Dan tries to maneuver Frank into signing his own death warrant

By Darren Franich
Updated September 06, 2012 at 03:23 AM EDT
CBS

Big Brother

S14 E24
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Dan can barely contain himself. Every few minutes, Frank comes up to him with a new elaborate scheme to protect the Greater Glory of the Frank/Dan alliance. “I’m a little bit concerned that, if I win the veto, you’ll get put up in my place,” says Frank thoughtfully. “If you win the veto, you should take Jenn off the block, not me” says Frank considerately. “You know what, maybe I should just throw the veto,” says Frank suicidally. Whenever Frank says this stuff, Dan nods his head and gets a sober expression on his face. He might even look around anxiously, doing his best Jason Bourne impression, radiating concern.

Then Dan flees into the Diary Room and has a good long laugh. He barely seems to believe his own luck. Frank is Dan’s number one competitor in the house. Frank is possibly the only player left in the game that could carry the jury vote over Dan — assuming that Dan’s role as this season’s Keyser Söze remains unrevealed at jury time (although if Frank goes home tomorrow, the Jury House will quickly become the headquarters of the Dan-Haters’ Alliance.) Dan has had Frank in his sniper scope the entire summer. And now, Frank is walking directly up to Dan, helpfully pointing the sniper rifle directly at his heart, and then asking Dan if it would be better for his game if he used a bazooka, instead.

I went into last night’s episode hoping that Frank could pull yet another rabbit out of his hat and win the veto competition. I think it was William Shakespeare who wrote the famous phrase, “Some Big Brother players are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.” Frank is Mr. Thrust-Upon. He has lived his Big Brother life on the block, . That is a nasty place to live. Being in the crosshairs has made him a mean, even nihilistic competitor, constantly aware that he is just one slip-up away from being sent home. It also drove him right into the waiting arms of his coach, Mike Boogie — a player whose influence probably made Frank an even bigger target. (Everyone wanted Mike Boogie evicted the second he walked in the door.)

But Frank has persevered. More than that, he has triumphed. He has lain astride the HoH thronebed three weeks this season — the most of any player. Frank is not a very strategic player — or anyhow, he doesn’t tend to consider the long game. I’m inclined to say that he plays the game very intuitively. And in his heart of hearts, he must have known that something was a bit off in the Dan/Frank alliance. He told Dan that he wanted to be off the block, that he was scared to throw the veto. He begged Dan, “Don’t vote me out son.”

Dan looked him in the eyes and said, “Dude, I swear I won’t. I swear on my Bible. I swear on my wedding ring. I swear on this picture of Abraham Lincoln. I swear on my bandana collection. Actually, I call them ‘Dandanas.’ Get it?” Then Dan and Frank had a good laugh, and Frank walked outside to soak up some sun, and Dan pulled out a voodoo doll with a big ginger fro and stabbed it a several times in the back with a shiv constructed out of Baby Zingbot’s fingers. “You’re making it easier for me to stab you in the back!” Dan exclaimed. “Why are you making it so easy?”

The most tragic part about the Dan/Frank alliance — let’s call it “Dank,” shall we? — is that Frank believed in it so much that he didn’t even realize this week’s veto competition marked the final showdown with his most bitter nemesis.

NEXT: Otev, the Absent-Minded AlienA spaceship crashlanded in the Big Brother backyard, and Otev the Absent-Minded Alien begged the players to find him some corn to power his engines. (It was a clever allegory for the Iowa Corn Subsidy crisis: Otev was Iowa, the corn was government money, the Big Brother contestants were political fatcats, and Joe was useless.) I was about to ask why the name “Otev” keeps on popping up in Big Brother competitions, but then I noticed that “Otev” is “Tivo” spelled backwards, so it must be some kind of cross-promotion.

Otev was apparently one of those aliens who grown tired of monitoring important parts of humanity and have instead started to amuse themselves by watching the Big Brother feeds. He asked the houseguests various trivia questions, and the houseguests had to scramble to find the correct answer-corn. Danielle went out first, and then Ian. (Ian, on his result: “I came in fifth place. Joe beat me.”) Joe was out soon, followed by a surprisingly not-terrible Jenn.

That left Frank and Dan together, kneeling in front of Otev, granted one final second for a bit of strategy. Dan asked Frank is he was going to throw it. Frank had to ponder that. To be honest, Frank wasn’t thinking too clearly — he was wearing a bandana, possibly one of Dan’s mind-control dandanas. But Frank stood firm. He had spent the entire summer distrusting Dan. At this final moment, he stepped back from the brink. He was going to win this competition for himself.

And then Frank lost the competition. It was a close contest, and there was a bit of drama when Dan admitted that he didn’t really know if the answer was “Ashley” or “Jojo.” But Dan won the day in the end. And here is something to ponder: That’s the only competition that Dan has won this summer. Of course, winning the competitions is only really important if you base your gameplay on winning the competitions.

And Dan has never really cared about all that. His preference for throwing competitions is legendary. This season, Dan has preferred to play coatroom politics, brokering peace accords between more visible players. (Dan knows that the competitions in Big Brother only matter if you decide that they matter — his Funeral Heist offered him a bigger bounce than winning a mere veto competition.) But after he won the veto, Dan was the vision of triumph. He walked into the kitchen wearing nothing but his black boxers, turned toward the wall-camera, and proclaimed: “The kid is back! I’m alive and well! Back from the funeral!”

That moment finalized Dan’s complete transformation from wry straight-shooter to devious plotting snake-man, an evolution roughly equivalent to watching roguish Patrick Jane from The Mentalist morph into Season 5 Walter White from Breaking Bad.

NEXT: He is become Dan, Destroyer of WorldsLike Walter White, Dan now seems capable of lying to everyone all of the time with absolute no compunction. He walked upstairs to the HoH thronebed and told Ian, “We’re renegades ’til the end!” — meaning that Dan now has a final two deal with half his remaining competitors. Like Walter White, Dan is plotting ever-more-elaborate heists. First, he convinced Ian that they should take Jenn of the block, and he convinced Ian that it was his idea — Ian even offered to act angry at the veto. Then he walked downstairs and told Jenn that Ian demanded, positively demanded that the nominations remain the same. But nuts to Ian, that crusty old dean! Dan will do anything for you, Jenn City! “I’m gonna have your back, regardless,” says Dan. “I told you, ’til the end. And I mean that.” Ponder this for a second: Dan was fishing for his fourth Final Two deal. And although Jenn didn’t say yes, she also didn’t say no — and if Frank goes home, who do you think she’ll come running to?

Dan explained that he was aware of just what a different player he was this season. Last time, he was loyal. “This time around, I’ve had to change up my strategy, and I have to do whatever it takes to win.” You could say that Dan is like a veteran ballplayer who learns some new moves to cover up his age — a pitcher who learns how to throw a knuckleball, or a boxer who learns how to fill his gloves with rocks, or a fencer who takes up laser tag.

You could also point that that — in yet another Walter White comparison — Dan constantly references his family, and specifically his sainted wife Chelsea, as his main justification for lying to everyone all the time. (To complete the Breaking Bad metaphor: baldness = bandanas, Gale = Britney, Jesse = Ian, Gus Fring = Frank, and The Harsh Moral Calculus of a Godless World = Julie Chen.)

Dan used the veto on Jenn, fulfilling a plan that he had made with both of his alliances. Ian played his part hilariously, looking peeved while chastising Dan, “You continue to stir the pot and surprise me. Playing with fire yet again! Wink wink, nudge nudge. (Aside: I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that the conversation between Dan and Ian about Ian’s apparent ADHD symptoms was a nice human moment between the two. It also made me realize that Ian has spent the summer being tutored by two of the best players to ever live in this game: Mike Boogie and Dan. And if Ian can out-Boogie Boogie, can he also out-Coach Coach? End of Aside.) Frank walked away from the veto knowing that his life in the house depended on Dan. It looks like he won’t have long to live.

Of course, tomorrow night is a double eviction, which means that the Quack Pack could lose a member…or could walk away with the house completely under their control. Viewers, what are your predictions for eviction night? Can Frank possibly survive one last time? If Jenn or Joe wins HoH, who would they target first? Is Shane still trying to win this game, or is he just auditioning for a supporting role in the direct-to-DVD sequel Magic Mike 2: Mike Takes Miami?

And how do you feel about Dan’s actions in the game? Do you love him? Love to hate him? Hate to love him? Do fragile human concepts like “hate” and “love” have no meaning anymore? Are you taking a shot of tequila every time Dan says “Chelsea”?

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Follow Darren on Twitter: @DarrenFranich

Big Brother

Julie Chen hosts as the houseguests battle it out.

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