The Exterminators are already one of the most successful final-act alliances in the history of Big Brother. Since they formed, they have a 100 percent hit rate with major targets. Aaryn, Amanda, Elissa: Three women who dominated the house this summer in their own ways, Aaryn with gameplay, Amanda with unblinking power-mongering domination, Elissa with her curious ability to turn the whole world off with her smile. (ASIDE: Amanda explicitly insisted in her exit interview last night that America might not have seen Elissa at her worst: Since my therapist forbids me from watching the live feeds, I can only imagine what kind of behavior made Elissa worse than Amanda. Performing human sacrifice? Giving regular speeches in support of fascism? Saying that Ben Affleck would be a good choice for Batman? END OF ASIDE.) The Exterminators have just one more target in the house -- a man who cannot win HoH this week, a man whose only friend in the house just stabbed his lover in the back, a man who needs to win Veto and win HoH next week in order to remain any kind of contender in the endgame. Even if McCrae can pull that off, the Exterminators have successfully rewritten the saga of Big Brother 15.
What makes this so funny and unexpected is that The Exterminators are the ragtaggiest of ragtaggy bands. Andy is a yes-man who has ridden the coattails of every powerful person in the house without ever making a power move; Judd is a lovable doof; GinaMarie can barely form mouthwords; Spencer has a beard. It's like Varys from Game of Thrones, Woody from Cheers, a fifth-grader playing the Artful Dodger in a community-theater rendition of Oliver!, and Zangief from Street Fighter decided to join forces, and last night they managed to take out one of the most ridiculously over-powered players ever.
It might have gone differently. After McCrae took himself off the block, Amanda made a pitch to Elissa. She said that she would be loyal, and she told Elissa that she was the next big threat in the house, and at a certain point she was basically saying: "You already know I'm the devil incarnate. Why run the risk that there's someone worse than me?" Incredibly, this pitch actually worked: Elissa brought Amanda into the pillow room and said that she'd vote to keep her, and offered her wedding ring as collateral. This isn't the first time Elissa had a major change of heart. Remember when, out of the blue, she decided to make peace with Aaryn? (And remember how well that worked out?)
At that specific moment, Andy walked into the room. "Hey ladies, how ya doin'?" he said, happy as a clam. "Guess what, Andy!" they said. "We're going to save Amanda and start a new final four alliance." The look on Andy's face was brilliantly inexpressive, but I imagine that if you could've seen his thought balloon in that moment, it would have looked a lot like the Death Star exploding. At that moment, Andy was the absolute linchpin in the house: A voting member of two Final Four alliances, both of them with their own specific attributes, both of them completely convinced that Andy was on their side. It would all come down to him.
A few weeks ago, Helen came to Andy with a plan; Andy immediately crossed lines and took that plan to Amanda, a moment that in hindsight inaugurated the era of Angry Amanda the Warrior Chieftess. Now, like a good quadruple agent, Andy took Amanda's secret plan to yet another alliance. Spencer was nervous, but Andy had a plan: He'd vote for Amanda to leave, but frame Elissa. I'll be honest: This was flat-out brilliant, and the best argument for pro-Andy partisans who believe that his pure-stealth gameplay makes him a deserving winner. If the plan worked, Andy wouldn't alienate McCrae (still nominally his last 3 AM ally) and would actually sow discord between McCrae and Amanda, while still voting alongside his Exterminator colleagues.
McCrae, for his part, was suspicious of Andy. He wondered why Spencer wasn't worried. There's evidence that McCrae can read people in this game; like a lot of people who come in as self-identifying "Big Brother Fans," he seems to intuitively grasp and even appreciate the fact that everyone is lying all of the time. But Amanda openly refused to believe that Andy was turning against them. It would be her final mistake.
The live show kicked off. Julie Chen announced that it was the 500th episode of Big Brother. She asked the nominees to make a speech. Spencer gave what has basically become his stump speech, thanking his family and nonchalantly asking his fellow housemates not to vote him out. Amanda told everyone that they had become like family. Clearly, neither of them thought they were going home. And for the first time this summer, there was a tie: Andy, true to his plan, had voted for Amanda. GM stood up, put on her hat backwards, did a spoken-word rendition of The Puppy That Lost Its Way, and told Amanda to get to stepping.
NEXT: Why, McCrae, Why?