A new alliance forms in direct opposition to McCrae and Amanda. But is it too late for Aaryn?

By Darren Franich
Updated August 30, 2013 at 04:04 AM EDT
S15 E28
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The Reign of Empress Amanda the First officially entered its decadent period last night when she preemptively declared war on anyone and everyone. “If I see anyone talking to Elissa, they’re my target,” she announced from her thronebed-in-exile, located in the most disgusting bedroom in the house. Her concubine McCrae lounged thoughtfully in his bed. Her trusted Vizier Andy paced around the room, not wanting to say anything for fear of inciting his mistress’ wrath. Spencer the Court Jester amused everyone with his beard. “Everyone is hiding in my shadow,” she said. “Why do I have to be the bully?” she asked, bullyishly.

It had been an ugly couple of hours. After the veto ceremony, Amanda wouldn’t leave Elissa alone. “What are you eating?” she asked. “What exactly have you done to your face?” she continued. “How many doctors worked on that face?” She had developed a full-blown obsession with destroying Elissa; when Spencer tried to calm her down, she claimed that Elissa had insulted him behind his back. “She called you disgusting,” she said. “I am disgusting!” Spencer laughed.

The house was not happy. There has been a long slow boil of resentment forming against Empress Amanda, and on last night’s episode, all that tension finally mobilized the remaining non-McCramda housemates into action. GM said, “I think Amanda is psychotic.” Spencer noted that Amanda and McCrae had been running things for too long. Together with the resurrected Judd and the suddenly-motivated Andy, they formed a new alliance. “We’ll call ourselves the Exterminators,” said Judd. “Getting rid of rats and snakes. But not frogs.”

This development is interesting because, at this point in the game, this is an alliance with a uniquely hyper-specific mission: Get McCrae and Amanda out of the house. It’s kind of like watching the citizens of the Island of Misfit Toys assemble in a last-ditch attempt to assassinate Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny — which is to say, it’s probably doomed to failure. Spencer has spent the summer doing nothing; GM, despite being an HoH, has arguably done less than nothing; Andy is a balloon floating along behind McCrae and Amanda; Judd just loves frogs. They’re the Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight, and the last hope for the cause of liberty inside of the Big Brother house.

Inside the house, Amanda was cutting one of her most loyal partisans loose. She told Aaryn, bluntly, Andy had been with McCramda for longer than Aaryn. Aaryn cried; Amanda cried, too. Then Aaryn jumped into action. She talked to Spencer and Judd and asked them what they needed from her; she told them about the 3AM alliance, and assured them that Andy was loyal to McCrae and Amanda. This was a smart tactic; unfortunately, she immediately played the exact opposite tactic with McCrae and Amanda, claiming that Spencer was preaching anti-Amanda vitriol.

The long weeks in power have made Amanda shockingly brazen in her gameplay. When Aaryn told her this, she called Spencer over and told him exactly what Aaryn was saying. Spencer said that was a lie; Aaryn said he was lying, and insulted him; Spencer insulted her right back. Now, Aaryn has a few personality problems: the racism; the homophobia; the immediate aggressive disregard for anyone who did not treat her like the prettiest princess in a castle made of gold; the utter inability to take responsibility for herself and for her actions, which led her to waste four separate HoHs on petty vendettas or on targets that her puppetmasters wanted gone; the human sacrifices; that time she canceled Deadwood. But Aaryn’s main problem has always been social: At a certain base level, nobody inside of the Big Brother house really ever seemed to trust her.

NEXT: Watch out for those love-clouds!Because this episode was getting dangerously exciting, the producers decided to pad things out with various guest-stars. They brought back The Great Dan, the Chaos-Bringer, the Uncrowned King of Big Brother 14, the man who hosted his own funeral and walked away immortal. Dan voiced a common argument about Amanda: That she is a new kind of villain, someone with a genuine mean streak, in contrast to someone like Mike Boogie. (Comparison: If Mike Boogie is a villain on the Adam West Batman TV show, Amanda is a villain in a Christopher Nolan Dark Knight movie.) He did admit, though, that she was one of the few people actually playing the game, though he was worried that the showmance would cloud their vision.

That line about showmance segued nicely into a video package featuring three recent showmances: Brendon and Rachel; Jeff and Jordan; and Danielle and whats-his-face, who if memory serves was only in the house for a couple weeks. Now, fellow Big Brother viewers, I would never actively encourage any twists; after this cuckoo MVP season, I think the show is primed for a back-to-basics summer 2014. But what about a Season of Showmances? I only suggest it because I think McCrae and Amanda have had an easy ride this season. They’re good players, but they’ve never had any worthy opponents; wouldn’t you like to see them in the same house as Brendon and Rachel? (To sweeten the pot, you could add in showmances that have long since broken up outside of the show — therefore adding a new level of intrigue, since those showmantic partners could either A) pitch themselves as free agents to the other showmances and form a power trio, or B) rekindle their old showmance on national television.)

(LENGTHY, TOTALLY SKIPPABLE ASIDE: While we’re on the subject, my other Big Idea for a Big Brother concept is the Secret Identity Twist. Basically, before the show starts, the producers would pick out one contestant and tell them that they were playing a modified version of the Saboteur twist: They would be given a new name and a new identity, and they would have to play the game with that fake identity. If they ever revealed their real identity to their fellow houseguests, then they would immediately be penalized: Instead of competing for half a million dollars, they could only win a possible $300k. The double twist: Every housemate would have a secret identity. Even if they all figured out the twist early on, they couldn’t reveal their real name without immediately sacrificing almost half of their eventual winnings. Obviously, in order for this twist to work, the Big Brother producers would need to pick a few more smart people and a few less unemployed brainless lifeguards, which I’m totally okay with. END OF ASIDE.)

Julie Chen grilled the housemates about the Amanda/Elissa drama. Amanda laughed it off and said, “Now the houseguests know not to push my buttons,” clearly unaware that she sounded like a homicidal sociopathic escaped convict. Julie asked Spencer a question, and he actually said, “Thank you for asking me a question, it’s only been 10 weeks!” Julie did not respond; a classy move, since she would have been wholly justified in telling the houseguests, “The first person to tear off Spencer’s beard and bring it to me gets their own Chuck Lorre sitcom on CBS.”

Aaryn and Andy gave their speeches. (Andy had a dynamite exit line: “Good night, good luck, and I love you Anderson Cooper.”) Everyone voted against Aaryn down the line: Her friend GM, Judd, Spencer, Amanda, McCrae, and McCrae’s tiny mustache. This cued up the inevitable moment that most of us viewers have been waiting for: The showdown with Julie Chen. There was a tiny bit of catharsis missing from this interview: Because Aaryn was going to Jury, Julie could not inform Aaryn about her new unemployed status. But that didn’t mean Julie went easy on Aaryn; far from it. “You said some pretty harsh things in the first few weeks,” said Julie, “Things that could be interpreted as racist.”

Aaryn, hilariously, started to defend herself by saying: “Being southern, there is a stereotype…I was taken out of contest.” Basically, she was saying: “People were just judging me because of how I look and how I sound, without getting to know me! Isn’t that awful, Julie? Is there a word for people who do that? Also, did you hear the one about the [insert racial stereotype], [insert second racial stereotype], and the [insert homophobic slur]? Hahaha, I’m a funny person!”

“I did not mean to come out racist,” said Aaryn. So Julie Chen read her back some of her greatest hits. That thing about Helen. That thing about Candice. That thing about Andy. She could have gone on; I’m reminded of a day many epochs ago, when Aaryn insulted Candice to her face.

Oh, things used to be so easy for Aaryn! There was a time when she was the number one top person in the house, surrounded by lots of dumb hot people who treated her like royalty and who laughed at all her jokes; there was a time when she held hands with the hottest and dumbest of them all. Where did it all go wrong? Aaryn has spent the last couple of weeks perpetually on the state of tears, and while Julie talked to her, she seemed to age twelve years. Everyone undergoes a transformation when they walk out of the Big Brother house. Most people, freed from the terrifying paranoid-dystopia society of the BB house, seem to grow two inches and unclench all their muscles; their exit interview with Julie is like a bridge back to reality.

But Aaryn actually looked smaller than we’d ever seen her. When she walked out of the house, there were audible boos. When she said, “I do not remember saying those things,” the crowd laughed. Off the top of my head, I can’t remember a crowd reacting like that during an exit interview — that laughter actually seemed aggressively sarcastic, and it pierced Aaryn to the bone. She tried to explain that she was great friends with Andy; ultimately, she detached herself from herself, saying, “That hurts me that I would say something like that.” She blamed her Texas upbringing and she said it was all a joke and she said that she felt bad.

Regret is all she has now. Aaryn is clearly someone who spends her life believing that everyone else in the world is an adoring audience; the boos and the laughter violated that notion, completely and utterly. She was betrayed by the people she gave everything to; she was betrayed by herself, her prejudices, her bad judgment, her own stupidity, really. I can’t imagine what the Jury house will be like for her, filled with the angry ghosts of old enemies and betrayed friends. I hope that, in the spirit of forgiveness, they can let bygones be bygones. No I don’t. I hope they treat her as badly as she treated them; I hope Candice and Jessie move her bed and do bad southern-accent impressions (like, worse even than the cast of True Blood) and never let Aaryn forget that she held all the power and gave it up to the one person who could out-bully Aaryn.

The HoH competition was a fun bit of mischief involving eggs and hopping and rabbit ears; it looked like Andy was ahead, although the show could out too early to make any serious prognostications. This will be a pivotal week — Julie closed out the episode by announcing that next Thursday would bring another Live Double Eviction. That means that, if the Exterminators come into power and hold true to each other, we could be in a post-McCramda era by this time next week. Alternately, we could be one step closer to total showmance dominion — and although Andy talks a big game about expelling his alliance-mates, this would be a late point in the game to suddenly grow a spine.

Fellow BB viewers, what did you think of the episode? Are the Exterminators for real? What will they do with Elissa, the only unattached person in the house? What if Spencer wins? Who’s your pick, right now, to win the whole thing? Judd seems like the safe pick — that was Coach Dan’s choice for best houseguest — but even though she seems two steps from imploding, I think Amanda might still have a chance on this thing. If she gets to the Final Two, who could stand next to her and say they’ve done more this season?

Follow Darren on Twitter: @DarrenFranich

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Julie Chen hosts as the houseguests battle it out.

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