Season 16 has been one of the more fascinating in recent BB history. Thankfully devoid of the racist homophobes from the abortion that was Season 15, we’ve had one of the series’ strongest seasons from a game perspective.
Some viewers have complained this season has been too dull and uneventful with the dominant Bomb Squad effectively running the house since Week 1 blowing up one target after the next. Critics say like Season 12 with the reign of The Brigade this season has been lacking any real drama, suspense or unpredictability especially after the departures of Devin and Zach. I’d argue it’s been one of the more intriguing due to the numerous houseguests that could have made legitimate cases for winning with Caleb, Cody, Donny, Frankie and Derrick all having especially strong campaigns and dark horse candidates like Christine and Nicole being right in the thick of the action for most of the season. You’d have to go back The Brigade’s Season 12 to find another stacked slate of houseguests with Brendon, Rachel, Matt, Hayden, Brittany, Lane, Ragan … and Enzo.
And while Frankie was fine doing a “dramatic play” re-enactment for America of all the evicted houseguests, all season long, another houseguest was busy making this summer “BB Jump Street.” Very early on, it became clear that Derrick had sized up the measure of his new roommates and found them all unable to see the game as a long-ball, undercover strategy to get the half a million dollars. Derrick promptly turned the house into his own take on “21 Jump Street” with himself in the Johnny Depp main protagonist role of Tom “Donnie Brasco” Hanson. His Hitmen partner Cody was cast as his sidekick Dennis Booker ala Richard Grieco and Caleb happily settling into the Channing Tatum role, Zach in the obnoxious Jonah Hill slot and Frankie as Peter DeLuise’s Doug Penhall simply because he too desperately needed his family connections to make it in life.
Just when it seemed like things were gonna get a bit hairy for Derrick’s “How to Win Big Brother” step by step manual, his old loyal pal Caleb won the HOH and they finally took down Frankie – the one HG who could point to more competition wins and has shown to be socially savvy enough to mesmerize the jury into giving him the half million … until he name dropped his sister again. While his alliance kept waffling on getting rid of him, Frankie all but sealed his fate when he won a needless Veto competition just to reinforce his competition dominance. Maybe he remains a target after the BBRewind if he loses, but even Frankie realized he screwed up big time by putting another target on his head.
I’m not sure if any HG benefited more from an earlier eviction more than Caleb when The Detonators formed and conspired to knock Amber out. While oblivious to Amber’s complete lack of interest, Caleb was a major liability to do anything for the sake of impressing her, but once she got evicted, Caleb became more focused, loyal and much more likable.
Between his penchant for rampant exaggeration, playfulness and “Judy chops,” Caleb’s second arc in the house was tremendously fun and you had to feel a bit bad for ‘ol BeastModeCowboy once he learned of The Hitmen upon being evicted. Still, short of Howard and Candice from last season, has there been a HG who so thoroughly seemed to enjoy his exit interview moment with Julie? We haven’t had returning HG since Season 14, but I’d love to see what Caleb could do on a second tour of duty in the BB house.
Now we’ve come to the Final 3 of Derrick, Cody and Victoria.
Another masterstroke for Derrick was maneuvering the game so his two closest allies were in the final three with him. If by some miracle/cruel joke Victoria won the final HOH comp, there’s no chance she doesn’t feel obligated to bring Derrick and I can’t see Cody backstabbing his buddy/rewarding Victoria’s utter lack of gameplay with $50,000 knowing Derrick’s motivation is his family. Much like Memphis, Cody is the Marty Jannetty of The Hitmen, but $50,000 to team with a BB HOF isn’t a bad consolation prize. That said, which is the better two-man alliance in BB history? The Hitmen, Chill Town or The Renegades? Cody wasn’t afraid to make big moves and seemed to come into his own as the game progressed so I’d be curious to see how he’d fare in an all-stars season as well.
Calling Victoria a floater is an insult to the Adams, Natalies and Kathys in BB lore. Derrick was the only one who understood Victoria resembled a locked-up jury vote than a weekly pawn, again showing his ability to think long-term instead of a week by week basis. Incredibly, Victoria’s biggest move all year was not to win a HOH, stave off eviction with a big Veto win or even win some money, but to help Derrick convince Frankie that she was not a guaranteed Derrick jury vote. And perhaps even more amazingly, despite Cody outing The Hitmen’s final two deal, Victoria laughed it off and still wholeheartedly believes the Robin to her Batman is taking her to the final two. In the season finale, one of my most anticipated moments is timing how fast the Jury Debate will be as they consider why Victoria should win. I’m going with less than 10 seconds.
As for Derrick. It’s a credit to his Palpatine-esque gameplay that he never went on the block while he had alliance members volunteering to go up multiple times as pawns. He didn’t need to stage his own “funeral” because he kept the target off himself. Anytime a HG began to understand his strategy, they were walking out the door lamenting why no one else understood Derrick was the puppetmaster while fully appreciative of his control of the house. Derrick laid very low on competitions, winning only essential competitions for his game while being content to be the Tywin Lannister of this season whenever another HG won HOH or a Veto in desperate need of his advice. At this point, Derrick has to be considered at worst, the third best BB player of all time (behind Dan and Dr. Will) for beating out such a strong field of players although to fully cement his legacy, Derrick will have to return for another season somewhere down the road.
What do you think? Does Derrick win a unanimous vote tonight or does something completely unexpected happen?