The biggest, baddest, most exciting week all season has finally come to pass. Austin was at last forced to think about his own game (and came through for us with plenty of drama), Vanessa laid a trap that Julia walked right into, a twin was sent packing, and we saw possibly the greatest PoV comp of all time. It should go down in history for Austin’s Animorphs impression alone.
Here’s how all the houseguests fared this week. Let the zings begin!
Lone Wolf (or, Should I Say, Lone Gorilla): Austin
— Big Brother Always #BBCAN9 (@BigBroAlways) September 10, 2015
For the first time all summer, Austin finally found himself up on the Block, sitting across from none other than the love of his life (well, for the past three months, anyway), Liz. Considering how he’s been playing all along, it wouldn’t be completely off-base to assume Austin would pull a Clay and sacrifice himself for his lady. Instead, the big guy stepped up and started making deals for himself. It was refreshing to see, and reminded everyone that he’s actually a very strong houseguest, especially when he’s not saddled with the responsibility of also saving the twins.
This week, Big Brother also blessed us with the best image to come out of the entire season: Austin lumbering down the PoV course like an enraged silverback who’d escape the ballet. It was a joy to behold.
Smartest Sweetheart: Johnny Mac
The pact between Steve, Vanessa, and John is still going strong this week, so John didn’t have much to worry about once the HOH competition was down to just him and Steve. Still, John hasn’t won a single HOH all season (though he’s done well in Veto comps), and it would be more than understandable if he chose to go for the win.
Instead, he let Steve take it. This was a sweet gesture, but also a pretty smart one. Johnny Mac’s alliance knew that one of the Austwins would be sent packing this week, and by losing the HOH, John not only kept his hands clean, he also made sure he’d get to play in next week’s HOH comp. Another smooth move from the Rockstar Dentist.
Making Moves: Steve
It feels like Austwins (and their revolving entourage of Vanessa, Shelli, and Clay) have been untouchable for most of this season. Even players who vow to put them up inevitably find a reason why the move would be bad for their game. Until this week, that is. Steve, who spent most of the summer lying low and crying to his mom, was the unlikely executioner who finally pulled the trigger.
Bye, Bye, Bye: The Twins
Liz and Julia have been catty mean girls all season, there’s no doubt about it. But, during their final week together in the house, they proved that they can be really caring people … at least toward one another. Watching Liz cry because Julia had “sacrificed her identity” was actually touching (though super dramatic and unnecessary, of course).
There was one other ray of hope for their character redemption this week: when Liz seemed determined to break up with Austin. Unfortunately, that decision lasted approximately four seconds, then she was back in the arms of her number one primate. Well, it was beautiful while it lasted.
Actually a Witch: Vanessa
Were Vanessa to reveal, on finale night, that she can actually perform Vulcan mind melds, I wouldn’t even be surprised. Her powers of manipulation have become legend over the course of Big Brother 17, and her complete control of Julia during the PoV was just the latest and greatest example. Somehow, in just a few seconds, she convinced Julia to compete against Austin (and subsequently get knocked out), thereby ensuring that Steve wouldn’t have to put up Vanessa or Johnny Mac as a replacement. Pure genius! Even more impressive: afterward, she got the twins mad at Austin, making herself a smaller target.
However, it should be noted that, as great at game theory as Vanessa appears, she is competing against players who are seriously below her level, in terms of both intelligence and experience. In simpler terms: she might not come off as quite so impressive if the twins weren’t complete dumb-dumbs.