So, the powers that be pass a challenge along to Mr. Head of Household, Mike, thus sparing us Julie Chen and her sparkly purple almost-jumpsuit. The housemates have to dig through a large-ish, waist-high pool, full of what looks like oatmeal and tree bark, to find a dozen keys, each of which has a houseguest's name on it. There are twenty-four keys in the pool, though, and only the engraved ones count, obviously. The prize? A hot tub. "I wanted to barf when I saw the tub with the mud, and the other stuff," Autumn admits. Mike crows some crazy pep talk, calling his fellow housemates "the dirty dozen," launches himself into the pool, and starts rummaging around in the gunk. Mike finds a key, but it's not engraved. "Shit," he says, and the censors totally miss it. One by one, as their keys are found, the rest of the houseguests leap into the mess. Krista, in an interview, admits that digging around in the oatmeal, or whatever it is, was really fun. Nicole, on the other hand, stands by the pool and stares in horror at the goop. "I have a phobia of bathing in other people's dirt," she says. Really? Because there's nothing I enjoy more than diving right into someone's dirty bath water. Ideally, a stranger's bath water. A stranger with, like, herpes, and body lice, and open, bleeding wounds. But, when Nicole's key is found, she sucks it up, dives right into the crud, and gets to work. Finally, everyone but Monica is in the tub, the clock is winding down, and they can't find her key. And with the hot tub on the line! The suspense is killing me! After lots of mucking around in the junk, Krista snags the final key. "It was really cool," Krista says, and grins. She's such a good sport! I hope she doesn't start acting like an idiot and, thus, ruin my little fantasy of the two of us sitting around and eating candy from Monica's store, talking about what a shame it is that Will is so cute, and yet such a jerk, braiding each other's hair, and talking shit about Shannon. The housemates cheer their success, and shake the wheat -- or whatever -- out of their hair. Mike admits that Nicole made up some ground in his book by diving into the pool despite her phobias. "I was proud of the squad today," he says, like he's their football coach.
I guess Nicole knows that she's skating on thin ice, because she tries to cozy up to other people in the cast. In the Diary Room, Mike says that he "salutes" her efforts. Whatever, Mike. You're HoH for one week; it's not like the housemates elected you President of the United States. The editors show Nicole talking up several cast members, including Hardy, who sits down on the kitchen counter to watch her cook, and who also seems legitimately interested in getting to know her. I like me some Hardy: abs of steel and a heart of gold. Well, so far. As for the brains, they remain to be seen: we could be talking steel-trap mind, or dumber than a box of nails.