Helen has been in a tailspin the last couple of weeks. She would never admit it, and she’s too smart of a player to suffer a full-on implosion. But her carefully-manicured persona was starting to crumble, ever so slowly. She thought she could trust Andy; she couldn’t. She made a Final Three deal with Andy and McCrae; neither of them seemed particularly interested in honoring that deal. Her number-one ally was Elissa; Elissa started making noise about skipping Jury, and refused to even speak to HoH Aaryn. She could have handled one or two of these setbacks. But taken all together, they dented Helen’s facade. She was crying, and not just on purpose.
So after Aaryn put Spencer on the block next to her, she defaulted to Mom mode. “It’s clear that Aaryn is being bullied by Amanda,” she explained. So she went upstairs for a dealmaking session. She told Elissa and Aaryn to play nice together, and for once, that got through. Elissa promised that she would work with Aaryn and GinaMarie. Aaryn promised no longer send her evil Clown Doll to kill Elissa in her sleep. It was a compromise. Then Andy walked in. Helen talked to him point-blank: “If I don’t stay, it’s going to be because of your vote,” she said. “America is rooting for us right now.”
This ruffled Andy’s feathers to no end. Andy has spent his entire time in the Big Brother house lying to everyone, all of the time, about everything. From one perspective, this is an excellent way to play Big Brother. Andy’s problem is that he has fundamentally aligned himself with McCrae and Amanda, who will never really view him as an equal partner. In Andy’s head, he is probably the Grand Vizier in Aladdin; in truth, he’s more like Iago the Parrot. (It’s also hard to imagine that Andy’s decision to assume the role of The Likable Guy will play well in the Jury House – especially if Helen spends the next few weeks telling everyone how Andy betrayed her.)
Helen tried. Boy, she tried. She took McCrae aside. She told him that Helen and Elissa were a two-vote package. She told him that Amanda was not being a considerate partner. She gave him marital advice and she told him that he needed to “Be the Man McCrae Is.” She asked him why he was so scared of Amanda and she told him he needed balls. Helen was like a door-to-door Bible salesman who knocks on your door, gives you a hundred dollars, asks you to recite the entire Book of Revelations, and then chases you around your own backyard firing a Super Soaker filled with Holy Water, and when you finally agree to buy the Bible it turns out to be written in Cyrillic. By which I mean: McCrae was not convinced.
Helen gave it one last big go. She talked to Elissa, who was with her until the end like the last loyal samurai warrior who won’t leave his master behind. And she talked to GinaMarie, and asked “Hey GM, you’ll vote for me to stay, won’t you? Won’t you, girl?” And GM nodded her head and said, “Hey, I know a joke! A squirrel walks up to a tree and says, ‘I forgot to store acorns for the winter and now I am dead.’ Ha! It is funny because the squirrel gets dead.” And then Helen told Andy: “Right now, there are no targets on you. If you vote me out, all of these people will be gunning for you.”
It was a good play. Probably the only one she had – although I have to wonder why she never approached Amanda directly. Amanda felt threatened by Helen, no question. But Amanda also has to recognize, at some point, that she has become the Great Nemesis of Big Brother 15. This may come as a complete surprise to her. She told everyone, shocked, that Helen was calling her a bully. “Do you guys think I’m a bully?” she asked. Everyone squeezed their collars and stared at the ceiling and tried to change the subject.
At this point in the game, without Helen in the house, I don’t think anyone deserves to win more than Amanda; Aaryn has won more competitions, McCrae is a better politician, Andy is a better liar, Elissa is nicer, and Spencer has inadvertently played the Power-Pawn game better than anyone would ever want to, but I’m not sure anyone has had a greater direct effect on the game this season than Amanda. Amanda realizes this, of course. Right now, she’s treating the Big Brother house with all the delicacy of a twelve-year-old playing Vice City: This is her personal playground, and she has the special rocket-launcher cheat code.
NEXT: Inside Jury Purgatory, a second chance at life