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People fought. Controversial comments were made. Showmances were formed. People got evicted. More people fought, said controversial things and cried. And it all came down to three players for Season 15 of Big Brother, none of whom we'd probably refer to as "power players" by any stretch. A well-timed alliance formed and took GinaMarie, Spencer and Andy to the final three. I'm not going to harp on how much I didn't love the Exterminators, but it's worth noting that a better player could have seen that group coming and figured out a way to fracture it before it derailed their game. I wish McCrae had been their player, and if he ever gets to play this game again, maybe he will be. In the meantime, it's an Exterminator finale.
Discos and crabs
Part 1 of the Final HoH was the rollerskating endurance competition we glimpsed in Sunday's episode. GinaMarie won it, which was an easy prediction. Andy went on to win Part 2, "Crab Grab," which had Andy and Spencer each digging up crabs with houseguests' faces on them and then scaling a wall to order them by eviction.. I think if it would have been some kind of puzzle, Spencer might have had it, but anything that combines mental and physical this way, Andy had the sure advantage. Even with Spencer's smart strategy to lay out his crabs before climbing, he fell behind Andy's time by something around fifteen minutes.
So it came down to GinaMarie and Andy set to face off against one another for the final HoH. But first, the jury!
"Everything's happy in Candyland, you're just not there with me. Duh!"
Moving over to the jury house, Big Brother threw us a bone by bringing in one of the BB greats to moderate the jury panel and offer them a bit of coaching on where to put their vote. I'm wondering if the producers knew this segment would be a complete and total unwatchable bicker-fest without a charming doctor set between them to keep things come and keep the discussion productive. Arguments were made for and against all three remaining houseguests. I especially like McCrae coming to the defense of Spencer in pointing out that the pawn usually goes home and Spencer didn't. Seven times, he survived the block and six of the eight jurors were up against him. That has to count for something. But is that worth half a million dollars? Maybe.
I sometimes wonder if the jurors vote against each other more than they do a winner. Like, if Amanda pushes for Andy, for example, would the rest of the house vote the opposite just to spite her? I guess there are other factors involved in that choice, but in the case of Amanda, I don't think either of the Final two would benefit from Amanda's support, given the hostile treatment she received during the jury segment. She doesn't seem to be on good terms with anyone. Meanwhile, Aaryn pointed out that she and Candice are BFFs, to which Will responded by asking if she's helping to make Candice's bed. Good one, Will. If anyone needs their mattress flipped, Aaryn's your girl.
A's and B's
The final HoH comp had Andy and GinaMarie perched on scales and answering questions based on things the Jury members said. Candice's most shocking moment was when Aaryn flipped her mattress. Jesse was most irritated when Helen didn't follow through with the plan to evict Amanda. Helen's most uncomfortable moment was watching Judd plead for his life. Aaryn's most romantic evening with a houseguest would be with Judd, because he has manners. (Guess she's over David.) Amanda's afraid to have her friends and family see every single one of her moments in the house. Elissa was most shocked by Aaryn's behavior because everything about her is cute and adorable, except for her personality. McRae said the best thing about being the house was free food.
Andy won the final Head of Household competition, leaving us to wonder who he'd bring to the end. Would he play it safe and bring the pawn to the end? Or would he play it loyal and take GinaMarie? To my surprise, he took GinaMarie. Given how he's played all season, I really thought he'd go with Spencer, assuming he'd have a better shot to win against him. But he took GinaMarie, leaving Spencer to finally be evicted and me to figure out which of the final two I want to win. I guess Andy. I realize of the two, GinaMarie's probably more popular, but I think Andy played the better game. Actually though, I'll revise that by saying that if Andy wins, he had the better game. In the end, convincing the jury is the biggest game-play move a player can make. Did Andy manage to do that? Or did GinaMarie?
On propping up their own game moves, I think both Andy and GinaMarie played to their strengths. Andy spoke from both an emotional and strategic level, talking about the backstabbing and the lies he told and explaining how he felt bad about them because he loves everyone, but also breaking down his reasoning for the lies he told. One of his best answers was telling Jesse that the reason he couldn't tell houseguests when he was voting them out because he was a coward and felt bad, but also because he didn't want to give them the opportunity to slander him on their way out the door. Blindsiding people helped maintain his act, as no one was trading notes. GinaMarie, on the other hand, seemed to have a rough time coming up with actual answers to the questions. It looked like McCrae expected her to work Nick into one of her answers. But GM couldn't answer Amanda's question about what her biggest game move was before forming the Exterminators and getting her evicted.
Andy's biggest selling point may have been pointing out that he actually was loyal to one person all season, and that was GinaMarie. I'm not sure I saw that throughout the season, as it seems like he was working against her quite a bit at the beginning, but bringing GinaMarie to the end did demonstrate his loyalty, showing that he was capable of it after all and the rest was all just strategy.
If any jury members were undecided before tonight, I'm to sure GinaMarie's answers would have swayed them whereas I think Andy handled his questions well. GinaMarie's final plea was her typical heartfelt approach, which included apologizing for "heat of the moment" arguments, which she attributes to being Italian. I think she actually added something about parting gifts if she wins, which is poor form in my opinion, and I don't think that would win her any points. Andy's speech was a fast-spoken run-through of moves he made, including the Exterminators. He also took a lot of credit for the evictions that happened and his involvement in them.
Once the votes were cast, it was time for the early-evictees to return and for the jurors and the Final 2 to learn a few things about this season. The first big reveal was to Amanda that America was the MVP the two times she was nominated. She seemed to have figured that out already. Howard brought up the reaction to the controversial comments made, but no specifics were given and no houseguest was called out. Jeremy called Helen out for her crying and talking about being a mom, two things she did quite a bit. Helen said her tears were genuine. Kind of vague and boring reveals to be honest, and there was no funny reel or anything like that to celebrate the best or worst of the season.
Here's how they went down:
Andy wins it!
Going by the buzz on the internet, it seems like GinaMarie was better liked by this point than Andy, but on gameplay, Andy played the better game. The fact that he was able to do what he did all season and get to the end, and win the majority vote shows that the sneaky approach does work if played right.
Upon their exit, Andy made the rounds and hugged people, while GinaMarie went straight to Nick and hugged him pretty much until the show cut to commercial. When we came back, Elissa won America's Favorite houseguest. No surprise there, as she's won every other (positive prize) America's vote. Thanks for that Brenchal army. Go ahead and take that as sarcastically or not sarcastically as you like. I don't dislike Brendan and Rachel. In fact, a recent rewatch of Season13 made me appreciate them much more as an entertaining couple and fierce competitors. I didn't see much of that from Elissa all season, so looking at her as her own person and not related to Brenchal, she wouldn't have been my pick to win. But the same could be said for a lot of other players this season. On likability, I would've gone with Judd or McCrae. On gameplay, eh, it's a tossup as this season didn't have a whole lot of great players who made it close enough to the end to deserve that prize.
All in all, this was not my favorite season, to put it mildly. And I went into this finale not feeling particularly invested in any one winner, but the jury picked the right person tonight, so I'm good with Andy winning.
Catch Jeff Schroeder's backyard interviews at CBS.com.
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