Helen makes a final play to rally the troops to her side. Meanwhile, a major twist promises to either explode the game or do absolutely nothing to the game.

By Darren Franich
August 23, 2013 at 03:52 AM EDT
S15 E25
  • TV Show

Helen has been in a tailspin the last couple of weeks. She would never admit it, and she’s too smart of a player to suffer a full-on implosion. But her carefully-manicured persona was starting to crumble, ever so slowly. She thought she could trust Andy; she couldn’t. She made a Final Three deal with Andy and McCrae; neither of them seemed particularly interested in honoring that deal. Her number-one ally was Elissa; Elissa started making noise about skipping Jury, and refused to even speak to HoH Aaryn. She could have handled one or two of these setbacks. But taken all together, they dented Helen’s facade. She was crying, and not just on purpose.

So after Aaryn put Spencer on the block next to her, she defaulted to Mom mode. “It’s clear that Aaryn is being bullied by Amanda,” she explained. So she went upstairs for a dealmaking session. She told Elissa and Aaryn to play nice together, and for once, that got through. Elissa promised that she would work with Aaryn and GinaMarie. Aaryn promised no longer send her evil Clown Doll to kill Elissa in her sleep. It was a compromise. Then Andy walked in. Helen talked to him point-blank: “If I don’t stay, it’s going to be because of your vote,” she said. “America is rooting for us right now.”

This ruffled Andy’s feathers to no end. Andy has spent his entire time in the Big Brother house lying to everyone, all of the time, about everything. From one perspective, this is an excellent way to play Big Brother. Andy’s problem is that he has fundamentally aligned himself with McCrae and Amanda, who will never really view him as an equal partner. In Andy’s head, he is probably the Grand Vizier in Aladdin; in truth, he’s more like Iago the Parrot. (It’s also hard to imagine that Andy’s decision to assume the role of The Likable Guy will play well in the Jury House — especially if Helen spends the next few weeks telling everyone how Andy betrayed her.)

Helen tried. Boy, she tried. She took McCrae aside. She told him that Helen and Elissa were a two-vote package. She told him that Amanda was not being a considerate partner. She gave him marital advice and she told him that he needed to “Be the Man McCrae Is.” She asked him why he was so scared of Amanda and she told him he needed balls. Helen was like a door-to-door Bible salesman who knocks on your door, gives you a hundred dollars, asks you to recite the entire Book of Revelations, and then chases you around your own backyard firing a Super Soaker filled with Holy Water, and when you finally agree to buy the Bible it turns out  to be written in Cyrillic. By which I mean: McCrae was not convinced.

Helen gave it one last big go. She talked to Elissa, who was with her until the end like the last loyal samurai warrior who won’t leave his master behind. And she talked to GinaMarie, and asked “Hey GM, you’ll vote for me to stay, won’t you? Won’t you, girl?” And GM nodded her head and said, “Hey, I know a joke! A squirrel walks up to a tree and says, ‘I forgot to store acorns for the winter and now I am dead.’ Ha! It is funny because the squirrel gets dead.” And then Helen told Andy: “Right now, there are no targets on you. If you vote me out, all of these people will be gunning for you.”

It was a good play. Probably the only one she had — although I have to wonder why she never approached Amanda directly. Amanda felt threatened by Helen, no question. But Amanda also has to recognize, at some point, that she has become the Great Nemesis of Big Brother 15. This may come as a complete surprise to her. She told everyone, shocked, that Helen was calling her a bully. “Do you guys think I’m a bully?” she asked. Everyone squeezed their collars and stared at the ceiling and tried to change the subject.

At this point in the game, without Helen in the house, I don’t think anyone deserves to win more than Amanda; Aaryn has won more competitions, McCrae is a better politician, Andy is a better liar, Elissa is nicer, and Spencer has inadvertently played the Power-Pawn game better than anyone would ever want to, but I’m not sure anyone has had a greater direct effect on the game this season than Amanda. Amanda realizes this, of course. Right now, she’s treating the Big Brother house with all the delicacy of a twelve-year-old playing Vice City: This is her personal playground, and she has the special rocket-launcher cheat code.

NEXT: Inside Jury Purgatory, a second chance at lifeSo the Live Voting began and the Live Voting ended; Elissa stayed true to her old friend and everyone else voted to keep Spencer inside of the house. A word about the Bearded One: Spencer has, at this point, been on the block for the entirety of living memory. Bizarrely, he has never really been in any danger. This makes him a uniquely impressive pawn. Aaryn managed to establish a foothold in this game by becoming so incredibly toxic that no one wanted to vote her out, because the prospect of being next to her in the Final Two was too tantalizing: She become everyone’s favorite Second Place player. Spencer managed something similar: He’s everyone’s favorite Third Place player, a pawn so utterly pawnlike that no one has ever seriously considered voting him out. It’s entirely possible that Spencer could turn the game around — we’re at the point in the game where a single week as HoH could have massive alliance-ending ramifications. But I would imagine that Spencer will turn out to be the poster boy for this weird passive-aggressive season: A player that nobody really liked, who never really made any noteworthy moves, but whose very non-presence became a virtue for the couple of players (basically, Amanda and Helen) who kept rearranging the chesspieces on the Titanic.

Helen proved to be a chatty evictee. It’s clear that she is very aware of the wrong moves that eventually got her kicked out. She regretted not siding with Howard and Candice, and she regretted not kicking out Amanda when she was on the block. She reminded Julie that there was a very special moment when the Moving Company was the most dangerous superpower inside of the Big Brother house. She laughed about all the Judd conspiracy theories. Judd was the MVP. Judd was Howie’s cousin. Judd was Jessie’s brother. Judd was Rachel’s other sister. Judd was raised by Elvis and Tupac in an Alaska commune. Judd was playing Batman in the Man of Steel sequel. “Maybe he’s not any of that!” she laughed. But Julie revealed that Helen had a second chance: She could fight her way back into the house, alongside her fellow jury members.

We got a peek into the Jury House. The last couple of weeks, people inside of the house have been declaring how little they wanted to go to Jury. But Candice, Judd, and Jessie seemed to be living a perfectly idyllic life, in their glowing castle in the clouds. Their serenity was broken up by a terrible message: They could get a chance at resurrection. So Candice, Judd, and Jessie joined Helen onstage, and re-entered the house in a flock of hugs.

The competition was a truly brilliant Double Competition called “Off the Wall.” The Contestants stood on a thin slat against a baseball-stadium backdrop. The four Jury Members were located on their own side. Everyone was competing for HoH. The first person to catch 10 would win HoH. If I followed the rules correctly, if one of the Jury members did not win HoH, then the Jurist with the most balls when someone did win would get to re-enter the house. Or maybe it was first to Ten for re-entry. RULES! Regardless, as the episode ended and the sprinklers came on, Jessie had gained an early lead.

I want to believe that Jessie or Helen — or hell, Judd or Candice — can stage a serious comeback. Truthfully, that will only happen if one of them wins HoH. Theoretically, a win for GM or Andy could up-end the McCramda coalition, but that seems unlikely. (A Spencer win would throw the house into chaos. That seems about as likely as the pigs of Earth learning to fly and shoot laserbeams out of their tails.)

Follow Darren on Twitter: @DarrenFranich

Julie Chen hosts as the houseguests battle it out.
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  • 07/05/00
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