Darren Franich
August 21, 2015 AT 03:27 AM EDT

Big Brother

TV Show
Reality TV
Julie Chen
Current Status
In Season

At the start of this week, Becky announced with absolute certainty that she was probably going home. It’s easy to see why she got so down on herself. Her stint as Head of Household had a clear mission statement: Eliminate Vanessa. That plan failed. On Thursday, after a unanimous vote sent her packing, Becky explained that failure in simple terms: She didn’t have the votes she thought she had. It was a stunning oversight—and a reminder that, in Big Brother, it’s possible for the Head of Household to be the least powerful person in the house.

Perhaps Becky could take some pointers from our boy Johnny Mac, future dentist to the stars and Elijah Wood body double. Johnny Mac explained his method for staying in the game past eviction: “The Dead Fish Strategy.” Lay down; look non-threatening; let the crazies sort things out. That’s only half-true, of course. Johnny Mac is coming alive in the game. Alongside Steve, he attempted to formalize a true final five alliance with Austin and the twins. That only happened after careful consideration: John and Steve pointed out that they’d be the prime targets if they allied with James and Meg, whereas they’d be secondary targets alongside the Twin-Austin triumvirate.

(Note: I’m henceforth referring to the powerful Austin-Julia-Liz coalition as AUSTWIN, which stands for Austin’s Unusual Stubble and Twins With Inimicable Nasality, or something.)

John and Steve, plotting a savvy long-term strategy: Who knew? Not Becky. When she tried making a case to AUSTWIN, she called out Johnny Mac as “the ultimate pawn.” Becky is the kind of player who thinks Big Brother is all about clear-cut goals. Win competitions. Become Head of Household. Work with nice people. Don’t work with mean people. Make a plan. Trust that other players will know that your plan is in their best interests. Assume that people will be impressed by a straight shooter. Tell your enemy that they are your enemy. Tell the truth at all times.

Laugh, Julia, laugh the night away. For Becky—good, noble, true Becky—was sent out of the house with a vote of 7 to nothing. In the shadow dimension hidden deep inside our own world—populated entirely by Steve and his whimsical fantasies—this was the most heroic moment of the season. At last, Steve has slain Becky, the untrustworthy succubus who transforms into a train on the full moon! No longer shall the Big Brother house be tormented by the terror of the Weretrain! To celebrate, Steve fled to the bedroom of his lover, Camera Seventeen, and read it a love poem written in a language only Steve dares to understand.

Becky was philosophical about her departure: Understandable, since the show has explicitly promised her the possibility of returning to the house. But there was an insane moment in her exit interview. Sheriff Julie asked her about her future plans, if she’d come back into the house. “Golly, pardner,” said the Sheriff, “Would ya ever consider workin’ with that rootin’ tootin’ cowpoke Vanessa?”

And Becky said yes. And she said that, if she did go back into the house, she would possibly align herself with Vanessa and target Liz.

I can’t decide if this is crazy or genius. It can be a smart play for two enemies to pair up in a secret final-act alliance—on the operating theory that the rest of the house couldn’t possibly imagine them together. But it’s also possible that this is evidence of just how completely Vanessa’s aggro-brainwashing is working on her fellow contestants. All we’ve heard, all week, is how the whole house is coming after her. Becky tried to send her home; for her trouble, Becky got sent home instead, in an explicit (albeit indirect) act of Vanessa vengeance. And now Becky thinks they might be able to work together. Don’t bet against Vanessa just yet, kids, she is playing some kind of next-level mind-control social game.

Then again, maybe Becky will change her mind. She has before. And oh, how incredible to see her face spiral into seething rage while Vanessa’s goodbye video played. See if you can figure out the precise moment when Becky starts imagining what it would look like if Vanessa slowly sank into quicksand:

NEXT: Meg tries to do something, anything; fails.

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