He may only be days away from pulling off the seemingly impossible – winning Big Brother for a second time – so it seems the perfect occasion to name Dan Gheesling our Villain of the Week. I swear on my parents, grandparents, pets, and nonexistent kids that I wish there was some other way, but he’s thoroughly earned it.
It’s not that Dan is a bad person, morally offensive, or has done anything wrong within the context of the game (I have a feeling I might be saying this a lot as we go forward with these villains). I think he’s very genuine about being religious and not wanting to hurt peoples’ feelings – and that’s the exact trait that makes him so effective. You can’t win Big Brother even once, let alone twice, without mastering the ability to have everyone else underestimate you, and that’s where Dan excels.
The reality villains who are also good players usually have one thing in common, and that’s the strange ability to lie to everybody, but somehow make every individual he schemes with believe that he’s telling them and only them the truth. Ever since the coaches officially entered the game this season, almost everyone who has been sent home assumed they were in an alliance with Dan at one time or another. A couple of them didn’t fully realize that Dan’s pact with them might be null and void until the second Julie called their name (hi there, Shane).
My suspicion is that one reason Dan decided to come back was that he felt he never fully got his due for winning Season 10, a truly underrated performance given that he began that game on the outside of the main alliance. Season 10 had a pretty colorful cast, headlined by the man Allison Grodner can’t seem to quit, Jessie, and Dan’s play got lost in the shuffle a little bit. Compared with the fan favorite Janelle, the gleefully evil Boogie, and the sarcastic charms of Britney, he was probably the returning coach people were least excited about seeing again.
Dan has played much the same way this time around, even though there’s no earthly reason it should have worked again (look how quickly the other coaches were booted). But his blindside with the last eviction might have been his signal that he knows he has little chance of talking a jury into giving him $500,000 a second time, and what he’s playing for now is the kind of immortality that goes with constant backstabbing. Part of the Will Kirby legend is that he came so close to winning all-stars when he should have been the first one they got rid of. Dan has gone even farther this season than Will did in his return trip, and so has made himself Will’s near-equal in game villainy.