Darren Franich
July 28, 2011 AT 04:01 AM EDT

Based on the comment boards, it seems like some people have given up on this season. That’s too bad. Having just marathoned through the last five episodes of Big Brother, I think we’re witnessing the early rumblings of a truly exceptional reality TV showdown. I’m talking Brenchel vs. Jorff, Darkness vs. Light, So-Clever-They’re-Stupid vs. So-Stupid-They’re-Clever. Remember: There is no real reason why Brendon and Rachel have to be in an alliance with Jordan and Jeff. Brendon and Jeff seem to have friendly interactions — Jeff is the groovy-cool Ferris Bueller to Brendon’s tightly-wrapped Cameron Fry — but Rachel and Jordan are very close to outright hating each other. They don’t, not yet, possibly because Jordan appears to be incapable of hatred, possibly because Rachel secretly wants to be Jordan. And they are all good enough players to know that, in Big Brother, the most powerful move you can make in the first half of the game is to stay true to your alliance.

On last night’s episode, the Double-Couple alliance was tested. Rachel was still sore over Hasselhoffgate. “How dare Jordan not invite me to watch that crappy new CBS reality show!” her brain screamed. “Yes, honey, yes,” screamed Brendon’s simpering brain in response, “How dare they, snarf snarf, how dare they!”

At the exact right moment, in strolled Daniele. Now, it has been a disappointingly unromantic summer so far in the Big Brother house. The horndog preacher was eliminated in Week 1, and the model who talked like the hot-hobo alternate-universe version of Taylor Swift was forced out in Week 2. So the closest we’re likely to come to a genuine showmance this year is Dani and Dommy. We saw them get into a pillowfight, which was exactly how I would have flirted with my fifth-grade summer camp girl-crush if the powers-that-be had allowed girls within ten miles of the horrible Boy Scout camp where I spent my fifth-grade summer. Then Daniele decided to make her move. She’d been sitting in the shadows long enough. The time had come…to move slightly away from the shadows.

“Everyone knows what needs to be done,” Dani told Rachel. “Like, let’s get this game on the run.” Dani was smart. She never said, “Let’s eliminate Jeff and Jordan.” She played on Rachel’s insecurities. She talked about what a great gameplay move a Jorff backdoor would be — and we all know what great stock Rachel puts in great gameplay. (Why does “Jorff Backdoor” sound so dirty?) Rachel and Brendon fled to the HoH bathroom for a bubble bath and a foot massage, thus reminding me to never eat my dinner while watching Big Brother.

Later, Dominic strolled into the HoH room looking for some clarification. He had made a deal with Brenchel. (Dominic didn’t know that Adam also made a deal with Brenchel, thus making the PB & J alliance one of the most backstabby team of backstabbers that has ever backstabbed.) “Do you want me to throw the veto?” Dominic asked. “Yes, we want you to throw the veto,” murmured Brenchel. Dominic made out in the confessional like he was a genius player: “Thanks, Rachel and Brendon, all I need you to do is take me along until I shank you in the back three weeks from now.”

Now, I’m inclined to like Dominic. I see a lot of myself in him. He’s from the Bay Area, I’m from the Bay Area. He talks too much, I talk too much. He’s modeled clothes for GAP, and I wear clothes literally every day! So I want to believe he is actually a smart mastermind. But he made a whole series of mistakes last night — especially with his open flirtation with Daniele. While Dommy and Dani giggled their way through an afternoon workout, Jeff watched from the far side of the yard. “I’m seeing Daniele and Dominic hanging out way too much,” he noted.

NEXT: Mean Uncle Jeff breaks up the kids’ fun.

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