In the end, was Frank a great Big Brother player? Or was he just a master escapist, doomed to spend his entire Big Brother life in ever-more-elaborate deathtraps? During the 62 days he spent inside of the house, he jumped out of the frying pan and into the fire, and then he jumped out of the fire and into an active volcano, and then he jumped out of the active volcano and into a galactic supernova. His sheer persistence was remarkable. His relentless brushes with death left him paranoid; he survived long enough to see all of his close friends fade away in his wake. “I’ve been burned so many times in this game this season,” he said, sounding for all the world like a bruised soldier trapped behind enemy lines. “People I was supposed to trust always put me up on the block next week.” As fate would have it, he made that proclamation to Dan — a player who betrayed him once, and was preparing to betray him again. “Yeah,” agreed Dan. “Every single time.”
[Brief Note of Business: A lot of us Big Brother viewers don’t watch the feeds. If you know who won the second HoH challenge last night, and you’re burning to talk about it, please carry on the conversation in the comment boards of our eviction post. Thank you! End of Business.]
Frank’s immortality had already made him a legend among his fellow houseguests. When Joe had a strategy session with Ian, he expressed his disbelief. “HE HAS ESCAPED SO MANY TIMES,” whispered Joe as quietly as he possibly could. “THEY CALL HIM HOUDINI.” Ian nodded, but then made an important counterargument: “Houdini died young.”
So it was that Frank finally left the Big Brother house, after six nominations, three Head of Households, and three veto wins. When Julie Chen read his name, his expression went blank, and he beat a hasty retreat from his housemates. “You were a great competitor, man,” said Dan, who was still holding the knife that delivered the killing blow to Frank’s back. (Dan wiped that bloody knife clean using a few pages from his Bible.)
Outside, Frank looked shellshocked. “Once again, they lied to me,” he said. Julie was in a stern interrogatory mood. She was going all Woodward. “How are you feeling…right now?” she asked. “Why do you think they did you like they did? Was being too trusting your downfall?” I feel like there’s a messianic narrative emerging around Frank — he’s the player who was betrayed, the noble savage who fell victim to Dan’s gamesmanship.
Hogwash. Frank was a mesmerizing presence in the house, and the remaining episodes of this season will be much less interesting without him. But I feel like you can only look at Frank’s journey this season as a litany of great gameplay squandered. In the end, he couldn’t quite play the strategy game. He made one strong alliance with Mike Boogie — when Mike exited, it was only a matter of time. Frank didn’t help matters, wearing his Chilltown clothes and giving Boogie shout-outs. A smarter play would have been to disavow Boogie all together. But Frank decided to play the martyr. And martyrs don’t live very long — that’s why they’re called martyrs.
With Frank gone, Dan’s mad plan was almost complete. There was one single flaw in his plan, a tiny fly buzzing around disrupting Dan’s beautiful Meth Laboratory. Dan had made final two deals with four of his remaining competitors. The lone exception was Joe. By this point in the season, Joe has offered to throw himself in front of a bus for every player who has ever won HoH. Until last night, that didn’t include Dan. Heck, until last night, Dan scarcely even seemed like he wanted to win HoH.
But last night, he wanted it. The HoH competition was a nailbiter, coming down to a three-way race between Jenn, Dan, and Danielle. Jenn winning would be a problem. Even if she didn’t target Dan immediately, she would almost certainly have one of Dan’s fellow Quack Packers in her sights. But the tie-breaker wasn’t even close. JuJu asked the players to guess how many minutes elapses between number-one evictee Jodi’s entrance in the house and Jodi’s exit from the house. Jenn guessed 160 minutes; Danielle went with 230; Dan went big with 363. The actual answer was 481 minutes — over eight hours. (I realize that time moves strangely inside of the Big Brother house…but Jenn, you were more than five hours off?) With that, Dan won his first HoH crown of the season. His comeback story was almost complete.
And this is where things got interesting.
NEXT: The Last Stand of Chef Joe