Last episode we learned important things: Devin is dumb and loud about it. Brittany is both a fine swinger and swigger (yay, wine!). Paola is just horrible at games, and maybe thinking too. And now, because his eviction nominees won the challenge, former co-HOH Frankie is vulnerable to a possible eviction. Frankie is also vulnerable to a deep shampooing by me, because that streak of purple highlighter in his coif is still killing me. Let's get with the recappin'.
8:03: Caleb reminds us that he's “the country boy” — If there's another reality show with contestants who are more than proud to identify as boring archetypes, I don't know it — and is still HOH this week because his nominees, Donny and Paola, lost their match against Christine and Victoria. Donny realizes his fate looks grim and notes that it's “pretty darn scary.” Donny is pretty darn folksy, isn't he? Even when he's talking about how “the young people in the house” are nice to him, he remains quaint as hell as tears fall from his face. Too bad emotions are the true enemy of the “Big Brother” house. You're failing me, Donny!
8:08: Devin is giddy as hell that Donny is still up for elimination, as he has invented some bizarre paranoid theory/fantasy about how diabolical Donny is. “I think he's a great actor!” Devin says confidently as Donny weeps an incredible geyser of real tears. Yeah, Devin. Donny must be method or something.
8:11: In a terrible development, Nicole (not my favorite) and Christine (my favorite) believe in ghosts. Nicole, who has a wide-eyed Babs Bunny face like Aaryn from last year, is shrieking about a ghost in her darkened bedroom — which is interesting considering this is not a real house. It's actually the set of a TV show that is recreated every single year. I feel like ghosts would show up on the monitors, you know? But I'm afraid of what this news will do to Nicole, who is screaming and basically hurling gallons of Ectoplasm at the floor. She believes, y'all.
8:14: Donny goes to bed and Caleb proudly announces that he believes Donny is an ex-military member, since we're in full conspiracy territory with this guy. Devin agrees because Devin is in the mood to believe anything. Frankie, suddenly, is the voice of reason. “Devin believes Donny is a super-soldier,” he tells us, before mocking his theories. “Is he Justin Bieber in a beard? Is he Lady Gaga's new character?” Rarely do voices of reason look like troll dolls with bejeweled navels. “Expect the unexpected,” I murmur in my best sinister Chenbot drone.
8:15: Sorry, “Extant” is a horrible title.
8:18: Donny, in bed across the room from Devin, finds himself saying things like, “Uh, no, I'm not in the military. Sometimes I just wear camouflage. I'm pretty sweet! Are you OK? Are you crying, Devin?” Not exactly that, but close. Devin confesses to us that he feels bad if he has somehow maligned Donny, and then I remember that Devin is a gigantic, military-looking dude who could clearly dominate Donny no matter what. What is going on here.
8:20: Caleb, the remaining HOH, assigns the first Have Nots of the season. He is wearing tiny pink shorts, and as a credited TV critic with a shrewd, incisive sense of quality programming, I will tell you I LIKEZ DEM SHORTZ. He picks Hayden, Joey, Brittany, and Cody, and it turns out the new Have Not room is no place for pink shorts: It is a frozen, icy room teeming with glacier-like furniture. Even the Have Not food is frozen in popsicle form. I would love it if Madonna's “Frozen” were constantly playing, but “Big Brother” is not as cool as my dreams.
8:24: Joey tries to make her all-girl alliance happen, and gorgeous Leona Lewis doppelganger Amber smirks a bit knowing she has something of an alliance with the gents. I'm worried for Joey. Her efforts seem to be alienating her. I like this girl! She recycled once.
8:26: Well, turns out I'm exactly right: Caleb learns about Joey's efforts and immediately pegs her as a threat. She needs to dye her blue hair pink this instant and hide in Frankie's doll pompadour because she just became the only real “target” in the house.
8:29: Weirdly, Joey tells Devin of her failed attempt to form an all-girl alliance. She assumes that guilelessness is a good idea. Devin immediately tells us that she's “the worst player in 'Big Brother' history” because she gave up on her own master plan and dared to be honest about it. OK, I'll grant that she might've made a mistake, but Devin shouldn't be so cocky. He sounds like every ninth-place nothing who ever sat with Julie Chen to lament how he overthought the game. He may as well wear a Nick Uhas t-shirt and try romancing GinaMarie for relevance.
8:32: For the veto competition, Caleb, Paola, and Donny find themselves up against Zach, Cody, and Victoria. Save her, that's a lot of “Bomb Squad” going on. Also, this marks the first time I've heard the words “Zach and Cody” pieced together this season. Let's hope a “Suite Life” alliance is in the very near future.
8:34: Ohhhhh, this veto competition. It's called “Miami Lice,” and everybody is clothed in pastel-colored suits and jumping into a gigantic bathtub to retrieve letters from — oh yes — fake hair. Lice! Miami! Miami Lice. “I need to win this,” Donny tells us. “Or I may be going home. Maybe they think I'm smarter than I let on. [Long pause.] I'm not.” Later he admits that he's purposely going slowly so that he can “keep his thoughts.” Apparently Donny has a medical condition where thoughts spill from his brain when he moves too quickly. The More You Know.
8:38: The object is to collect enough letters from the hairy muck that you can spell a long word. The longest word wins the veto competition. Zach, unsurprisingly, has the best strategy: Because you're only allowed to retrieve the letters one at a time, he stashes a bunch in an easy-to-access, but secret part of the pool so that he always has a place to grab one.
8:40: Time runs out and Zach clocks in with a seven-letter word, “WARNING.” Please cherish this morsel of pseudoo-literacy because Oh. My. God: Caleb, Cody, and Victoria reveal their answers and they all turn out to be misspelled or under-spelled long words. And they didn't think to reorder their letters into a smaller acceptable word either. Just wonderful. And bigger Oh My God — Paola came up with “CALTORU.” Yes, CALTORU. “I was trying to spell 'calculators!'” she explained. You sure were, honey.
8:45: Donny reveals his answer after a dramatic break and it's “SPLITTERS.” He wins! Hooray! What the hell is a splitter? Oh well! Hooray! All that non-military training has really come in handy.
8:48: Joey realizes — somberly — that she's only houseguest who sticks out as a possible replacement nominee. Caleb tells her that she, indeed, got caught trying to plot against him. He pretends to be placated by her honesty. Honesty is the least reassuring thing in “Big Brother.” We'll have to see how much she really saved herself. Cue “Big Brother” voiceover: “IS JOEY COMPOST OR WILL CALEB FIND A WAY TO RECYCLE HER?”
8:55: Donny saves himself (in his kindly prospector coo). Caleb doesn't flinch and throws Joey on the block. Ugh. Of course. “I don't know what's going on in that blue head of yours,” he says of Joey in the diary room. I actually laugh out loud. This is the true tragedy of the episode.
So, who's going home? Paola (who is worthless and should go home as payback for the similar-ish GinaMarie making it all the way to final two last year) or Joey? Seems like the latter to me.