Rachel wins Big Brother, Jeff gets $25K, and producers’ storylines pay off

Rachel Reilly won Big Brother 13, and her man, Brendon Vieglas, hugged and kissed her in a hail of confetti, and the producers got the conclusion to the story they concocted, supported, and nurtured to the best of their ability.

While I think that anyone who wins a competiiton-based show deserves to win (I may not like them or their strategy, but if they convince their jury or viewers to vote for them, that’s all it takes), Rachel was an impressive winner. As she pointed out about 41 times during the 90-minute finale, the odds were very much against her. That was true up until the very end, when she won by just one vote, 4-3, which was closer than I expected. It’s also remarkable that Rachel and Brendon were celebrity her victory together less than a year after he was tearfully apologizing for showing his naked self to someone online.

However, Rachel’s often ugly and incredibly annoying personality—which was heightened, of course, by two seasons in a row of her laugh, never mind the editing and the producers’ force-fed lines—make it impossible for me to really care or root for her. And she would not have won had it not been for the producers’ final meddling Pandora’s Box twist.

The only upsetting or surprising part of the finale was revealed in its final seconds: Jeff Schroeder won the $25,000 fan favorite prize, as the editing of him as hot hero boyfriend of Jordan and aggrieved victim of Shelly’s game play was enough to convince viewers to vote for him. Or maybe they’re all just fans of utterly incoherent defenses about indefensible rants.

The final episode was efficient: The first part of the competition ended with Rachel’s victory (no surprise, since she’s the only real competitor this season), and then the second part began. They had to arrange HOH winners in an underwater maze, and that was a pretty impressive challenge for this show. Adam lost easily (6:03 versus Porsche’s 3:50) in part because he threw away his goggles and had to go get them when he realized he couldn’t see. Oh, Adam.

A jury argument about strategy came next, and Kalia and Jordan joined the jury. Next up was the stupid-ass challenge the producers always insist on using as the final challenge, the guessing game. You know it’s a dumb quiz when Rachel guesses Brendon’s answer wrong; they really need to just flip a coin because that’s all that challenge is. Rachel just got two points but that was enough to beat Porsche’s zero, and Rachel evicted Adam after brief speeches, during which Adam told Rachel not to give money to a floater.

Adam told Julie Chen, “if I was in the final two, I would have won,” and the audience laughed at him, because that’s ridiculous and he has no idea. The jury was introduced and immediately started the Q&A, during which Rachel apologized for her hurtful comments. Julie Chen kept a tight, tight reign on the houseguests, saying, “We’re running out of time!” with 37 minutes left to go.

When the jury voted, Daniele said, “Rachel, you’re lucky that this is not a personality contest,” making the usually lifeless audience laugh. The reunion was next, during which 3/5 of the evicted houseguests were ignored; it was the Dick show, with Cassi talking a little, too. Dick Monday morning quarterbacked, and Daniele challenged him, saying she bailed on the returnees alliance because “I wanted to work with the people I actually cared about.” If only this season was played by people I actually cared about.

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