By Darren Franich
September 19, 2012 at 12:00 PM EDT
  • TV Show

UPDATE: My full recap is live! The fourteenth season of Big Brother got off to a bad start with a poorly-conceived coaching twist. But after a few weeks, the coaches hit the reset button, and things got interesting. And then Dan found himself in a tight spot, and things got really interesting. In the last few weeks, Dan has run the Big Brother house like some demon combination of a Gilded Age political boss and a Mongolian warrior chieftain. He eradicated his enemies. He made final-two deals with everyone. It scarcely seemed to matter who won competitions — Dan had a plan in place for all eventualities. And so it came down to the final three: Dan, the man with the plan; Ian, the neophyte-turned-schemer; and Danielle, Dan’s closest ally and constant victim. Who would win the half-million-dollar prize?

Well, in the end [SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS FROM HERE] after Ian won the final Head of Household competition, he honored his final-two deal with Dan and expelled Danielle from the house. This, despite one last double-reverse ploy by Dan which involved Danielle announcing that she would turn the jury against Ian. That was a classic piece of Dan strategy: Every outcome worked in his favor. The outburst didn’t have its desired effect — Ian didn’t throw the HoH competition — but it probably just drove Ian further into Dan’s clutches.

The most fun part of the night was undoubtedly the Jury Interrogation. Although the questions were nominally split between Dan and Ian, it turned into a hardcore cross-examination of Dan (mainly because Dan would occasionally step into Ian’s answers — a rare and perhaps unfortunate moment of pride overcoming smart gameplay). Dan decided to make a relatively simple pitch: He did what he had to do to survive. Ian made an even simpler pitch: He tried to play as clean a game as possible, and he actually won competitions. Both were good arguments. Dan made the good point that Ian was, in many ways, a puppet — first for Britney, then for him. Ian made the equally good point that Dan was an evil reprobate.

No less a Big Brother expert than Janelle claimed: “If Dan doesn’t win Big Brother 14, it’s an absolute travesty.” On one hand, I agree with her. On the other hand, Janelle has never won Big Brother. And in the end, the raw beauty of Dan’s scorched-earth strategy couldn’t overcome the toxic feeling in the Jury House: The Jury awarded the $500,000 to Ian by a margin of 6 to 1. I’m happy with that result (and not just because I predicted it). Ian played a great, evolving game, and he incepted the Quack Pack onto the world. Good for him. (As a nice complimentary prize for a summer on the block, Frank won the America’s Choice award for favorite houseguest.)

Fellow viewers, I’m going to put my head back together and finish my full episode recap in a few hours. [Update: My head is still in pieces, but here’s my recap.] In the meantime, start talking in the comments!

Follow Darren on Twitter: @DarrenFranich

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All recaps of Big Brother season 14

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Julie Chen hosts as the houseguests battle it out.
  • TV Show
  • 21
  • TV-14
  • 07/05/00
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