Big Brother recap: The end of Jessie, the beginning of the end
The house explodes in a supernova of petty arguments, as a new mega-twist looms.
Watching Jessie in her final days was like watching a dying animal that didn’t even know it was wounded. “I’m still the pawn, right?” she asked Andy, desperately. She could sense bad vibes. Helen and Elissa weren’t looking her in the eye anymore. Amanda was treating her even worse than usual. She wasn’t angry, just confused. From her very first day in this house, Jessie has wanted more than anything to be a part of something. An alliance. A showmance. A friendship. A pawn that knew which master it belonged to. A dying animal is dangerous. And so Jessie walked out to Amanda and McCrae and casually informed them that Helen was plotting against them, had been plotting against them since last week.
This was all just music to Amanda’s ears. Amanda has been a powerful person in the Big Brother house for a long time now, and it’s becoming clear that she has one incredible power that makes her dangerous: She is very paranoid about everyone, all of the time. So hearing that Helen was plotting against her was an empowering moment. She went upstairs and told Helen and Elissa that Jessie was making waves. She wanted to instigate a showdown. She wanted, more than anything, to have her worst instincts about Helen validated. I get the vibe that most people don’t like Amanda — heck, America put her on the block twice in two weeks — but she is ascendant right now. She can smell Helen’s blood in the water.
So she stood back and watched as Helen’s entire game imploded, all because Jessie finally refused to shut up. Jessie couldn’t understand why Helen was lying about backstabbing Amanda — and then she did understand, and she just didn’t care. “You told me you wanted to get Amanda out,” said Jessie. “I have no recollection of that,” said Helen. “You told me Elissa was onboard,” said Jessie. “I have no recollection of that,” said Helen. CUT TO: Helen’s version of the Nixon tapes, when she specifically said, “Elissa is onboard. Let’s get Amanda out. I am definitely not going to fight with you about this next week.”
It was right about now that Aaryn reappeared, still covered in the blood of unbaptized children after her refreshing trip to the outer layers of the Inferno. Aaryn stage-whispered: “Golly guys, it sure is a good thing we’ve all been plotting to kick Jessie out of the house this week, right?” Jessie heard it all, listening outside of the door like a seven-year-old who got out of bed to listen to Mom and Dad fighting. So that was her final proof: Everyone really was out to get her. She wouldn’t go down without a fight. She would ruin everyone’s game. She would throw bombs right and left.
It was an empty threat, of course; Jessie was such an inconsequential figure that she didn’t even have enough fake facts to impact anyone’s game. But she got under GinaMarie’s thin skin when she told her that Aaryn regularly insulted her behind her back. GinaMarie is an interesting player at this moment in the game, because it’s just beginning to dawn on her that she will not win this game. So she went upstairs and got into a loud screaming match with Aaryn. The conversation went something like this:
Aaryn: “I don’t know why you’re still talking.”
GinaMarie: “I’m just talkin’, here!”
Aaryn: “Oh my god, I’m so embarrassed.”
GinaMarie: “Awww, okay! Everybody wake up! Aaryn’s embarrassed! Come see Aaryn get embarrassed!”
Aaryn: “Shut up!”
GinaMarie: “How come? [mouthfart]”
The fact that GinaMarie looked like a fifteen-year-old beauty queen pretending to be an early-90s gangsta rapper — and the fact that Aaryn looked like a Disney squid-woman pretending to be a Disney princess — made the whole event extra-surreal, especially since neither of them actually said anything bad about each other.
NEXT: Farewell, Jessie…for nowIt was time for the eviction vote. Jessie, to her credit, knew she was going home. Jessie, to her non-credit, tried to make a last desperate plea in her eviction speech: “My last deal to all of you is: I will fight with you,” she said. I’ll be honest: I don’t entirely know why everyone in the house seemed to laser-focused on kicking Jessie out. It’s entirely possible that she was the single most annoying person in the history of personhood, but she had her good qualities. She was not plotting against everyone all of the time, like Helen. She could read entire sentences, unlike GinaMarie. She seemed like she would be ridiculously loyal to anyone who bothered to give her any attention at all.
For whatever reason, Jessie was voted out by a unanimous vote. This must have frustrated her to no end. As she told Julie Chen, “I’ve been trying for three weeks to do something about this unanimous house.” In the new episode of our Entertainment Geekly podcast, my learned colleague and Big Brother scholar Jeff Jensen offhandedly compared the paranoid state of this season to the Red Scare, and there is something eerie about the groupthink that has dominated the house ever since Jeremy’s eviction. Each week, a unanimous vote; each week, an agreed-upon Great Villain who never actually seems that villainous. (The epitome of this groupthink came during the Judd eviction, when a wholly innocent man stood accused of plotting against everyone in the house.) There was something so pitiful and wonderful about Jessie’s self-epitaph: “I came in expecting a buddy, a friend, a showmance.” In the end, she had nothing…although her story might not be over, not yet. More on that in a moment.
First of all, we have to talk about the Head of Household challenge. Without hyperbole, this was the most important Head of Household challenge of the summer. For the last month, the vast majority of the house has been united in a mutual mega-alliance coalition with remarkably similar goals. After Jessie’s exit, there was simply no one else for that mega-alliance to target, except themselves. (ASIDE: They could still unite to kick out Spencer — the last free agent — but they still need to put someone up next to him, and whoever goes up will have a direct ally, and no matter who that ally is, that’s the moment when all the dominoes come falling down. END OF ASIDE.) Helen went out almost immediately, losing to GinaMarie; Elissa lost to Spencer, and that was pretty much it for the Mom Squad. I held out some hope that Spencer would win, because that would be outright chaos. But it came down to Amanda and Aaryn.
And Aaryn won. We need to start preparing ourselves for the fact that Aaryn is going to win this season of Big Brother. It is unlikely, but it is not impossible. Consider what Aaryn has going for her. She is a fierce competitor. She wins competitions. She has good allies — and all of those allies believe, in their gut, that they could defeat Aaryn in the final two. (If the Final Three came down to Aaryn, Amanda, and McCrae, I believe the showmance would splinter in a millisecond. McCrae doesn’t like Amanda enough to sacrifice a half million dollars; Amanda is smart enough to know that McCrae the Pizza Boy would beat her in a popularity contest.) She has made a Final Four deal with powerful people and she has made a Final Two deal with Helen. She looks like a pop starlet who is perpetually filming her first music video and she has the incredible ability to sound victimized by the object of her scorn. She has bitten the heads off of newborn doves and can recite the Gospel of Judas in the original Aramaic. When she first arrived on our continent, the Roanoke colonists tried to kill her, and look what happened to them. She is Cthulhu incarnated in our lifetime, and she has won four HoH competitions faster than anyone — if she wins one more it’s a record, although technically it’s a record*, with the asterisk implying both “the longest season ever” and also “the fact that she was the Smoke Monster on Lost.”
Here is Aaryn in a nutshell: Julie Chen kindly told her congratulations on winning her third HoH, and Aaryn immediately reminded her, “It’s my fourth.” We have been waiting this entire season for the moment when Aaryn leaves the house, when Julie Chen can unleash the righteous fury that has been building within her and throw all of Aaryn’s racist vitriol in her face; but it looks more and more like Aaryn will leave the house covered in victorious confetti.
Or maybe not. Julie announced at the end of the episode that the Big Brother producers were once again implementing Calvinball rules. Next Thursday, for the first time ever, the first four members of the Jury will compete to re-enter the house. That’s Candice, Judd, Jessie, and a Player To Be Named Next Thursday.
There’s a part of me that worries that the player will re-enter the house only to be eliminated again — that the groupthink of Big Brother 15 will re-orient long enough to expel the outsider. But in the next week, the Amanda/Helen coalition will splinter. Even if the two forces in the house don’t attack each other directly, one of their minions will go up on the block. Will the return of an evicted player change the playing field? Will Judd’s Bear Shirt return to reap vengeance on those who betrayed it? Good god, guys, could it be that Jessie — sweet, lonely, sad-trombone-voiced Jessie — will stage a comeback?
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