After having a night to think about it, I am not going to be bitter about this season’s ending. Many years ago, I watched as Russell Hantz got screwed out of winning his first season of Survivor by a very bitter jury. I complained to a Survivor friend, and he pointed out that the social game is part of the game. You can’t just dismiss that because someone else played strategic, but was an asshole in the process.
While Nicole’s social game wasn’t the best, nor was her strategic game, she did play a good season. There, I said it. She did absolutely nothing during the rocky beginning of the season during a period where she should do nothing. When things started getting serious, she started to step up her game. This is no different than Ian or Dan. Shit, even in the first HoH situation, she didn’t really want HoH, but she knew she needed it, so she took it. If Nicole didn’t make that one little move, or win that comp at all, Glenn stays and a newbie wins HoH potentially flushing out another vet or two. Nicole saved the vets season in the first comp, and that can’t be dismissed as nothing (because we all know, winning the first comp almost always puts a target on your back)
Toward the end of the season, Nicole kept flipping alliances to stay with the one she thought would get her further in the game. She didn’t simply stay with Natalie, James and Michelle when she knew Michelle pretty much hated her and would stab her in the back the first second she got. She jumped ship, got rid of a rival, and then road her own boat with Corey the rest of the way. That’s a smart move, despite how much Michelle simply dismissed that during the jury round table (yes, before her crocodile tears started flowing)
Now, to be fair, Paul’s assholeness didn’t quite cost him the season, as the person he was the biggest asshole to (Michelle) still voted for him. Paul was screwed by a few factors that were pretty much out of his control. First, Natalie kept to her word that she wanted a female to win, so she voted Nicole. This is surprising because when Nicole was counting votes, she literally said Natalie was a complete lost cause regardless of who she took to jury. She wasn’t counting on Natalie at all, and I don’t blame her.
Another thing working against Paul was facing off against the vet. While his speech was moving, and he did fight his way there, Nicole had the target on her back the entire game. Nicole’s history made her good friends with Cody (and she likely knew Paulie as a result), so she pretty much had his vote regardless of who she was sitting next to. The fact that Paulie hooked back up with Z during jury secured her another vote.
The biggest surprise was Da’Vonne, but when you look back at it, Paul can’t really be too surprised. Da’ and Nicole had a rocky relationship, but they were vet-bonded, and Da’ still kind of owed it to Nicole for saving the vets on week 1. Also, Paul completely mishandled Da’Vonne during his HoH week that sent her home. He promised her safety, then played dumb when she left. While a good game move to get her out, what Paul did is exactly what he threatened to never hang out with Nicole again for. A few days ago he said that he would be pissed at Nicole if she took James. Not because it’s a bad move, but because she played him all week for almost no reason other than to screw with him (or how he felt). So, Paul admitted he was going to be bitter at Nicole, and he should have expected Da’ to be bitter at him for his weird HoH week.
Don’t get me wrong, I would have voted for Paul to win, but playing devil’s advocate, it is not really that surprising that Nicole won. She may not have played as hard as Paul, but she played just as smart, and played the jury just a tad better than Paul did. So, congrats to Nicole. Much like Ian, you were the second best player in the season, but you were fortunate enough to have the jury go your way.
With that, Big Brother 18 is over, and we’re on to Big Brother: Over the Top!