Amanda had never won anything, but she took an early lead and never really lost it. Everyone else dropped the ball, their count going back down to zero. Judd, who looked like a serious contender, got ill and started dry-heaving. Did Amanda cast an evil spell on him? Or are the elements just on her side? Towards the end she slowed down, and GM staged a serious comeback, but all for nothing. Amanda won the Veto competition, and all of the great plans fell away immediately.
Amanda was a good winner, and she accepted her power with quiet dignity. Except exactly the opposite of that. Elissa strolled over to Amanda and made a statement about handing her the Veto; it may have been a joke and in any case it was utterly inconsequential, and it sent Amanda on a fierce and aggressive 'roid-rage verbal assault. "Now your nominations are all screwed up," said Amanda. "You cried like a little bitch when I won," said Amanda. "No one gives a f--- what you say," said Amanda. "You f---ing wasted your HoH."
There aren't a lot of people to root for in the Big Brother house right now. Elissa is playing smart this week, and Judd just loves frogs, Aaryn seems so chastened that I can't help but hope that she has may have learned a valuable lesson this summer, like don't be racist and don't be homophobic and don't stay young forever by feeding on the souls of unborn children. But this has really been a season without heroes -- and the most non-heroic is officially Amanda.
She had a whole plan, see: She was going to save Andy by torturing Elissa and then letting Andy comfort her. This is upper-level psychological warfare which might have actually been brilliant. Amanda put on a birthday hat and blew a birthday whistle and spent the day in the kitchen throwing shade at Elissa. "Stop hiding! Come down, princess! You have collagen-injected lips! All you have is your body and your face!" She was taking easy jabs at a houseguest inside of a Big Brother house; speaking as someone who does that for a living, I was disappointed that she didn't gild her easy jabs with elaborate ornamental references, like maybe saying that Elissa's collagen-injected lips resemble two Sandworms from Dune, and then making some kind of Forty Year Old Virgin cross-reference vis-à-vis Elissa's chest resembling two bags of sand pumped full of plastic.
It wasn't all fun and games. Amanda yelled that Elissa was hopeless. "No Candice. No Helen. No Jessie. No one," said Amanda. "I have ruined you! You are nothing! Nothing, you hear me, nothing! I'm gonna torture you every single day until you leave this house!" Amanda was in full-scale intimidation mode.
But there was one thing she didn't count on -- one thing nobody counted on, really. As I've mentioned before, Elissa shares one thing in common with her sister Rachel: A powerful, almost shockingly tough backbone, and an unwillingness to bend in the face of bullying. If anything, being attacked seems to give these half-crazy Reilly women more power. Up in her HoH thronebed, Elissa mused on her circumstances. "It's true, I am all alone," she said. "Home? I have no home. Hunted. Despised. Living like an animal. But I will show the world I can be its master!" We have exclusive footage of this soliloquy below:
So it came time for the Veto ceremony. Amanda was riding high. She could not envision a universe where she could ever be beaten, and she hated Elissa and she loved to hate Elissa. She quoted Rachel's words in Elissa's face: "No one comes between me and my man!" She took McCrae off the block. And Elissa stood up and put Andy on the block next to Aaryn.
"Sit down, Trash," said Amanda. Tough words. But you could see doubt in Amanda's brain. She was losing an alliance member. The woman she thought she had murdered was still alive. There was no corpse. What was it about Elissa? She was a minor concern, but now she was much more than that. "And I...I have shown her," thought Amanda, quietly lifting weights in the yard, "That a woman without hope...is a woman without fear."
Elissa has taken down the 3 AM Alliance -- we know that for sure. But how will the votes fall. GM is an all-but-guaranteed vote for Aaryn. McCrae and Amanda seem likely to turn against Aaryn -- Amanda took the Judd choice for Veto very personally -- but they may want to keep around the more toxic of their two alliance members. Judd was evicted by Aaryn, but he talks about starting fresh. Spencer, the lone-wolf/wild-card/useless player, could be the decisive vote. If Elissa wants to really utilize her HoH, she'll finalize a pact with Aaryn and GM, bring Judd into the circle, and tell Spencer that a vote against Andy is also a direct attack on Amanda.
I worry that, whoever goes home, this week will be a net negative for Elissa. She officially declared herself the Great Nemesis of Amanda, a player who has dominated the Big Brother house like few players ever have. Half the house is in Amanda's pocket, one way or another. It will be an uphill battle. But by golly, it really is a battle. This long and relatively quite season has come to life with a bang.
Fellow Big Brother experts, what did you think of this jampacked episode? Disappointed that Zingbot didn't make fun of all of Spencer's catchphrases, like my personal favorite, "I'm on the block, and it sucks"? Can't believe that Amanda actually won something at the best possible moment for her game? And who would you rather lose: Andy or Aaryn?
Follow Darren on Twitter: @DarrenFranich