Yes, yes, we’ll get to the freakish results of the Power Of Veto competition in a short spell, but wait: Did Big Brother just bring back Zingbot 3000, the wisecracking robot who enters the manse for no reason, hurls insults at the remaining houseguests, and proclaims “ZING” after each punchline? Well, I’ll be: It’s the most human advancement of the season! Forget this dreary episode and the humiliating P.O.V. aftermath — we just watched these eight comatose bodies jolt to life thanks to the power of mockery. Lesson learned: We do God’s work when we call Rachel a braying hyena demon.
But here’s the first and only pseudo-compliment I’ll ever aim Rachel’s way: At least she pretends to be aware of her irritating qualities — even if she expresses that knowledge in the most odious way possible. Case in point: As the episode kicks off, Rachel harasses Daniele around the house with cutting barbs such as, “Do you hate me?” and “Why are you depressed, Daniele? Is it because it’s your 25th birthday?” Apparently the whining purple-haired valkyrie still has hard feelings still over Brendon’s elimination, and she’s taking her anger out on Daniele as a means to… pass the time? Accomplish nothing? Daniele is unfazed by Rachel’s overtures and continues gumming slop at a record pace. Even Jordan is on to Rachel’s nonsense, announcing, “Girl, you’re crazy,” as if Rachel’s just a mouthy cheer captain with a grudge. Oh, Jordan. Your diplomacy is impressive, but I know you realize that Rachel’s attitude is the most unflattering humilitard of all.
After an amusing P.O.V. drawing forces everyone to play in the veto game except Rachel (who’d love to win the medallion, kick Porsche from the chopping block, and replace her with Daniele), our dashing droid Zingbot 3000 clambers in from a neighboring universe. It’s fitting that he’s pine-green, because this little menace is fresh. In no time at all, he starts lobbing wisecracks like a schoolyard emperor.
“Hey, Jeff, 1995 called — they want their soulpatch back!” he hollers, before erupting in a chorus of “ZINGS.” He sounds a bit like Alpha from the original Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, complete with the sexual ambiguity I so understood, even as a child. Like a silicon hybrid of Steve Urkel and Carson Kressley.
I didn’t love all of Zingbot’s zings, but his stabs at Porsche (“Shouldn’t you be named after a car with a roomier trunk?”) and Jordan (“The only reason Jeff hasn’t proposed yet is because he knows you’re terrible at answering questions.”) were worthy of some Friars’ Club applause. Jeff’s responses to Zingbot — which sounded something like, “Hey, Zingbot! Chicago loves my tiny facial hair! Deep dish pizza! FOREVER.” Unfortunately the round of one-liners concludes all too early, and Zingbot leads the stung octet to the backyard for a game of robotic assembly. The assignment: Take 20-25 puzzle pieces, attach them correctly to the sides of a robo-structure, and be the first to hit the winner button. Correct, it’s yet another speed challenge, so Kalia has a real shot against Jeff! Hehe! Pardon as I dunk my head in ice water while this competition depresses the hell out of me.
During the race, Porsche unleashes a confessional that sounds like this: “I’m picking up the pace! This puzzle is a cinch!” Kalia follows with: “Kind of hard! But I’m doing well!” Jeff adds: Nothing. Jeff already wins. And the hard-jawed angst of Daniele is cutting a fiercer figure than ever.
Since Zingbot whisked himself back to the 25th century to hook up with Dot Matrix from Spaceballs, Big Brother humiliates us Team Daniele folk by filming Kalia, Porsche, and Daniele as they try to eke last minute deals out of Jeff. It’s just as inspiring as you’d imagine.
“Hey, Jeff,” Porsche begins. “I don’t really know what to say, except — you know — if I ever get close to winning a challenge, I won’t, like, vote for somebody. Hope that helps. See you soon. Have we started playing Big Brother yet?”
“Howdy, Jeff,” Kalia starts. “I know you’re mad because I played Russian Roulette with your Big Brother life, but please just know that I’m… a person. OK?”
“Jeff,” Daniele begins gravely, “I can cut a deal with you. You want to go Top 4 with me and Kalia? Top 3 with just me? Topsy-turvy with a quick game of Twister? Top Model with Selesha? Topkapi with Peter Ustinov? I can do it all. I have no choice. Let’s win!”
Though Jeff never revealed his intentions to any player, the swiftness with which he renders his decision rings loud and clear: At the P.O.V. meeting, he removes a dumbfounded Porsche from the eviction chair and replaces her with the staggeringly stoic Daniele. It’s too predictable to scoff at, yet too upsetting not to write six diary entries about. I have all these feelings, yet none at all. Maybe I’m Rachel.
We’re left with one tantalizing question: How will tomorrow’s double eviction turn out? Will Daniele leave first, forcing Kalia to win HOH and vote Jeff and Jordan (Jeff and Rachel?) to the chopping block? Is there any hope for the beleaguered trio of Daniele, Kalia, and Porsche? Is Jeff indisputably the strongest (and most cunning) player in the game? Talk it up in the comments, read me regularly at Movieline.com, and follow me on Twitter at @louisvirtel!