This season of Big Brother has kept us guessing all season. Even with the live feeds, things have always been completely predictable, and much of what's revealed in the diary rooms during the episodes has helped make sense of who is trying to do what in this game. Those who were watching the feeds last night and today had a general idea of what might transpire tonight. But nothing was set in stone. Anything can happen. That's part of the fun!
With the feeds down for more than a day this week, I knew there was going to be some major blank spots in what went on after Danielle won the Head of Household. Leading up to last night's taped episode, Jenn's eviction seemed a likelihood. They almost didn't need to bother turning off the feeds to keep that "spoiler" from leaking. As far as her personality went, I thought Jenn was great. But strategy-wise, her game wasn't anything extraordinary. So I can't say that I'm all that disappointed that she went. But she left with her head up and her exit interview showed what a good sport she is. I'll be very interested to see how she is as a juror.
The feeds came back on last night, and we soon learned that Danielle had won the Veto, and that Dan and Ian were on the block. These things were revealed as well during tonight's episode. What we didn't know, and learned tonight, was that Dan told Danielle to nominate him. It was his way of making Shane feel safe and all part of a bigger plan. And it worked. Believing the target was Ian, Danielle put Ian and Dan up, then went on to win the Veto. Dan didn't seem especially concerned about winning it. This wasn't a competition week for him. This was a manipulation week. He's getting all of his ducks in a row… and then he's going to eat them.
Tonight's Jury House segment was a prime example of why I wouldn't mind a JH live feed. I love hearing the houseguests openly discuss and debate the game now that they no longer have a shot at winning. We saw the arrivals of Britney, Frank and Joe, who joined bubble-blowing Ashley in her zen space. Frank and Britney soon got into it while they were all seated in the living room. Frank blames Britney for breaking her word, and thinks it justifies him breaking his. And the two disagree over Dan's approach to the game. It seems like Britney sees the merits in Dan's cutthroat tactics, while Frank doesn't.
Britney made a good point about Frank's social game sucking, which resulted in him often being a target. Factoring in all of Frank's HoH wins, he did have numerous opportunities to use his power to secure alliances, prove himself loyal and maybe win some friends, but that never seemed to happen - at least, not where it really counted.
Back to the game, the Veto was a puzzle competition involving events that took place in the house being matched up with the relevant houseguests. Because she's the HoH, instead of being the lone vote to evict (as is often the Veto winner's privilege, being the lone person not HoH and not nominated), Danielle's power only allows her to change her nominations if she wants to. And because Dan wanted her to, she wanted to.
Dan convinced Danielle he'd save Shane and evict Ian if she took him off the block. So Danielle convinced Shane she needed to take Dan off the block and put him up. She assured him that he would be safe and Dan was definitely going to evict Ian. So Shane believed her and from what we could tell, agreed to it. (On the live feeds: earlier today, Dan and Shane had a quick chat in which Dan and Shane assured each other that they were still a go for Final 3. And last night, Dan alluded - but made no promises to Ian that all hope was not lost. It still seemed like Ian was still prepared to go.)
When Danielle used the Veto, Shane claimed to not expect to be sitting there. That might have been an act. Or maybe Danielle hadn't confirmed her decision with him one way or the other. But I'm thinking it was an act. He gave a lengthy, friendly speech, saying nice things to everyone. Ian gave a brief speech, that included the words "Quack, quack." Dan's speech was quick and dirty. He talked about all of the blood on his hands. He has blood up to his elbows. He referred to Joe and Jenn saying there was something big that had to be broken up. And then he evicted Shane.
It's worth noting here that I think Dan is very aware of the Jury seeing the evictions (they see the evictions and competitions each week). I think that mention of Joe and Jenn was not only a way to explain his actions, but also an intentional credit to them and appeal to the jury to show them what he was doing. This was a huge move. It's not personal. Pure strategy. If he gets to the Final 2, this could be a huge sell if the jury is basing their votes on strategy.
Now the reactions! Danielle's jaw was on the floor. She didn't see this coming, obviously, and this was not the plan as far as she was concerned. Ian looked visibly shaken, but I'm not 100% on how in the dark he was about this (or how hopeful he was for a miracle). And after a quick goodbye to Danielle, Shane bolted for the door. He seemed to refuse Dan's attempt for a hug. In his interview with Julie, he said he'd forgive Danielle for this. So I'm assuming he thinks she was in on it, or suspects, anyway. Either that, or he's forgiving her for putting her trust in Dan. From a game standpoint, Shane wouldn't have been my pick to win. I like the strategic players, and he didn't perform much in that area. The fact that he let Danielle switch the nominees without putting up much shows that. But he was a nice guy, so on a personal level, I felt bad for him. No one likes to be blindsided.
Back to the fallout, we also got to see Dan's quick chat session with Danielle in the Arcade room after the eviction. It sounds like he's taking the "I did this for your own good" approach to this. He even said something about doing this for her as her coach. I'm thinking this is just the start of Dan's attempts to convince Danielle he did what had to be done.
It'll be interesting to see how Danielle does with this once she has time to process it all. Right now, once again, she feels shocked and manipulated. But there's still a $500k prize yet to be claimed! She may need to find it in herself to accept Dan's logic, because she may need him to take her to the Final 2.
We don't always see such huge moves happen at this point in the game, but I can't help but think back to All Stars' Final 4 Veto ceremony. Janelle won the Veto and at that point, Boogie and Will thought they were on the fast track to the Final 2 together. Then Janelle used the Veto to take herself off the block and instead of evicting Erika, she evicted Will. Like Shane did tonight, Will took the eviction like a champ, with a C'est la vie attitude during his exit interview with Julie. Inside the house, Boogie was not nearly as collected. Will Dan regret the move he made tonight? It could cost him the game or it could win him the game. We'll know in less than a week!
There was no Head of Household competition tonight. Maybe there wasn't time, or perhaps they're changing things up this year. I think they usually do endurance as Part 1 of the Final HoH. But we have our final three, and it's not looking so bad! Ian's a true fan of the game, so I wouldn't mind seeing him in the Final 3, but there's also something to be said for the idea of Dan getting to the end with his apprentice at his side.
Live Feed Update - SPOILERS AHEAD!
The feeds just came back on and the first part of the final Head of Household competition has started. All three houseguests are up on hooks and being rained on. They occasionally slam into a cushioned wall, and are submerged up to their necks in a "river."
Update: 11:48 p.m. EST - Ian just fell off his hook. Danielle and Dan still up.
12:21 a.m. - Dan asked Ian for a couple of minutes alone with Danielle. Ian went inside. Dan's mic wasn't working for a good part of the conversation, but he was doing a lot of talking. Danielle complained about him throwing curveballs at him. Said something about her not being able to beat Ian in the mental competition. Dan talked more. Then Danielle said if he f---s her over again she'll castrate him slowly. She said she'd drop soon. Then Dan's mic was working and he was talking about taking Danielle to the end and how he'll be able to say he got to coach someone to the win (sounds like he's acting as though he knows he's playing for second place but would be happy to know he coached a winner). Not sure how much
Danielle dropped! Dan won Part 1 of the HoH!