Big Brother recap: Double Eviction, Double Extermination
The second double eviction of the summer claims two major contenders. Can anyone stop the Exterminators?
The Exterminators are already one of the most successful final-act alliances in the history of Big Brother. Since they formed, they have a 100 percent hit rate with major targets. Aaryn, Amanda, Elissa: Three women who dominated the house this summer in their own ways, Aaryn with gameplay, Amanda with unblinking power-mongering domination, Elissa with her curious ability to turn the whole world off with her smile. (ASIDE: Amanda explicitly insisted in her exit interview last night that America might not have seen Elissa at her worst: Since my therapist forbids me from watching the live feeds, I can only imagine what kind of behavior made Elissa worse than Amanda. Performing human sacrifice? Giving regular speeches in support of fascism? Saying that Ben Affleck would be a good choice for Batman? END OF ASIDE.) The Exterminators have just one more target in the house — a man who cannot win HoH this week, a man whose only friend in the house just stabbed his lover in the back, a man who needs to win Veto and win HoH next week in order to remain any kind of contender in the endgame. Even if McCrae can pull that off, the Exterminators have successfully rewritten the saga of Big Brother 15.
What makes this so funny and unexpected is that The Exterminators are the ragtaggiest of ragtaggy bands. Andy is a yes-man who has ridden the coattails of every powerful person in the house without ever making a power move; Judd is a lovable doof; GinaMarie can barely form mouthwords; Spencer has a beard. It’s like Varys from Game of Thrones, Woody from Cheers, a fifth-grader playing the Artful Dodger in a community-theater rendition of Oliver!, and Zangief from Street Fighter decided to join forces, and last night they managed to take out one of the most ridiculously over-powered players ever.
It might have gone differently. After McCrae took himself off the block, Amanda made a pitch to Elissa. She said that she would be loyal, and she told Elissa that she was the next big threat in the house, and at a certain point she was basically saying: “You already know I’m the devil incarnate. Why run the risk that there’s someone worse than me?” Incredibly, this pitch actually worked: Elissa brought Amanda into the pillow room and said that she’d vote to keep her, and offered her wedding ring as collateral. This isn’t the first time Elissa had a major change of heart. Remember when, out of the blue, she decided to make peace with Aaryn? (And remember how well that worked out?)
At that specific moment, Andy walked into the room. “Hey ladies, how ya doin’?” he said, happy as a clam. “Guess what, Andy!” they said. “We’re going to save Amanda and start a new final four alliance.” The look on Andy’s face was brilliantly inexpressive, but I imagine that if you could’ve seen his thought balloon in that moment, it would have looked a lot like the Death Star exploding. At that moment, Andy was the absolute linchpin in the house: A voting member of two Final Four alliances, both of them with their own specific attributes, both of them completely convinced that Andy was on their side. It would all come down to him.
A few weeks ago, Helen came to Andy with a plan; Andy immediately crossed lines and took that plan to Amanda, a moment that in hindsight inaugurated the era of Angry Amanda the Warrior Chieftess. Now, like a good quadruple agent, Andy took Amanda’s secret plan to yet another alliance. Spencer was nervous, but Andy had a plan: He’d vote for Amanda to leave, but frame Elissa. I’ll be honest: This was flat-out brilliant, and the best argument for pro-Andy partisans who believe that his pure-stealth gameplay makes him a deserving winner. If the plan worked, Andy wouldn’t alienate McCrae (still nominally his last 3 AM ally) and would actually sow discord between McCrae and Amanda, while still voting alongside his Exterminator colleagues.
McCrae, for his part, was suspicious of Andy. He wondered why Spencer wasn’t worried. There’s evidence that McCrae can read people in this game; like a lot of people who come in as self-identifying “Big Brother Fans,” he seems to intuitively grasp and even appreciate the fact that everyone is lying all of the time. But Amanda openly refused to believe that Andy was turning against them. It would be her final mistake.
The live show kicked off. Julie Chen announced that it was the 500th episode of Big Brother. She asked the nominees to make a speech. Spencer gave what has basically become his stump speech, thanking his family and nonchalantly asking his fellow housemates not to vote him out. Amanda told everyone that they had become like family. Clearly, neither of them thought they were going home. And for the first time this summer, there was a tie: Andy, true to his plan, had voted for Amanda. GM stood up, put on her hat backwards, did a spoken-word rendition of The Puppy That Lost Its Way, and told Amanda to get to stepping.
NEXT: Why, McCrae, Why?Amanda hugged everyone on her way out. She also said one final statement: “I thought I could trust you,” directed at Andy. He swore that she could. This seemed like one last bit of aggression her part, but actually, it was a game move: She told Julie Chen, “I wanted the rest of the house to think that he didn’t vote for me.” She was worried that Spencer might be going after him otherwise. This is a cool bit of gameplay which also highlights the sad fact that Amanda had absolutely no idea what had just happened to her; she clearly thought that Elissa had betrayed her, and even had Elissa’s wedding ring inside of her suitcase.
Amanda has been the most powerful player in the house for a long time. She has been the defining player of this summer, whether you love her or hate her; if anyone from Big Brother 15 ever comes back as an All-Star, it will be Amanda, although that will probably only happen if A) Big Brother decides to have a Survivor-style “Heroes and Villains” season B) McCrae makes it to the final 2 and they come back as a showmance or B) the Big Brother producers don’t decide that, all in all, it’s probably better to leave the Season of Racism behind and never talk about it again. Amanda’s exit interview didn’t do anything to stop the Amanda-hating population: She said she wasn’t a bully and she said she was just honest with people, neither of which really washes with the monthlong terror campaign we witnessed in the house. It’s worth remembering that, in the early weeks, Amanda actually was just being honest with people, and was even kind of a hero: She stood up to the Jeremy/Aaryn Hottie Coalition back when they were the villains. In Amanda’s head, she was probably always the hero; most villains think so.
Inside of the house, McCrae managed to win the Head of Household competition. Now, like all double eviction episodes, what happened during the live part of the show didn’t entirely make sense on first viewing: We’ll learn more about it next episode, when flashbacks fill in the information. So maybe on Sunday’s episode, we’ll learn why McCrae made his single dumbest move of the summer: He nominated GinaMarie and Elissa. Did he think that Elissa had betrayed Amanda? Did he honestly believe that Elissa was a powerful player who needed to be taken down? For whatever reason, McCrae put the one person left in the house who could actually be considered an ally up on the block.
Judd won the Veto competition, and in the aftermath, we saw a loud conversation between the houseguest. At one point, GinaMarie said: “Why’d he beg you? Why’d he beg you?” McCrae looked unhappy. There was nonstop bleeping and nonstop swearing. They were arguing about the time that Judd got backdoored; Elissa swore that she didn’t know anything about it, and GinaMarie insisted that she did. This was all just political theater, of course; the fix in the second Judd won the Veto. Elissa and McCrae clearly have no idea that the Exterminators are targeting them.
To give McCrae some credit, he looked utterly despondent and inconsolable during the Veto meeting; it might have just been residual Amanda sadness, but I suspect that he realized at some level that he may have screwed up his last best chance in the game. McCrae has been the odds-on favorite in this game for a long time now: He was the most likable guy in a toxic crew, and he had a good read of the house dynamics, and he plays well in competitions. He’s a contender in this endgame — heck, given his competition, he could actually win every competition next week. But after a full summer of riding shotgun with his lady love, can he actually broker a deal with one of the remaining houseguests? Is there anyone who would want to sit next to McCrae in the Final Two?
Judd decided not to use the veto, which led GinaMarie to say: “I appreciate that, thank you.” The Exterminators voted down the line to send Elissa packing. She refused to hug anyone and actually managed to make the half-Vulcan Julie Chen a little bit irate when she made a big stink about getting her bag out of the house. Listen, like a lot of people, I have liked Elissa — there have been parts of this summer when she’s been the only likable person in the house — but boy, this lady just had no idea what was happening around her at any given moment. When Julie asked her about the night’s first vote, she said, “I honestly thought McCrae was going to vote to keep Amanda!”
Cue Julie Chen, respectable newsperson and totally profesh personality, doing a Patrick Stewart Quadruple Take. “You’re saying,” Julie said, sounding out every syllable like she was talking to a five-year-old or iPhone, “You think McCrae…stabbed his woman…in the back?” Elissa, vaguely sensing that she had said something ridiculous, tried to explain: “Andy looked so shocked!” I would love for Elissa to take us week-by-week through her season of Big Brother and tell us what she thinks happened. I’m guessing it involves a war between unicorns and daffodils, and also that roughly half of the story is her reminiscing about yoga workouts.
Regardless: Elissa is gone now, and Amanda. This curious season of Big Brother is wrapping up with a genuine misfit crew. Andy seems like the person with the clearest shot at the final victory, although that would require him to A) win a competition and B) try to go a week without saying his favorite catchphrase, “I don’t want to get blood on my hands.” There’s a history of people coming back strong from losing their showmance, and just because he’s the underdog, I find myself rooting for McCrae. Truthfully, it’s possible that GinaMarie is placed better than anyone: She’s just toxic enough to be a desirable Final Two partner, but she’s also probably got a few votes coming her way from Jury.
What do you think, fellow Big Brother viewers? Dizzy from the double eviction? Who’s best-situated in the endgame? Are you sad to see Elissa go? Was she ever really here?
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