Systematic Chaos

Sorry, Big Brother, Battle of the Block is decidedly not a fan favorite. We're agreed on this, right? It breeds big alliances and strengthens the concept of house unity. Naturally, there will still be a few underdogs, but they will be virtually powerless to change the house dynamic. You essentially need to win both Head of Households. If you don’t, the house majority will throw up their designated Battle of the Block thrower, and they will retain the HOH.

This is one of the rare weeks where the underdog scores, and in Vanessa’s capable hands, they couldn’t lose. She talked about how asinine it is to pretend the house isn’t divided. She swore to demonstratively demarcate the line in the sand.

So she threw James on the block and backdoored Jeff. It was bold. It was powerful. It was—kind of anticlimactic.

Why can’t I enjoy this? Is there something wrong with me? Am I totally anhedonic? I’ve been struggling to quantify this all week, and after much contemplation I trace it back to that fight Vanessa had with Jeff in the bathroom.

Let’s set the stage: Vanessa demands justification for backdooring Jeff, and she recruits Austin to confront him. Austin marches up to Jeff in the bathroom. Austin stares at Jeff intently as Jeff continues his ongoing conversation with Clay and Shelli. Austin places his hands on his hips sassily.

You can tell Austin is not prepared to do this. He stands there for approximately two minutes, waiting for the words to leap out of his mouth. He’s like the guy who approached the pretty girl only to realize that he hasn’t anything to say. Austin is transfixed. Nothing is happening. Jeff will occasionally turn to see if Austin is still looming over him. He is.

Austin finally blurts out, “Dude, are you throwing me under the bus?” Jeff dismisses the notion as absurd. Austin says people have told him that Jeff is dragging Austin’s name through the mud. Jeff tells him that’s a lie, that it makes no sense. Austin then brings up that Jeff said he couldn’t work with Shelli and Clay as a couple.

The adage goes, if you want something done right, do it yourself: Vanessa finally enters the fray and corroborates that Jeff said he never pulled Vanessa into the oft-cited meeting, because it involved Shelli and Clay, and he can’t work with Shelli and Clay as a couple. Jeff tries to reframe that comment. "Yeah," he says, "when you wanted me to come to your alliance, I said that I didn't want to enter it with all of you. Yes." And with that, Vanessa goes bonkers.

Vanessa systematically tells everyone in the house how Jeff lied, how Jeff was the one to approach her with an alliance.[1] She describes their fight in interminable detail and spearheads a public relations campaign to portray Jeff as the male Audrey.[2]

When Jeff tries to make amends with Vanessa and reintroduce Audrey as a target, Vanessa says the following: So I understand that you may have this opinion about what the house which is, I  know in my—I don’t think this house concept even exists. I don’t think there is a  house. I think that’s a silly concept, quite frankly. I think that there’s a bunch of  individuals and a lot of spin going on, and things can be spun as the house. But I  think that is, quite frankly, bs.

This is again a refreshing sentiment, albeit a contradictory one. By baiting Jeff into this desperate fight, she made his backdoor less into a salvo against the other side and more into a defense against this rogue maniac who is slandering the HOH. She is indirectly upholding house unity because she doesn’t want to make herself a target.

Maybe this is a good move for her game. Maybe this covers the tracks of her alliance. But this is not what was promised. This is not drawing the line in the sand in blood. This is meet the new boss, same as the old boss. This is making a big move and trying to convince everyone that it isn’t a big move. And from the viewer’s perspective, this is a big move without the resultant excitement of a big move.

The kicker is that people see through it. They know the fight with Jeff was trumped up and that this outcome was planned the night she won HOH. Her phony justification was largely overdone and possibly insignificant.

I have my issues with Jeff. And although David is quickly metamorphosing into Goliath, I’m still Team Vanessa in this round; I think she is making an extremely good move to take Jeff out of the game. But I am sorely disappointed with the way the week played out.

[1] Vanessa is telling the truth here.

[2] Jeff did not make this difficult to accomplish.