**NOTE: This recap contains spoilers. Please do not read on unless you want to find out what happened on "Big Brother Canada"!**
Who knew an episode of "Big Brother Canada" that featured an 11-0 unanimous vote and closed with several shots of bobbleheads modeled by the contestants' likeness would be so ... underwhelming? If anything, I just wanted more.
Certainly not more from Anick, the obvious first boot, who proves "A" stands for alienation in regards to her relationships with the other houseguests. Or, of course, from the "MYSTERY HG(S)?" who carved out nearly 10 precious minutes from the end of the show. The show's best moments came from the quick-cut confessionals following Andrew's ill-timed drunken rants in a Jamaican accent, or Anick's oblivious response to Ika and Kyle's Reiki-prompted snickering.
If only we had seen more from the 15 contestants already playing the game, and some of their interpersonal dynamics. Why, exactly, is Neda following Paul in and out of the HoH room? Is Rachelle related to "Degrassi"'s Annie Clark? Do people suspect Kenny is gay? Are there any early alliances? So many questions! So many non-answers!
A 44-minute show stuffed with a nomination ceremony, a veto competition and POV meeting, eviction votes and subsequent exit interview, and new twist explanation is fine and good for a double eviction episode, or Power Shift, several weeks in. But it was simply not a good use of this prime real estate of a second episode, in a beloved and well-regarded Canadian reality series. We don't even know these contestants yet, and for the most part, it's hard for Canucks to even pick Jon or Arlie out of a lineup, despite their adorable Diary Room hallway ice dance.
Why couldn't we have gotten more from Paul's Godfather-esque HoH reign (which, c'mon, was ridiculous), or a strategic explanation as to why Ika, a fellow parent in the house, received the replacement nomination? Catching up on nearly eight days of first impressions in one episode is hard enough, but it certainly doesn't need any other filler, which is what the Mystery HG contest feels like ... at least, for now.
In fairness, I had similar complaints last season, when -- spoiler alert -- Kat got kicked out of the house first, by a vote of 11-1. Needless to say, from what we did see so far, there looks to be a well-cast, dynamic group of characters this time around. Also, I could definitely watch Ika roll her eyes all day long.
Paul's first HoH nominations seemed to be predictable, yet fair choices. His picks of Andrew and Anick, the two who immediately rubbed the others the wrong way with their alcohol-infused or alternative energy, were certainly justified by the few scenes we were shown. Plus, Anick stepped off the ice block first in the HoH competition. Well, that, or Paul was following some version of Dr. Sean Kenniff's alphabet strategy from 2000's "Survivor: Borneo." He could have started from the top and now he's 'ere.
Still, Heather said it best, saying, "Anick has a very different personality," to which Kyle followed with, "Right out of the floodgates, this girl is throwing that s**t around ... You're scaring me! I don't trust her."
Girl, maybe if people are laughing at your Reiki practices and customs right off the bat, it might be a good idea to put the feather away, and think about what else you can offer the house. Food for thought, though I did like her exit quote to Arisa: "I don't think the world was ready for the love revolution."
"Big Brother," after all, is all about adaptability and relationships, something we saw Andrew come to terms with once he didn't retrieve his key to safety. Motivated by both his nomination and, perhaps, with his own isolating behaviour, knocked it out of the park during the superhero Power of Veto competition. Well, it could have been that fuel mixed with a little wrench know-how, but, these are things. Yet, if you're wearing a helmet, why not rip through rubber netting and race to that Veto, right?
Much like my esteemed colleague Chris Jancelewicz pointed out yesterday, this house is bigger, bolder and better than last year's, and that line of thought also applies to the improved quality and production value of the "BBCan" competitions. Custom spandex! Monogrammed helmets! A "Big Brother Canada" emblem! And even lipstick-to-lycra co-ordination for Anick. What more could you want from a kinetic Veto challenge? As an aside, the ugly POV logo and necklace remains, but this time, it's fashioned in a titanium colour, and not a transparent plastic. Another step up!
Two episodes in, and already, the show is off to a great start -- at least from what they've let us see from the competitors. But we need to see more of a contestant-twist balance in terms of show timing. Hopefully that changes this week, with three episodes to go before Canada picks their Mystery HG. But, we've already seen some improvements from Episode 1 to 2, even if the show can't take credit for them.
Kyle, a.k.a. "Unbuttoned Shirt Guy," has been delivering in the confessional department and only unfastened three of his shirt buttons for his eviction vote. Progress! We also saw a very noticeable one-five hand gesture from both Sarah and Sabrina as they voted, so maybe the first-five-into-the-house alliance of these two, Kenny, Arlie and Andrew is holding firm. Who knows? Maybe it could even last longer than Quattro! Speaking of which, how much attention goes in to grooming Kenny's chest hair? I'm already impressed.
"Big Brother Canada" Season 2 will continue to air three nights a week on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/PT. "The Big Brother Canada Side Show" -- new this season -- will air Thursdays, following each eviction episode, at 10 p.m. ET/PT. In case that isn't enough, "Big Brother After Dark" will air seven days a week from 2 a.m. - 5 a.m. ET/11 p.m. - 2 a.m. PT.