Well, here we are, “Big Brother” fans, at the end of a long journey. A long, long journey. We’ve seen the good, we’ve seen the bad, we’ve seen the Zingbot 3000…we’ve seen it all. And now we all new eyeglass prescriptions. As a newbie to the franchise this year, I have little by which to compare this iteration to previous seasons. From reading your comments all summer, it seems like most of you disliked the pairs’ competition that started the summer, disliked the newbies, and didn’t particular clamor for the return of these veterans. Other than those small little details, hey, you seemed to love it.

Since it’s the finale, and I’m not sure how things will all play out, I’m going to adopt Fienberg’s timestamp approach to recapping. So once more unto the house, the silicon implants, and the unbelievable chance that Adam might actually walk of this competition as the winner.

9:30 p.m. ET: Julie Chen’s shoulders are covered. I’m not sure what this means, but Dan likes to make note of this. So I’m just following house rules.

 

9:31 p.m. A quick retrospective of the entire game. Hey look, it’s those people I barely remember! Hey look, competitions that weren’t fun to watch! There’s a lot of emphasis on Daniele’s role this season, probably because she’s one of the few people that actively tried to play the game.

9:34 p.m. Crying Montage! Feel the pain, people.

 

9:35 p.m. Porsche Hosting Competition Montage! Feel the audition for “Let’s Make a Deal,” people.

9:36 p.m. Thank God we got one final look at Rachel crying in the bush. This finale wouldn’t have been complete without one last look at probably the best moment of the entire season.

9:37 p.m. Julie takes us back to the final HoH competition that started last Thursday. The three are spinning in what looks like egg batter, while Barney Stinson appears to be shooting at them with a paintball bazooka from somewhere off screen.

9:40 p.m. You’re not gonna believe this, but Adam leaves a physical challenge first, after approximately 29 minutes on the Whisker of Doom. Porsche and Rachel both keep their eyes closed to avoid their increasing sense of nausea. Luckily, before we see any vomit, Porsche falls off at the 46 minute mark, leaving her and Adam to face off head to head in the next round.

9:46 p.m. Back from commercial break, Porsche simultaneously hosts AND competes in the next competition. She can do it all, folks! It’s an underwater maze, featuring the faces of past contestants. The goal is to arrange the faces through the maze in the order in which they were HoH this season as fast as possible. The other goal? Not drowning.

9:49 p.m. Porsche is struggling with “holding her breath” and “remembering” at the same time. Can’t blame her, as this is a fairly difficult challenge. Upon completion, she’s unhappy with her time, which we don’t see.

9:50 p.m. Adam feels confident in his memory of the HoH order, but has difficulty with the goggles. So he throws them away. Naturally, this only hurts his vision, which sends him out of the tank to look for the darn things. Not a strong showing for either contestant.

9:51 p.m. Rachel announces the times. Adam: 6 minutes, 3 seconds. Porsche: 3 minutes, 50 seconds. Well, now we know why CBS didn’t bother showing the times before. Wasn’t even close. Nice knowing you, Adam. In an overdub, he expresses the hope that the winner takes him to the final two, since it’s “good strategy.” I think he just called himself the weak link of the game. Nothing like self-realization, dude. Looks like Rachel agrees, as she states she’s willing to break her agreement with Porsche should she win.

9:52 p.m. Julie Chen: “The question is: can I speak a sentence without stuttering on live television?” Actually, she sends us the jury panel, when they greet Kalia for the first time. As Kalia catches people up, Jordan sneaks in the back. Brendon cheers a little too loudly before realizing how bad it looks. Pretty amusing. This guy is getting his Ph.D. in “being whipped.” Luckily, if Rachel wins, she can pay for his next twelve years in grad school.

9:53 p.m. Shelly asks the jury members what criteria they will vote on to determine a winner. Jordan wants to vote for Rachel, thinking she’s played the best game. Daniele in turn calls Rachel a floater than gravitated towards the HoH each week. (Which makes her different from every other player…how?) Brendon applauds Rachel’s ability to change her strategy mid-season. Me? I applaud the way that she actually grew a spine once Brendon left. Kalia seems to agree with Brendon, admitting that she respects Rachel much more than she did at the start. Shelly can’t get past giving $500,000 to someone as mean as Rachel. I can’t get past that she’s still playing the victim, and neither can Jordan, who calls Shelly out on her duplicitous lies all season.

9:55 p.m. Time to talk about Porsche. Jeff only spent eight minutes talking to her all season, so has no opinion. “I didn’t even know she was in the house until Day 52,” he says. Kalia points out her late string of victories as an example of Porsche sticking her neck out when she had to do so. Shelly calls Adam a floater, but Jordan and Jeff both call him loyal, even as he toed the line all season to keep himself in the game. Daniele feels like Adam didn’t actually play the game so much as look to others to tell him how to play it. In her words, he’s not a floater, he’s a “piggybacker.” To paraphrase “Mean Girls”, stop trying to make “piggybacker” happen, Daniele.

 

9:57 p.m. Great. Now I have dueling banjos in my head and thoughts of the Zingbot 3000 telling Adam to squeal like a pig.

9:58 p.m. The subtext to everything related to Adam and Porsche: “How the hell are these two schmucks still in the house are we’re not?” Everyone’s angry, except Brendon, who seems to be counting money in his head already.

10:01 p.m. Time for the final round of the HoH competition, which will happen live. Julie will read statements made previously by members of the jury, giving two possible endings for each statement. Each correct answer gets one point, with the person with the most points at the end of six rounds declared HoH.

10:03 p.m. After two rounds, Rachel leads 1-0. This is as exciting as watching paint dry.

10:05 p.m. After four rounds, the score stays 1-0. The lesson: no one learned anything about anyone this summer. Which sounds about right in terms of a broad takeaway, sociologically speaking.

 

10:06 p.m. Rachel gets the next question right, with Porsche whiffing again. Rachel is the final HoH. She starts crying, which actually wakes up my wife on the couch to me. “Uhhhh…” my wife mutters groggily, “Shut up, Rachel!” Forget Rachel in the bushes: that was my “Big Brother” moment of the summer.

10:10 p.m. Holy crap, Adam’s dad (in the studio audience) looks like Harvey Fierstein’s Mafioso cousin. That’s incredible.

10:11 p.m. Julie welcomes us back, and asks Porsche and Adam to plead their cases before Rachel makes her decision. Porsche says the two started and ended as allies, and hopes to continue that into the final pair. Adam gives a shout out to metalheads in Yankee Stadium, for reasons that are…unclear. He insists that post-Brendon, he was there to support Rachel through the game. He calls Porsche the real floater, which is a Shelly-esque way of deflecting criticism. But hey, he’s got 30 seconds left with Porsche at this point anyways: why not throw her under the bus?

10:12 p.m. Rachel stands up, surprised that someone with a target as big as hers still survived. Now I understand why Rachel teared up a bit when Adam spoke earlier, since she knew she would evict him and go into the final two with Porsche. This is as much to do with her alliance with Porche as realizing Jeff/Jordan would have Adam’s back on the jury, I wager.

10:13 p.m. I just analyzed “Big Brother” strategy in a non-ironic manner. I really need this show to end before my brain explodes.

10:14 p.m. Adam walks into the studio like a rock star, throwing up the metal horns and high five-ing the crowd. Julie asks if Rachel if she made the right decision. “Yes,” he says, “Because I would have won.” He thinks his social game would have helped him out. One man’s “social game” is another man’s “ten-week butt kissing session,” I suppose.

10:19 p.m. Julie introduces the jury into the studio. Daniele is wearing a dress so tight that I’m worried a black hole will form around her at any second. They then learn that Adam is the final juror, which sends Brendon into yet another impromptu fist pumping session. Julie Chen calmly asks Adam to stop moshing with the crowd so they can end this show on time.

10:21 p.m. It’s time for the jury to ask Porsche and Rachel questions before the final vote. Sounds like these questions were agreed upon before hand, which probably eliminates the chance that “How DARE you?” appears during this Q&A.

10:22 p.m. First question: “Why should Rachel be rewarded for her perceived behavior?” Her response: “I WILL CUT YOU.” Her actual response: She apologizes for any perceived slights, but attributes her attitude to being a target from Day One, appealing to game play as the metric by which to vote. If the jurors go by that, it’ll be a 6-1 vote. (Daniele will vote for Satan before she votes for Rachel.)

10:23 p.m. Second question: “Porsche, some people think all you did is wear bikinis and cook. What else did you do to deserve a half million dollars?” Hysterical that Jordan is asking this question. This is a 5th-grade jury Q&A, no doubt. Porsche’s reply: I played a social game after getting a Golden Key, therefore didn’t float as a strategy but due to game twists. I didn’t float, except while in water, because my breasts double as a life raft. (OK, she said MOST of those things. This isn’t a 100% accurate transcription.)

10:25 p.m. Third question: “Rachel, aside from winning competitions, what did you do to deserve to win this game?” Rachel’s response: “Did I mention I was a target? I was a target. A guy wearing thirty-seven Target t-shirts didn’t have as many targets on his back as I did.” She then kisses Kalia’s butt, saying that she evicted Kalia because Rachel viewed her as the biggest threat to win.

10:26 p.m. Fourth question: “Porsche, when did you start playing the game, and what were some of your big game moves?” Porsche’s response: Week One, maneuvering away from Keith and sitting out competitions to play a social game instead. I’m pretty sure this answer contradicts her last one, but there’s no such thing as “logic” in Porscheville.

10:30 p.m. Time for final speeches from the last remaining contestants. Rachel goes first, once again restating her case at the real Human Target, Christopher Chance be damned. She focuses on exposing Daniele’s backdoor plot as THE game move of the summer, and once again restates the importance of evicting Kalia.

10:31 p.m. Porsche follows up, making her case for those seeking to award competitive spirit, while reminding these players that they all voted to keep her in the house Week 1. (Well, yes, because your partner might have been legally insane, Porsche.) She then asks them for the money to help her “compete in life,” which is an odd way of phrasing it. Is she going to use the half million to fund fight clubs? Because if so, she should say that outright. That would definitely sway the jury. I’m not sure HOW, but it will definitely sway them.

10:32 p.m. The jurors step up one at a time to vote, each with final words for each. Some are vague. Others, not so much. (Daniele to Rachel: “You’re lucky this isn’t a personality contest.”) Worst. Key Party. Ever.

10:39 p.m. The losers return! Those initially voted out are onstage now, sitting opposite the jury. Keith’s corsage might be larger than his head. Yowsas. We’re apparently going to find out what they thought about the season. Why? Um. Unclear. This would be like asking people cut from a football team during training camp to talk about that team’s performance during the playoffs.

10:40 p.m. Evel Dick says the Veteran’s Alliance should have been the best alliance to ever play the game, while Daniele nods her head in defiance so vigorously I’m worried it’ll pop off in Fembot-esque manner.

 

10:41 p.m. In response, Daniele says that forming alliances Day One is a bad idea. It’s now Adam’s turn to nod vigorously, only this time in agreement. Evel Dick thinks his daughter should have pulled the trigger later, letting Kalia or Porsche do the dirty work and letting herself get further in the game. No one likes a backseat Big Brother, Evel Dick.

10:42 p.m. The biggest surprise for Cassie? “How darn cute Adam was under his beard!” Her serious answer: the turnaround in Shelly’s attitude throughout the season. Had Cassie lasted more than a few weeks, maybe she would have gotten cabin fever as well.

10:44 p.m. Julie asks Jeff if he and Shelly put aside their difference in Jury House. He says all the right things with his mouth, but his eyes keep flashing, “REDRUM! REDRUM!”

10:45 p.m. Julie wants to hear what’s on Kalia’s mind. “I’m nobody’s slave. Nobody’s my master,” she says. So, still bitter about being called Daniele’s puppet, then.

10:46 p.m. Jeff on Daniele: “I don’t dislike like her, I…OK, I guess I do dislike her.” Oh, Big Jeff. Your way with words woos me so.

10:48 p.m. Keith, Dominic, and Lawon didn’t say a thing during this segment. Thanks for coming, guys! I’m sure one of you will be voted America’s Favorite Player, though!

10:51 p.m. Time to reveal the final votes. They go like this:

 

Brendon: Rachel

Daniele: Porsche

Jeff: Rachel

Shelly: Rachel

Kalia: Porsche

Jordan: Rachel

And with that, Rachel wins “Big Brother.” I have had a lot of problems with her over the season, but have absolutely no problem with that vote. Given how the game played out, that’s the right call. No one could knock her out, try as they might. And her post-Brendon transformation was strong, game-savvy, and outshone everyone else over the latter half of the season.

 

10:53 p.m. We randomly cut to “Fish Tank Cam” for 1.5 seconds. The hell? Is David Lynch directing this segment of “Big Brother”?

10:57 p.m. After a quick commercial break, it’s time to reveal America’s Favorite Player. (It’s also time to reveal that Adam voted for Porsche, meaning Rachel won narrowly.) Jeff wins the fan vote, which is curious, but mostly anticlimactic.

 

11:00 p.m. That’s all, “Big Brother” fans. Thanks for following along with myself, Liane, and Dan all summer. Hope Monkeys as Critics has served as a happy online home for you.

 

Did the right player win? How did the “twist” affect your overall enjoyment of this season? And what should “Big Brother” do to keep or increase your interest next summer? Sound off below!