Barbarian At The Gate

Devin Shepherd (right) holds a heated discussion on Saturday morning with Caleb Reynolds.
Devin Shepherd (right) holds a heated discussion on Saturday morning with Caleb Reynolds, not pictured.

There are weeks watching this show that there’s very little to talk about. This was not one of those weeks!

Joey Van Pelt, who entered the house first, was also the first evicted, an unprecedented event in US BB history. Scott Weintraub also entered first and left first back in season four, but his departure was an expulsion, not an eviction. Joey’s game seemed doomed from the beginning, as she instantly tried to form an all-gal alliance, and was eventually busted for it by Amber Bozotra. While first cycle HOH “de tutti capi” (boss of all bosses) Caleb Reynolds will get credit for the execution, but give Amber a huge assist, a bit of an oddity despite their relationship mainly based on Caleb’s grossly unrealistic expectations.

Many in social media (and host Julie Chen parroted this Thursday night, a clue that she mails in her appearances on the show and isn’t the most aware of what is happening) thought Joey played a horrendous game. I’m not that convinced. The only people that determine how good your game is are the people you play with. Joey didn’t catch good breaks early, and every move she made thereafter only accelerated her downward spiral. She was probably not the best of the “first out” players strategically (I think Sheryl Braxton and Mike Lubinski deserve that distinction), but definitely one of the most entertaining.

Donny Thompson replaced Van Pelt as a member of Team America, the in-house alliance that “we” vote to control, with two more to follow by the end of the week. As mentioned last week, I feel that these devices that let “us” (note how many times I use certain words in quotes, people) decide what houseguests do are totally unnecessary, as it seems to be open manipulation. Without getting into the various conspiracy theories that I already have in this blog (and one point of fact from BB8), I’d much rather see the houseguests play their own games, such as they are.

Amber and Devin Shepherd emerged as the HOH finalists (I find HOH too broad a team for the supersized structure of the early game, sorry) with Devin going around in the hours leading up to nominations telling certain houseguests who’re going up. The only problem with that is, Amber and Devin found a copy of the rule book and read how telling nominees what’s about to happen is illegal. Sure enough, three houseguests told what was about to happen were indeed nominated, and production failed to enforce a rule MENTIONED A FEW HOURS EARLIER ON THE FEEDS!

If you haven’t gathered it yet, this is what drives me crazy about the show. A rule one year that’s enforced isn’t a rule another year and goes unenforced. A fight one year that leads to no ejections (like the Beau Beasley/Janelle Pierzina drunken fight during BB6) is an expulsion another year (Willie Hantz, BB14). I’m starting to think the rules are just devices meant to be bent, as long as no one gets hurt, and when I think about it, there are more precedents of that then there are of an air-tight game, played above board. I mean, imagine a baseball player hitting a fly ball into the outfield, caught by an outfielder,  and the umpires ruling it a home run.

Shepherd emerged as the sole HOH after the second Battle of the Block, and like a few HOH’s in the game before him, he isolates himself to the point where nobody, not even his bestie Caleb, can’t make any sense of him. Devin is an intriguing character but doesn’t do the stereotype of ballplayers being narcissistic prima donnas any good playing on this particular reality show. Even he himself realizes his time in the game may be likely coming to an end, and that he will not win the season. Probably true, unless a natural disaster swallows up the other houseguests, and Devin somehow survives.

Devin and Caleb got into it when it was suggested that the house didn’t want Brittany Martinez, a nominee along with Paola Shea, to be the one evicted next Thursday, and would get rid of “Pow Pow” instead. Devin reacted like someone ridiculously out of touch with the rest of the house, alleging that Caleb’s friend Amber (which would have been the big story this week if not for this fight) is the one suggesting such treasonous talk. Shortly after that, Devin declared his massive alliance of the Bomb Squad dissolved, fitting for somebody who only seems to know how to figuratively blow up the things around him.

On Saturday night, all was forgiven. But Caleb drops a bombshell on his way out of his meeting with Devin, that members of the former and now current Bomb Squad said they wanted the minor league ballplayer out. With minutes left before the POV competition starts, Devin calls a group meeting, and it doesn’t go well. Other members of the house crash the meeting, and before things could get good, the house is summoned to the competition! (CRUMB!) Looks to me that Devin was saved by the bell there, as the meeting seemed to be turning against him as the feeds were cut. Yet again, Mr. Shepherd catches a break from the powers that be.

Finally, Devin consolidated his power by winning the second POV contest. Shortly after his win, his behavior got even more bizarre, as he negotiated to save the very person who appeared to be his prey this week, Brittany. He had promised to save Paola a few days prior to this but instead wanted to make a “power move” to advance his purposes in his game. While advancing his cause is what I’d expect to him, how can the rest of the house take him seriously when he speaks of having integrity and carries out the exact opposite?  With another day ahead of him, what other plans will change?

Talk to you next week.


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