The Jury House has always seemed like a pleasant place, part vacation spa, part rehab-but-with-booze, part purgatory, all party. It’s a place for evicted houseguests to ponder their mistakes, make peace with their failures, work on their tans, and plot their second acts. Some Jury members find no peace; they opt for the angry-ghost vote, taking out their resentment on the houseguests clever enough to scheme their way into the final two.
But surely, there has never been a Jury House as vicious as this Jury House. Big Meech arrives at the rest home, a revenant betrayed. She thirsts for vengeance against the blonde beauty who expelled her from paradise; she creates a new cartoon character, “Snicole,” a snake with Nicole’s face.
In what I assume is an intentional and clever multilayered linguistics gag, “Snicole” is also a near-homophone for “snake oil,” a product all great Big Brother players wind up peddling sooner or later.
Is Nicole a great Big Brother player? Two years ago, I would’ve said “No.” Two months ago, I would’ve said “Confirmed no.” Two weeks ago, I was coming around. Right now, one week from the finish, you could argue Nicole lucked out: A fine social gamer with a terrible comp record, she found a true ally with a knack for winning comps at the right time. But you have to give credit where credit’s due: Nicole is in charge. Even Da’Vonne admits she’s impressed.
And Da’Vonne, it must be said, is not impressed by much. Case in point: Corey. A delightful conversation on the Jury couch blows up into a cacophony of insults. Da’Vonne and Bridgette make some remarks Corey doesn’t like; apparently, the house is pretty cleanly split between “Corey and Zakiyah” and everyone else. “Paulie, you gotta be at least 6 feet to talk to me,” says Da’Vonne. “You are a punk,” says Paulie. “You only talk down to women. I ain’t heard you buck up to a man yet,” replies Da’Vonne.
Right around then is when Paulie says Da’Vonne is a bad influence on her daughter, and right around then is when the producers get involved. Da’Vonne yells, Paulie rubs his hands through his Bieber haircut, and Zakiyah makes faces that look like cries for help:
“He’s made you look like an idiot on national TV!” yells Da’Vonne at Zakiyah. “You turned your back on me!” retorts Zakiyah. “You make my skin boil,” Bridgette mutters to Paulie. “Derr, Paulie!” declares Paulie.
NEXT: The great veto
Inside the house, though? Everyone’s feeling fine. Paul has to put Nicole and Corey on the block, but they knowingly laugh; what else would he do, really? Out they run to the backyard for the big eviction competition. It’s a baseball scenario, a veritable field of dreams: Asked trivia about the season, they have to run around the bases and find the right numbered day on which important events happened.
It comes down to Paul and Corey; offscreen, James roots for the bearded one, and Nicole prays Corey wins this final comp. If you think Nicole is a great Big Brother player, then you have to conclude she’s maybe the best Big Brother player to be terrible in competitions. “I can’t run and think of a number at the same time,” she explains.
It’s a close one, but Paul wins. That’s the HOH and the Veto in the same week — in an insanely crucial week, at that. Paul, I think, is a great Big Brother player. Certainly, he was uncannily well-matched for the particular difficulties of this season, which began with six weeks of ever-shifting mega-alliances before segueing into a final act of duo-versus-duo-versus-duo-versus-Meech. I want Paul to win; he won me over, damn it. Some people win Big Brother by playing a quiet game, and some win by being the least offensive person in the final two. Quiet was never Paul’s plan; “inoffensive” is not his nature.
He keeps the nominations the same, leaving James to kick someone out. And James expels…Corey? This was a bit of a surprise, to me and to poor Corey, who looked a bit out of sorts in his talk with Julie. James clearly believed Corey was a bigger comp threat than Nicole — and maybe thought Corey was the most likable, least back-stabby player left in the game. Maybe it’s a good call, and Nicole does as well in the final competition as she’s done in pretty much every competition in her two seasons of Big Brother. But if it comes down to James versus Nicole, who does the Jury vote for? The nice-guy prankster who spent the last phase of this show begging various superpowers to not evict him? Or the superpower herself, completing one of the best redemption seasons since Rachel transformed from season 12 Dark Phoenix into season 13 Marvel Girl?
I’m betting on Paul; I’m not losing faith in Nicole. Maybe it’ll be James. What a prank that would be!