game if she somehow levels with Hayden and acquits herself from danger. A Derrick/Christine final two would be pretty compelling to me. 

4. Nicole's plan to backdoor Frankie was the right idea.

Andy Herren: Nicole, as reigning HoH, kept talking about a plan to backdoor Frankie. I so wish the HoH this week had been Cody, and that he had the same plan. Just thinking about Cody backdooring anyone puts me in an emotional state that I can’t go into more detail about, as kids could possibly read this article.  

(Slightly NSFW video, language.)

HitFix: I'm a big fan of keeping "Big Brother" interesting, and for that reason I really chafe at the thought of Zankie being jeopardized in any way. Face it, they're the most fascinating part of BB16. Maybe Frankie is an overcompensating dullard who wishes he were funny, but he really has a magnetism that draws in a hefty percentage of the male houseguests, not just Zach. For that reason it's unreal that no one in the house has made a serious move to overthrow him. I supported Nicole's plan, and I'm sort of stunned she couldn't organize that effort better. 

3. Let's not forget that the veto challenge was spectacular. 

Andy Herren: The Veto competition involved actual artists from DC Comics drawing comic book art based on the houseguests. This was so freaking cool. I’m jealous we did not have this competition last summer. I think I would have been, “The Red Ghost: He’s Here, but Nobody Notices Him!” or “The Ginger Avenger: Protecting the Monster and Her Pizza Boy!” or “The Indestructible Bottom: Getting Backdoored Continuously and Persevering!”

HitFix: Jesus, Andy. 

2. Is Derrick the hero we deserve?

HitFix: We saw the first signs of anti-Derrick panic this week, but for the most part he remains a furtive and cool player who isn't rushing his gameplay a bit. Even a casual "Big Brother" player has to wonder if he's got this game in the bag. The truth is that the game would be more interesting without him since he's so good at keeping his mouth shut, but for such a cautious strategist, he does give good Diary Room insights. I don't know. I'm torn about how much we want him in this game.

Andy Herren: Derrick remains levelheaded and intuitive. Sure, he has been jumping from alliance to alliance, which could make him a “floater,” but he is doing it strategically, which makes him a “competitor.”  

1. Zach can't leave the game because Zach is "Big Brother."

Andy Herren: Zach is quickly becoming one of the most reckless players of all time, which also makes him one of the most entertaining. He is also so damn adorable. His temper tantrum after losing the Veto competition was the sexiest thing I’ve seen in months.  

HitFix: Zach is the Raphael of "Big Brother." And I do mean the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, not the Renaissance master. Cool but cruel. Nasty and seething and funny and willfully ridiculous. "Big Brother" was built on a tradition of Zach types who call themselves master manipulators and peeve the other houseguests with senseless spectacle. I am terrified about his potential for eviction tomorrow. Do I want him to win the show? Not really. But I want him to start more unnecessary fights that get people like Hayden and Derrick mixed up in perilous situations. If he's gone, who's our provocateur? Yikes. Now that's something to be grim about, Julie Chen. 

Sound off: Do you guys want Jocasta or Zach out? Andy is OK with Zach's elimination, but I'm apoplectic at the thought of it. 

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<p>Sunday&#39;s &quot;True Blood&quot;</p>

Sunday's "True Blood"

Credit: HBO

Recap: 'True Blood' - 'May Be The Last Time'

A night of fiery, passionate love-making and soggy, stalled plotlines

This episode feels about three hours long. Technically speaking, a great many things happen in it, but most of them don’t feel significant, partly because none of the plotlines that were going somewhere last week achieve any forward momentum. As the clock is ticking down towards the closing credits, there’s a brief, wordless scene of Lafayette and Lettie Mae digging up the yard they saw Tara clawing up in their shared vision, just to let us know that that particular plot thread is still in play and hasn’t been forgotten. But there are also long, meandering scenes in which Sam (drowning his sorrows at Arlene’s bar, where he now seems to be the only remaining customer) and Andy (taking a break from searching for his daughter to stand by the side of a lake and have a good cry) whine about how fed up and frustrated with their lives in Bon Temps, while at the same time expressing sorrow at the thought that their lives there will someday end. It’s as if the writers’ and actors’ mixed feelings about finally finishing up this job and having to go look for work elsewhere were infecting the narrative. 

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<p>Victoria of &quot;Big Brother&quot;</p>

Victoria of "Big Brother"

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'Big Brother' Sunday - From HoH to Nominations to a Battle in an hour

A domino run leaves two hamsters on the Block, but is there a bigger target?

When we left things, "Big Brother" had misgauged the attention-paying skills of this season's hamsters and 12 questions weren't enough to crown a Head of Household.

That means that Sunday's (August 3) episode is going to feature an HoH, nominations and Battle of the Block in one tight hour, right?

Follow along...

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