The first episode of BB4: The X Factor is in the books and if J. Edgar Hoover were still alive (hey, did anyone actually see the body?) one would have the distinct suspicion that the U.S. government has gotten to Arnold and the gang. My preliminary read on the set-up of this game is that it favors Jack pretty heavily in the early going, provided he can pull it off. We have Pepsi, Coke and even Mini Coopers strategically placed in movies and television shows to enhance their desirability and prestige. After intelligence snafus and revelations of Agents spying for foreign powers, could this be the ultimate product placement for the good ol' FBI?

With 8 of the 13 hamsters having baggage and targets on their backs due to the presence of their "ex" in the house, the situation is ripe for one of the three houseguests with no such hindrance to play both sides against the middle. Jack, with his 30 years of experience with the FBI, would seem to be uniquely suited to play this role. Jack is by far the oldest in the house, and is the only real authority figure. Past experience shows that older, authority figures usually survive the early rounds quite well, only to falter in the later rounds. The "Generation Next-ers" who heavily populate this house already seem to look up to Jack as a stabilizing factor and seem to respect him. If he plays this set-up to his advantage, as we would expect given his background, he should find himself as one of the last 5 or 6 hamsters. At that point, he most likely will have to change his strategy.

Although Nathan and Dana are also "ex free," neither of them has the same advantages of being above the fray as Jack. They are both of the same general age range as the rest of the houseguests and are "of them." Nathan, further, is most likely going to be the object of romantic attentions from some of the women who already confess to being smitten with his looks. I don't see Jack having that problem, unless Michelle has an Electra Complex (which would make for fascinatingly icky TV). Plus, winning HOH the first week makes him commit publicly to the others where his intentions lie. Dana could surprise me, but so far she strikes me as too outspoken and unable to adopt that Zelig-like nature necessary for one to go far.

And what of that scary-smart strategist, Scott? Is this guy a joke, or what? I would just love to get that Zoolander grill (thanks Bruhe!) across the poker table from me. As Matt Damon's character said in Rounders, if you can't figure out who the sucker is around the poker table, then it's you. Scott hasn't figured out he's the sucker, and probably won't until he sits down to talk with Julie in a couple of weeks. Watching Scott, I am struck that he must have been the role model for Chris Elliot's character in that Fox sitcom of long ago, Get A Life. I'm sure that this guy is still living in his parent's garage and supplements his tips as a waiter with a newspaper route. He no doubt wears those stylish stocking caps to muffle the noise of the gerbil running around the squeaky wheel in his head. The only way Scott will be around for awhile is if Jack finds him useful to do his dirty work. If so, watching Jack run roughshod over this guy will restore my faith in our national intelligence gathering community. Just as Mr. Hoover planned.

But what do I know? I could have bought Krispy Kreme stock in the initial public offering. Invest in doughnuts? You gotta be kidding.