Kaysar changes the game, nominates old ally Eric

Finally. I’ve watched Big Brother for six years, waiting, and hoping to be truly awed, rather than wishing I’d spent the past hour organizing my shoes. Last night, it arrived: the perfect episode.

There have been good moments before, even during Big Brother, but from start to finish, the eighth episode of Big Brother 6 was completely coherent and utterly compelling. The challenge was dramatic, photogenic, and significant. And the whole episode involved the ultimate power play, rivaling some of the best we’ve seen in five years of competitive reality TV.

Kaysar’s plan to disrupt the cocky, smug alliance worked flawlessly, as did his plan to form a new alliance. (Undoubtedly, that will fracture in the coming weeks, so this lays the groundwork for more drama; even if it doesn’t split, watching the final six battle will be great television.) Along the way, Kaysar exposed the pairs of players who were working together, and destroyed the dreams of those who hoped to coast through the game. By nominating James and Maggie, he pushed exactly the right buttons, and now he’s turned on former ally Eric.

Naturally, those who were in the minority were upset. Finding sympathy for them–like Ivette, who bawled because her security blanket had just been pulled out from underneath her–was difficult. This is where Big Brother differs from middle school: The nature of the game allows those in the trampled-upon minority to change their fate by doing something other than growing up to be successful rather than losers who move back home to work at the Taco Bell after they hook up with the same person they’ve been dating since seventh grade.

Undoubtedly, Julie Chen and the awkwardness of the live eviction episode on Thursday will manage to fuck up this satisfaction I have. But for now, bravo, Allison, Arnold, and friends.

The Old Bait & Switch Spells End for Big Fish Cappy [CBS]