By Benji Glowinsky
After many, many days (seventy-one to be exact) of closely watching, analyzing and decoding the house guests every moves, Big Brother Canada has crowned its second winner, Jon Pardy. Benji breaks down Jon’s game in a special Big Brother Canada edition of The B-Glow Show!
On Thursday night, Newfoundland resident Jon “Big Jaaaaan” Pardy defeated Montreal-born Sabrina Abbate to win Big Brother Canada’s second season. The self titled “Goofy Newfie” received six of the seven available votes to win, including a vote from the viewers. Did he deserve it? 100%.
The Story of Jon’s Game
Jon started out the game as a player flying under the radar, letting the big personalities like Paul, Ika and Andrew take center stage. He sided with the First Five alliance for the first couple votes, and avoided being targeted due to his good social game, making slight bond with Kenny and Andrew (you’ll note when you go back through the episodes Jon was always there when Andrew and Kenny went out for a smoke to talk game), and also avoided looking like a huge physical threat when he dislocated his shoulder in the early-goings. The turning point for Jon’s game was about a week before Canada’s HoH, when he and Neda started to become very, very close, as friends and as alliance-mates. Canada’s HoH was perfect for Jon, because it is very likely that had the First Five gained power in that week, he and Neda would have been their targets. Andrew’s eviction changed the entire game, and put Jon and Neda in the power positions. Jon and Neda became allied with former outsiders Adel and Heather, Jon started to get very close to Arlie, and Allison became close to them as well. The six of them created the Sloppy Seconds alliance to take down Sarah and Kenny in a double eviction.
Following this, he won Head of Household, and nominated Sabrina and Rachelle, “The Gremlins.” He won POV too, and would’ve been able to send one of his nominations packing. However, his close ally Neda convinced him to backdoor his other close ally, Arlie. Allison reneged against the Sloppy Seconds and used her Secret Veto she found to then take off the other Gremlin and put up Adel, but ultimately, she voted out Arlie. Neda won the following HoH and in an instant eviction, the house evicted Allison for making unnecessary shady moves in the prior week. Adel then won HoH and kept the remaining Sloppy Seconds, Heather, Jon, Neda and himself in power. They easily took out Rachelle. At final five, Jon won HoH, and with Neda starting to express her eventual desire to take Jon out in the Diary Room, it was decent timing. Jon wanted to take out Heather, someone who could be a competition threat near the end, and someone he knew wasn’t going to take him o the Final 3. He was unsuccessful however as she won the POV, and with Jon having to nominate one of his allies in Neda or Adel, he chose the latter. He wanted Sabrina to go home in light of Heather winning Veto, but Neda went against him and along with Heather they evicted Adel, a blow to Jon’s game. Sabrina then won the final 4 HoH, shattering the hopes of a Jon+Heather+Neda final 3. Jon was nominated, and was the intended target of Sabrina, but with his back against the wall he won the most important POV of the season, and used it to evict his ally Heather. At the final 3, Jon made had his finest moment. He won a grueling Part One to the final HoH of the season, and beat Neda in a showdown knowledge based Part Three to lock in his spot at the Final Two. He then made his boldest game move, and axed his closest ally, Neda. With himself and Sabrina in the Final Two, they faced the Jury’s questions, and the Jury, almost unanimously, awarded Jon the win.
It was blatantly obvious to most viewers that once Jon evicted Neda that he would win, but I have to be honest, Jon gave me a scare during his answers to the Jury. Jon was not highly convincing in his Jury speech from where I sat. He was repeating the same vague, rehearsed soundbites over and over, whether it related to the question being asked or not. In contrast, Sabrina came across as very articulate and very certain of exactly what she did to get to the Final Two, and I have to say, I genuinely believed that off of her speech alone she may have flipped a couple of votes her way, but in the end the speech didn’t matter.
I think it’s time we closely dissect Jon’s game and skill as a Big Brother player, and whether his win was warranted:
In terms of Physical game, Jon played the best by far this season. Jon won 3 Head of Households, and 3 Power of Vetoes. He was a competition powerhouse, and most of the competitions he won were in the second half of the game. All of his wins came at crucial times. He won POV in Canada’s HoH week to ensure Andrew was sent packing, HoH and POV after Kenny’s eviction which opened the door for Arlie to get backdoored, he won HoH at final five, POV at final four, and the final Head Of Household. Because Jon was able to constantly have power from winning so many competitions, his physical game really helped his strategic game. He was (usually) able to use his dominance in comps to nominate, evict, or save who he wanted. It’s unquestionably one of the more impressive physical games we’ve seen on the show.
Jon was always seen as a very good social player. People constantly would say that everybody loved Jon. Great social players are able to sweet talk their way to the end, and Jon definitely was the best social player in the season. He never openly had any rifts with anyone, he was an entertainer around the house, people loved being around him, and all of this culminated in him being nominated a total of zero times up until the Final Four when he got put up for the first time. To reiterate, he got nominated ONCE the entire season! That’s quite a stellar feat for someone who, for the second half of the game, was seen by the other contestants as a big player in the house. I specifically think Allison’s comment from finale night was very telling. She said, “He seems so genuine, and when he’s talking to you, you just- even though you know you can’t trust him, and you don’t, and you shouldn’t, after a two hour conversation you’re like, yeah that’s awesome, I’m gonna listen to everything he says.” This comment sort of gives us a sense that Jon’s social game and strategic game overlapped in many places. His excellent social game gave him the opportunities to get people to want to keep him around, purely from a social aspect, and in turn keep him from going on the block.
All of this praise of his physical and social game, and how it overlapped with his strategic game taken into consideration, Jon’s strategic game was lacking in other aspects. In terms of coming up with strategic decisions and making those moves, Neda was the driving force of that for almost the whole season. The first big move his side of the house made was back dooring Arlie. We as viewers got to see Neda’s mastery of getting Jon to turn on the only person that was starting to get as close to him as Neda was. Jon would have benefited from Arlie staying, because Arlie still would have been targeted before Jon, but to Neda’s game getting rid of the biggest strategic threat besides herself was crucial. The second big strategic decision was Neda instantly evicting Allison, and not one of the “Gremlins,” Sabrina or Rachelle. Neda had to make a quick decision, and instead of getting rid of an easy out like Rachelle or Sabrina, she went for the head of the snake, Allison, who was considering evicting her allies.
The third big move was the eviction of Adel. Firstly, Neda didn’t even have to campaign to Jon not to put her up as the replacement nomination. When Jon did put up Adel, he wanted Sabrina to be evicted, but again Neda got rid of the bigger threat to win the game, Adel. Throughout their time in an alliance, Neda always kept her emotions intact, and never compromised her game moves for emotion. She constantly told the audience in the Diary Room that she needed to cut Jon near the end, and knew Jon was playing with his heart too much. Jon, to his credit, took out Neda when it counted most, but prior to the final hours of the game, it was evident that Jon wanted to take Neda to the finale, regardless of whether she could beat him or not (and I think she could’ve). Neda was the true mastermind of the season, and really made Jon look like her puppet throughout the game. Neda’s strategic genius and prowess, coupled with her control over what happened in the house to better her game makes her the best player of the season in my mind, but it also highlights the flaws in Jon’s game as a whole.
So was Jon the best player of the season? In my humble opinion, no. But did he deserve his ultimate victory? In my humble opinion, yes.