Big Brother Recap: Slithering Heights

When the ever-angelic Rachel barked that Big Brother is full of snakes and snakelike behavior, I agreed with her (woah!) and immediately drew up a chart pairing every houseguest with a corresponding serpent. Zoobooks readers unite! Rachel, that reticulated Clairol monster, is a boa constrictor who wrings the patience and life out of her colleagues — even her own fiance. Shelly’s an agitated viper who finally jutted her neck and let her venom spill over. Kalia’s a sidewinder who laterally avoids becoming a prime target. Jordan’s a pretty but potent coral snake. Porsche’s a wriggly garter not worth dropkicking. And Adam — oh, Adam — is an overserved python waiting to perish in a Petsmart window. Hisssss.

The human snakes cackled and snapped like freaky heads on the same Hydra during Sunday’s HOH episode. My god, the loudness. Since there isn’t much to report plot-wise other than Porsche’s delightful HOH win (an impressive come-from-behind victory in that backyard snake-toggle game) and her decision to unlock the Pandora’s Boxoption in the HOH room (which granted her $5,000 but sadly re-enabled the old partner system for one week, giving Rachel and Jordan a fighting chance at surviving Porsche’s inevitable nominations together), let’s look over the best quotes from the screamy episode and figure out which HGs we most tolerate at this crucial stage.

Jeff, in a pre-elimination conversation with Adam: “I’m tired of watching [Shelly] skate by.”
Before getting to the HOH game, Big Brother revisited the confrontation between Shelly and Jeff that led to his eviction on Thursday’s double-elimination night. Rachel blabbed to Jeff that Shelly told of his Cornhole-throwing deceit, which provoked Jeff to approach Shelly and yell at her. Oh, how it turned deadly! When Jeff sensed that Shelly had dropped him to side with Porsche and Kalia, he found his lackey Adam and bemoaned Shelly’s wimpy gameplay. Nice try, Jeff, but you can’t make that point while confiding in the worst, most useless player who ever entered Chenbot Manor. Adam “skates by” like a regular Elvis Stojko! He turns triple axles and lands back in the hammock, every week. He zambonis the Jeff/Jordan rink! This is my main problem with Jeff and Jordan, who once had a stranglehold on the competition: They don’t get why other HGs would want to deceive them or defect. They’re too busy congratulating themselves for being “good game players,” touting their own purity, and ignoring the numbers game that was sure to turn on them. Baffling. They refuse to accept that some players don’t acquiesce like Adam, even though Adam’s behavior is downright bizarre. It’s like how popular people act in high school movies! Look out for Carrie, you two.

Jordan: “Jeff used the veto on Porsche last time, so it’s only fair that she use the veto to save Jeff this time.”
Back to high school: Is that not Mean Girls psychology? “We used Porsche, that underling, as a pawn in our obvious scheme to nab Daniele. She should be thankful, of course!” Sorry, Regina George, but it’s clear that Porsche had no reason to keep you or Jeff around, even if you think she owes you a valentine for, uh, acknowledging her existence. For a former winner of Big Brother, Jordan misread her partnership’s standing in the house.

Rachel, during Thursday night’s double eviction: “Of course Kalia’s going to put me on the block, she’s scared of me. Of course Kalia’s going to put Jeff on the block, she’s scared of him.”
Or you’re both gunning for Kalia’s alliance and she’s right to fight back! Same thing! I truly thought I was going to watch Rachel align with Daniele, desert Jeff and Jordan, and win a new, even cool position in the household. Why am I disappointed? For all of Rachel’s blathering, I’d like to believe she can drop the screamy smokescreen and compete like a champ. But no: She’s construing wrong motives, forcing tears when Jeff is eliminated, and disowning her mistakes. Rachel, you coulda been a weirdly interesting contender at this stage of the game. Now you’re just a surviving member of a dilapidated dynasty. Your brick-red tresses are fading into a dreary fuchsia.

Kalia: “You know what, Shelly? This isn’t the real world.”
Shelly’s histrionics, which include breathless conviction to Jeff and Jordan, chest-beating, and now feigned heartbreak over ruining her “gift” of an alliance, are a bit tiring. I respect her conniving social game, but she buckles, whines, and sputters when confronted. That’s why I quite enjoyed when Kalia — one of Shelly’s new partners — reminded her of the silly, ephemeral nature of the “friendships” in the game, even if she was just indulging Shelly’s devastated facade. Daniele once noted how personally Rachel took the game, but she’d have been just as right to call out Shelly’s blubbering antics. It’s as if Daniele’s stoic spirit is officially ingrained in Kalia, though it’s still difficult to love Kalia as a player. She’s an intelligent woman, but an unintuitive tactician. Guess which of those skills is preferable in the Big Brother house.

Jordan, to Shelly, following Jeff’s elimination: “I gave you a f*cking call home [in the Cornhole game], but I wanted to talk to my family! That’s how you repay me? You lied! You lied the whole time. All y’all wanna follow Daniele because y’all think she’s, like, the greatest! Her season was four years ago! Who gives a f*ck that her dad is Dick?”

Yet again, Jordan reasons that her competition owes her for her petty charity. Didn’t Jordan give Shelly the phone call because she hadn’t spoken to her daughter in weeks? Didn’t Jordan admit that she already has a family member (of sorts) in the house with her? Where is this rancor coming from? It’s like she refuses to understand how Big Brother works. Worse yet, she refuses to understand the privilege she enjoyed in having a partner in the house at all. That partner is the only reason she remains in the game — which makes the second part of that quote, the snipe about Daniele relying on Dick, so ridiculous. Mind you, the “Her season was four years ago!” bile speaks for itself. I just don’t understand rooting for a partnership so entitled and delusional that they can’t conceive of other players acting independently. And do you really want to root for someone who pouts, “I want to go home!” once her boyfriend leaves the house?

Were you as enthralled by Sunday’s episode as I was? What effect will the partnership stipulation have on this week’s gameplay? Is Porsche now the biggest contender for the win? What about Shelly? Rachel? Let your excitement and rage flow in the comments, read me regularly at Movieline.com, and follow me on Twitter at @louisvirtel!