Dan, Dan, Dan

It's amazing to me to see how the Big Brother audience has turned on Dan.  In his first season, Dan was America's Player, performing tasks voted on by the viewing audience.  Other than whatever shenanigans America asked him to perform, he played a very clean, honest game.  This time out he felt-- and rightly so-- that he had to switch things up.  Having won the game once, playing with the same strategy wasn't likely to work for him a second time.  He's been pulling off astounding feats of player manipulation, including a Svengali-like control over Danielle.  There was no reason at all for her to use the veto on Dan this week.  She trusted Shane, and Shane's vote was the only one that mattered.  Shane would have voted Ian out, leaving Dan safe.  But Dan wanted Shane gone, and the only way to make that happen was to get him onto the block in his place.  To do that, he had to lie to Danielle, who's been nothing but completely loyal and devoted to Dan all game long.

And this, I think, was Dan's fatal mistake.

Whatever else Dan did, he could point to being completely loyal to Danielle throughout the game.  Even though he pulled some fast ones on her along the way, he had a plausible story for all of those moves being in her best interest.  This time, though, it just doesn't fly.  If Dan makes it to the final two, I think it'll come back to haunt him with the jury.

What are the likely outcomes of each possible final HoH winner?

If Ian wins, he should get rid of Dan.  Ian should be able to beat Danielle handily, having played a much craftier game while still being well-liked.  But Ian appears to be loyal to Dan, and may believe that Dan has burned enough people that he's the safer choice to take to the end.  He might even be right, but I think Danielle is the safer choice.

If Danielle wins, I don't think she can beat Ian.  She has to take Dan with her to the end and rely on her sweetness and loyalty swaying the jury, because her game skills were nonexistant.  Had Ian been voted out instead of Shane, I'm not sure what she would have done.  And after Dan's deepest betrayal yet, it's hard to see her picking Dan strictly out of loyalty.

If Dan wins, he has to pick Danielle.  They've been inextricably intertwined for the entire season, and Dan's unquestionably made bigger moves than Danielle.  If the jury votes with their heads, he clearly "deserves it" more than she does on the basis of their gameplay.  If the jury votes with their hearts, however, Dan's in big trouble.  And no matter which way they vote, I don't think Dan can beat Ian.

This has been a terrific season of Big Brother, quite possibly the best one yet, and I'm really looking forward to the finale.

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