Brendon is gone. Yaiee! Wait a minute... Now that he's gone, who am I going to bash?

From the moment Brendon left, I've been waiting patiently for Rachel to pull a Chima. I've been waiting for a breakdown. I've been waiting for the doubt and distrust to seep slowly into her mind, what with her fiance out there running wild and free on the internet. I've been waiting for the uncertainty about her relationship to start eating at her from the inside until all else fades to black in her mind. As it slowly takes hold, she simply HAS to leave the game to find out if anything is going on behind her back!

Cheating, and the companion emotion of uncertainty leading to insanity, seems to be the new American fad in relationships. I know it's a part of why I've spent the last 15 years alone. Everyone cheats. No one can trust anyone anymore. Well, that's not entirely true. I've never cheated on anyone. And if I'm that way, certainly there must be others who are that way too. Nonetheless, I have been a victim of the cheating on various occasions, and I've been accused of being the cheater on a number of occasions too. Interestingly (or is that 'sadly'), it is usually the accuser who is doing the cheating.

Thinking of things that way, perhaps I can find a new respect for Rachel. Rachel is not slowly going insane with worry about what Bukie may or may not be doing while she's not around. So perhaps Rachel really is true in her relationship?

Never mind for the moment that we have repeated proof that Brendon is not. As if his Skype-gate chat sessions weren't proof enough, we have cold hard evidence of his internet escapades in the form of *ADULT CONTENT* jay-peg images, which can be found online by anyone with the ability to use a search engine. (Hint: You won't have to look far - Check out pics here. To top things off, we have the obligatory YouTube video of Brendon admitting his folly, crying and begging for forgiveness and begging for another chance (they always do!). Well, I'd always heard that penis size is inversely proportional to intelligence. Brendon's YouTube video may just be proof of that!

As is often the case, Rachel took him back. After all, “once a cheater, never again a cheater!” Or is it “once a cheater, always a cheater”? I think it's once a cheater always a cheater, because after all that we've been through with Brendon we have his obvious interest in Dani, as evidenced this season in the Big Brother house. See my previous article “For Crying Out Loud, Man-Up Brandon” for details of his renewed attempts to sabotage his future wedding plans.

So here I am, waiting for Rachel's meltdown... which isn't happening! Quite the opposite, for the moment she seems to be regaining her composure in the game. At first, once Brendon was gone, we had the obligatory sobbing, wailing, and bemoaning her fate alone in the house. But in the past few days, she's been friendly and cheerful. Well, she's been as cheerful as anyone could be who is on the block and the current target of the HoH. She has been kind and friendly for the most part, quite a change from the abrasive, loud, and annoying person we've seen so much of the past 2 seasons.

This season we're seeing a new Dani in the Big Brother House too. For the first time in forever, Dani is in the house without her much-beloved father. I liked the change at first. I liked the old Dani when many people didn't, her first season on the show. And I thought I liked her at first this season, when she was out-going and friendly with Kalia and Dominique. Yeah, I know, that's Dominic-with-a-'c'. But at times Dom seemed as effeminate as Shelly can seem manly (or at least boyish) at times.

But my view of Dani has changed the past couple weeks. Her game play is poorly timed, and not well thought out. Her arguments with Kalia the past couple of days, when she's trying to get Kalia to do her bidding, have been circular arguments without reason or end. Then I had the opportunity of seeing an old clip of Dani from her first season arguing with her dad. Video here: "Dani fights with Dick" (Thank you Dreamer, for that media posting here on Joker's this week). What I discovered was that when Dani was arguing with her dad, her only much-repeated response was “but you don't understand!”. You're right Dani. He doesn't understand. None of us do! Could you elaborate just a little to help him, and us, understand? She argued in circles with Dick just like she argues with Kalia when she isn't getting her way. No one understands! It's starting to get a little annoying, as well as giving me another point of sympathy for ole Evel Dick.

But lets get back to Rachel, shall we? Much like Dani, for the first time we may be seeing the real Rachel on the show now that her obnoxiously-superior 'man' isn't at her side. Now that she's on her own, she is actually making a sincere-seeming effort to be nice to most people. The tears have dried up, the sobs have stopped, and the smile on her face seems to be more genuine than the smirk she wore so often as the condescending queen of the HoH room.

Even more interesting, to me at least, is her relationship with Dani. On Sunday's show during the nominations, Rachel was being aggressive in a way I hadn't seen her before. She sat as close as she could to Dani, who seemed positively afraid of her! “I'm not touching you!” “You're touching my foot!” For the first time, Rachel got a laugh out of me that wasn't directed at her, I was laughing WITH her! She followed that up perfectly when, after the Nomination Ceremony, she walked right up to Dani and asked her “would you like to talk?” Dani mumbled and retreated from her, obviously with no interest in talking to, or being near, Rachel. I hope to see more of that!

Some may think that this is the same-ole same-ole from Rachel, but I find it to be different. It isn't what I think of as being 'catty', which I consider to be stupid and superficial remarks thrown out there in an off-hand sort of way. It isn't the over-the-top obnoxiousness that Rachel so often exhibits with each win, either. Rachel exhibited subliminal aggression, and had Dani with her back to the wall (in a Big Brother sort of way). I liked Rachel's new aggressive tactics towards Dani even more than I liked the aggression Jeff leveled against Kalia on Sunday night's show. Some people may consider Jeff's aggression towards Kalia to be bullying. You can be sure that Kalia thought of it as bullying! But I thought that Jeff was being honest more than threatening. Hey, put me on the block this week, you're gonna become my target. Duh! Unlike Jeff's confrontation with Kalia, to see Rachel starting to find herself this week is like a breath of fresh air.

Who is this new Rachel Reilly that I seem to be seeing for the very first time? Perhaps there is a chance that Rachel can change people's perceptions of her this season after all. Last season she got a (much-deserved) bad reputation with her behavior in the house. As we found out during her talks with Brendon on the live feeds earlier this season, a big reason for her to return was to try to change that image. I didn't see it happening with Brendon hovering over her. But now that he's gone, if she can stay alive in the game a while longer, there is a chance that we will get to meet a new and improved Rachel. There may be hope for her yet!

Of course, she is probably going to get evicted this week. But she does have several chances of remaining alive in the game. Jeff will remove himself from the block with the PoV. Depending on Kalia's replacement nomination, Rachel does have a slight but unlikely chance of swaying votes. And even if (when) she gets evicted, she'll be going up against Cassi most likely in the dual to see who gets to return.

I'm basing my Cassi prediction on JokersUpdates “Rate the Houseguests” daily poll. Cassi has pretty consistently come in third in the rankings (after Jordan and Jeff), while Dominic bounces up and down in the rankings a few places below her. Brendon is consistently towards the bottom of the rankings, and Keith... Well, Keith IS the bottom of the ranking! Dominic does have a chance of beating out Cassi in “America's Vote”, but only a chance. It depends on how America votes, which may show how accurate the “Rate the Houseguests” daily poll really is.

But the point is that Rachel still has a chance to remain in the house, even if she gets evicted and has to square off against Cassi or Dominic. Sure, she's got a battle ahead of her just to stay alive. But this new Rachel that we're starting to see might very well be able to overcome the odds, one way or another, And Jeff's prediction to Kalia has a good chance of coming true also. That prediction? Kalia may have played her HoH poorly, and she may end up having two strong players coming after her in the near future. We'll see!

In the mean time, I'm wondering more than anything who Rachel Reilly really is. I thought I knew, but maybe the winds of change have come to the Big Brother house. Although I would love to see Cassi return to the game, I would equally like to see Rachel stick around for a while now. I'm going to enjoy a Cassi and Rachel match-up to see who returns, if it happens and no matter who wins. I would be happy if Cassi came back into the show. But I would also very much like to see if Rachel goes back to her old ways, or if she really can redeem herself and become a new person on the show. I'm starting to wonder who this new Rachel might eventually become. Would the real Rachel Reilly please stand up?