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It's been seasons since I've been genuinely satisfied with the final two of any given season of Big Brother. In fact, Season 10 might be the last time I was cheering on both players. Tonight's Big Brother finale crowned a winner, but not before the final Head of Household competition played out and the last two players remaining had an opportunity to speak to the jury.
Before the live portion of the show, the episode focused on a few more demonstrations of just how calculating Dan Gheesling was at this game. Apparently, he got Ian to agree to throw Part 1 of the HoH competition about ten minutes before he evicted Shane. The timing couldn't have been more perfect, as Ian figured his number was up at that point. The fact that he followed through on the promise after Dan met his end of the bargain shows the kind of player Ian is. Dan lied and backstabbed to get to the end. Ian played a slightly more honest game. And really, being more honest than Dan isn't that difficult. Let's not forget Ian's sneakiness in the earlier weeks of the season, when he was bringing information about Frank and Ian to Britney and Shane. Not only did Dan get Ian to throw Part 1, but he also got Danielle to throw it once Ian was down. Another impressive accomplishment, considering he'd just blindsided Shane. Danielle dropping may have cost her the game in the long run. Because Danielle lost Part 2 to Ian.
The second part of the HoH competition was a timed event that had Danielle and Ian scaling the side of a "building" and putting windows with the houseguests' faces on them in the order they were evicted. Ian's strategy of only wiping off the names may have helped shave some seconds off his time, because he beat Danielle by more than a minute. And with the second part won, Danielle and Dan went to plan B, which was to try to get Ian to throw the final HoH competition. A faux fight was staged, wherein Danielle called out Ian for having a deal with Dan and telling him she was going to turn the jury against him. Given the current format of the show, she never would've had time to do that even if she wanted to. As intense as tonight's jury session was, I miss the days when the houseguests spoke with the jury before the finale. That gave the jury time to consider the answers and make their choice. The way they do it now, bringing the final juror out on finale night and having the jury do the questions live gives them no time to think things over. In the end, they probably come into the finale already knowing who they're voting for.
Ian had no intention of throwing the last HoH competition. He outright told Dan that. But because he had two Final 2 deals, it's possible Dan threw it. If he did, he did a thorough job of it. As we've seen in previous seasons, the houseguests had to guess the way the jurors answered certain questions. It's such a crap-shoot, but Ian came out on top, winning by a couple of points. He held up his end of his promise to Dan and evicted Danielle. She left disappointed and even admitted to Julie that she thought Dan might have thrown it. Honestly, he might have. Or he might have intended to. But I don't think he would've made it quite as obvious if he did, so I'm thinking he would've lost anyway.
I have a feeling the jurors were prepared for Dan to attempt to dazzle them, and if anyone came into tonight's finale undecided, I don't think Dan had the words to win their vote. Looking at both players, Ian had the easier win. He had the competition wins. He had the Quack Pack alliance. And while he had blood on his hands, he didn't blindside anyone. Dan, on the other hand, played a cutthroat game. He lied. He deceived. He manipulated. He did everything right - except win over the jury. Had he had more time to talk with them, maybe he would've gotten a couple of votes. But I think this jury looked at the two of them and wanted to see Ian win it. And why wouldn't they? He's a sweet guy, he's a fan of the game, and he did make some game moves. He also had a really solid speech prepared. And he didn't have to defend himself, nor has he won this game already, which is another thing that could very well have counted against Dan this season. All Ian had to do was be respectful and appreciative, bring up his comp wins, and throw a couple reminders of the Dan's game-flaws out there. I liked everything about Ian's answers and his speech. The only thing I didn't like was him talking over Dan or interrupting when it was Dan's turn. Sure, Dan was shaking his head while Ian talked, but he didn't interrupt. That's poor form, but in the end, a relatively minor infraction.
Dan had to take a defensive approach, owning all of his moves in the hopes that they'd vote for him based on gameplay. The jury didn't seem won over by his speech, which was a strong indication that Ian had this game. The votes were cast, and by what was said, it seemed like things were leaning in Ian's favor. The only person that even hinted that they were voting for Dan was Danielle, and I think that's a mark of her loyalty. She seemed upset and maybe even angry with him, but without all the answers, she did what she's been doing all season: she stuck to Dan's plan.
Before the results were revealed, the pre-Jury players returned. Janelle took a shot at Danielle, mentioning her lies, which may actually be a comment about things Danielle has said in conversation on the live feeds, if not a remark about her game-play. Janelle also showed her support for Dan, saying he should be the winner and that he's one of the best houseguests to ever play the game. Boogie showed respect for Ian, who was "his" player (for a little while, anyway). And Shane got to ask Danielle if she knew he was being blindsided. She assured him she didn't know and Dan backed it up, saying he knew she wouldn't go along with the plan if she knew about it.
Speaking of Shane, he seemed a bit goofy during the jury question. Not sure if that was nerves or what, but he seemed to ramble a bit before he finally asked his question. And while we're on random comments, Britney looked adorable in her dress.
With all the jury talking and speeches, there wasn't much time to rehash anything. It was time for the votes to be revealed. Danielle was the sole vote for Dan. Everyone else voted for Ian. The nearly unanimous vote makes me feel even more sure that the jury agreed together that they wanted Ian to win, possibly even before the finale. But I wonder how they'll feel once they watch the season and see the way Dan was playing. Some might see the lengths Dan went to to get to the end, while others will probably continue to feel Ian deserved the win.
I wanted Dan to win. I'll admit that up front. But I'm a firm believer that the deserving player always wins. Because part of the game is winning the jury. In Season 10, Dan managed to do that. In Season 14, he had a lot more ground to cover and in the end, he just didn't pull it off. Maybe after the game he played, he never had a chance. But the fact that a former winner made it to the Final 2 is truly impressive and he moves to the top of my list of favorite players ever. Meanwhile, Ian loves this game, so as much as I would've liked to see Dan win again, I love that a fan of the series won. Ian's a good guy, he has a good attitude and I believe the value of this victory is worth much more than half a million dollars to him.
Frank won the America's Choice prize, which was surprising, at least to me. I feel about the same way about Frank as I do about Jenn. Both seemed like really cool people, and their chatter on the feeds was some of my favorite to listen to, but I tend to focus on game-play, and I wouldn't have ranked Frank very highly there. He won a lot of competitions, but he fell short in the social game department. So on a game-side, he wouldn't have been my pick to win the $25k, but he's a nice guy, so it's easy to be happy he got it.
And that wraps it up for the season! The grand prize goes to a 21-year-old college kid who loves Big Brother. Congratulations Ian!