Cliques gone as Big Brother brings back coup d’etat; viewers pick who gets overthrow power

The game-changing Big Brother “big announcement” was announced last night, and it’s a twist that we’ve seen before–one that led to absolutely no drama at all, because it was never used; plus, all the houseguests now know what the “mystery” power is. Meanwhile, the stupidly implemented organization of houseguests into cliques has been dissolved, which was so obviously going to happen that the houseguests guessed it was coming when Julie told them to gather in the living room.

First, Casey was eliminated, giving a speech about “Ronnie the manipulative dork hippopotamus with the god complex. Jessie, the self-absorbed smedium (?)-wearing egomaniac with the personality and IQ, ironically enough, of a banana. Now, both of these guys stabbed me in the back, and they’ll do the rest of you all–know that.” He tried to start a fight with Jessie on his way out the door, but only Natalie responded, and Casey said, “go make Jessie a sandwich.” Classy. Then the mindless drones in the studio audience applauded for Casey for some reason.

The producers also brought back that insufferable family shit to tell us about Jordan and Jeff’s showmance, intertwining interviews with family with footage of their relationship. Alas, I don’t care enough about the houseguests to meet their camera time-hungry family members. The HOH competition was an endurance challenge involving being suspended from the air and slammed into a large, soft, flesh-colored penis–I mean, diploma. Because they “graduated” from the cliques? Get it? Ha. Oh. (The contest is already over; highlight here if you want to know who won: Russell. For details, see this and this.

Meanwhile, Julie Chen announced the coup d’etat, which was introduced mid-season in season seven and won by Mike Boogie, who had it taken away because he told someone about it. Julie said last night that for the next two live evictions, one houseguest will have that “mystery power” that can be used to “completely change the course of the game,” adding that “It must be kept a secret until the moment it is used.”

The coup d’etat allows the holder to replace one or both of the nominees immediately before the live eviction, which essentially means the entire game (the HOH and POV) will be completely ignored if it’s used. Also, if Ronnie is one-fifth the superfan he thinks he is, he already knows what the power is, and so do other houseguests, and there’s no prohibition against talking about what it might be. And guess what? That has already happened, so everyone knows.

Viewers get to choose who gets it, and we can now vote for which houseguest gets the power. (Votes cast before 9:20 ET were “disqualified due to technical difficulties,” according to the site, which apologizes “for any inconvenience.”) I honestly don’t know who to vote for, because while I’d usually vote for the person who would turn things upside down the most, I honestly don’t think that’d be anyone. They all seem to be playing pretty predictable, surface games.

Too bad we can’t vote for ourselves to get the coup d’etat and then put the entire cast up for nomination and vote them all out, and get a replacement cast to see if this season can be salvaged.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.