‘Big Brother 14’ debate: Is Dan Gheesling turning into Russell Hantz?

When this season of “Big Brother” started, the sentence above is the last sentence that we ever imagined that we would write … especially with a season containing a member of the Hantz family in Willie. However, watching what went down Thursday night with Dan Gheesling blindsided everyone in the game to evict Shane really had us wondering: are there more comparisons now between the season 10 winner and one of the most notorious “Survivor” players to never win than we initially thought?

When you think about it, both Dan and Russell (we’re talking about the “Survivor: Samoa” Russell here, not “Heroes vs. Villains”) have played rather similar games on their own respective shows. Both spent a good part of the season as underdogs, with members of their tribe (or in this case, Dan’s team with Danielle) facing an uphill battle in order to make it to the end. Neither party was necessarily a physical powerhouse, either, and only won challenges when they needed to. Both were superb at getting people to do what they wanted, and formed alliances with people who would take them to the end, even if it wasn’t the best idea for them to do so. Finally, both Dan and Russell managed to get more blood on their hands than just about any other show in history.

Anyone who knows “Survivor” already knows that while Russell in “Samoa” played a pretty great game and actually deserved to win, he also played a game that makes it very hard to get biased people to give you a million bucks. No one wants to feel lied to or betrayed, and Russell went into the game with the assumption that people would automatically reward the best player and throw the notion of friendship out the door. It didn’t happen.

Now, we don’t think that Dan went into season 13 with any intention of playing a Russell-esque game of backstabbing and angering jury members left and right. It’s just what he had to do to get this far. Some may argue that getting rid of Shane the way he did was not the best move, and it probably will hurt him in the jury’s eyes; however, he couldn’t risk having someone who would not take him to the end around. This is why Ian is still in the game, even though he is the “Big Brother” version of Brett Clouser in that Dan has very little chance of beating him despite being a superior player. He feels he can beat this show’s version of Natalie White in Danielle, but that may not happen, either. Danielle’s surely got Shane’s vote, and he may also have Frank and by association Ashley’s locked up. If Jenn is still mad at Dan, then you may as well write Danielle a check now.

If Danielle does win, she won’t be the worst winner ever; that honor still goes back to when Danielle Reyes was horrific shafted of a win by a bitter jury who got to watch the show … the same sort of jury (minus the “watching the show” part) that could give Danielle the win. Like with Russell his first time (and only his first time, since his game was inferior in “Heroes vs. Villains”), this may serve as yet another reminder that you can make the most moves strategically in a game, but there is one element that you cannot forget: people must still want to be your friend. Dan clearly does deserve to win, but we’re feeling less and less certain that it will happen even if he makes it to the end.

Do you think that the Dan / Russell comparisons are valid for this season, or do you think that Dan is capable of a speech far greater than what Russell did in Samoa that he can convince the jury to give him a win? We want to hear your thoughts on this debate below! Also, be sure to click here or in the sidebar to find out some more about what’s going on with the live feed.

Photo: CBS

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