Let us leave the Big Brother house for a moment, my friends. Leave behind the four final contestants: Andy, the penultimate Head of Household, licking his knife clean and deciding whose back to stab next; GinaMarie, cartwheeling with joy; Spencer, on the block again; McCrae, confused and a little bit scared to find himself in a zero-gravity endgame. Let’s leave the House of Misery, which smells like three months of sweat and sunscreen and the accumulation of foodscraps inside Spencer’s beard.
Let us go, instead, to the most magical and miserable place on Earth; to a mansion in the clouds, where every day is like Sunday and every night is haunted with cold, lonely memories. Behind every wall, a nagging whisper of recrimination. You feel a little bit like you are being watched; but alas, you are not, except for those mandatory appearances from a disinterested camera crew, who only visit when a new ghost comes to join your banished ranks.
This, my sorrowful friends, is Jury Purgatory, the beautiful mansion penitentiary where evicted Big Brother contestants come for rest, rehabilitation, and to prepare to hand half a million dollars to someone they probably despise. Jury Purgatory is an especially exciting place this season. The first few weeks of this Big Brother season saw a subtle gender war break out in the house — and the men lost. That meant the middle section of this season was dominated by a mixture of powerful women, crazy women, and Jessie. And all of those women were sent packing — first by Amanda, and then by the who-woulda-thought Endgame Quartet known as the Exterminators.
Things started off okay. Candice made Sweet Tea. Helen took up watercolors and started exercising. Jessie tried to make friends with the kitchen wall, but the wall just ignored her, which only made her love the wall even more. Alas, this reverie would not last. Aaryn showed up, smiling awkwardly behind wide sunglasses. “I said some very sensitive and ignorant things this summer,” she understated. “I want to apologize for the things I said that were inexcusable.” Candice drank her Sweet Tea. Helen painted a watercolor portrait of Aaryn, with Aaryn’s teeth rendered as prison bars behind which the souls of little children screamed for release. Jessie tried to make friends with Aaryn, but Aaryn just ignored her, which only made Jessie love Aaryn even more.
One week later, Amanda showed up, announcing the end of the McCramda Age and the rise of the Exterminators. “By the way, America hates me!” Amanda said proudly, like a hunter showing off a lion skin, “I got big boos.” Aaryn laughed, “Me too!” Candice rolled her eyes. Helen pondered the implications for the in-house power dynamic. Jessie took her stuffed tiger out to the hillside and rode down in a red wagon, until the stuffed tiger got bored of her and self-immolated.
Soon afterwards, it was Elissa’s turn to enter the Big Brother afterlife. Amanda was sad to see her longtime-enemy-turned-brief-ally in there. “McCrae is such an idiot!” she said. She explained to the house how Andy blindsided everyone. Helen, for one, was impressed: “The point of this game is to make allies and break promises at different points in the game. That’s what Andy did: Exterminated all of us.” Helen is a politician who respects the game, so she seems like a good vote for Andy. But will the other players respect Andy’s two-faced gameplay? Or will they just feel betrayed?
And lo, there came a day when a man did enter this house of women. Well, re-entered: Judd spent some time in Jury Purgatory, was allowed a second life that was mostly wasted, and now once again returned to the House of Sadness. His entry led almost immediately to Jury Purgatory’s first loud argument. Elissa, apropos of nothing at all, said that GinaMarie had the support of everyone in the Jury. Amanda and Candice both did a quadruple take, though for different reasons. Candice doesn’t like GinaMarie because, well, GinaMarie says a lot of things that absolutely no one should ever say ever. Amanda, conversely, thinks GinaMarie has floated through the game.
This led everyone to launch a loud verbal assault on McCrae, Amanda’s concubine. “He’s the main floater,” said Candice. “He floated under your coattail. He didn’t socially talk to any of us.” From their comments, it would appear that McCrae basically spent the entire summer lounging on the bed with Amanda. Amanda thought this was a brilliant play, since it turned her into a meatshield. She had loud opinions. “I thought Amanda was going to be different,” said Aaryn, “But she’s actually worse.” Amanda yelled. Candice poured some Sweet Tea. Judd shook his head. Helen rolled her eyes. Elissa did some yoga. Jessie talked to the six-foot-tall rabbit that only she could see, which kept whispering in her ear, “Burn it all down, honeydoll, I said burn it all down.” It’s a tough life in Jury Purgatory.
NEXT: Meanwhile, Back At The House