She's an emotional roller coaster...and roller coasters are fun!
One day Rachel was up, one day Rachel was down, and one day Rachel was sobbing in the bushes. We might have spent the bulk of season 13 rolling our eyes at the houseguest, but she at least gave us something none of her castmates did during the ho-hum season: good TV. So, during this Wednesday’s finale, just pick up your arms and enjoy the ride. —Kate Ward
She's the last Veteran standing.
There was no returning player this season with a bigger target on her back than Rachel. Everyone loved Jeff and Jordan. Everyone wanted to work with Evel Dick and Daniele. But Rachel was the love-to-hate player of Big Brother 12; by comparison, her love slave Brendon seemed as cool as the Fonz. So let’s give the girl props for outlasting all her fellow returnees. —Darren Franich
In the most surprising union since Nixon shook hands with Mao, she and season 12 archenemy Ragan are friends.
And Nixon never even went as far as to call Mao ”about as classy as your nasty hair extensions”! Following an epic season 12 fight — in which Rachel told Ragan that nobody likes him in real life, and Ragan told Rachel that ”the only thing honest about you are the pimples on your chin” — the two enemies got together, hashed things out, and became (gasp!) friends, as Ragan told us earlier this season. Proof that Rachel — ”a conniving, evil little witch,” according to season 12 Ragan — can put a spell on just about anyone. —KW
She doesn't hold grudges; she thirsts for vengeance.
This girl is a freaking Klingon when it comes to getting back at the people who come after her. First, she almost single-handedly swayed the Veteran Alliance against Cassi just because the Olivia Wilde-lookalike didn’t worship Rachel’s throne. But that was just a preview of the back half of this season, when a rejuvenated Rachel helped expel Daniele and then got rid of Shelly and Kalia. Think Uma Thurman crossing names off her list in Kill Bill, and you’ve got Rachel’s second-act strategy in BB13. —DF
She wins competitions.
Rachel can straddle objects better than anyone. That might sound backhanded, but it’s simply a compliment: There’s no season 13 player left in the house better at competitions than Rachel. She’s won Head of Household a whopping three times in season 13’s nine weeks — not bad, especially when you consider those wins made her ineligible to play for three out of the remaining six competitions. You’ve got to give props to someone who can hang on that long. —KW
She actually improved her social game this year.
Rachel is too much of a competitive bulldog to ever play a soft-pedaled social game, like Jeff. But give her credit for evolving. Last season, Rachel played an all-or-nothing game, getting into screaming matches with her housemates and pinning all her hopes on winning veto competitions. This season, Rachel played it just a little bit smarter. She offered to make deals. She befriended Jordan, which is sort of like befriending a happy wood elf with a purse full of rainbows. She became, dare we say it, charming. —DF
She's better than Jordan.
[Ducks and covers.] That’s right, I said it: The much-hated Rachel is better than the much-loved Jordan. Why? Jordan is cute, but Rachel is foxy; Jordan is sweet, but Rachel is smarter; Jordan is a coaster, but Rachel is a player. And Jordan might be a former winner, but Rachel might just be our next winner. And she would actually deserve it. —KW
She's better than Bukie.
During their three weeks in the Head of Household throne room, the Daniele Sorority focused most of their energy on getting rid of Brendon. They assumed that Brendon was the real power player in the Brenchel duo. (That’s why they voted the guy out not once, but twice.) But Rachel proved them all wrong. She’s won the most HoH competitions this season. She’s survived being nominated for eviction five times. And she actually survived losing her partner. Compare that with Brendon’s post-Rachel flameout in BB12, and it’s obvious who holds the power in this beautiful, insane relationship. —DF
Her laugh is a secret weapon.
Rachel’s laugh is already legendary. It sounds like the perfect demonic combination of a banshee’s blood scream and the lovelorn song of a wounded emu. It is brutally assaultive, and it’s a big reason why people constantly underestimate Rachel as an airhead. But this season, it became clear that The Laugh was really just Rachel’s method of giving her fellow players a false sense of security. And it looks like they played right into her hands. We look forward to covering our ears when she gets the last laugh tonight. —DF
She came back strong from post-Brendon stress disorder.
That is, the second time around. The first time Brendon was evicted in season 13, Rachel broke down, unable to do anything besides cry and wonder why she didn’t bother to buy some waterproof mascara. After Brendon returned — and was evicted once again — Rachel emerged strong, and eager to buy lots of pretzels and dip with a half million dollars. She won a Head of Household, a Veto, and a spot in the top three. And she did it all for the Bukie, so, haters, stick it up your (yeah)! —KW