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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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."
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.