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THE ONLY LIVING PIZZA BOY IN NEW YORK Surrounded by vultures, McCrae stands alone. Will he return to Amanda with his shield or on it?
You see, Judd -- wonderful Judd, beautiful Judd, sweet little Judd -- couldn't put the puzzle together too good. So he dropped out of the competition and decided to start helping Andy. This was a bad idea for at least three reasons:
1. Dropping out of the competition marked Judd as the least essential member of the Exterminators.
2. By choosing to help Andy, Judd immediately set himself further apart from his teammates Spencer and GM.
3. Helping Andy didn't even bring Judd closer to Andy, since his "help" mostly constituted of telling Andy, "Watch out for that time, Andy! Andy, you've got to put the puzzle pieces together! It's a competition, Andy! Andy! Hit the button, Andy! Andy! I'm Judd!"
McCrae won the Veto, no thanks to Judd or to anybody. It was a great win: a tough competition that McCrae dominated. He received the Golden Power of Veto from Ian. There were hurt feelings all around in the Exterminators. GM spoke to Spencer and Andy. She told them Judd was a quitter, that he was weak. That argument cut both ways: No doubt Spencer and Andy both calculated that Judd was a less player, someone they could roll over on the way to the final two.
Spencer, it must be said, had a weird approach to being Head of Household. Judd came to Spencer to talk game, and Spencer launched a full misinformation campaign that seemed purposefully constructed to say everything and nothing all once. It went something like this:
Judd: I'm going home, aren't I?
Spencer: No. No! Nooooo! What? No!
Judd: So you're on my side?
Judd: Would you ever put up Andy?
Spencer: Absolutely not.
Judd: So I'm going home?
Spencer: No, you're totally solid.
Judd: But you're not supporting me.
Spencer: You should get McCrae on your side.
Judd: So you're not supporting me.
Spencer: Look, I'll be straight with you: By this time tomorrow, I won't haven't not have been planning to not not support you, like such as not.
Judd: Can't you see you're tearing me apart!!!
Judd was in a bind. What this called for was subtle gamesmanship and a carefully-plotted strategy. So Judd got out his hammer and started headbutting walls. He threw a fit and he flashed a middle finger to the camera. At the veto meeting, he interrupted McCrae to make an announcement. "McCrae, you were one of my biggest allies coming into this game, dude. You're the root of why I left. Coming back into this game, I was after you."
This was interesting! It seemed like Judd was setting up some kind of rhetorical masterstroke, some way of getting McCrae on his side and perhaps burning the Exterminators to the ground, a method to remind everyone that GinaMarie is a danger to the house while also rebooting his gameplay for the final fo-
"And I'm still after you," Judd finished.
So basically, Judd took a moment to say: "Hey, McCrae! I really need your vote. But I don't want your vote!" It was a gambit to get Andy and Spencer back on his side. It failed. Spencer: "This is the dumbest move I've ever seen." Andy: "If he had any chance to stay in this house, I think he just squandered it."
The live episode kicked off with pretty much the same activity: At one point, Judd actually told McCrae to his face, "I'm definitely after you, but I'll definitely appreesh your vote!" Naturally, he was evicted. He whispered to McCrae that he left a message in his Bible, and he announced that he was voting for Andy and Spencer. This time around, Judd gave a totally charming eviction interview. He said that his message to McCrae wasn't really anything important; he said that his line about Andy and Spencer was reverse psychology, because he secretly wanted the other players to come after them. He concluded that GinaMarie was his favorite player left in the game, and he also said that working with Elissa was about as easy as working with Dory from Finding Nemo, with her forgetting whether you were her friend or enemy or target every five minutes.
The Head of Household competition was an old-school Before or After memory challenge, requiring people to recall events from throughout the season. It was a three-way tie, so it came down to Julie Chen asking the players how long the Superhero Veto competition lasted in seconds. GM and McCrae went long, with 1800 and 2010 respectively; Andy won with a low bid of 414.
That means Andy is the new Head of Household. His reign is short but pivotal: Tomorrow night is another live eviction. Fellow viewers, you know I've been an Andy skeptic, and I know there are plenty of people who despise him as a lying two-faced troll. But looking back over his track through this season, I'm inclined to change my mind. He never declared himself a maniacal supergenius, like Matt from Season 12, but he's managed to play that game to the hilt. He's been second- or third-in-command to everyone, never anyone's target and always everyone's friend; now, he's Head of Household at a moment when he gets to choose the Final Three. He's one person away from money and two people away from the big money.
Can Andy win this thing? It all comes down to his target. McCrae is dangerous, a hard man in competitions. So is GinaMarie. Andy would probably prefer to keep Spencer around, so that the Ultimate Pawn can set his final block record in the Final Two. (I can't imagine anyone voting for Spencer to win this thing.) Personally, I'm rooting for McCrae to win, partially because I love underdogs and mostly just because I love pizza. But who would you like to see win next Wednesday? And who do you think will win?
Follow Darren on Twitter: @DarrenFranich