Ian has every right to be smiling in this picture. The lifelong Big Brother fanatic not only won the respect and admiration of his peers and BB fellow enthusiasts, but he became CBS’ second-most successful poindexter after those Big Bang Theory nerds: Ian was declared the winner of the unpredictable, downright enthralling Season 14. Despite ratting out Frank and Boogie, Ian played a relatively clean game (then again, in comparison to Dan everyone played a clean game) and the nerd with a heart of gold emerged victorious despite going up against a devious, but brilliant strategist like Dan. Then again, could Dan kick himself in the head? No. No he couldn’t. In the words of Chenbot, “But first… ”
But first, let’s look back at how the Season 14 finale started. The unlikely final three — Ian, Dan, and his loyal brainwashed prodigy Danielle — were all still hanging by threads (well, hooks, really) in the first round of the last HoH competition. Now, this was a competition right up Danielle’s alley, seeing as she’d won a strikingly similar one when she clinched the pirate ship face-off that earned her HoH and her first smooch from fellow hapless hottie Shane. Logic would tell Danielle to hold on tight, that she could — and, for the love of $500,000, should — grasp on for dear life to win the first round of this vital competition, but Danielle and logic got along about as well as Joe and a whisper in the dark. Danielle relied heavily on one thing all season: total blind faith in Dan.
Dan, who had already cut a deal with Ian pre-Shane blindside to throw his first round of the HoH competition, then convinced Danielle to do the exact same thing despite any evidence to the contrary that he was looking out for anyone other than himself. “I don’t know whether to trust Dan,” she actually mused out loud at one point. Somewhere, someone is right now making Fifty Shades of Grey fanfic with Dan and Danielle in the roles of Christian and Anastasia. Holy crap.
Despite having some reservations about Dan, double superlative (“the most deadliest player to ever play in the game”) or otherwise (“Your antics, Dan”), Danielle still played into Dan’s evil genius master plan. Dan concocted a scenario for Danielle to start a fight with Ian after Dan would “accidentally” show their allegiance. That way, Danielle would believe Ian would be too scared to put her on the jury. Why Dan was continuing to be referred to as a “High School Football Coach” instead of “Full-Fledged Puppetmaster” was a major oversight by the otherwise on-their-game Big Brother producers.
But first (Must. Not. Disobey. Chenbot.), Danielle and Ian would have to face off in the second portion of the HoH competition. Thanks to a swifter and smarter strategy, Ian bested Danielle in a window washing challenge by completing the rope game in nearly a minute-and-a-half less time. “Thank you, middle school,” Ian cried, making him the first nerd in history to ever utter those words.
While Danielle sealed her fate the minute she joined Dan’s team at the beginning of the season, it was closed air tight when Dan and Ian headed into the final part of the HoH competition. Ian ultimately won the third round which asked the final two to guess what evicted houseguests had said about their time in the BB house. And while Danielle’s fake fight with Dan “worked,” her coach still kept her in the dark about another trick up his sleeve: Dan already made a deal with Ian that would ensure he made it to the final two, because of course he did. It’s why he made it this far to begin with.
Back at the Jury House, a pooka shell-wearing, tank top-free Shane, who was the liveliest we saw him all season joined his fellow evictees for a hearty discussion about who should and will win. Something tells me, based on their chat, they also read Brian Moylan’s analysis on the very subject. They too agreed that Ian made tough decisions, Dan is unethical but damn good at the game, and that Danielle is a human coattail.The Human Coattail (Worst. Fantastic Four. Character. Ever.) could only ride that for so long and Ian voted to evict her. “You’ve come a looooong way, girl,” Chenbot tried, in vain, to conjure up human feelings for Danielle who was still somehow shocked that Dan hadn’t taken her to the end of the game.
So there they were: the final two. Judas and the Nerd. (You’re welcome, Fox. There’s the title of your next dating show.) Would good triumph over evil? Would the rookie best the former Big Brother champ? The head or the heart? Before those questions could be answered, Ian and Dan had to field some other ones from the Jury House. “If yeh could change your fate, would you?” Ashley asked Ian. Okay, fine, she asked Ian if he made his own decisions in the game. Ian assured he created his own destiny — he did it his way. Dan chimed in that he disagreed, that Ian only did what the Quack Pack told him to do, but Chenbot locked that down as it wasn’t his turn to answer. Dan, what did we say about disobeying Chenbot?
When it was finally Dan’s turn, he had to answer the looming moral dilemma question, the only that likely cost him the game. How could he justify doing things like backstabbing Shane (who, in the end, just wanted a nice piece of paper like everyone else, dammit) and swearing on his wife and the Bible to get to the end? While Dan said he “regretted” the latter, his theory was that when you’ve gotta go to confession anyway, you’d might as well just keep sinning. Hey, you know what other high school educator has that theory? Let’s just say if Dan starts wearing a bowler hat, we should all be very concerned.
After Dan stated that Britney was “puppeting” Ian (which made Ian malfunction and get stuck on the word “bull”), his own strings were soon seen by Ian, who found out for the first time that Dan and Danielle had a final two alliance throughout the game. Not only that, but Ian also revealed to viewers and the Jury House that in an attempt to buy his trust, Dan gave his grandfather’s cross to him. “Really?” Ian asked repeatedly. Really, really.
When it came to the final speeches, Ian decided now was the time to lay into Dan. “I’m fairly disgusted with you,” he told him. But it wasn’t Dan’s villain status that Ian wanted to tap into. Rather, he wanted the members of the jury to recall that he won four HoH competitions, had a better poker hand, and came into the Big Brother house with one life, while Dan had three. Dan, rather than deny or backtrack, simply owned up to his cunning actions. Well, that and he started to kiss some ass. Though, perhaps, it was too little too late. Dan assured that he wasn’t an evil man, but that he simply wasn’t a physical man like Shane or a likable man like Frank. You see, he had no choice but to play the game ruthlessly. He played only with the tools he had, 24 hours a day (as someone who actually watches Big Brother After Dark, I can vouch for this), and he didn’t do it with malice, only with the intention to win. That in the game of Big Brother, he would be no pawn. Is he unethical? Perhaps. But this is a show that makes people dress up like dogs and eat slop. And I’m so glad it’s coming back for yet another season.
When it was time for the jury members to vote, it was obvious that Frank and Shane (“Oh boy, the things I wanna say Dan” he cried, likely over his limited vocabulary) that the two players still felt burnt by Dan, but you know who didn’t? No, not Jenn City, despite Dan’s last-ditch effort to earn a vote that she’d sold over a million albums or Ashley, who made a dream board about it. Why, it was Danielle, of course. “The only reason I’m voting this way is I’m gonna try and keep my word,” she stated. If anybody was going to bring Dan back from the dead one last time, it was going to be his faithful zombie. But first… the earlier evictees Boogie, Janelle, Wig, Jojo, Kara, and “America’s Favorite” Jodi (500,000 kudos to whoever said that on camera) were brought back to give a piece of their mind about how the rest of the game was played. But wait, where was Willie? (Oh, right.)
Wig did a stellar Joe imitation, Sensei Boogie made it clear he had no ill will towards his rogue grasshopper Ian, and beautiful, emotionless cyborg Janelle (who ranks up there with Chenbot and Zingbot as Big Brother‘s best bot) cried that if Dan, who she declared is one of the best Big Brother players of all-time, didn’t win it would be “an absolute travesty.”
So move over, Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, there’s a new national travesty in town! Because Ian, the Big Brother super fan, won Season 14 by a vote of 6-1. Who was the lone vote for Dan, you ask? I don’t understand the question and I won’t respond to it. It was Danielle, of course. Dan may have fooled his way to the end, but Ian got a studio full of grown men and women to quack like ducks at his victory, so you tell me who is the real evil one here. “This is the best moment of my entire life,” Ian declared. Even the most hardened, seasoned Big Brother fans and vets would find it tough not to feel a little happy for Ian. Dan may have played a better, if not infinitely more entertaining game, but that’d sort of be like rooting for Johnny at the end of The Karate Kid. (Hey, they both wore a hachimaki at some point.) You’re the best around, Ian!
Ian’s win may have been a surprise considering Dan’s strategy was the thing Big Brother victories were made of, but the biggest upset of the night had to go to Frank mysteriously winning $25,000 and being declared America’s Favorite Houseguest. While I have no doubt that the curly-haired charmer won over more than just Ashley, he likely turned off just as many. The honor likely should have gone to Ian or Britney, though for hilarity’s sake, I now wish Jodi had won. ZING.
What did you think of the Big Brother finale? Did the right man win or did the jury go with their hearts instead of their heads? Or, despite Dan’s brilliant maneuvers like planning his own funeral, did his loose morals ultimately cost him a second victory? Was Danielle the ultimate Big Brother straphanger or what? Now that Shane found out Danielle had no part in his backstabbing will they get back together? (If only to save closet space on pink tank tops.) Share your thoughts in the comments section.
[Photo credit: CBS/Lisette M. Azar]