'Big Brother' fashions its latest Veto challenge from a giant beaver and no, that's not gross wordplay

Before we get to the real heart of this episode -- the bizarre memory challenge that for whatever reason involved a giant crying beaver -- we should probably tend to some housekeeping. (It's a show about a house, right? Housekeeping.) As with every Power of Veto episode this season, nothing really happened last night that's worth noting. Some strategy was talked, some grievances aired or not. Big Brother, this season of it anyway, feels more noteworthy for those things that didn't happen. Last night Aaryn had a golden opportunity as HOH to change the game up by nominating Amanda for eviction. Something she admitted as much in an interview! Yet when push came to shove, and she could have made the decision…she chose not to. Alliances and inertia maintained, with no new interesting wrinkle to enjoy, let alone discuss. Do you know how hard you make this show on recappers, houseguests?!?

But we come not to bury the incessant boredom of Big Brother's human interactions. We come to praise OTEV, the veto-granting beaver whose tears formed the basis for tonight's challenge. Where did OTEV come from? The over-tired imagination of one of this show's producers, maybe, but more accurately -- left field. Outer space. Whoever raised their hand and said "giant crying beaver" deserves a raise, maybe five raises. The challenge, all things considered, was simple: solve OTEV's riddles, all of which pointed to a specific evicted houseguest, and find their name on laminated cards scattered around a wet and wild obstacle course. The last one to return to OTEV with the (correct) card would be eliminated. Elissa won. NBD.

On Survivor, preceding the final immunity challenge is always this very overwrought hike in which contestants visit the snuffed torches of those players eliminated in the weeks before. They offer some generic platitudes ("great competitor!" "boy, I'm glad we got him out!"), sometimes well up or at least pretend to, and generally make it a far more melodramatic affair than it has any right to be. In the OTEV competition, clues reminded the remaining houseguests and us at home of all our dearly departed players. From Candice, in her clown costume; to Jeremy's Cherokee boat shop associated guzzling all the wine without an EFF given; to Jessie, and whatever she did. All our old friends! Per the story of the game, OTEV spent all summer writing letters to these people; it was their names on letters that he'd lost in his tremendous sadness...

So I guess what I'm saying is…I prefer the version with the giant beaver that no one can take seriously. That's Big Brother in a nutshell, right? Bastard stepchild to not only Survivor but ANY attrition-based reality competition, filled with challenges that more often than not just feel like really weird mad-libs. I'm grateful for shows that take their challenges seriously. But I also don't want to live in a world where winning doesn't involve the sort of bizarre activity we witnessed tonight. Life's complicated like that.