It is with cautious optimism that I make the following somewhat hopeful announcement: We are watching a pretty good season of Big Brother. Derrick is a chess master, and Frankie is a wolf disguised as a peacock, and Christine is a hipster, and Nicole is a hipster Disney princess, and Brittany is a politician unafraid to use her three kids as leverage, to the point that her catchphrase is basically “I have three kids!”
There’s Caleb, a shape changer who looks variously like a gym rat, a cowpoke from a John Ford western, and a walking advertisement for why no one looks good in American Apparel. (His catchphrase should be: “I have green shorts!”) And there’s Donny, a man who looks/sounds like a cranky old prospect from a White Fang sequel but who exudes such remarkable warmth and basic common decency that he might very well our generation’s answer to Jimmy Stewart. There’s Jocasta, who loves God, and Zach Rance, who used to love God before God sent him to reign in Hell for all eternity.
And then there’s Devin, who in the span of just a few weeks has become a supervillain.
How could this happen? On day 2, Devin looked like a man who had it all kitted out. He was a sworn blood brother of Uncle Donny. He had a strong six-person alliance that transmogrified into a curiously solid eight-person alliance. With half the house on his side, the double-HoH twist practically guaranteed that at least one Bomb Squadder would sit astride the throne every week.
Then all that stuff happened. And Devin–once the king of all he surveyed–was left to fend for himself as a rat in the evening, telling everyone about the Bomb Squad in a vain attempt to save his own skin. He told Brittany and Jocasta. He woke up Donny in the middle of the night. I like to imagine that, every night in the Big Brother house, Devin wakes up Donny and confesses to all the day’s sins, and then Donny puts his hand on Devin’s shoulder and says, “My son, I forgive you,” and every time that happens one of Donny’s beard hairs turns luminescent white.
This was the strategy of a dying animal, desperate to bring the whole world down with him. After Derrick won HoH, Devin pulled him into the Room of Requirement. “If you don’t put me up, dude, you’re screwed,” said Devin. “If you don’t put me up, your game is gonna be over.” It was an interesting pitch, but you could tell that Devin knew the score. Part of what makes this season of Big Brother so interesting is that—with the exception of people whose name rhymes with WowCow—everyone seems reasonably capable of thinking three steps ahead of What’s Happening Today. Devin knows the house wants him out, and he wants a chance to save himself. Derrick knows that Devin wants a chance to save himself, and doesn’t want to give him that chance. Devin knows Derrick knows, and Derrick knows Devin knows that Derrick knows.
A word about Derrick. The undercover cop took a lie-low approach the first few weeks. But when he became Head of Household, he did not waste time pontificating about not wanting any blood on his hands. He talked to Nicole. He said: “I think you’re a superfan, like I am.” He told Nicole that they should talk game, and when Nicole hesitated, he was blunt: “I think I know how you’re playing. I’m playing that way, and you’re playing in a very similar way. The less you talk, the less conversation you’re involved in.” He got her to agree in principle to the Kill Devin plot. He told her to put up Amber—but only because, with Amber on the block, Caleb would join the other team and throw the veto competition, to keep Amber safe.
NEXT: Caleb gives Amber the good news