Big Brother Recap: Into the HOHmestretch

Now that you’ve (presumably) watched Thursday night’s final P.O.V. competition of the season and whooped as the fourth-place finisher sauntered off to Chenbot’s Nook, tell me: Does this all-too-tame season suddenly feel as exhausting to you as it does to me?

The competition accelerated so quickly this week that I don’t remember what was happening even seven days ago. Was I rooting for Shelly then? Or Daniele? Or, like, Cassi? A lifetime has passed in three days, distorting all sense of time. Now we’re headlong into Big Brother 13’s final act, and luckily, the game is as alive – not to mention as weird, disappointing, and kinda exciting – as ever. I can’t believe it either.

Frightening grunter Adam towered as HOH this week, and it’s impossible to justify his newfound status. Believe me, I tried. To decode Adam’s gameplay in Street Fighter II terms, he’s a sedated version of Zangief, the slow-moving, yielding wrestler who only has a chance of destroying opponents when they all but place themselves in his grasp. He’s up against the anxious airborne sumo wrestler E. Honda in Rachel, who throws her weight where she pleases, the stretchy yoga master Dhalsim in Porsche, who subverts her own un-threatening speed with decent calculation, and Guile in Jordan, the all-American champ whose skill set is surprisingly limited. The point is, all three ladies are worthier, fiercer competitors than Adam, so there’s no use chalking his position up to anything other than a fluke.

That didn’t stop him from jeopardized opponents from appealing to his throne. Porsche, the only other newbie left in the game, used Dhalsim logic to level with Adam. If he ended up in the final two with her, Porsche noted, “I think we both have a running shot of winning.” And she’s right: While plenty of the vets (if not all, aside from Daniele) would vote for Adam to win, Porsche is a downright better player who could still pull off a victory. As far as Zangief and Dhalsim go, both are slow fighters, but Dhalsim has a certain knowing behind his calm. I can’t believe I’m arguing that Porsche is “knowing” in any way, but surely no one can say that she’s less savvy than Adam. Exactly.

Jordan’s appeal to Adam was less a plea and more of a huffy tirade against Porsche. Of course. “She doesn’t deserve to be in the final three!” she screamed, before telling us, “She uses her feminine ways and bats her eyes and like, says, ‘Adam, save me!’ trying to get her way. It just fustrates [sic] me!” Mind you, Jordan’s alliance with Jeff is built on a foundation of eye-bats, feminine ways, and frisky fustration, so I have to gawp again at her fun lack of self-awareness. Plus, her statement isn’t even true. Porsche’s done little to appeal to anyone, especially Adam, and she happens to be terrible at bargaining. Let’s hear a crack about that! But avast, in the end, Jordan and Porsche’s campaigns fell on deaf, elf-suited ears: Adam nominated them both for eviction, leaving Rachel to giggle absently like a wind-up doll.

Since the HOH’s privileges extend only as far as immunity in a final four situation, the winner of the P.O.V. challenge would be granted not only his/her own immunity, but the sole vote in the next eviction. The Street Fighter metaphor is about to come to an exhilarating climax, so hold on tight, my loves: As Jordan, Rachel, and Adam blundered in their cells during a houseguest memory challenge that involved stacking blocks and trial-and-error permutations, Porsche planned ahead for her stacking – using that slow yoga cool to outwit her opponents and eventually finish the puzzle first. Her colleagues played too offensively and lost the thread early on; it was Porsche’s careful, methodical strategy that earned her the final P.O.V. victory and saved her from eviction. Unfortunately for the remaining veterans, this meant both of them would be eligible for eviction and Porsche’s sole vote.

I admit that I had trouble deciding whether Porsche chose the correct candidate to leave — at first. Consider her dilemma: Keeping Jordan means potentially playing against her in the final two, losing jury votes from Rachel, Jeff, Brendon, and (likely) Shelly, and forfeiting the $500,000. Keeping Rachel means keeping a harsh physical challenger who is more likely to outplay her and garner the jury votes of Adam, Brendon, Jordan, and Jeff. Porsche would lose there too. Ultimately, she opted to evict Jordan over Rachel, which is nothing if not just, based on gameplay and Jordan’s previous victory alone. Sadly, though, it flat-out seems like the wrong decision in retrospect. Jordan’s mediocre performance in physical challenges is the boost Porsche needed to earn the final HOH, and if Porsche eliminated Jordan before the final two, she might be guaranteed a victory against Adam with the votes of Rachel (who considers her a better player than Adam), then Brendon, Daniele, Kalia, and Shelly. My tally there may be inexact, but keeping Jordan certainly meant a cleaner road to the finale than keeping Rachel.

And yet, Jordan’s eviction may have been worth it for her exiting snipe at Porsche alone: “I know you love wearing bikinis and hosting competitions,” she snarled, adding that she’d not spent much time with Porsche during their entire 69-day cohabitation. Welp! That’s actually Jordan’s fault, not Porsche’s. But don’t tell Jordan that now – she’s too busy gurgling with fury at Porsche’s “feminine ways” while exhibiting the full spectrum of feminine ways.

What do you think of the final three? Who will win the final HOH? Does Adam have a shot of winning — in any case? Are you rooting for Rachel? Are we rooting for Daniele to reenter the game at the eleventh hour and win? (Let’s sign a petition!) Leave your theories in the comments, read me regularly at Movieline.com, and follow me on Twitter at @louisvirtel!