Power, Consolidated

Now, this is the game we wanted.

Oftentimes in Big Brother fandom, we complain about “game moves” and how people refuse to “play the game.” We end up focusing more on our favorite players and whether or not they can win a popularity contest. Rarely does the House truly get shaken up by a game move, outside of the “twist” that is provided by Production. We as fans say that we want “real game play,” but rarely do we see the types of moves that qualify as such.

This week, however, that changed. Two game players took the game move needed to evict a truly popular player, and in the process they set themselves on a path towards an inevitable power conflict. It was made very clear tonight that if anyone wants a chance at winning the $500,000 they will need to get through Helen and Amanda first.

The two players themselves couldn’t be more polar opposite in terms of gameplay. Helen focuses more on the smoother social play of passive aggression combined with political maneuvering. Helen’s career choice makes her game play all the more obvious, but no one in there sees her for what she is – one of the smoothest social gamers in Big Brother History. Tonight’s live eviction episode proved this along with the aftermath, as Helen talked up Aaryn’s “strong game move” while completely downplaying her own role in it.

Helen, however, is not above being influenced – and she doesn’t fully realize where the true power in the game really resides. The most influential player in the game sits in the HoH Room nearly every week, spends most of her time with only one other player, gets into fights with others because of her paranoia and attitude, and yet commands one of the most loyal alliances in the House. This player’s efforts are more akin to a bull in a china shop, but she has more power in the game than even the political operative realizes.

Amanda has rubbed many the wrong way, and her refusal (or inability, depending on who you ask) to compromise has been well documented. However, this brash style of gameplay has had remarkable success. Amanda is the player that everyone is afraid to go up against, and those who have gone against her have suffered early eviction as a result. Hers is the extremely rare form of paranoia that has managed to be both effective and successful for the person that carries it. Moreover, Amanda has the alliance with Andy that Helen only thinks she has – Amanda’s decree is what sets up Andy to maneuver Helen subtly.

It remains to be seen if anyone can challenge these two players, and anyone against either of the two in the final vote would likely lose. These two women have commanded the House all season, and have managed to control every HoH since Week One. Unless the remaining Houseguests wise up and put them up, the season is destined to have one of these two women as its winner.


Week Six/Seven Results:


Week Six Head of Household: GinaMarie

Before the end of her HoH reign, GinaMarie had talked heavily about making the week as smooth as possible, and of respecting the other players in the game. Sadly, the last few minutes of her reign did more to damage her reputation outside of the House than she realizes. GinaMarie kept it real, alright… and in the process, lost any fans she may have had remaining.


Week Six Veto Winner: Jessie

Jessie was originally the target for eviction this week, but a win in the Veto competition saved her. Expect a repeat of this line a few paragraphs down, with a twist.


Week Six Evictee: Candice

Candice may have had a shot at staying had she not made the same mistake that so many others made – she decided to go emotional with her final plea. Having never forgiven or forgotten the nomination speech from GinaMarie, she decided to “keep it real” (Candice’s words, specifically). While she can maintain some self-respect in this regard along with her attempts to rise above the boorish/bad behavior of the other Houseguests, it sealed her reputation as a particularly poor player in the game.


Week Seven Head of Household: Aaryn

Aaryn’s HoH was one that was not wanted. Simply put, it was clear that Aaryn was trying not to win the HoH and her frustration at winning it was evident. It was amusing seeing GinaMarie celebrating her friend’s win, given how little Aaryn wanted the role. It was, however, the next competition that showed something else about Aaryn.


Week Seven Veto Winner: Aaryn

With the HoH win, Aaryn cemented a role in BB history as a rather successful game player. With this veto win, she showed that the title would be earned. Aaryn is a bad social gamer, but her skills at competition when needed are at this point undeniable. Her win managed to do something else – provide a repeat of the previous veto scenario in saving Jessie.


Week Seven Evictee: Judd

Ol’ Yeller was put down. Judd was the third real blindside of the season, and the first since Week 2. Unsurprisingly, Amanda was behind this move as much as Helen was if not moreso. Amanda propagated the theory that Judd was MVP, and her push got Helen behind the idea of removing Judd as well. He was taken by surprise, and his pleas to stay fell on deaf ears. It is telling, however, that no one seemed truly happy about this move.


Week Six/Seven Star of the Week: Helen

Helen was the mover and shaker in the game that was needed to get the blindside done tonight. Although Amanda set the groundwork for the betrayal, it was Helen that carried the heavier workload of convincing Aaryn to follow through. In the space of 20 minutes, Helen’s actions changed the tone of the game and put the season on a path towards the inevitable Helen/Amanda chess game for $500,000.


Week Six/Seven Goat of the Week: Judd

In any other season, Judd may have stood a chance to go to the final four. Judd’s weakness was in trusting an alliance member whose paranoia had overtaken her common sense and had pushed her against a loyal ally. Judd managed to come out looking somewhat respectable in a game that has been so marred by disrespect, and although he is not perfect he is a seemingly good man.


Game Play Move of the Week: Helen convinces Aaryn to replace Jessie with Judd

After everything that happened this past week, it was a ten minute span of time that turned the game upside down. Helen’s move to convince Aaryn to remove Jessie from the block sealed the fate of Judd, and was the sort of move that will be talked about in future seasons.

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