Sonja Flemming/CBS
Josh Wolk
September 09, 2009 AT 04:00 AM EDT

‘Big Brother’ recap: Can Kevin trust the lying Natalie?

Big Brother fans, it may be time to admit it: We got got. By Natalie. I think all the rain this season was a bad omen; even Mother Nature sensed that BB wasn?t going to end well. So lately, whenever it rains, and my four-year-old daughter asks me, ”Daddy, what is rain?” I answer, ”God is crying because Natalie may win Big Brother.” And she nods knowingly and I tell her another bedtime story starring Chicken George, Marcellas, and Josh Souza. I never said I was a good father.

I guess we all saw knew things were going to get worse after Jeff got evicted last Thursday. After he walked out, just saying no to a Kevin hug, Kevin snipped, ”What?s funny is, if he?d have approached me for a vote, I probably would have kept him. But he never approached me.” I know, Kev! What kind of world is it where someone won?t attempt to form an alliance with the guy who just broke his word and screwed him over? If the BB house is a Skinner box, Kevin is the psychologist standing over it begging the mice to try pressing the zappy button just one more time.

From there we relived the demoralizing horror of Natalie winning HOH. What other crushed-dreams footage would you like to reair, CBS? Got any surveillance footage of me being rejected for the prom that you?d like to broadcast during sweeps? But this time we got her victory with added footage that painted a bigger picture of just what a sore winner she is. She paced the backyard like a spaz who just won a ”Most Improved” trophy, shouting, ”Yes! I go to final three!…And I earned it!” She earned it? First of all, it’s HOH, not a merit badge. And second of all, you ”earned it” by guessing cans, which is a pretty low bar for human accomplishment. That?s like saying I earned being full because I chewed my food.

Soon after her victory, Natalie began doing what she does best: overthinking strategy. She decided that the ”only way” to get rid of Michele or Jordan was to put Kevin up as a red herring with Jordan. Her logic was that she couldn?t risk putting up the two women together, because Jordan was strong and won competitions; if Jordan won POV, she?d take herself off, Kevin would go up in her place, and Jordan would vote him out. Two flaws in that theory: One, Michele has won far more competitions than Jordan. Sure, Jordan did well on the last one, but that involved random questions like guessing if Casey had a mail-order banana business. So by Natalie?s logic, she should have put up Michele and Kevin. But in the end she should have put Michele and Jordan up because of flaw number two: No matter who?s on the block, Natalie and Kevin have to win, or Kevin goes up and out. So if you were gambling on someone?s life, wouldn?t you start him in a place of being safe, rather than being endangered?

NEXT: Natalie opens Pandora?s Box and pulls out a proposal

Kevin seemed to understand this, but he phrased it like this, ”Did I just hear that correctly, biznatch?” Kevin really loves the word ”biznatch.” He wants to hug it and kiss it and tuck it behind his ears like his favorite hoodie. But Natalie pooh-poohed his objections, moving forward with her can?t-miss plan to convince Jordan and Michele that she wanted Kevin out. ”I?m actually pretty good at throwing people off,” said Natalie. ”I play cards, this is what I do.” No, what she does is invent needlessly complicated double reversals that fool nobody and only serve to make her seem untrustworthy and dangerously devious. (Don?t worry, we?ll revisit this point when we hit Pandora?s Box.) She?s making the same mistake Ronnie did earlier in the game, making eight moves when one would do. To Natalie, the shortest distance between two points is not a straight line; no, she tells everyone she has a fictional shortcut that goes in a zigzag, and then claims that she has a minivan with which she can give everybody a ride to get there, but it?s not a real minivan, it?s actually just a cardboard box with some wheels drawn on the side, but it totally runs as long as you never ever ask to get into it, and?

She took a brief breather from her blind-squirrel-finds-nut strategizing for the annual shopping-spree luxury challenge. Blocked by a wall, pairs of two had to scream at each other to coordinate finding identical items of clothing. To score the point, they had to ”pose” for the camera. Jordan is not a natural model; her pose always involved freezing awkwardly, which would be fine if she was modeling clothes to wear when you walk in on your grandparents having sex.

That time-waster out of the way, it was time for Pandora?s Box. Given the chance to see a loved one at the expense of not being able to play for Veto, Natalie grabbed at it, figuring no matter what, she was still in the final three. Does it count as ”earning it” and ”keeping your word” when you put your partner up on the block, and then reduce his chances of getting off of it by 50 percent? But how could she turn down the chance to see her beloved boyfriend Jason? After being kept secluded from him for so long, the TV screen would not be big enough to contain all her passion! It would be like the home-confinement version of From Here To Eternity! Put on some SPF50, ’cause it?s gonna get hot in here! Get ready for passion?

Oh, wait. Check that. Turns out this reunion had all the passion of a job interview at Wendy?s. I?ve seen more fireworks on July 5th. Mind you, Jason seemed all aquiver — it was Natalie who looked like she was wondering if she still had a chance to trade his visit in for that Hawaii trip. But hey, maybe the stakes weren?t high enough: If he proposed, surely that would tip her over into ebullience, right? Nope. She seemed more excited about the sushi dinner they were offered than the engagement ring. Sure, marriage is good and all, but it?s no spicy tuna crunch. Near the end of their meal, she said, ”I?m glad I opened the box. I gave up a lot to open the box” in a way that implied he owed her but good. I have a feeling that come wedding day, Natalie is going to want to redline the vows: ”In sickness and in health? What do I get in return?”

NEXT: The most obvious lie in the world

Meanwhile, her ”romantic” dinner unleashed a plague on the house in the form of?low-level BB staffers being once again forced to don humiliating costumes and run around the house. Many (if not all) of these characters had appeared on previous editions of the show, but I only had vague recollections. It?s not like Dana Carvey was back doing the Church Lady. And I found the big pierced guy in the baby costume particularly creepy; it was like watching an old Maury Povich episode called, ”My frat brother craps in a crib!” He wasn?t a natural actor, which made it all the weirder; the longer he lumbered about with that overcompensating leer, the higher I estimated the number of people imprisoned in his basement. And then, of course, the show went back to the ”little person” well. Just as they did in a previous season, the producers recruited a small guy to dash around, imitating people. This show continues to make dwarf tossing look respectable.

Before Jason had to go, she realized she had to make it look like she had endured something bad, or everyone would be pissed at her. So she came up with a story so harebrained that it would have made more sense if she?d thrown a box of refrigerator poetry magnets into the air and then read the random sentence fragments in the order that they landed on the floor. According to Natalie, her punishment from Pandora?s Box was that she not only lost the ability to compete in the POV, but the words ”Final Two Reversal” came up on the screen, which meant that if she made the final two and won, she?d actually lose. (But if everyone knew this, wouldn?t that affect how they voted?) And then someone swooped in and tied her up and put earmuffs on. And then she had to sit and watch her entire family be insulted by a prop comic. And then came the kicking, shoving, and exposure to bad morals. Then I think she was lit on fire and made to wear ill-fitting shoes. Then God came down and rescinded her invitation to heaven. Oh, man, that Pandora is a bitch!

It was absolutely insane not only how far she went with this, but how poorly thought out her lies were. Everyone instantly realized she was full of crap, but since she?s a poker player, she decided to double down on her own horses—. She walked out into the yard, where they were all discussing her ridiculous story, and said, ”I just got one request from you guys. Please do not ask me anything more about Pandora?s Box.” It’s official: Natalie is the worst poker player in the world. How does that logic go over in Vegas? When she?s bluffing, does she push all her chips in and say, ”I just have one request for all of you: Don?t ask to see my cards. Just trust me, they?re all aces.”

But Natalie doesn?t live in the same world that the rest of us do (which is the world where Natalie is not that bright). Finally realizing that she just might have gone too far, she came down and revealed the big lie that everyone else had known about from the start. ”All of you just got got by an 18-year-old!” she said, even as everyone protested that she did not actually get get them. (And during the live show, she said that she had won the chance to ”see a picture” of her boyfriend. Did she later change her story again, saying he proposed to her via photo?)

Then came her nominations, for which she got dressed in a bathrobe and red crown; she called Michele a backstabber and a liar, and then proceeded to lie about how her target was Kevin. How transparent was this falsehood? When she later tried to convince Jordan to eliminate Michele (after swearing that Kevin was her target), even Jordan realized that Natalie made no sense. That’s Jordan! You can convince Jordan that you?re a wizard by flicking a cigarette lighter, so it really says something when she sees through your plan.

Usually I end up checking up with the webcam boards, so I know the outcome of most challenges, but I held off this week. And not knowing how it was going to end up made the POV competition incredibly tense. I can?t believe Michele lost; I thought for sure this would play to her memory strengths. (I didn?t need a webcam to tell me that Jordan wouldn?t be a factor, though. All she did was stare at the blocks, waiting for them to assemble themselves. She said it was a ”brain fart,” but that was far more than a fart. That was the explosive blast of gas leaving a corpse.)

NEXT: My take on whether Natalie can win

Refusing to admit defeat, Michele scrambled to convince Kevin that she would be a smarter choice for the final two because he could easily beat her. (As much as I was rooting for her, I disagreed with her threats to not vote for him if he booted her out; voting should always be made based on game play, not on grudges. Even if she was just bluffing, and she may well have been, it’s still a low tactic.) But ultimately, he took himself off the block and then voted Michele out. It was a smart move on his part; Michele could still betray him, while Jordan would never get the chance, as she has little chance at winning HOH.

I?m still dumbstruck at the outcome, though. Not only does Natalie now have a good chance at the final two, but this result will just make her all the more certain that her tactics were brilliant. And now that she?s gone this far, I have to consider ? and this one really hurts — is she right? As Ken Tucker has pointed out, she’s one of the most dislikable contestants on reality TV, but as much as we may mock her moves and logic, she made the final three.

And yet, in assuming she makes the final two, I think it is her very cocksureness that could doom her. Natalie has already proven that she?s not smart about the long game. Why bid farewell to Michele by saying, ”I?ve wanted you gone for some time now”? Kevin realized she was a jury vote, so he sucked up to her, a smart move. So picture the final speeches to the jury: When Natalie stands up there, she will probably revel in her many brilliant moves, stating all the things that duped everybody, and how they all fell for it. And that’ll just antagonize everybody, especially a guy like Russell who doesn?t like having his nose rubbed in losses. It’ll especially hurt her if she chalks up as victories the lies that nobody believed in the first place. As long as Kevin stays gracious, stressing how he won challenges and made smart moves, I think he’ll get Jeff, Jordan, Russell, Lydia, and Michele. That’s more than enough to trump Natalie, no wonder what the producers do with Chima’s vote.

What do you think of my logic? Would Natalie beat Kevin in a final two? Is there any way Jordan can win this, short of the other two being hospitalized for rain-machine damage during the first heat of the final HOH competition? And finally, what did you think of Michele’s exit interview with Julie: I imagine there were two very different takes, depending on whether you like the evictee or not. If you do like her, her admission that she can’t figure out why people have been mean to her since childhood was heartbreaking. But if you don’t like her, I guess the response to that is, ”Gee, the whole world hasn’t liked you since you could speak? Maybe it’s time to take a good look at your voicebox and what comes out of it.” Somethning for everyone, I guess. And with that final note, I’ll see you next Tuesday when the final winner is named. And don’t forget to check out Lynette?s final interview with Jeff after his eviction last week.

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