Howard was in a tight spot. He was on the block alongside his oldest and greatest ally: Spencer, the Man With the Beard, who had the good fortune to be in a house full of dudes with muscles the size of his skull. Spencer has never vibed like a threat to anyone, even though he has spent the vast majority of the summer sitting in the corner with various compatriots and conceiving devious plots against half the house. Meanwhile, pretty much everyone seems to think that Howard is the number one threat in the house, even though Howard hasn’t won anything.
Howard is an enigma wrapped in a puzzle inside of a mystery box filled with popcorn that tastes like cotton candy, by which I mean I have no clue what kind of game he’s playing. He’s savvy and quiet, except when he’s nonsensical and loud. He plays his cards close to the vest, until he shows you his cards and sets the vest on fire. He has made an incredible amount of enemies in the house. He lied to Helen, something she finds absolutely unforgivable. Amanda has been aiming for the Howard/Spencer alliance for weeks. He constantly gives Candice advice, and that advice leads her to make huge mistakes, and then she blames him. About the only unqualified friend Howard had left in the house was Jessie, who just wants to be loved so badly you guys. Jessie found him after the nomination and cried into his face and told him not to give up. “THANKS JESSIE GREAT ADVICE,” is what Howard seemed to be thinking, as he genially hugged her and called her “Little Sis.”
On Jessie: I’m always fascinated by the mindset of the floater. Like, Jessie has been inside of the Big Brother house for over a month now. In that time, she has been less consequential than any of the contestants. In fact, she’s been less consequential than some of the contestants’ accessories, like Judd’s bear shirt or Howard’s hipster glasses or Aaryn’s hipster glasses or Aaryn’s collection of decapitated puppies. What is she thinking all day, as she passes the time in the Big Brother house? Does she think she is actually playing the game? Or is this just all an elaborate set-up by a homeless unemployed con artist to have a roof over her head for a few months?
Howard and Spencer were playing pool outside. They’re a couple of old gunslingers at this point. They’re the last of the old bunch. Nick and Jeremy, their old compatriots – who were arguably better players in every conceivable way except for their ridiculous Icarus-like hubris – have fallen by the wayside. Howard is two seconds from his deathbed; Spencer, smelling death in the air, is plotting his post-Howard life. Howard decided the time had come to make a speech. “I got something to say,” he said. “All the schemes and gimmicks aside, I wanna address everybody with some realness and some facts.” Here is a rough transcript of what followed:
“When the game interferes with who you are, personally, professionally, socially, or whatnot, you gotta act personal in a way that makes it not personal. Here’s something about me. I haven’t said one disparaging remark about anybody. I don’t disparage, I repair-age. What a waste it is to lose one’s mind, or not to have a mind is being very wasteful. How true that is! It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying stuffing.”
He wasn’t making sense, is what I’m getting at here. Howard has a unique ability to say so many things without saying much of anything, and leaving every person listening to him with a very different message. Coincidentally, this is a skill shared by most successful politicians, and also by evil telepaths in comic books. Unfortunately for Howard, he somehow has the ability to make every distinct person feel like they are his target. So Amanda and her gang fled up to the HoH thronebed, everyone feeling like Howard just threw the gauntlet at them. I have no clue precisely what Howard was trying to accomplish with his speech; it seems a little bit like he might have been trying to use it as a power play, but it seems equally likely that he was sincerely trying to express…something…about…something.
It didn’t work.
NEXT: Paranoia runs deep