Spoiler Alert: Again, the HOH competition ended after the live episode on Thursday. As usual, we’re including the winner of that competition in the post this week.
Last Week’s HOH: Steve
Last Week’s Original Nominees: Finally, they took a shot at the Austwins. Austin and Liz went up.
Last Week’s Veto Winner: After a ballerina bowling competition hosted by Jesse Godderz of BB10 and BB11, Austin took the veto.
Did he use it?: Yep.
Replacement Nominee: Julia went up to face off against her sister on the block, finally bringing the twins twist to its completion.
Votes for eviction: 3-0 to evict Julia
New HOH: After a long competition involving moving eggs through a fence structure ten times, Vanessa took her fourth HOH of the season. Joy.
Any new twists?: The TV schedule is changing for the rest of the season because of football on Thursdays. There’s going to be an eviction on Tuesday, and then another one on Wednesday.
GARRETT: So they finally broke up Austwins! Finally! It’s been weeks!
JAIME: The larger issue of Austin and his gross hands still hasn’t been addressed, but, you know, I’ll take what I can get.
GARRETT: It seems like these people can only solve one issue at a time. But with another Vanessa HOH, I’m not sure that she’s going to take her shot at Austin and Liz quite yet. I think she’s just worked these people into such a psychological frenzy that she’s pretty golden from here to the end. She’s the clear frontrunner to win if she makes it to final two, and if she gets there, the rest of them will have nobody to blame but themselves.
JAIME: As a viewer, though, that’s going to be the only successful outcome. We’ve complained a lot about how far Austwins made it, and how if they made it to the final two or three, it was because the other houseguests handed it to them. With the way Vanessa’s been slipping by, you could almost make the same argument for her, but in her case, it’s more of a necessary evil. Now that things are split almost evenly down the middle, with Liz and Austin on one side, Steve and John on the other, and Vanessa somewhere in between as she sees fit, everyone’s going to have to step their games up if they want to make it further. Right now, the biggest obstacle between these four people and their chance at half a million dollars is whether or not they’re able to outplay Vanessa. That’s not exactly an easy task, as proven by her fourth HOH win.
GARRETT: Going back a bit in my BB history book, I don’t think anybody has been able to win so many competitions without being targeted in subsequent weeks besides Hayden from Season 12. Hayden won five HOHs by the end if I’m not mistaken, but was constantly safe because the Brigade had him covered on all sides. Vanessa, though, has seemingly been a target for a while – it’s just that nobody will take their shot. They’re just so intimidated by her. Becky tried to seal the deal, but, as expected, that was derailed by Meg and James’ stupidity. And good old John, in adding to his bad decisions, pretty much gave up the cause and made a final two deal with Vanessa instead of continuing the crusade. He basically shrugged his shoulders after the Becky eviction and submitted to the fact that Vanessa was never going to be evicted and hoped for the best.
JAIME: I can’t really blame Steve and John for teaming up with Vanessa at that point in the game. I definitely wish they’d joined James and Meg earlier on and created a real threat to the Sixth Sense, but I think joining up with Vanessa when he did was probably his best option. The problem is, I can’t tell if he’s forgotten just how good she is at the game, and whether or not he truly believes that, if it was up to her, she’d take him to the final two. And with Vanessa in power this week, I don’t know if John will get a chance to really consider it; I think he’ll be safe this week, but I could easily see him going next week, depending on who wins HOH. Again, if he’s smart enough to figure out how to outplay Vanessa, then he’ll be golden, but if he’s content to sit back and trust that his final two deal with her will be enough to get him through the rest of the game, then he’s going to be in trouble.
GARRETT: To me, it all just comes back to that Meg eviction. Truly one of the worst moves ever made. It’s been two evictions since, but that decision by John and Steve won Vanessa the game. Regardless of whether John stays or goes this week, Austin and Liz are still the top target because they have two guaranteed votes in jury if one of them gets evicted. Vanessa is just so shielded by that. And, as mentioned, she’s just too good at competitions. It’s a shame, but I don’t think anybody else really deserves it but her at this point. But she’s definitely in the top two or three most unlikable winners ever if that happens.
JAIME: I’ve seen people floating the theory that Vanessa purposely isn’t revealing the details of her strategy in the DR to keep production from dropping hints to the other houseguests, or helping them figure out ways to work around her. It’s a really interesting idea, and I can see the merit in that. It does make me reevaluate some of the opinions I’ve formed about her, but then again, I don’t know if it’s enough to make her likeable. Sure, it would mean her game is a lot more sound than it comes off on TV, but if the audience isn’t able to follow along, there’s no way they’re going to be on her side. A lot of factors go into deciding who deserves to win, and while it’s not all based on fan reactions, that is definitely one of the biggest things that determines how a season is remembered. So, sure, Vanessa might be playing an even stronger game than anyone realizes, and right now, it seems like she’s going to win, and she’s the most deserving of a win. But for fans…? That’s going to be difficult to swallow. I think it would go down better if everyone else was playing a better game, but the shifts at both double evictions took the house into very unexciting directions. I don’t want to blame Steve but at the same time, I think I have to blame Steve. Thanks a lot, Steve.
GARRETT: I’m if being honest, keeping things from the DR makes Vanessa even more unlikable in my eyes. The DR is a part of the show for a reason. It lets the viewers see and hear thoughts, and gives us the reasons why people are doing certain things. Big Brother is a show above all else – its status as entertainment trumps its status as a game. Actively lying to the DR means you’re actively lying to the audience, when, if I’m looking back in the history of the show, it seems just so unnecessary to do so. Dr. Will told the truth. Boogie told the truth. Dan told the truth. The Brigade told the truth. They all won the game. If you’re going so far with paranoia to the point that you feel you need to stop production from dropping hints, then I really don’t know what to say. I just find that to be unfair to the people that invest multiple hours every week watching you play this game. Without all of those people, there wouldn’t be a game to begin with. And I think we deserve better if that’s what Vanessa is doing.
JAIME: That’s a really good point: even if production does drop hints to the other houseguests, so what? She’s only capable of playing her game if everyone else is…what, unaware that she’s playing a game? Everyone has a strategy (whether or not it’s a good strategy is an entirely different question). She’s a poker player, so she knows how to manipulate people. Except when she plays poker, everyone at the table knows that they’re there to play poker. There’s no difference here. Especially since John called her out a few weeks ago; everyone’s aware that she was controlling everything, and with her telling Julia to pick Austin in this week’s veto comp, everyone’s aware that she’s still controlling everything. Why hide the fact that you’re playing a game? You’re right; ultimately, this is a TV show, and while I don’t want houseguests coming on the show and doing whatever they think makes good TV, but at the very least, they should be upfront about their game moves so the audience at least can form proper reactions.
GARRETT: It’s just one of a lot of changes that production needs to make going forward. We need people to be there who are there to play the game, not to be on TV or find love. We need better competitions, and we need actual changes to the structure of the game to return to the “expect the unexpected” reputation that the first seasons of the show prided themselves on. I hate to say it, but the show’s staleness has a lot to do with why the past couple seasons have worked out the way they have. There are great changes that can be made. It’s just time for them to do it.
JAIME: Absolutely. Redoing competitions can be fine, but that only works if it’s something from years and years ago. Redoing comp after comp from last season? Every single houseguest this year has been able to anticipate when they’ll have a true/false challenge, or endurance, and that lets them plan for it in a way that just isn’t fair. When they can walk into a challenge, see how it’s set up, and immediately say “Oh, this is the challenge that got out [insert houseguest here] last season,” that’s a problem. The show needs to change with its cast. It can’t just use the same framework, especially when that framework is from seasons that were completely disappointing to all of its diehard fans.
GARRETT: They’ve already renewed it for another season. Maybe now, with Les Moonves of all people aware of the show’s issues, they can take it forward and make it fresh again.
JAIME: Needless to say, we’re a bit disappointed with our final five. Not angry, just…disappointed. Let’s get to this week’s power rankings so we can complain some more:
JAIME: I want to go back through these blogs and find the first time that I ranted about how much I hate Austin. And yet somehow, he’s still here, and I’m miserable. He was Steve’s target last week and, so far, seems to be Vanessa’s target this week (or at least, that’s what she told Steve and John, so who knows what the truth is). He was so disgustingly smug after he won the veto challenge, which, I’d like to point out, was the first time all summer he’s had to fight to stay in the game at all. Sure, he had to grovel to Vanessa not to backdoor him in week 5, but that was different. This time, he was actually on the block, and he immediately came up with a conspiracy theory that everyone was out to get him and thus he had no choice but to destroy everyone in the comp. And then he wore the veto medallion for the rest of the day, just to remind everyone that he won. Because, you know, somehow they missed that particular piece of information. I hate him a lot, I want him to leave immediately, he’s probably been the worst part of my summer, ugh, goodbye.
GARRETT: I’m definitely going to give him credit for protecting his alliance with the twins for as long as he did. He’s only been nominated once and has a solid argument for the win. I just wish that he was a more likable person. Or that he washed his hands. Or that he wore a shirt in the diary room sometimes. Or that he wasn’t so gross with Liz all the time. Or that he hadn’t cheated on his girlfriend on national television. Or that he hadn’t lied about that. Or that he hadn’t said he’s fallen in love after seventy some days in a closed habitat. Or that he showered more.
One of the biggest flops in Big Brother history. Awful, awful casting decision.
JAIME: Oh, Steve. He’s still committed to Vanessa and Johnny Mac, but I think his partnership with Vanessa is more of a hindrance to him than it is to John. John’s more or less content to go along with the group consensus and do what they want, while still having a sense of knowing what the best thing for his game is. Steve is acutely aware of the threats in the game, and what he should do; he just chooses not to do it. If he keeps turning off his brain and letting Vanessa do whatever she wants, I don’t know how things will turn out for him. He was responsible for splitting up the twins; that gives him a more solid reason to be a target for Austin and Liz than John. Whether or not they get a chance to act on it is a different question, but we all know how much Vanessa loves supplying solid reasons for nominations. She’d absolutely go to Austin or Liz, if they were HOH, and explain why Steve is a better target than John. He or John has to win this week to keep Steve in the game.
GARRETT: Steve is probably the best example of the spinelessness that’s plagued this season almost from the opening tip. I think he’s truly lucky to have gotten as far as he has, because he’s used the game more as a tool to help himself open up socially than as a way to win $500,000. I’m never going to stop mentioning that Meg eviction. What a horrible choice. I really can’t say it enough how much he screwed himself with that decision. Steve deserves nothing from this season. They could be in the Arctic and Vanessa could convince him why he should take off his jacket. He’s an abhorrently bad player and I hope we’re rid of him soon.
JAIME: Liz is still annoying as ever, but at least her time on the block with her sister meant she wasn’t spending quite as much time with Austin this week. She was still with him all the time, just…slightly less than previous weeks. If nominations go as I think they will, I think we’ll see Liz and Austin on the block again this week. It would be smarter to get rid of her, since she’s got a solid history of winning comps and absolutely could pull out her fourth HOH win on Wednesday. I can see why it’s better for Vanessa’s game right now to get rid of Austin, but if he winds up getting himself off the block again, Liz absolutely would go home. If she makes it through the week and wins the HOH, she’s golden. I don’t know if she’d be able to beat Vanessa in final two, but at this point, I think she’s the only person who Vanessa wouldn’t absolutely crush. More like…gently obliterate, I guess.
GARRETT: She’d have two guaranteed votes in jury, so she’d only need three more for the victory. And she’s won an awful lot of competitions that have saved her game time in and time out (the last double eviction, that Battle of the Block when James was trying to throw the competition). But Vanessa owns her mind. Julia was the more gullible one of the pair, as evidenced by that horrid decision to challenge Austin in the bowling competition, but Liz has been won over by Vanessa’s ridiculous ramblings time and time again. This time, it was a ridiculous deal she made with Vanessa that ended in Julia’s eviction over her own. And in the diary room, she said she probably wasn’t going to honor it. But I’ll believe that one when I see it.
JAIME: Nothing has saddened me more than Johnny’s game. I had envisioned a very happy life for the two of us, with messy-haired, loud-mouthed, annoying-laughed children, but I just can’t have that life with a subpar Big Brother player. He’s very, very good at avoiding people’s attention, and while I think he does have a pretty accurate view of the game and what’s going on, he doesn’t seem to feel the desire to actually act on it. Instead, he steps back and lets someone else take care of the hard parts. There can be some merit to that, and I absolutely think he deserves his place in the final five (and likely the final four). But he’s not some master manipulator, silently pulling the strings from behind the scenes. He’s smart in that he’s thrown HOH competitions to avoid getting blood on his hands, but it’s the end of the game. No one’s hands should be totally clean at this point. I’m praying that he finally gets it together in this week’s HOH comp, because I will be very mad at him if he goes this entire season without winning a single HOH and I just don’t want to fight in front of the children.
GARRETT: That’s if he even makes it to that point. After Thursday’s episode, it seemed like he may be in a decent spot, but Vanessa flips her decisions all the time. You really never know what’s going to set her off. Nothing is solid when Vanessa is HOH until the person she evicts walks out the door. The only thing that’s solid is that she’ll be able to control whoever she wants into doing whatever she wants. Part of me thinks Johnny might be on the short end of the draw for this week. But we’ll definitely see.
GARRETT: I think we’ve pretty much covered our thoughts on Vanessa at this point. If she wins, she deserves it, but it’s kind of like picking the best country to live in when the only choices are military dictatorships. All of the options are bad and I don’t like them. Congratulations Vanessa on your inevitable victory.
JAIME: On the plus side, it looks like her girlfriend is planning on proposing to her at the finale, if Vanessa’s in the final two (which, come on). So that’ll be nice. I like proposals. At least I’ll have some happy tears to settle all the rage I’ll be feeling.
That’s it for week 12! Next week the schedule changes, and there will be evictions on Monday and Tuesday, with the episodes airing Tuesday and Wednesday. This is it, folks, the final five. Check back next week to see us complain about all of the wrong decisions these terrible people make!