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“So who wants a salmon spinach salad?” asked Frankie.
“Don’t want no sammin spinish,” mumbled Caleb. “I wanna grill chicken.”
“But salmon spinach is good for you,” said Frankie.
“No sammin spinish,” mumbled Caleb again. “Grill chicken.”
“I mean,” said Derrick, interjecting but not wanting to be seen to interject, “I don’t necessarily want salmon or chicken, and you guys obviously know this stuff much better than I know this stuff because I don’t know anything about food and you guys know a whole lot about food, which is why it seems to me that you know it’s in your own best interest to eat the fish instead of the chicken. It’s what you already know, you know, I’m not telling you anything new.”
“That’s right,” agreed Caleb. “Sammin spinish. That’s what I said.”
“But you know, that’s just me,” said Derrick. “That’s just me, and I’m not saying I heard this from other people, but maybe now that you’re thinking about it, chicken has more protein, and maybe we should build up our strength, which is what protein does. That’s just me, I’m not nobody, you gotta do you.”
“Like I was saying,” said Frankie. “Grilled chicken it is.”
Nicole was upset. Nicole had just been told she was public enemy number one, the target, the person who was absolutely going home—and here they all were, talking about fish and chicken? She retreated into that special place where the only person who understands you is Victoria. “It’s fricking ridiculous,” said Nicole. “Stupid game moves, stupid, stupid, stupid.”
“Stupid,” repeated Victoria, wondering what it would look like if the sun set upward instead of downward.
“5-foot-2 blonde girl who is alone in the game, out of the house?” ranted Nicole. “It’s ridiculous.”
“Ridiculous,” repeated Victoria, who by this point was doing a handstand. She was testing a theory: If a person stands upside-down, does their voice from out of their feet? (The results were inconclusive.)
Frankie knows that his alliance was gunning for him. He knows this because Caleb told him. This will always be the season of Zankie, but if you ask me, Caleb and Frankie are the true tortured affair-of-the-heart. They’re two sides of the same coin, and the coin is a poker chip from a casino where the only games are Sex and the City slot machines and Celebrity Poker matches, but the only celebrity is Turtle from Entourage. Frankie is a smart social player who doesn’t trust anyone and constantly betrays everyone; Caleb is a sad-eyed slab who trusts anyone and so is constantly betrayed by everyone.
So of course Caleb told Frankie: “Hey bro: We were thinking of backdooring you.” And of course, when Frankie asks who was spearheading this ploy, Caleb points fingers at Cody.
Not that Frankie wasn’t upset with Derrick. Derrick tried making small talk. Frankie wasn’t having it. “What’s the deal?” asked Derrick. “You know me,” said Frankie, “I know everything.”
Derrick talked Frankie down. He told him that Caleb was the one who plotted the backdoor; fed him a line about how Caleb is getting paranoid. Derrick tried to convince Frankie that he didn’t take the plot seriously. Frankie didn’t quite believe him—he knew that Derrick was playing stupid—but he didn’t quite seem to know how stupid. My read on it is that Frankie thinks Derrick is a high-level floater—a guy who is following his alliance. You got the sense that Frankie walked away from that talk plotting a move against Cody, with a bit of anti-Caleb paranoia in his head.
Where does Cody lie in all of this? Frustrated. He heard that Caleb sold them out—and he knew, absolutely knew, that Caleb was pointing fingers at him. I’ve been openly dismissive of Cody in the past, mainly because he strikes me as the least interesting player in his Final Four alliance. He’s not a puppet master, like Derrick; he’s not a half-crazy social chameleon, like Frankie; he’s not a blunt instrument, like Caleb. The flip side of that is that he’s a little bit of each—a good social player, a good competitor, and a player who has situated himself very well going into the final act.
But you get the sense that Cody doesn’t feel good about how things have gone in the last month. He’s in two strong alliances, and he has toed the line with both. He’s been a good Bombonator; he’s been true to Derrick, taking his close friend’s advice, avoiding any big game moves. But you can feel that Cody wants to make a big move.
And you can feel that he’s not particularly happy with the people who remain inside of the Big Brother house. (“Caleb’s a f—ing idiot, a f—in a–clown,” was his assessment of Beast Mode Cowboy.) There’s no doubt in my mind that Derrick is the best player in this season of Big Brother, but as we go into the home stretch, I find myself weirdly wanting to see what Cody could do in a season where the game play isn’t shrouded in the shadows.
And I find myself wondering what Cody will think if—by some not-out-of-the-realm-possibility chance—the final three comes down to him, Derrick, and Victoria, and Derrick wins Head of Household, and Cody finds himself expelled right before the finish line in favor of a human being who sometimes loses track of which way is left and which way is boxcar.
Nicole got in a nice phrase before her second execution. “Stop playing Big Baby, let’s start playing Big Brother and do some game moves!” This is a nice line that also serves to underscore just how pointless her second life was. If you have to publicly announce your disappointment that nobody is pulling big game moves, it’s probably only because you yourself failed to pull any big game moves. Nicole won Head of Household a couple times; she had a good track record in competitions; there was a time when Nicole had one strong ally and one wavering ally.
And she has a good read on the game play—better, perhaps, than anyone left in the house. (She knows that Derrick is playing a game, even if she doesn’t know what kind of game.) But she never really recovered from her time in the jury house.
Idea: Should Big Brother even let jury members re-enter the house? It almost always works out the same way: The same people who evicted them before evict them again. Maybe it would make more sense to let two jury members re-enter the house—thus assuring, if nothing else, that both jury members would have one ally?
NEXT: Derrick Rex