<p>Jordan and Jeff on &quot;Big Brother&quot;</p>

Jordan and Jeff on "Big Brother"

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'Big Brother' Sunday - HoH, Nominations and a Decent Proposal

Old Pals Jeff & Jordan drop by and Jeff has more than a challenge on his mind

When we left things on Thursday night, Nicole and Christine were sent packing, which wasn't exactly shocking, though maybe we're supposed to be surprised by how close Frankie came to being backdoored.

Oh and then we had the introduction of The Reset Button, which will either change the game forever or else not change the game at all.

Let's see how things go on Sunday (September 7) and let's see if Jordan accepts Jeff's proposal!

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Doctor Who - Robot of Sherwood
Credit: BBC

Recap: 'Doctor Who' - The robot is the most logical thing in Sherwood

Even by Whovian standards, we're playing fast and loose with physics.

Last week, Peter Capaldi’s sophomore episode showcased a more alien doctor. A Doctor who is having a harder time relating to humans than other recent incarnations. The Doctor has really always been willing to make hard choices, but now the candy coated shell of charisma has been shed in favor of blunt straight-forwardness. How will this personality change — coupled with his new dynamic with “carer” Clara — translate in a fluffier, stand-alone episode? Let’s find out!

*******

Remember that chalk drawing from “Deep Breath” the Doctor abandoned? Looks like he remembered it and has continued whatever equations he was working on. Of course, we’re not privy to that information yet, but for now let’s assume it has something to do with Heaven/Paradise. 

After the necessary setup to get Capaldi sorted out as Twelve, the show can finally get back to the fun of just traveling through time. The Doctor suggests Clara pick anywhere. She chooses Robin Hood, which the Doctor promptly puts down as a never existing. He even breaks out a book to show her and wow, Twelve has a much better grasp of how to utilize the near-magic powers of the TARDIS. Clara is undaunted however, so obviously Twelve can’t turn down the chance to prove himself right, so it’s off to medieval Nottingham. Where the TARDIS is immediately hit with an arrow from none other than the legendary outlaw himself.

How convenient. 

The Doctor is confused by Robin Hood. He absolutely shouldn’t exist. Meanwhile Robin Hood is straight up like, “I like your box. It’s mine now.” Which isn’t exactly stealing from the rich to give to the poor but legends usually stray far from their source material…like a generations' long game of Telephone. Of course Clara takes this exact moment to appear in a beautiful red dress. I would like to take a moment to wonder if the costume designer and Moffat are putting Jenna Coleman in this much red this season on purpose and, if so, what could that symbolize? It’s probably just a reflection of her personality but hey, fan theories are half the fun!

Clara is instantly attracted to Robin Hood and the feeling appears to be mutual. This leaves the Doctor in the position of looking like a nonplussed father who has opened the door on prom night to discover his kid is dating a member of biker gang. Is a paternal role a step forward or backward from being the object of most companions' affection? I’m tentatively saying it’s a step forward as Twelve is being protective but not in a way that infantilizes Clara or negates her agency. He just hates being wrong.

After a bit more banter, during which Robin Hood channels his inner Westley from “The Princess Bride,” he engages the Doctor in a duel for possession of the TARDIS. On a log in the middle of the river. Because reasons. Twelve accepts but instead of fighting with a sword, he pulls out a spoon. Now this could be a reference to “The Matrix” or the viral video by Rejected from the early aughts. But most likely it’s a delightful throwaway moment to the Doctor’s seventh regeneration, who used to play the spoons.

Clara watches as the Doctor succeeds at pushing Robin from the log only to have him return the favor by sneaking up behind Twelve. Peter Capaldi looks good wet. Just sayin'.

Cut to a village in Nottingham. A Mr. Quail is trying to save his daughter from being taken hostage by the Sheriff’s men. It is not going well. Apparently they mean to use her for hard labor, and since this is a family-friendly show, I’ll take that statement at face value. With all the self-preservation of a martyr, Mr. Quail spits on the Sheriff and is immediately murdered for his trouble. The daughter is taken off by armed knights, screaming all the way. As you do. 

Back in Sherwood Forest, Robin Hood has mysteriously given up his quest to steal the TARDIS and instead is introducing the Doctor and Clara to his Merry Men. Clara is freaking out, properly starstruck. Twelve is less enthusiastic…stealing blood samples, and hair, and shoes, from various legendary outlaws. He seems almost accusatory when the tests come back as human, as if these people are actively being obtuse to confound him. Maybe they are?

Clara however, is more than willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. Especially since Robin is pinging on the “heartbroken rogue masking his pain” radar. She is completely enthralled by the idea of living out the adventures of the Merry Men in real time. Including the infamous archery tournament.

I know the show is running on a time table but things seem to be happening at an alarming pace. Before we know it, we’re at the contest to find the best archer in the land. But the tail end of it where only the Sheriff and Robin — incognito — remain. As the legends go, Robin handily wins but just when he’s about to accept the prize of a golden arrow, a NEW CHALLENGER APPEARS. Twelve puts an arrow right through Robin’s arrow which kicks off a thinly veiled metaphor as the two battle for archery supremacy. The Doctor’s prickly petulance at letting a perceived huckster get the best of him pays off when a knight is accidentally revealed to be a robot. Twelve is triumphant in victory. He knew something wasn’t right. He knows it all the way to the castle dungeon.

Capaldi is playing the Doctor as grizzled and short-tempered and it’s so different from all of the previous New Who playbook. Not everyone will like it, I’m sure. But personally I’m enjoying every cantankerous second.

Less enjoyable is the character development whiplash Clara is still experiencing. It’s probably growing pains but it’d be less obvious if they’d managed to lay any groundwork in the previous season. As it is, having her declare she knows Taekwondo while brandishing a spear is both jarring and unconvincing. Especially when said martial arts skills would’ve been useful in half a dozen previous adventures…or hell, even in this one. Her complete deficit of personality as Eleven’s companion is making her appear as if she is a whole new character and it’s weird. If they wanted to make her spunkier and more in charge, why not reset with a new version of her?

Case in point: this dungeon sequence. Robin and the Doctor continue their pissing match over who is the better legendary hero. Their one-upmanship becomes so bad that Clara is forced to step in as a combination mother/voice of reason. Where was this take-charge attitude the 800 times Matt Smith’s Doctor could’ve used a verbal slap in the face? Of course, Clara acting like a teacher with two crabby schoolchildren signals to the enemy that she is the leader. Again, while I adore this new direction of putting Clara on equal footing with the Doctor, it’s too much, too fast.

A quick interlude back to Sherwood Forest, where the Merry Men have stolen the golden arrow from the archery competition. Turns out, the Sheriff has only been stealing gold…he has no interest in precious jewels or silver. This is pertinent information to have since we cut immediately to the peasants slaving away in the underground chamber where the gold is being processed into computer parts. Because robots.

Hold that thought though, because Clara is being entertained by the Sheriff of Nottingham. He wants to know how the Doctor used his magic wand — aka the sonic screwdriver — to blow up the archery target. Instead Clara deflects, convincing him she has also seen the lights in the sky and the mechanical men they brought. The Sheriff is very to eager to share his story and monologues at length after Clara strokes his ego a bit. Turns out the Sheriff is going to use the mechanical men for world domination, because what else would a caricature of evil do with a serendipitous bounty of murderbots? When Clara reveals she lied to get the Sheriff to reveal his plan to her, he’s not even mad. In fact, he thinks it’s hot. Are we beyond the Mary Sue pale yet?

Look, this new Clara is a martial artist with the manipulation skills of a master intelligence agent. Why is she even hanging around with the Doctor? 

Outlander_S1_E5
Credit: Starz

Recap: 'Outlander' - Collecting 'Rent' looks a lot like extortion

Scottish Santa has to pay his elves somehow.

Last week left Claire in quite the predicament. Having earned Dougal’s tentative trust, he was now willing to put her into more danger. But that also meant she’d finally get out of Castle Leoch and closer to the standing stones that might take her home. I assume she figures there are IKEA-like instructions carved somewhere to get the stones to work at will AND transport her the correct direction in time?

So it was with that level of optimism, Claire loaded up with Clan MacKenzie to go collect the “Rent.” 

*********

Over a gorgeous vista of a quiet lake between two distant peaks, our heroine recites a passage from “Absence, Hear Thou My Protestations” because reciting verse from a not-yet-born poet would render the time/space continuum asunder. For a moment I wonder why Claire has taken to speaking aloud, but oh it’s to give us an excuse to meet a new character.

Enter Budget Ben Franklin, the tax collector. Budget Ben — also known officially as Mr. Gowan — is also a fan of 17th century wordsmith John Donne. Sadly the real author of “Absence” will have to wait until the 21st century to reclaim his poem. 

Okay, that was a Google rabbit hole I didn’t mean to trip and fall down. Focus.

The academic discussion is brought crashing down as the boys of Clan MacKenzie create a ruckus. In the downtime between tenants, they choose to wrestle. Scottish Santa is on hand to pass out hard liquor instead of gifts. And Budget Ben let’s Claire know they’re all goading one poor kid by implying he should engage in relations with this sister. Is her name Cersei?

Sensing an intellectual equal, Claire chooses to ignore the testosterone laden fisticuffs and follows the tax collector. He gives us some exposition about how the 18th-century Scottish IRS works but I can’t focus because all I want is for Claire to give me her coat! It’s gorgeous and if Starz has a lick of sense, they’ll be rolling out an official line of clothing and accessories post-haste.

Throughout Budget Ben’s explanation he is coughing so hard I assume he has consumption and should head for the Moulin Rouge but wait, no it’s just asthma. Claire gives him a pipe full of thorn apple to relive the symptoms, which obviously draws Dougal’s attention. And ire? He seems way too pissed off that she’d ease an old man’s discomfort. WHY DO YOU HATE CLAIRE FOR DOING THE  JOB YOU KIDNAPPED HER TO DO?

On the road, Claire sticks by her new BFF Budget Ben because at least he’ll talk to her and seems to have a grasp on words with more than three syllables in them. He regales her with tales of how the highlands used to be more dangerous when he was a young lawyer. He craved adventure in a time when men were men. He actually says this, “When men were men,” because I guess daily fearing for your life from the British army is child’s play. So the longing for the legendary nonexistent ‘wild west’ of our ancestors is centuries old? 

Oh my God, we’re camping again. This is too much. Claire is a saint. And a magician. It’s the only explanation for how she’s dressing herself, doing her hair, and staying clean without any help. It took Mrs. Fitz like an hour to get Claire presentable, but somehow she’s been using fashion witchcraft to change outfits alone.

Not that anyone notices how she looks. Claire was invited along but is now being shunned like she invited herself. God, this clique is worse than The Plastics. At least the Mean Girls have the decency to throw shade at you in a language you can understand, so you’ll be properly insulted. How is she supposed to know how much you hate her? Oh, I guess giving her the rabbit version of the Crypt Keeper to eat will suffice. At least Jamie took pity and gave her edible bread.

Look, I’m not gonna tell the MacKenzie’s how to haze their new toy, but if you suspect this chick of being a British spy, maybe don’t piss her off in a place where she could poison you all and no one would find you until spring?

Claire huffs away from the group because, honestly, her tenuous grasp on not just murdering them all in their sleep is slipping. Jamie follows her and I think he’s going to give her a pep talk on how to deal with men several hundred years before the advent of feminism. He tries but, bless his heart, fumbles at the one yard line. He basically says the men don’t trust her and why should they? He knows she obviously tried to run away. Jamie, honey…does Scottish nobility adhere to the Disney’s Beast school of “guest” definitions? Because if you’re going to invite her to be your “guest” at least have the common decency to break out the dancing silverware.

Sometime later, Dougal and Co. have entered Hobbiton. I mean, the first village from which they will collect rent. Claire is still hanging around Budget Ben because he’s the nearest thing to a gentlemen for 10,000 miles. It doesn’t take long for her to get bored. So she’s off to explore.

Tweedle Dumb — now properly ID’d as Angus but the moniker stays because honestly just look at him — is absolutely terrible at guard duty. 

It doesn’t take Claire long to find her people. And by her people, I mean the village women. They aren’t exactly friendly, but after traveling for weeks with a posse of men carrying an undercurrent of menace and distrust, it’s a step up. At least Claire can relax her guard for a minute. Side note, why do 18th century dresses have more practical pocket than 85% of the clothes in my closet? This is an outrage!

<p>Julie Chen</p>

Julie Chen

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'Big Brother' Thursday - Double Eviction Drama

Julie Chen prepares for conversations with two hamsters

It's time for the season's second Double Eviction Thursday on "Big Brother."

I missed the last one for some reason and didn't get to recap it and what's the point of recapping Thursday night episodes if you're not going to get to handle the double eviction chaos.

But I'm here tonight, even though I know that even if some miracle saves Nicole in the first vote, her chances of surviving a second vote are virtually nil.

So will it just be Nicole and Victoria/Christine going home or will something shocking happen in the second HoH/Nominations/Veto/Vote maelstrom? 

Let's find out!

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Nicole, Big Brother 16

Recap: 'Big Brother' Wednesday - Ranking the 7 Remaining HGs

Who's the best houseguest in the game?

Your opinion about how good the current season of "Big Brother" is hinges on one question: Are you entertained or bored to tears by Derrick's flawless gaming? Because it is flawless, everyone. It is righteous, it is true, and it is proceeding without any conflict. 

As spotlit on Wednesday's episode, Derrick's game is going so according to plan that it's almost unnerving. Surely he'll be forced to get tyrannical in the coming weeks (or even tomorrow, considering it's a Double Eviction he'll have to steer), but his slyness and sureness is only becoming bolder. He's so great at this game that he can even convince lesser houseguests, time and again, that he's somehow a worse player than they are. Did you watch Derrick seamlessly goad Caleb, through flattery and wholly untrue prattle about Caleb's strengths in the game, into a Final Two deal? Because I did, and it was both shocking (You go, emperor Derrick!) and un-shocking (Of course Caleb thinks he's a great player; after all, he has... a nickname).

Despite a veto game with some titillating explosives, Wednesday's episode did little to convince us that anyone but Nicole can go home on Thursday. So without further ado, let's rank the seven remaining players and see just who has a chance of pulling off an upset.

7. Nicole

God bless this squeaky Babs Bunny clone for sobbing through her past week in the house. Though Derrick had designs to boot Christine, even he is following through on the general consensus and electing to kick out Nicole for the second time this week. And because he's such a good player, Nicole begged him for friendly hugs as her doom was sealed. 

6. Christine

I was pretty weirded out to see Christine monologuing to herself in ostracism-based anger like Wendy Pepper on the first season of "Project Runway." She got so heated that I swear I heard some "REDRUM"s thrown in there, along with the occasional "Kara Saun thinks she's SO PERFECT." I still think Christine has a Hail Mary left in her, a last-ditch swing at her shifty-eyed Detonator posse that could rock the game. But just because she's more naturally intelligent than other players here doesn't mean she won't fall in line with Amber, Donny, and other people who died in, like, the 1930s. 

5. Caleb

Still aligned with his bros like a dead-eyed member of the Hatfield clan, Caleb's stony stupidity is basically calcifying into unimportance. I think he has a keen eye for the kinds of players who will eventually turn on him, but he's so -- wait for it! -- delusional about his effectiveness and power in the game that I can't help rooting for his swift ejection. He's not fit to debate Derrick for $500,000 even though he promised to arrange that finale for us. Better to lose him now so we don't have to suffer through a final soliloquy filled with beast metaphors.

4. Frankie

I'm not saying Frankie's the most likable chap in the house (In fact, there are reasons to argue the opposite), but I think it's important to note that his game is definitely the most interesting in the BB house. I mean, is he good? He is certainly an ingratiating mastermind and occasionally a powerful player. If you're a member of the anti-floater gestapo, you won't be shaking your gestapo stick at Frankie any time soon. But his impetuousness and neurotic tizzies are getting worse, and it feels like Frankie is losing his grip on the game at the exact moment when key players are planting their footing. 

3. Victoria

The cynical "Big Brother" viewer laughs that Victoria will definitely make the final two. Since she entered Julie Chen's dollhouse back in June, Victoria has not uttered a single serious word about gameplay. In fact, I don't think she's uttered a single serious word, period. She's just an eyebrow pencil wrapped in a perma-scowl tucked into a Hello Kitty backpack. And while every other player is arguing and b*tching and gaming (for better or for worse), Victoria is smiling at nothing -- and sometimes on a couch! I think the Detonators are too tight to give Victoria a spot in the final two, but no one's actively stopping her lazy-eyed trek to $50,000 at the moment. So good for her?

2. Cody

The stealth candidate to win the whole thing, no? Face it: Getting through "Big Brother" as a physically strong guy is pretty tough. And somehow Cody has figured out a way never to be a target or a pawn, and that is in essence the key to playing "Big Brother."

1. Derrick

The master, the trickster, the calm orchestrator, and -- more importantly -- the ego-free player. Though Nicole compared him to Dan Gheesling, he is so not Dan in key ways. He is not theatrical in his self-regard. He's not angry. He's not cocky. He's just a guy who sees the game as a job, and he's pulling off a good day's work every day. It may not be the most telegenic way to win "Big Brother," but Derrick's method is reason enough to call him -- even without having won the season -- a "Big Brother" pro. 

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

Caleb of "Big Brother"

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'Big Brother' Sunday - Head of Household, Nominations and HOLLA!

After much slipping and sliding, a heroic HoH is finally crowned

When we left "Big Brother" on Thursday night, the hamsters were slipping and sliding around the backyard trying to fill snowmen with cloudy fluid in order to win Head of Household.

Thanks to a couple colleagues who think that because they watch the feeds, posting off-air results doesn't count as a spoiler, I already know who won HoH, but click through for the full live-blog as I pretend to be surprised.

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Doctor Who - Into the Dalek
Credit: BBC

Recap: 'Doctor Who' - Take a fantastic voyage 'Into The Dalek'

If you stare into the Dalek, eventually it stares back.

I love “Doctor Who.” Ever since discovering it in my Netflix queue years ago (Christopher Eccleston is still my Doctor) this silly, sentimental show about a mad man in a box has enthralled me. But I — like many fans — worried that lately the wheels had been coming off. Too many cliches and consequence-free actions and terrible treatment of women. Not to mention an infinite number of reset buttons. But from the looks of tonight’s episode, “Into The Dalek,” it truly feels like writers heard the fans…and they’re beginning to patch up the holes this season.

*******************

We begin where we’ve begun before. The Daleks are in pursuit of a spaceship, intent on exterminating all those inside. Flying through an asteroid field, the human pilot desperately tries to keep the ship from crashing while also trying to keep her co-pilot conscious. In the end she fails, and the ship goes up in a blossoming fireball.

The pilot’s screams turn into confusion as she is very much not dead. Instead she is on the bridge of the TARDIS, with a very alien looking Doctor staring at her. I don’t know what it is about Capaldi but with his head turned just so, he looks more like a bird of prey examining a potential meal than the savior of the galaxy. 

Our pilot’s name is Lt. Journey Blue and she is not amused. Gun in hand she demands to be taken back to her ship. That co-pilot was her brother and he is dead. The Doctor is heartless, tells her to stop crying because at least she’s alive. He then pretty much refuses to return her to her people unless she asks nicely. They are really hammering home that Twelve is a dick. 

Upon returning Lt. Blue to her platoon, it seems they’ve caught themselves a Dalek. No one here knows the Doctor, seeming to think he is talking about his profession and not his status as most infamous of the Time Lords*. Not even the captured Dalek realizes who it is in the presence of. It’s too busy malfunctioning, believing in truth and and love and beauty and absinthe and destroying all other Daleks.

*So at least Eleven erasing himself from history seems to have stuck.

What the humans do know is that they want to shrink Capaldi down using a molecular scanner and send him in to see what exactly has turned this Dalek to the side of morality. Because when Daleks stop wanting to kill everything, obviously they’re very sick. This episode is literally going to pay homage to sci-fi classic “The Fantastic Voyage” and I for one, (and Twelve for two) couldn’t be more pleased.

As the “Whovian” music rolls, I wonder why this super science-y and tonally bleak episode feels familiar. A quick Google search turns up the answer. The writer of “Into the Dalek” is Phil Ford, who’s only other “Doctor Who” writing credit (for the show) is “The Waters of Mars.” That episode deals with an invasion of the body snatcher and the inevitability of fixed points in time despite good intentions. My hopes for this episode suddenly became much higher.

Back from the opening credits, we’re introduced to the newest character, Mr. Danny Pink. I’m starting to pick up on some “Reservoir Dog” undertones in this episode, but not one person makes the obvious joke. C’est la vie. From first glance, Mr. Pink is good with kids, bad with ladies, and just trying to make it in the civilian world as a math teacher. If only everyone from the students to Clara would stop making light of the fact that he killed people. It’s flaring up his PTSD.

Bringing on Mr. Pink — Danny from here on out — has the delightful side effect of continuing to morph Clara Oswald from living MacGuffin to human being. She’s an English teacher who has a well-meaning co-worker who is keen to set her up with Danny. There’s even the secretary who is really bad at innuendo. I hope shows up again.

It takes a minute for me to realize this is actually Danny and Clara’s meet cute, but once I do, I instantly ship it. He is endearing but awkward and she is charming yet abrasive. The show even lets Clara take the lead, prompting Danny not once, but twice, until he overcomes whatever fears he as about dating and accepts her offer for drinks. Watching Clara have a life outside traveling in a blue box as the Doctor’s Impossible Girl is truly fun to witness.

So of course, this is the exact moment the Doctor chooses to pick Clara up for an adventure. 

For some reason, the Doctor immediately cuts Clara down because we really need to understand he is not a nice person, I guess? He condescendingly tells Clara to keep her spirits up, she’s not that young anymore but maybe she’ll still find love. After shading the living hell out of her, he proceeds to ask if she thinks he’s a good person. Clara is the soul of discretion because she merely says “I don’t know” instead of “No, you’re a misogynistic jerk face who is way too cavalier with the lives of everyone around you.”

Yet the Doctor hears what she’s not saying and — bless him — actually seems to realize how hard it can be to put up with him sometimes. Then shock of all shocks, he introduces Clara to Lt. Blue and the rest of the platoon…as his boss. In one exchange, the dynamic is upended as the term ‘companion’ is shunted off stage and into the trash. 

Once introductions are out of the way, it’s time to get small and get inside this Dalek. We get some fantastic science mumbo-jumbo about remembering to breathe during the shrinking process or you’ll explode. They do away with the trope of an enforced time table before they return to normal size though. As the Doctor, Clara, and three soldiers are inserted into the eyestalk of the Dalek (a sentence I never thought I’d type), we’re treated to a full body scan of said Dalek…which might be our most complete look at their biology to date?

Safely inside, our team moves forward. I’m just gonna assume they don’t need suits for oxygen because Daleks are inherently more porous than humans. A short jaunt later and they’re standing in front of the brain. The Doctor explains the thing in front of them is an augmented memory storage. This feat of engineering filters out anything good and fuels the Daleks hate. So basically they’re Psychlos from “Battlefield Earth.”

But now this particular Dalek is malfunctioning. And they need to find out why. To do that, they need to get down to the bottom of this mystery…literally. The soldiers being soldiers, immediately start shoving grappling hooks into whatever crevice is available. Which brings out the Daleks antibodies in droves…droves of mini-Wheatleys from “Portal 2.” Man this episode is just overflowing with shout-outs to other sci-fi!

In another display of “I’m definitely not Matt Smith,” the Doctor pragmatically let’s the antibodies kill one of the soldiers so the immune system will think the threat is over. He sacrifices the only male soldier. Wait, what? He just had to pick someone to let die and it was the only other dude which means there are two lady soldiers, Clara, and the Doctor to save the day. And this is the moment when I realize that maybe, just maybe, this season is going to be different.

Outlander_S1_E4
Credit: Starz

Recap: 'Outlander' - It wouldn't be 'The Gathering' without family drama

Excuse me, where are all the Scottish Santas?

At the end of the last episode, Claire’s plan to secure her freedom by being the best prisoner ever blew up in her face spectacularly. Turns out when you act like you want to hang out with your captors, they are less likely to let you leave. Funny that.

But undeterred, Claire hatched a plan. A plan based on a folk song. A folk song that she disregarded pertinent information from (I blame the Rhenish). So, yeah. This should go well. Can Claire escape “The Gathering”?

*******************

As the credits fade, scaffolding appears. No, not quite. It’s men with guns in tree stands. Out in the open. Where any snipers in the opposing tree line could pick them off like fish in a barrel. Good job, guys. These astounding strategists are guarding Clan MacKenzie from all sorts of enemies…like giggling children. Calm down Trigger Jim, unless you really fear a gaggle of unwashed children and a lone time-displaced woman. Actually, I’ve watched “The Walking Dead.” Fear them.

Claire’s giggling on the ground while swarmed by plucky bairns is interrupted by an unwanted look up STILL not Jamie’s kilt. When the offending guard asks Claire if something caught her eye, she is forced to resort to basically saying “gross” because these miscreants wouldn’t get any insult involving magnifying glasses and toothpicks. The 18th century can take a lot of things from a modern woman, but relinquishing scathing insults is just too much to bear. Yet Claire soldiers on.

Turns out playing with children serves an ulterior motive. Our heroine has been scouting the terrain. Over the past few days (weeks?) she’s learned the lay of the land, finding not one but TWO possible roads to freedom. Smart girl. But she’s also been leaving behind bright white strips of ribbon to lead her back to the mapped out escape routes. Oh honey, no. 

After torturing her guards by keeping them away from the beer (by the way, these two have got to be wondering who they pissed off to keep having to watch this persnickety woman who doesn’t seem to grasp the prisoner/guard dynamic), they finally pout hard enough that we are taken to the Annual Gathering of Scottish Santas. I am so excited!

OH GOD NO, IT’S JUST CAMPING. I’ve been tricked. No one said anything about camping! And there’s not even a bevy of flowing white face-tresses. UGH.

Speaking of being tricked, Claire has realized she’s basically being babysat by Tweedle Dumb and Tweedle Hagrid, which means she could pretty much escape at will. But instead of just throwing something sparkly in one direction and running in the other, she’s opted for an elaborate plan. Involving getting her guards distracted by sexy camp ladies and/or getting them exceptionally drunk. Preferably both. This plan has approximately 100% chance of working.

Just an aside here, exactly how worried should I be about inbred babies? Aren’t all these people related? The family tree needs to branch, y’all!

Once the Tweedle Twins are sufficiently diverted, Claire is off to the stables. Apparently Uncle Lamb taught her how to ride when she was a girl and dammit that was a great place for a flashback but no. Instead we get a dumb old stable guy who ALSO isn’t Jamie. But wait, do you hear that? The music changed to 1940s bluesy jazz. 

I’m so distracted trying to figure out the lyrics and why they’d add such an anachronistic mood now I almost miss that Jamie isn’t in the stables because he’s hiding from his family. What is he, the moody teenager avoiding Aunt Edna’s lipstick kisses at the family reunion? Claire — and the audience — are disappointed but at least Claire has her getaway horse. The plan is coming together.

The strains of 1940s pop music follow us all the way back to Claire’s dungeon/office. To be honest, I’m half expecting a radioactive wastelander wearing a human flesh mask to jump out of the shadows. “Fallout” truly ruined this era of music for me. 

Which is why Gilly should be grateful she scares the ever living hell out of Claire and not me because she’d be halfway into the fireplace before the Pavlovian response wore off. And then where would the port she brought be? In the fire, wasted.

The background music finally stops as Gilly starts in with another round of “Questions I Know The Answers To Just Tell Me You’re From The Future And End This Charade Claire.” But while our red-headed witch is asking things like “are you knocked up with Jamie’s lovechild?” and “what’s with all this food that looks like it’s prepared for an ill-advised escape?” and “so is your husband dead or what?” we find out a few interesting bits about Gilly herself. She came to this part of Scotland with nothing (obviously because time-travel stones don’t let you check bags) and married Arthur for security and plays him like a fiddle so she can do as she pleases. Claire is suitably impressed and I have suspicion whiplash over whether Gilly is trustworthy or not.

Also, poor Frank is totally Schrödinger's husband. 

Recap: 'Big Brother' Thursday - Eviction and Christine-Cody Shaming
Credit: CBS

Recap: 'Big Brother' Thursday - Eviction and Christine-Cody Shaming

Deja vu: Did Nicole or Donny get to talk to Julie Chen tonight?

It's another "Big Brother" Thursday. Follow along for the normal live-blogging fun leading up to eviction.

9:01 p.m. "Tonight, your alliance is in jeopardy," Julie Chen tells us as the episode begins. That seems unfair. The hamsters in the House aren't required to still be in an alliance in the first week. Why do I have to stick with Team America?

9:03 p.m. When we left off, Cody was talking about making a big move, but then not making one, Victoria's head was swelling to the size of a watermelon and causing her to pass out and Donny was better than Team America didn't make "Saving Donny" into their mission for the week. Good times. Donny and Nicole are sitting on the Block.

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Donny on "Big Brother 16"

Recap: 'Big Brother' Wednesday - Snarking With Andy Herren

We invite Andy Herren, winner of BB15, to offer commentary about the remaining houseguests. Is Donny toast?

No use throwing an old-fashioned Zach tantrum on this very languid Thursday morning. Let's face the facts like cool, serene Derrick: The Wednesday edition of "Big Brother" was criminally dull this week, and that's -- Stuart Smalley voice engaged! -- OK. The rigged POV challenge resulted in an expected victory for the Detonators against Donny, Christine found herself floundering in her un-fascinating second life on the show, and Victoria commanded almost 80 seconds of screentime by inviting new teeth into her mouth. Yes, that's right: Victoria's teeth are more exciting houseguests than Victoria. 

To help us analyze the remaining players in the game, we invited our pal Andy Herren -- the winner of "Big Brother 15" -- to drop some commentary about the houseguests. We'll handle this in an orderly, completely asinine fashion. 

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Cody: Hot Guy Playing a Cold War 

Andy Herren: Okay, so Cody has been getting a lot of hate from fans for being a “floater” and a “p*ssy.” I do not understand either sentiment. A floater is typically seen as someone who has no loyalty; a houseguest who grovels at the feet of whoever is in power. Cody has had a solid alliance with Derrick for WEEKS, and he is letting Derrick do most of the dirty work. I call that SMART. As for the “pussy” viewpoint, Cody is genuinely well liked by everyone at this point. Why on Earth would he make a “power move” and piss someone off? If he puts up someone from his alliance, people will think he can’t be trusted. By putting up Donny and Nicole, he has covered his bases and done the collective bidding of the house, which is the exact right move for his game this week. Also, he draws smiley faces in his zeros, and for that he will forever have a spot in my heart.  

HitFix: I echo Andy's support, but I will say I'm waiting for Cody to do anything worthy of a first-place finish on "Big Brother." So far he's managed to call everyone in the house either "This kid" or "This guy," which is not the sign of a brilliant Svengali. I admire the alliance he's built, but I still feel he's more likely to get nominated and booted than Derrick or Frankie.  

 

Nicole: The (Don't)-Comeback Kid 

HitFix: Nicole is in the unenviable position of being a houseguest who should've been eliminated, was eliminated, has come back into the game thanks to a truly awful competition that amounted to beginners' air hockey, and now must contend with people who are successfully competing. Even as she knows Donny is likely toast this week, she must win the next HOH -- and not just because she wants to stay in the game. If she doesn't win that HOH, her second chance in the house will feel like even more of a waste. We don't need more "waste" in a season that has forced Team America, Frankie Grande's "fans," and the ever-boring reign of Derrick on us. Nicole is easy to like and impossible to root for.

Andy Herren: Dammit, she’s adorable. No, scratch that: She’s aDORKable. Ugh. Scratch THAT. I don’t use words like adorkable because I’m not a monster. I really hope she can gain some traction in the house, because I think she’s smart in comparison to everyone else. This isn’t a huge compliment, as she is playing against people like Caleb and Victoria, who I worry may kill themselves by running into a sharp counter edge any day now.  

 

Donny: The Brilliant Ignoramus

Andy Herren: Donny’s ability to not understand that everyone hates him is probably why everyone hates him. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Donny, but his social game is atrocious.  He goes to bed early, he can’t gain any traction with people because he is unable to properly articulate himself without coming across as terrifying, and he consistently says the wrong things to the wrong people. I worry that he is going to leave this week, which breaks my heart, but it is also totally understandable.

HitFix: I guess Donny is sweet and sincere. I guess? Sort of. You know what he really is? A nightmare. I picture waking up in the "Big Brother" house to find Donny inches from my face and whispering, "Want to hear a secret that a parakeet told me?" And I really don't. Donny is the kind of character who comes off really well on "Big Brother": a hapless outsider who is very nice and even a bit keen when it comes to sticking it out as a fringe player. What he lacks in social skills and un-creepy cooing he makes up for with moments of intuition. I really wanted to him to properly align with some power players, but it seems like he's toast. He's been fun, but who can argue with his dismissal?

 

 

Victoria: Wisdom is Literally Falling Out of Her Mouth.

HitFix: Allow me to respond as Carrie Bradshaw to Victoria's performance this week: "When I realized that Victoria's wisdom teeth drama was more interesting than anything else she's done in the house, I had to wonder: Is a toothless victory ultimately worth it?" When Vicki's face looked a little puffy and I assumed it was because she was thinking too hard, that's when I knew she was a true "Big Brother" superstar. Question: How won't she get second place in this competition? She's headed for the sunny vistas of Ginamarieville, y'all. Ain't no one stopping her. Congratulations?

Andy Herren: She’s so useless that, even with a crippling wisdom teeth injury, everyone still wants her around.  It’s the point in Big Brother where the remaining players should have been praying that her injury would take her out of the game, but they all want to drag her to the final two, so instead they were praying for a speedy recovery.  I’m going to say it right now:  Victoria is playing the best second place game in the history of Big Brother.  Also, I’m still not over her IMPECCIBLE delivery in her goodbye message to Zach last week.  Go, Vicky, go!

 

Caleb: A Beauty in Beast Mode 

Andy Herren: He is easily the dumbest person in the house, and he is also the most boastful.  This results in a phenomenally monstrous combination of Caleb spouting nonsense, yet feeling incredibly confident about this nonsense.  At some point tonight, his adorably clueless face exclaimed, “We can’t trust Donny!  He’s thinking even when he’s not thinking!”  Please never change, Caleb.

HitFix: I wish every episode featured Caleb trying to explain how he knows another player is smart. Let me paraphrase his Donny analysis: "Donny! He's sooo smart. Sooo. His eyes -- they move. Watch his eyes. Sometimes he'll be talking, and his eyes will move. Over here. Down there. To the right. His eyes, y'all. I'm serious. His eyes don't sit still. Not at all. Look at my eyes. See how they look like sad Valium peepers of an old Furby? Donny's aren't like that. They act all jumpy. That's about all I got. Miss you, Amber."

 

Christine: Still the Reigning Underdog?

Andy Herren: Everyone seems to hate Christine, and I get it. She isn’t particularly engaging, she consistently plots against the players everyone loves, and she is ready to backstab at the drop of a hat. All of these are reasons why I still think she is a valid contender to win Big Brother 16. By not being at the forefront of anything, she remains in the shadows of bigger targets. By plotting against the players America loves, she solidifies her spot as a loyal member of The Detonators. By having a penchant for backstabbing, she shows that she has the cunning ambition to emerge victorious at the end of the season. Christine has been my pick to win from before the season even began, and I’m hoping she proves me right.

HitFix: Say what you will about her pettiness or cravenness or whatever, but Christine seems like one of the last few players left who could stage a coup and turn the game around. With Zach out of the house, what the hell else can we root for? 

 

Derrick: The Silent Strategist

He is controlling everything, and it is simultaneously maddening and thrilling. Maddening is the fact that his game play is making the season quite boring to watch.  The underdogs have remained underdogs, as Derrick and his cronies have steamrolled through the house for months. Thrilling is the way in which Derrick is able to enact his strategy to a precise degree. He has performed some sort of undercover cop voodoo magic trick on everyone, and they are all under his spell, willing to do his bidding at the drop of a (cut up pink) hat. 

HitFix: How weird is it that everyone in the house seems aware of Derrick's utter supremacy? No one's too alarmed about it either. It's very "Martha Marcy May Marlene" or "The Master" and Derrick is just John Hawkes/Philip Seymour Hoffman-ing it up while everyone else is playing an Elizabeth Olsen/Amy Adams game. Or whatever. (I never saw "The Master.") If Derrick could just be a little more hostile with his machinations, I'd really be on his team. But it's hard to applaud gameplay when it feels like his competition is merely falling in line. 

 

Frankie: One Less Problem Without Frankie

HitFix: It's week 97 and Frankie still looks like an adult member of the Burger King Kids Club. Do I think he's a fine game player? Yeah, basically. I'm not sold on his endgame, but he's been shrewd enough to know when he needs attention and when attention should be diverted. The problem is that he's someone who mistakes opening his eyes wide for having a personality. Some weeks that doesn't bother me, but this week it did. When will this guy's number be up? Soon? Hoping for soon, guys. That's the kind of "Break Free" he deserves. 

Andy Herren: No. Just no. I can’t anymore.