Triple the Expected

Big Brother: All Stars | CBS | Week 8 Eviction(s)

It’s time for a super-sized 2 hour episode of Big Brother: All Stars. Tonight, for the first time, there will be a triple eviction – and hopefully these players will make some big moves.

Cody doesn’t use the veto, so Floater A or Floater B will be evicted. David says he needs to mend fences after he took the $10K in the veto comp. He talks to Cody, and says he was just thinking he wouldn’t still be in the house this week, so he went after the money. Cody says he wants David to stay because Kevin is his target.

Later, Kevin talks to Cody again (bad idea?), and in the DR says he needs to go on an apology tour. He tells Cody he’s not coming after him, and he’s desperate for a teammate in the game. In the DR, Cody says he wanted Kevin out, but maybe getting David out wouldn’t be the worst idea…

Like a good neighbor, Dr. Will is there

The houseguests get a video message from Dr. Will and gather in the living room. He tells the houseguests he was so good at the game because he thought not one, not two, but three steps ahead. With a wink the video ends, and the houseguests freak out at what this could mean… David and Memphis correctly guess it’s a triple eviction; basically the rest of the houseguests hop on board and realize a triple eviction is a possibility.

Enzo and Cody talk about who they need to go after, and Christmas and Tyler are at the top of their list.

Tyler and David compare notes, and Tyler says they need to target Nicole and Dani; Tyler still wants to use David as a number for his benefit. Later, Tyler to talks to Dani and tells her he’s loyal to their alliance, and he wouldn’t come after her. And he’s lying through his teeth.

At the first eviction ceremony, Kevin is unanimously evicted (and there will be a lot less crying in the house). Kevin talks to Julie and says the last time he played he skated through to the final 3, so this was a very different experience. She asks him about his conversation with Cody in which he basically threatened the HoH before nominations, and Kevin says he’s just “weird,” and he didn’t mean for it to go down that way. Kevin listens to his goodbye messages, and cries. A fitting end, since that’s all he did all season. Moving on…

So much Dr. Will

The Dr. Will themed HoH competition – “It’s All About Will” – is another one using the infuriating question block. I hear the Chen-bot saying “Reset” in my BB nightmares. Anyway… Julie asks questions about Dr. Will’s appearances from the BB neighbor house. Dani, Tyler and David are quickly eliminated in the first round.

Nicole is eliminated next, and then Enzo and Christmas – making Memphis the new HoH. And once again a member of The Committee wins. Who will Memphis nominate? David again? Probably.

Memphis indeed nominates David (and Nicole!) for eviction.

Flipping ice to fire

At the first veto competition, Christmas, Tyler (again!) and Dani are chosen by random draw to compete with Memphis, David and Nicole. The players have to run across a balance beam and take a puzzle and flip it around to make another one – a picture of veto and ice into a picture of veto and fire. Christmas finishes first and rings in, but her puzzle is wrong; she fixes the puzzle and runs back to win the veto.

Nicole frantically tells Christmas to pull her off the block, and Christmas listens but goes to talk to Memphis to see what his plan is…

At the veto meeting, Christmas (somewhat surprisingly) decides not to use the veto.

At the eviction, as the houseguests are getting ready to vote, Julie comes on the screen in the living room and a “Triple Eviction” graphic behind her was visible to the houseguests, so they were instantly clued into what was about to happen.

“Triple Eviction” was scrolling behind Julie when she went live. D’oh!

The houseguests vote, and by a vote of 3 to 2, David is the second houseguest evicted. Enzo, despite all his talk, voted to evict David, while Christmas and Tyler voted to evict Nicole. In his exit interview, David says he doesn’t regret taking the $10K, and he’s proud and vindicated from being voted off first last season.

Julie then confirms the triple eviction twist to the remaining 7 houseguests, and they go out to the backyard for the next competition.

So the anti-climactic reveal of the triple eviction twist was kinda on par with this anti-climactic season of Big Brother, wasn’t it?

The infuriating question block is back for the second HoH comp: “It’s All About You.” Enzo, Dani and Nicole and eliminated first. Christmas and Cody and eliminated, and Tyler becomes the new HoH! Dani immediately pulls him aside and says she thinks he’s going to put her up. She says she’s not coming after him and he knows where she stands. Dani leaves and Nicole comes in, and Tyler apologizes to her for voting to evict her (he says he thought Memphis wanted to evict Nicole and it was a mistake…#interesting!).

Tired yet?! At the nomination ceremony, Tyler nominates Dani and Nicole for eviction. A MOVE IS MADE!

Cody, Enzo and Christmas were chosen to play in the second veto comp – “Feet to the Fire.” This uses the puzzle from the first comp, but the players need to take the puzzle pieces from one end of the yard to the other, crossing 2 balance beams, and reconstruct the veto + fire picture. Christmas is eliminated first, and Nicole falls and is eliminated next. Tyler completes the puzzle and rings in to win the power of veto! Good night for Tyler – or he just put a HUGE target on his back!

At the veto meeting, Tyler decides not to use the power of veto, so either Nicole or Dani will be the third person evicted.

Nicole and Dani give their speeches, and Dani calls out Tyler and Christmas for their alliance (and Christmas’ BB basement power which she didn’t use). The votes are cast, and the houseguests unanimously vote out Dani. She reluctantly hugs everyone as she leaves, except for Tyler and Christmas. Christmas says something along the lines of “I guess it’s personal now” and Dani says “guess it is.”

In her exit interview, Dani says she doesn’t like Christmas, and is shocked that Cody didn’t vote for her to stay. Regarding Tyler, Dani says staying loyal to The Committee was probably her downfall; she never felt good with Tyler and Christmas. She says if she had to redo anything, it would be to get Tyler out instead of Ian (good call – Dani does really get the game). Dani says this season has been the most fun she’s had on Big Brother and she’s really sad.

So the big super sized Big Brother: All Stars comes to a close. Kevin, David and Dani are headed to the jury house, and next week we start the cycle all over again! Julie talks to the houseguests, and tells them that no one that has been evicted will be coming back into the game – probably for the better. Because of the COVID of it all, CBS is choosing to air movies on Sunday nights, pushing Big Brother: All Stars over to Monday nights for the rest of the season.

Was this historic eviction all it was cracked up to be? No, but it did speed up the game significantly. The 2 biggest floaters were evicted and Tyler taking out Dani set up The Committee to start turning on each other probably earlier than expected. Will this make for a better game going forward? No, since there’s no one to really root for now – though I guess Tyler is the best option? I appreciate Big Brother for being Big Brother, but things have got to get really good for this “all-stars” season to make any impact whatsoever. Psychedelic salamanders aside. M

Otev’s Groovy Veto

Big Brother: All Stars | CBS | Week 8 Veto

The nominations were predictable, but it’s finally time for Otev! Will the POV shake things up?

After Kevin somehow made himself a bigger nuisance to Cody, Cody put him up for eviction – for the 5th time!

Dani tells Nicole she wants to play in the veto for the prizes; but if she managed to throw it to Kevin or David, she wouldn’t be upset if Christmas was the replacement nominee. In the DR, Nicole says she doesn’t want Christmas to go home, and doesn’t want to go along with plans that will help Dani but hurt her. Logical!

Christmas and Memphis are chatting, and Memphis says no amount of money will keep him from winning the game; Christmas says the same. She says if the veto is used, she could go up. In the DR, she says even though she and Cody are in The Committee, she’s not especially close to Cody.

Kevin tells David that he thinks David’s safe, and they chat. Enzo comes in as Kevin leaves, and tells David that the house is going to get crazy; he says he’s “with” him and Kevin. In the DR, Enzo says he doesn’t want to get rid of either nominee, and it’s time to make some moves. You think? This is All Stars – do something!

Later, Kevin talks about his background to David; he is half black and Japanese, so he doesn’t identify with either group. David tells him to just be “Kevin Campbell.” Great advice! However, this segment seemed oddly placed to me – it seemed like were just trying to shoehorn “an issue” into the episode. #Shrug.

Nicole and Christmas chat, and Nicole says she has Christmas’ back; this gets Christmas thinking… she asks Nicole “is it Dani?” and Nicole confirms. In the DR, Nicole says she needs to start looking after herself, like Dani is. Christmas says she has Nicole’s back, and in the DR she says she’s not afraid to take a shot at Dani.

In the HoH room, Dani, Christmas, Memphis and Cody discuss what people from different states are called. Cody has never heard of any of this, apparently. He didn’t know people from Florida were called Floridians, apparently? The point it, Zingbot was correct. Trust the Zing.

Choosing players for the veto, Cody chooses Nicole, and Kevin chooses Tyler (who legit always gets picked). David wants to pick Enzo, and gets Houseguest Choice, so he chooses Enzo. Christmas gets annoyed at not being picked and says “Call me if I’m a replacement nominee,” tipping her hand that she knows that’s a possibility…

In the HoH room, Enzo talks to Cody and Memphis and they “agree” that Kevin needs to go home. But Enzo’s plan is to put a bigger threat on the block. In the DR he says he can’t even remember the names of all the alliances he’s in!

Otev threw a rave over at Dr. Will’s next door. Really!

It’s Otev time, and this year he’s a … stoner psychedelic salamander! As per usual, Otev asks the houseguests questions, and they have to run through the backyard and find the correct answer; whoever answers last is eliminated in each round, musical chairs style. This year, the answers to the questions are on tie-dye T-shirts, and one shirt is worth $10,000! If the houseguest chooses the money, he/she will be ineligible for the veto.

In the first round (!), David finds the money shirt and takes the $10,000 – confounding all the houseguests (and me!) – and is eliminated.

Tyler is eliminated in round 2, but manages to find and keep an inflatable cow which he names Moo-lan. You can’t make this stuff up, people.

Kevin and Cody race for the finish in round 3, but Kevin is eliminated. Nicole is eliminated next, then Enzo, so Cody wins the Golden Power of Veto!

David’s just happy he won the money, since Cody said Kevin’s his target. But the houseguests’ feathers are all ruffled that David took the money, and Enzo tells Cody they may just have to send David home. Cody asks David what his deal is and tells him to lay low, because he really wants Kevin evicted.

At the veto meeting, Cody decides not to use the power of veto, so Kevin and David remain on the block and someone’s game will come to an end.

But that’s not all – there will also be two other people going home in a TRIPLE eviction! Though this season has been a bit of a snooze, maybe tomorrow’s extra evictions will force these “all-stars” to take some risky shots at some high profile targets. M

A Link to the Past

Weakest Link | NBC | S1 E1: Weakest Link Premiere

The Weakest Link is back! The first U.S. version of this British game show aired on NBC from 2001 – 2003 and was hosted by Anne Robinson, the host of the original version across the pond. Much like Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, the show was a phenomenon when it first aired, and its catchphrase, “You are the weakest link. Goodbye!” became iconic. Tonight, the trivia game show returned with Jane Lynch in the host role.

The premise is this: eight contestants answer trivia questions that are read aloud by the host. Each correct answer earns increasing amounts of money that the contestants need to ‘bank’ in order for the amount earned to carry over into the next round. If a contestant answers incorrectly, the dollar amount goes back down to the lowest amount.

After every round, the contestants vote out the person who they think – for whatever reason – is the ‘weakest link’. Maybe it’s the person who answered the fewest questions correctly; maybe it’s a person who didn’t know the answer to a simple question. Maybe it’s a person someone just doesn’t like!

A narrator lets us know statistically who was the strongest link – most questions answered correctly – and who was the weakest. The contestants vote, and whoever gets the most votes is eliminated. In the event of a tie, the strongest link casts the deciding vote.

The final 2 contestants in the game answer 5 trivia questions each; whoever gets the most correct wins the total amount banked.

While waiting for the vote, the host discusses the questions the contestants got wrong; mean snark usually ensued. Anne Robinson was a steely taskmaster who seemed to make the contestants feel like complete idiots, no matter how well (or not) they did in the competition. She was stone-faced and robot-like, and very rarely (if ever?) showed any emotion at all; the British accent most definitely helped add to her stern character.

Anyone who’s ever watched Glee knows that Jane Lynch can do mean. Her Coach Sue Sylvester, was in fact, extremely mean, biting, and insulting. Unfortunately, Ms. Lynch doesn’t quite get to Sylvester-ian levels of mean with her comments. Here are a few examples of her insults before contestants were voted off:

  • “Who’s rap name could be ‘Lil IQ’?”
  • “Who swims in the shallow end of the gene pool?”
  • “Who thinks Fauci is a type of pasta?”
  • “Who think Quentin Tarantino is an entree at Olive Garden?”

Jane Lynch does a fine job as host, but her shtick seems to be that she’s playfully mean, where Anne was just legitimately mean. I’m not saying Lynch should try to insult and eviscerate every contestant, but her “insults” were really tame, even when making fun of people for not knowing answers. It’s a kinder, gentler Weakest Link. Speaking of which…

Lynch repeatedly calls the show The Weakest Link but the title card and listing in the viewing guide just say Weakest Link. It’s just noticeable enough to make me wonder why they didn’t just call it The Weakest Link everywhere… maybe this will change down the road. #TooMuchTimeOnMyHands.

The first episode was a pretty standard affair, and very reminiscent of the previous version of the show; same blue/black and dark color scheme, same rhythm to the game. The trivia questions spanned an extremely wide range of topics, and were all fairly easy and interesting. The rounds went as such:

Round 1: Total Possible Amount: $25K. Total Banked: $8,000
Round 2: Total Possible Amount: $50K. Total Banked: $0
Round 3: Total Possible Amount: $75K. Total Banked: $9,500
Round 4: Total Possible Amount: $100K. Total Banked: $12,500
Round 5: Total Possible Amount: $250K. Total Banked: $17,500
Round 6: Total Possible Amount: $500K. Total Banked: $15,000

The last 2 contestants, Angel and Jay, competed for the total bank of $62,500, and Angel took home the bank. Not bad for answering some questions!

It was definitely fun to see this show back on TV, and I think I’ll let a few pile up before watching again. If the casting department did its job properly, there will hopefully be some much bigger personalities as the show continues. Something tells me this won’t be the game show reboot everyone’s been waiting for (that would have to be ABC’s Supermarket Sweep), but Link could handily fill the COVID related void until scripted shows come back; if it does well, I think they should keep it – but move it to summer and bump up the snark! M

Tantrums At Sea

Below Deck Mediterranean | Bravo | Season 5 Episode 18: A Real Handful

When we last saw the crew of The Wellington, Chef Tom was mid tantrum about his provisions, and Sandy was telling Malia to stay out of Tom’s business (and his galley). Rob and Jess were blissfully copulating, and the rest of the crew was preparing for the last charter of the season. How time flies!

Tom goes to his cabin, and Malia follows him; he continues his meltdown, and tells Malia “Everything is f***ed.” Malia talks him down, and he goes back to the galley.

In an interview, Sandy says that if the chef is having issues, he should come to her, and not Malia. And she’s not wrong! The problem is Malia is Tom’s girlfriend, and one of the only people on the boat that Tom really knows.

Sandy calls Malia over the radio for a chat. Sandy tells her that she hopes Malia won’t leave the boat if Tom does, and that any issues Tom has with Sandy (or vice versa) shouldn’t affect Sandy and Malia’s relationship. Malia isn’t really okay with that, and tells her Tom isn’t going to leave, but he is her life partner and she basically needs to side with him, no matter what; ultimately though they agree to get the last charter done as best as possible.

Jess radios Bugsy and asks her if she’s expecting more provisions because the provisioner just pulled up on the dock; they deliver oysters, and halibut and scallops on ice. Bugsy takes the delivery and puts the box in the walk-in fridge as Tom goes to talk to Malia, who complains about her meeting with Sandy. Sandy sees Bugsy in the galley and asks her what’s going on, and Tom returns; Bugsy tell him she put the frozen fish away and he gives her an attitude, in front of Sandy. It was really uncalled for, and Sandy gets annoyed.

Sandy and Tom then get into it, as Malia and Bugsy watch; he tells her he’s busy and hasn’t had time to check on things. She asks him questions and he gets agitated and gives her attitude; she walks away from the situation before getting angrier. She calls the crew to the main salon for a meeting, muttering to herself “he can leave,” and she’s the “wrong person to piss off.”

At the meeting, she addresses the provision situation, and tells the crew she wants every one of them to feel supported by their captain; however, she won’t be spoken to the way Tom spoke to her. She gets emotional, and says sometimes it won’t be “the best.” She again tells them to make it a great charter, and they break.

In the galley, Tom asks Bugsy if he was out of order (yep!), but she says she didn’t hear their exchange. In an interview, Tom says again it’s a reputation thing, and he worked in whoever’s 50 Michelin star ultra super fancy restaurant. I mean, who cares, dude? Will you never get a job as a chef again, in any restaurant in the world, if some rich people say they don’t like your food? Sandy is right – things aren’t always going to be perfect, and you have to roll with the punches instead of throwing fits for every issue.

The all-female guests arrive, and the charter gets underway. Malia later gets her team together – including Pete (remember him?) – and tells them she’s going to name a lead deckhand, and as expected, it’s Alex. She thanks them for being a great team and they return the thanks.

Tom looks at the provisions that Bugsy put away, and again throws a tantrum; things still aren’t right, and he pulls Malia into the fridge and they get into an argument. Bugsy is running around trying to see what she can do to help, and runs into Sandy; Sandy tells her to calm down and that Tom’s energy is rubbing off on her. Sandy says Tom has provisions and he can cook, so Bugsy shouldn’t get swept up in his drama.

Tom gets through preparing lunch, with Malia again in the galley; Bugsy delivers everything and the guests seem happy. In an interview, Aesha calls him a spoiled British brat, and she’s not sure how Malia can find that attractive. He loses his mind (again) and stomps down to his cabin, where Malia again follows. Sandy asks the guests how lunch is, and they say everything is amazing.

The guests use the slide and water toys, and are having a great time. One of the guests, Hannah, falls off a jet ski and Malia tells Rob to go check on her; he gets on another jet ski and goes out to her – she’s fine. But as they are chatting, she gets stung by a jellyfish, on her arm. Rob takes her back to the boat and puts vinegar on the area (who knew?), while Jess glares at them from above. In an interview, Jess gets mad and says Rob’s “flirting again.”

Later, Bugsy asks Tom how he’s feeling about dinner, and he says he doesn’t know – and lunch was “just s***”. He says even if the guests are happy, he doesn’t want to give an “inferior” product. Mmmkay.

The guests are sitting around talking and one mentions she’s hungry; Sandy overhears and offers to have the guests start dinner, so they all go up to the table. Later, Bugsy starts delivering all the food and the guests are happy; she tells Tom as much. Tom calls Malia over the radio and asks her for help, and she comes to the galley (again).

The guests are having their own drama as two split off from the group and go to a cabin and complain about the others; later, two other guests do the same! #Drama! Later, guest Hannah runs into Rob and asks him to be in a group photo; he obliges, and Bugsy takes the picture. He stays and chats with the guests for a while, and they are all blatantly flirting with him. Good thing Jess was nowhere to be found!

The next day, Bugsy tells Jess that Aesha and Rob will be going ashore with the guests, and this does not make Jess happy. Before they leave, Jess tells Rob she’s jealous he’ll be with “all the girls,” and he tells her not to be jealous. Before they head out, the guests want to take a group picture with Rob and Aesha; they do, as Jess watches – and Jess sees Aesha touch Rob’s behind when the picture is taken, sending her into a jealous rage… she tells Rob she’ll “punch Aesha in the f***ing face if she touches [his] ass again.”

So the episode can really be summed up by “Tom throws tantrums,” and “Jess is jealous.” Alliteration aside, there was a lot of drama above and below deck in this episode, but most of it came from the galley, with a little Jealous Jess thrown in. She’s a fierce one, isn’t she? Poor Rob can’t even talk to another female without Jess getting batty. It’s almost like they don’t really know and/or trust each other. Go figure!

Next week: Tom gets mad, again! Jess confronts Aesha about GrabGate, and the guests get really picky, leading one of the crew members to call them “high maintenance.” On a super yacht? On Below Deck? Imagine that! M

Here We Go Again (Again)

Big Brother: All Stars | CBS | Week 8 Nominations

It’s week 8 in the BB house, and the houseguests’ new neighbor, Dr. Will, let them know this week they’ll get the chance for either power or prizes. These comps may be interesting!

After the eviction, Christmas asks Nicole who voted to keep Da’Vonne. Nicole lies and tries to throw David under the bus, but Christmas isn’t buying it. Later, Nicole and Dani both lie to each other about their votes #TrustIssues! Dani says she’ll do whatever it takes to get her to the end of the game.

She also reminds us this is the last week she can use her Replay power, which would let Memphis play in the HoH comp this week. Dani tells Nicole she’s leaning towards not using it, which Nicole then relays to Cody. Cody takes this as Dani turning her back on her alliance, since Memphis is in the alliance, and he could potentially be HoH again…

Dani talks to Memphis about the situation and she decides to use the power to “help” the alliance along. Later, the houseguests learn, via the living room screen, that the Replay power has been played, and that Memphis will be taking part.

Tyler sizes up the golf situation

The HoH competition, Going for the Green, is a golfing comp! Each houseguest gets 3 golf balls, with which they can aim for $10,000 or HoH.

They must hit the balls into slots with scores; the left side scores are for the money, and the right side scores are for HOH – whoever has the lowest score for each side wins the prize (so it’s possible one person could win the money and HoH).

The houseguests all go golfing, and Memphis intentionally screws up to not win. 4 players attempted to win the money, and there is a tie for 1st place – Dani and Tyler both got a score of 3, so they each receive $5,000. Not bad for hitting some over-sized golf balls! The fact that they won is not revealed to the other houseguests. Later, Dani and Tyler talk about the comp and neither admit to winning.

On the HoH side of things, with a score of 2, Cody becomes the new HoH, besting David’s score of 7. Another Committee member wins. #Yawn.

Dani tells Cody that Christmas was angry that he won; she wants Cody to go after Christmas, and Cody isn’t opposed to the idea. He says in the DR he’s thinking about nominating David and Kevin, since he’s not aligned with either of them. But later, Enzo tells Cody about Memphis’ double dealing Wise Guys final deals, in order to get rid of Christmas and stop going after the floaters. Yes! Make some moves!

Cody tells Nicole he’s going to put up David and Kevin, and Kevin is his target; if he needs a replacement nominee it will be Christmas. He tells Nicole about the Wise Guys deal with Christmas, and Nicole says if Christmas is evicted, Dani will come after her next.

Kevin talks to Cody and asks him what he can do to not go up on the block; I’m not exactly sure what happened, but Kevin ends up insulting Cody in several different ways. Kevin actually used the phrase “the world doesn’t revolve around you,” if that’s any indication of how the conversation went…

At the nomination ceremony, Cody does the predictable thing and nominates Kevin and David for eviction. So once again, a Committee member wins HoH and Kevin and David are nominated for eviction. Is this cycle ever going to end? Will Kevin ever get evicted, or will he end up winning the game? Enzo says after this week, the “game is going to get crazy.” Promises, promises, Meow Meow. M

Bake or Bust

The Great British Baking Show | Netflix | W1: Cake Week

The kindest competition on Earth is back! The Great British Baking Show (known across the pond as The Great British Bake Off), returned on Friday with a brand new season. As with everything else this year, the show has been modified behind the scenes to take necessary precautions for a certain virus that shall not be named.

For the uninitiated, the baking competition and filming are usually done inside a massive white tent on the weekends, and the bakers go home during the week; they are able to do their day jobs and practice for some of the upcoming challenges.

The 12 bakers in this year’s competition essentially volunteered to be quarantined, and live in (as baker Peter put it), a “wee Bake Off village” for the run of the competition. Ultimately, it seems that in front of the camera, everything will be business as usual.

Paul, Prue, Noel and newbie Matt

Also new this season is comedian Matt Lucas (Little Britain, Bridesmaids), who takes over co-hosting duties from Sandy Toksvig, along with the returning Noel Fielding. Judges Prue Leith and Paul Hollywood once again rate the bakes.

As usual, there are 3 parts to every episode (courtesy of Wikipedia):

Signature Challenge: This challenge is for the amateur bakers to show off their tried-and-tested recipes for bakes they might make for their friends and family.

Technical Challenge: This challenge requires enough technical knowledge and experience to produce a certain finished product when given only limited – or even minimal – instructions. The bakers are all given the same recipe and are not told beforehand what the challenge will be. The finished products are judged blind and ranked from worst to best. They place their bakes behind the person’s photo.

Showstopper Challenge: This challenge is for the bakers to show off their skills and talent. The judges favour a bake that has a professional appearance but is also outstanding in flavours.

Kicking off the competition is Cake Week. Who will be the competition’s first Star Baker, and who will be sent packing?

Signature Challenge

I couldn’t do this in 2 years, let alone 2 hours

The first Signature Challenge is to make a Battenberg – a rectangular cake covered in marzipan – with 2 complementary flavors, in 2 hours.

As usual, the bakers have mixed results.

Baker Loriea’s bubblegum and cream soda Battenberg was flavorful but, as Paul put it, “bone dry” and there were quite a few more dry cakes. Though the bakers mostly knocked it out the park, design-wise, Linda’s ambulance-shaped Battenberg was interesting, but unfinished.

Overall, though, these were beautiful Battenbergs all around even if the flavors didn’t always hit the mark for the judges.

Technical Challenge

Paul’s challenge for the bakers is to make 6 miniature pineapple upside down cakes in 90 minutes. Some bakers said they’ve made them before, but others said they’ve never even eaten one.

What they should look like

In miniature molds, the bakers put cherries and pineapple rings; they then have to make caramel – an always dodgy process – to put on top. Afterwards, they prepare a cake mix, layer in and bake.

Most bakers manage to get their upside down cakes out of their molds properly, but poor Linda’s are a mess. Most bakers also put whipped cream on top of hot cakes, melting the cream all over.

As they’re bringing their cakes up to the front table to be judged, baker Sura is shooing away a fly and accidentally knocks into David, sending most of his cakes flying to the floor. #Gutted! She apologizes profusely, and they pick up the cakes. Matt says they’ll explain what happened to the judges, and that the first two on the plate were fine, so they can judge based on those; which they do!

Paul and Prue rank the cakes, and Rowan, Peter and Sura take 3rd, 2nd and 1st places, respectively.


The first Showstopper tasks the bakers with creating cake busts of their personal heroes, in 4 hours. It must have a head, and must be made mainly from cake.

Some bakers tackle musicians: Marc is going to attempt a David Bowie Ziggy Stardust bust, Linda will attempt a lemon and orange Bob Marley, and Laura will create a Freddie Mercury. Other famous busts include Sir David Attenborough, Charles Darwin, Marie Antoinette and Lupita Nyong’o.

Sura’s Attenborough bust falls over as the bakers leave the tent, and her fellow bakers give her suggestions on how to keep it upright; she opts to lean it on a roll of piping bags.

The ambitious busts are something to behold, including a mouth-less Bob Marley:

After the judging and some deliberation, Matt announces this week’s Star Baker: Peter! Noel then reveals the baker who is eliminated: Loriea.

So the season is off to a great start, and it’s very nice to have this show back in my life. It’s comforting TV, and really is the nicest competition out there – the bakers genuinely help and root for each other while creating some of the most impressive creations out of cake, bread, and anything else that can be baked.

Matt Lucas fits in well with Noel and the judges, and I found myself laughing more at his commentary than I did last season with Sandy; though I think many English comedians could fill the role, he did a great job in the first episode.

After the past 6 months, I for one am looking forward to soggy bottoms, Hollywood handshakes, and all the British humour I can get – and maybe I’ll be inspired to try baking things, again; thankfully, the fire department is only a few blocks away. M

Thank You For Being a Friend

The Boys | Amazon Prime Video | Season 2 Episode 6: The Bloody Doors Off

If last week’s episode was nothing but filler (and it was), this episode was nothing but killer. We got tons of backstory, secrets revealed, allegiances tested, several Golden Girls references, and a whole lot of action. Let’s recap!

Flashback Frenchie

Flashback (1): Frenchie is extolling the virtues of The Golden Girls to Cherie and Jay (Michael Ayres); he says the Girls made their own family, and Cherie and Jay are his Blanche and Dorothy, respectively, and that of course he is Betty White. He holds up a bomb and asks “Who wants to rob a bank?”

The Boys

Starlight tells Frenchie and Hughie she needs her Vought tracking chip removed because Stormfront knows she leaked the story about Compound V. Frenchie uses a small circular saw on Starlight’s neck, and manages to puncture her skin (grossly) and take out the chip.

In home base, Butcher and Kimiko watch Stormfront and Homelander in an interview and Butcher says “they’re f***ing,” keying in on their relationship. Starlight goes back to the underground lair with Hughie and Frenchie; Kimiko hugs her when she see her.

Hughie tells Butcher that Starlight has a lead on Stormfront: dozens of e-mails from Stan Edgar regarding a potential breakthrough at Sage Grove Center, a psychiatric hospital in Pennsylvania. Butcher says they’ll investigate with Starlight, in case Vought comes looking for any of them.

At Sage Grove, Frenchie, Kimiko and MM dress as orderlies. Butcher and Hughie wait in a wooded area with their van, and Butcher watches as Starlight fries a chain link fence so the “orderlies” can get through; they take off running towards the hospital and Starlight heads back. She asks Butcher why he hates her so much, since she hates Vought as much as he does. She says he’s just a bigot and a bully just because of what’s in her blood. Just then, Stormfront arrives at the hospital…

Flashback (2): Later, potentially after said bank robbery, Mallory interviews Frenchie in an interrogation room; she offers him a job working for her. He’s not too keen on the idea at first, but Mallory says Cherie and Jay can go free instead of going to a super-max prison, if he joins her.

MM, Frenchie and Kimiko

Inside, Frenchie tells Kimiko to get on a stretcher, but she motions and he gets on instead; she and MM wheel him through the halls.

Don’t mess with Cindy

The Boys take out a guard and manage to get into the security room, where they see dozens of cameras on cells that contain people with super powers. They watch as a male orderly (Shawn Ashmore) and Stormfront go into one of the cells. They talk to one of the patients and ask about his powers; they say he was admitted because he was suicidal. When he says he won’t cooperate until he can talk to his sister, Stormfront agrees and leaves the room; the male orderly closes the door behind her and lights the patient on fire.

In the control room, Frenchie yells out that it’s Lamplighter, and they have to kill him for what he did to Mallory’s grandchildren. Hughie calls MM and tells him Stormfront just flew away so they need to get out of there. Frenchie gets back on the stretcher and Kimiko and MM wheel him out again.

The Boys pass Lamplighter in a hallway, and he seemingly recognizes Frenchie; Frenchie jumps off the stretcher and Lamplighter tries to attack him with fire, but Frenchie pushes his arm, so he ends up incinerating a nearby door. The patient in the room, Cindy, comes through the door and Lamplighter tries to keep her calm. A guard comes behind Cindy and shoots her several times, but she simply turns around and makes a fist and the guard explodes (grossly). The Boys and Lamplighter run away and barricade themselves in the security room as Cindy crushes all the doors to the patient rooms. The patients come out and start killing all the guards and doctors.

A patient who vomits acid breaks into the security room and attacks Lamplighter, but Kimiko pulls him off and throws him as his acid burns his own face; he dies in front of them. Lamplighter takes The Boys to the drug storage room and tells Frenchie he remembers him: he was following him the night he “torched those kids.” He asks why Frenchie didn’t stop him; Frenchie gets enraged, but is held back by MM.

Flashback (3): In a warehouse, MM shows Frenchie and Mallory an engagement ring. Butcher gets their attention, and Lamplighter walks in. The Boys laugh at the spectacle of his costume and flaming staff and say he looks like a majorette. They’re not wrong! Mallory shows him some pictures, and tells him he’s going to tell them everything he sees and hears in Vought Tower. Lamplighter leaves, and Mallory says she doesn’t like the situation; he’s an animal backed into a corner. She tells Frenchie to follow him.

Back in the hospital, Frenchie helps himself to some drugs, and says he can make a “knockout bomb” with some supplies. He asks Lamplighter why The Boys were still alive; Lamplighter says they “weren’t worth it,” but Frenchie realized Lamplighter never told The Seven what he had done. He tells Frenchie he didn’t know the kids were going to be there, and that it was supposed to be Mallory who died, but once he realized it wasn’t her, it was too late. Lamplighter says he saw Frenchie following him, and then Frenchie disappeared; Lamplighter asks Frenchie again why he didn’t stop him, which MM says is a good question.

Flashback (4): Frenchie follows Lamplighter, but gets a call from Cherie, who tells him Jay is OD’ing. He leaves and goes back home, and tries to resuscitate Jay; he does CPR, gets him breathing and tells Cherie to look after him. He leaves them to go back after Lamplighter.

Frenchie finishes his makeshift bomb, and Lamplighter explains what they’re doing at Sage Grove: trying to stabilize Compound V. Infants take it well, but adults have a random sets of outcomes when exposed to it. Vought wants to create a stable compound that works on any adult; Lamplighter doesn’t know why, he just burns the evidence. Frenchie tells Lamplighter about Jay and why he wasn’t there to stop him; Lamplighter asks if he lived, and Frenchie says he did, but died a few months later from another overdose.

Guilt ridden Frenchie

After a fight with a patient’s Supe penis (let’s leave it at that), The Boys and Lamplighter try to make their way out of the hospital; they come across Cindy, and Frenchie throws his bomb near her. Gas comes out but she just crushes and breaks it. As she’s turning towards them Stormfront comes in and zaps Cindy, knocking her out, as she yells out for Lamplighter. He goes out and leads her away from The Boys; she leaves and he rejoins them.

The Boys take an ambulance and get away from the hospital; in a wooded area they regroup. Frenchie apologizes to Kimiko for trying to ‘save’ her; he thought he could make up for the things he did, but she never asked to be saved and she can’t absolve him. He says he’ll leave her alone.

A car comes to meet them, and Mallory gets out; she asks where “he” is. They open the ambulance and Lamplighter is sitting there; Mallory pulls her gun on him, and he says she’d be doing him a favor if she did it. Frenchie begs her for his life, but she says she has no choice; Frenchie says Lamplighter is tormented by what he’s done and she’d just be ending that torment. She asks Frenchie what they should do with him…

Butcher, Hughie and Starlight

Hughie is watching the carnage at the hospital, while Butcher tries to call MM. One of the patients comes near Butcher, Starlight and Hughie, and he releases a burst of energy, knocking Starlight and Butcher back and flipping the van with Hughie inside. Butcher shoots the patient dead, and checks on Hughie, who’s been impaled through the stomach. Starlight tries to use her powers to cauterize the wound, but her powers are drained; Butcher and Starlight take Hughie to get help.

They stop a passing car and try to commandeer it, but the driver gets antsy and pulls a gun on them. To get Butcher to stand down, Starlight uses her powers on the man, who flies back and hits his head, inadvertently killing him. She takes some power from the car to cauterize Hughie’s wound; Starlight and Hughie get in the back of the car, next to a car seat, and Butcher drives as they leave the scene.

Butcher tells Starlight he appreciates what she did, and that she didn’t have a choice. She tells Butcher maybe once she would have cried over the situation, but now that man was just another person in her way. Butcher seemingly approves, which angers her; she says they are nothing alike.

Butcher and Starlight get to a hospital, where Hughie is treated; Starlight talks to the doctors and tells Butcher that Hughie should be okay in a few days. They bond over Hughie’s kid shampoo and Axe body spray; Starlight says Hughie never gives up on them, and that he’s too good for them.

The Supes

Homelander and Stormfront find a man who just committed a robbery in an alley; Stormfront forcefully knocks a gun out of his hand, potentially breaking his hand. They discuss what to do with him, and say if they take him to the cops he’ll just be back on the street the next day. As Stormfront rubs his crotch, Homelander crushes the man’s skull and they proceed to have sex next to his corpse. #Classy.

Stormfront leaves Homelander to go to Vought Tower, and he waits in his trailer. Later, he sets the trailer on fire – from boredom, or anger. Stormfront comes back, and Homelander says he knows she didn’t go to the tower. She says she’ll explain, but he asks her why she would need to explain anything to him.

At Vought Tower, Stormfront finds Homelander in her apartment and tries to explain the situation. She says she’ll never lie to him again and tell him everything. She shows him a picture of her with an old woman – her daughter, Chloe – who died of Alzheimer’s a few years ago. She says she was born in 1919 in Berlin and shows him more pictures of her: in Nazi Germany, and in a wedding photo with her husband, Frederick Vought (!), who gave her the first successful injection of Compound V. She says Frederick didn’t care about superficial nonsense, only about fighting back at other races. She says Homelander will lead their army and that she loves him with all of her heart. She says neither of them need to be alone ever again; he turns and kisses her as The Golden Girls theme plays.


Alastair and Fresca, trying to recruit A-Train

The Deep comes to visit Queen Maeve on the movie set, and he tells her he didn’t find the ‘black box’ but he’s got aquatic friends keeping an eye out. He gives her a camera from ‘the wreckage near Iceland,’ and she tells him if he wants to get back into The Seven he can’t say a word about ‘this’ to anyone.

Ashley shows A-Train the video for his potential “anthem,” then A-Train talks to The Deep, who’s presumably just came from Maeve’s trailer. The Deep offers A-Train a Fresca while pitching him on the Church of the Collective. A-Train has dinner with The Deep and Alastair Adana, who tells A-Train he can help him with all his problems. Convenient!

Later, Elena finds the camera hooked up to Maeve’s phone and watches the footage – it’s Maeve and Homelander leaving the hijacked plane (from season 1) to crash. Maeve says she’s going to show that to Homelander in order to get him to leave them alone, or else she’ll leak it to the press.

Literally elsewhere, a hitchhiker is walking down the road, and it’s revealed to be Cindy, who finds a ride…

The Wrap Up

What a crazy episode, with so much exposition! We finally learned more about what happened to Mallory’s grandkids, and the roles that Frenchie and Lamplighter played. We learned what Vought is up to at Sage Grove, and the role Lamplighter is currently playing. We learned about Stormfront’s history, and what she really wants from Vought and Homelander. We learned not to mess with Cindy, who may come back to haunt Stormfront at some point. And we learned Maeve is going to try to blackmail Homelander into leaving her and Elena alone (which can’t end well).

I enjoyed how Butcher and Starlight seemed to bond over their mutual affection for Hughie; it showed how hardened Starlight has become since this started – she’s certainly no longer the idealistic, wide-eyed young girl that came to The Seven.

I’m still not a fan of the Church of the Collective subplot; since The Deep and A-Train were kicked out of The Seven it seems like they’re reaching for reasons to keep them around. With so many characters they should either cut them out, or find some way to bring them back into the fold. I did like tying The Deep and Maeve’s storylines together; A-Train and The Deep could be double agents working for The Seven but also for their own agendas…

There was so much stuff going on in this episode that probably also sets up some things for the end of the season… With some Supes like Lamplighter and Starlight (seemingly) on The Boys’ side, and Maeve turning on her team leader, the only logical conclusion is a huge showdown between Homelander and Stormfront vs everyone else, right? M

Like a Good Neighbor, Da’Vonne Was There

Big Brother: All Stars | CBS | Week 7 Evictions

Now that Zingbot’s had his fun, time to get back to the game! Who will be evicted: Da’Vonne or Kevin?

Tyler is determined to break up some side alliances, and Memphis and Christmas are starting to see his point of view…

Dani says she really wants Day to stay in the house, but she doesn’t know if she has the votes to keep her. Day says she’s not campaigning to stay because she doesn’t want to give anyone the satisfaction. Day tells Dani (in front of fellow nominee Kevin!) she’s going to ask Christmas and David what they’re thinking and maybe she’ll have the votes to stay.

Kevin talks to Memphis and Memphis basically tells him he’s safe. Later, Kevin tells Day that he thinks it was Nicole who flipped the vote on Ian. #Correct! Day doesn’t think it’s the case, but goes to ask Nicole about it. Nicole lies (again) and tells Day she voted to keep Ian; Day trusts her more than David so she believes her. Nicole, to herself, says she has “to tell her.”

Memphis talks Enzo into getting into 2 final 3 alliances; one with Cody (“Wise Guys 1”) and one with Christmas (“Wise Guys 2”). Interesting?

Dani talks to Christmas about keeping Day, but Christmas wants to break up a potential Dani/Nicole/Day alliance. Christmas then talks to Memphis and she suggests using David to take out other people in The Committee by offering him safety for the next 2 weeks. Honestly, this is a pretty smart move to make. Later, Christmas talks to David and feels out the situation. She says she knows David voted to keep Ian, and they seemingly make a deal to work together (with a pinkie swear).

At the eviction ceremony, Da’Vonne gave a lengthy (and great!) speech about the black women who came before her in the BB house, and says she strives to see someone who looks like her in the group of people who have won the game. Ultimately and unfortunately, though, Day is evicted by a vote of 5 to 2.

In her exit interview, Day says she’s relieved because she was sick of those people. Understandable! She says they chose to keep Kevin because he can be used, while she can’t. In the goodbye messages, she learns about The Committee, and Nicole finally comes clean about voting out Ian. Day says she knew about all the alliances, but was shocked about Nicole. She says she doesn’t know how to feel about Nicole, because Day asked her personally about David’s vote, and she lied to her. She wants a margarita on the way to the jury house, and after the time she’s had, she certainly needs one! So no more DR shenanigans, or hearing “Julie girl,” when voting; Day has left the building, and this season got much less entertaining.

After the eviction, Julie calls the houseguests to the living room to unleash the latest twist. In the neighboring house, outside above the backyard, Dr. Will Kirby (!) comes out in a bathrobe and tells the houseguests that for the next HOH and veto competitions, the houseguests can either choose power or money… will this shake up the game? Possibly? Or maybe some houseguests will become a little richer.

Probably more interesting is the fact that next Thursday will be a triple eviction (the game’s first?), and Otev will make his triumphant return this week. Here’s hoping to expect something unexpected with all these developments! M

Return of the Zing

All Stars! And David.

Big Brother: All Stars | CBS | Week 7 POV

There’s a reason Big Brother contestants say “pawns go home.” With that in mind…

After the nominations, Da’Vonne says if David’s the target, she’s good with that! After an emotional conversation in which Kevin says he really appreciates Day,

Memphis chooses Tyler, Day choose Nicole with Houseguest Choice, and Kevin chooses Dani with Housegust Choice. In the DR, David says both Day and Kevin got houseguest choice and didn’t choose him, so that’s pretty much it. Tyler is also suspicious that Nicole and Dani were chosen, since he thinks they’re working with Day.

Dani tells Nicole they either need to lose the veto or use it on Day; Memphis tells Nicole, Tyler, and Dani to just throw the comp so he can back door David. Tyler and Dani both aren’t down with Memphis’ plan. Memphis later tells Day and Kevin about his plan; in the DR Day says she doesn’t trust any of these people so she’s going to fight to win.

In the DR, Tyler says David is by himself, so why back door him, if he’s a potential number? Tyler talks to Cody and he agrees back-dooring David shouldn’t be high on the priority list.

Now with 40% more Zing

The houseguests get a rude awakening in the form of Zingbot… dressed as Tiger King? Sure, why not. His zings, as per usual, were pretty lame – but on point: David is not an All Star. Cody isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed. Kevin is boring. Nicole is whiny.

Anyway, the POV comp is set in Zingbot’s zoo. The houseguests must race inside a hedge maze and return stuffed animals to their respective cages; whoever does this the fastest wins the veto. After the comp, the person who “sucked the least” (Zingbot’s words) was Tyler, with a nice and speedy time of 2:55.

Memphis tells Day and Kevin they’re probably fine, but he’ll talk to Tyler. When they do talk, Tyler says he’s not really on board with Memphis’ plan; he explains why David isn’t a threat, but Nicole, Dani and Day are. #Obviously!

At the veto meeting, Day says she’s not going to ask Tyler to use the veto, and he in fact does not use it.

So either Day or Kevin will be evicted on Thursday, and Tyler actually made a proper move in the game! In my mind this puts a huge target on Day because Kevin has been floating along all season. Christmas says she’s not going to use her special power to help either nominee, so I have a sneaking suspicion Day will be seeing Ian later this week – and the house will, unfortunately, get 100% less funny. M

Sous Chef Wanted

Below Deck Mediterranean | Bravo | Season 5 Episode 17: Something’s Fishy

As we rejoin the crew of The Wellington, we again see the scene from last week of Tom getting angry at Aesha – for apologizing to him and crying.

Bugsy sees Aesha is upset and talks to her about the situation, and apologizes to her (#irony); in an interview, Aesha appreciates how approachable Bugsy is.

Tom is annoyed about Cucumbergate; Malia apologizes to him, and he doesn’t go off on her. He says he’ll apologize to Aesha, but the damage is already done. Later, Sandy comes into the galley, and Tom says nothing to her; she feels that he’s angry and leaves. Sandy says he can either stay mad or choose to let it go. Even later, Aesha comes into the galley, but Tom is busy cooking and doesn’t address her, either. Later, Tom finally apologizes to Aesha and says he’s sorry he took out his anger at her.

Because Team Wellington lost at Frisbee, the crew wears Speedos over their uniforms and for some reason stuffs them with… small towels? Not only didn’t their Speedos look suggestive, they just looked like they stuffed towels in them. It was odd.

Tom talks to Malia and says he’s there because of her, and he doesn’t want to be angry around her all the time. Which he has been, since the second he came on board. That night, dinner is delayed because the primary isn’t ready, and Malia is hanging out in the kitchen helping Tom; later, she helps Bugsy clear plates – something I don’t remember any other bosun doing, frankly. When the guests rib her for not wearing a Speedo, Malia throws one on; ultimately they’re happy with the food.

Rob and Jess decide it’s a good idea to be on a lower deck getting friendly as the guests eat dinner above them. Malia notices them, and tells them they need to cut it out. You’d think this would be obvious, but Rob says “Little Rob” took over his thinking.

The next day, Sandy comes into the galley and greets Tom, and he doesn’t address her; he’s still being frosty towards her, but tells her he’s just tired. Malia texts her mom, Mary, and says she’s been traveling around Spain and will be at the dock when they arrive; Mary watches The Wellington pull into port. She greets Malia, Sandy, Busgy and Tom on the dock as the crew gets ready for the guests’ departure; later, Malia shows Mary around the boat, and then Mary leaves.

When the guests leave, the primary guest gives a little speech and instead of a tip, gives each crew member a card that represents an invitation to a weekly Tuesday dinner at his house in Malibu. At this point, it should be obvious as the show goes to commercial that he’s going to turn around and give them an envelope full of cash as a real tip. This season has had its fair share of drama, but it’s also been the season of fake outs. Catastrophic power outage?! Nope. Guests didn’t like the food?! Nope. Different guests didn’t like the food?! Nope.

Obviously, the guy gives a real tip. At the tip meeting, Sandy says people are getting tired, and brings up Cucumbergate; they have one more charter in the season, so she wants everyone to finish strong. Later, Malia and Tom talk about the tip meeting and Tom is annoyed the Sandy called him out. In an interview, Malia says she sees both sides but is conflicted.

The crew goes out, but Rob and Jess stay on board to Netflix and chill. At dinner, Alex says half the people there (Tom, Bugsy and Aesha) weren’t there in the beginning of the season – which is kinda crazy. I have to think this has been the most turnover of any season of Below Deck history. #JusticeForKiko. Nearly as bizarre is the fact that Pete (remember him?) is there, but severely edited out of the season. Not saying it’s not deserved; it’s just strange how this dude is just part of the show, but no longer part of the show.

The next day, the crew gets ready for the final charter. Malia tells Sandy she’s going to name a lead deckhand for the last trip… gee, who could it be? Rob, who Malia constantly reprimands, Pete (remember him?) or shining star Alex? Hmmm.

Provisions arrive, and the crew gets to loading them up. Tom is annoyed that the fish delivered is not refrigerated, and calls Malia into the galley to see the state of things. Malia goes to get Sandy to explain what’s going on, and Sandy tells her Tom should be talking to her about it. Tom does, and asks what they should do, and Sandy calls the distributor, who talks to Tom. The guests are arriving in an hour, and they need the fish for lunch, and Tom can’t serve the fish as it was delivered.

Tom gets frustrated, calls Malia and tells her he’s done; he asks how he’s supposed to get everything done… Sandy calls Malia out of the galley and says she needs to stay out of the galley and Tom’s business. She says Malia is filtering information from Tom, through her, and he needs to talk to Sandy directly. Malia says Tom is going to walk off the boat, and she says to let him…

So Tom is still angry, Jess and Rob are heading for trouble (involving a guest!) and tensions flare as everyone gears up for the final charter (and final two episodes) of the season! What a crazy season it has been – and I can only imagine it will end just as crazily as it began. Here’s hoping. M

Captain’s Log

  • Jess (sometimes) still can’t figure out Aesha’s name, and calls her ‘Ayeesha.’
  • Aesha asks if there’s any sexual tension between Bugsy and Alex or “if it’s just a drunk thing,” but Bugsy awkwardly says there is no tension.
  • Alex asks Aesha if it was awkward jumping into this charter season, and she says it most definitely was.
  • On the boat, Rob and Jess discuss what they’re doing after Bali; later, they go to bed in the guest cabin (after getting permission from Bugsy).
  • Why isn’t there someone dedicated to helping the chef on these charter seasons? Pay someone something and have them be a sous chef! The chef position is a full time job and probably the most stressful!
  • The trailer for the new season of OG Below Deck has dropped, coming this November. Let the shenanigans at sea continue!