‘Celebrity Big Brother’ Blowout: Mark McGrath and Winner Marissa Jaret Winokur Surprise Houseguests

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As expected, this was a very different kind of episode of “Celebrity Big Brother,” though it did treat us and the Houseguests to surprise appearances from Season 1 all-stars Mark McGrath and Marissa Jaret Winokur.

The penultimate installment of each season of “Big Brother” has turned into a chance for the finalists to reminisce on their time together in the house; allowing production to show moments that maybe didn’t drive the narrative, but are still great to see.

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This season was no different as we got to see some heartwarming and challenging moments between the Houseguests, as presided over by third-place finisher last season, Mark McGrath.

‘Big Brother’ Memories

We’d already seen much of the early friction between Tamar Braxton and Kandi Burruss, but what we’ve missed out on is their reconciliation and growing bond in the house; as well as Tamar’s softer side.

We got to see Lolo Jones explode on multiple occasions. She’s an admitted hothead but the fight over sea bass was certainly one for the books. That said, while it looked like Lolo was a little out of control at Tamar for wanting a smaller portion of bass delivered, we didn’t get to see the message Tamar left production that set Lolo off.

But her track record in the house certainly affirms that she is very easy to set off, as is Tamar. And if the two of them have even the slightest friction, it will escalate straight through the roof. But as much as they can get heated quick, they also have big hearts. Passion of all kinds run deep with those two.

Elsewhere, we saw Tom Green open up to Ricky Williams about his bout with testicular cancer and the chronic pain both have had to learn to endure. In lighter fare, we got to see Joey Lawrence’s “crazy” anal retentiveness about cleanliness, as well as his bromance with Ryan Lochte, who opened up about his controversial Olympic experience.

Ryan gave his side of the story, where he admitted he fabricated the detail that a gun was pointed directly at his face. But he fessed up to damaging a sign he said was already hanging loose, and being rowdy with his drunken Olympic buddies. But he stands by his claim they were robbed at gunpoint.

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Head of Household

Production saved last season’s winner, Marissa Jaret Winokur, for the closing moments of the show, and it looks like her impact will be as disappointing as Omarosa’s return last week as she’s just presiding over the HOH competition from an elaborate balcony.

It’s the classic competition that sees contestants trying to solve a metallic puzzle on a vertical magnetized board. All the while a timer ticks down. They must swing across a pit and hit a button to give themselves more time, but if they fail to do this in time, the board demagnetizes and they have to start over.

Right off the bat, the biggest challenge in this competition is Tamar getting over her fear of heights she she can actually compete. As the episode ends, we finally see her on the movie, but really this one is anyone’s game as there are so many elements to it, though it should give an edge to the athletes.

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Predictions

Since there’s really nothing tonight to grade the Houseguests on and the next episode is the finale, what better time than now to just offer our predictions for who we think has the best chance of winning the game based on getting to the end and then winning votes if they do.

We’ll rank them worst to first, fully acknowledging that so much depends on who wins these next competitions and what they do. There is a clear divide in the house with Ricky and Lolo on one side and Kandi and Dina Lohan on the other. Tamar straddles the middle and can really go whichever way the comps go over the next couple of days.

Dina Lohan has to have the longest odds of winning this game. She’s won zero competitions, and we’ve seen nothing in her performances that makes us think she’ll step up now. She has no strong alliances or loyalties with anyone — hers have been alliances of convenience — and she has floated through the whole game. Even if someone else does drag her to the end, she won’t win. Basically, every single other finalist has played this game of “Big Brother,” and Dina kind of hasn’t. This is the risk of the floating strategy. Unless the jury is super-bitter and hates the other finalist so much they’ll vote for you to spite them, you’ll never win.

Lolo Jones has a real shot of making it to the finals based on her athletic skills alone, but she doesn’t have nearly as good a chance of winning, unless she takes Dina with her. Her volatile temper in the house rubbed a lot of people the wrong way, and she played a very emotional game, which doesn’t always score well. Not to mention, she’s not nearly as good a speaker as the other three finalists (not counting Dina). All of that said, though, we’d give her about even odds of winning with Kandi.

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Kandi Burruss has had a strong alliance with Tamar from the beginning, but she’s going to need one helluva speech if she makes it to the finals to beat almost anyone because she just didn’t do anything super visible in her game. She’s got about an even chance of beating Lolo but no shot against Tamar or Ricky. On top of that, she’s not been great in challenges, so her “BB” resume is looking very, very thin. She has survived the block more than anyone, which deserves some respect, so she would have to pull out every bit of her business savvy to craft a compelling argument.

Tamar Braxton has a great chance of winning this game, so long as she can take anyone we’ve already talked about with her to the finals. She has outplayed everyone in the house, and even to this point in the game she is sitting in a key strategic spot, between two alliances. She has maneuvered herself masterfully through the game, playing every side of the house without ever actually betraying any alliance in the process. She’s been as volatile as Lolo, but she seems to be more easily forgiven, and her “BB” resume is rock solid at this point, from strategy to social to challenge wins.

Ricky Williams has played the best overall game with zero weaknesses anywhere. He laid low through the early part of the season, allowing the alpha dogs to pick one another off. He then emerged when the time was right and locked into an alliance with the athletes that he has stayed loyal to through the end. He’s made no enemies and his calm, cool, collected demeanor means he’s going to be able to make a very compelling argument as to why he should win. Plus, as the only guy left, he’s one of the strongest people in the house, and he was always one of the most athletic, giving him an edge in the competitions. And his girl Lolo has the second best shot in comps, which is just as good for his game. If he makes it to the end, we have a hard time seeing anyone beat him.

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House Chatter

  • “Don’t hate me,” Lolo (to Kandi after putting her on the block)

  • “I do not hate you.” Kandi

  • “The only two people that I kind of trust are Tamar and Dina but the only person that will get me to the end of the game is me.” Kandi

  • “I’ve had dreams about making it to the finals of ‘Big Brother.'” Tamar

  • “Natalie, that was for you. He tried to break us,” Lolo (celebrating Tom’s eviction)

  • “It’s Mark McGrath. It’s Sugar Ray. He was a cutie patootie back then. He’s still cute but he’s married with kids and ain’t nobody got time for that.” Tamar

  • “Who was the messiest person in the house?” Mark

  • “Tom was, a thousand percent.” Tamar

  • “Look, I’m not crazy about it. I just like to end the day with the house perfect so that I wake up to the next morning to it being perfect, that’s all.” Joey (but that’s being crazy about it)

  • “Kate was funny like one thousandth of the time.” Ricky

  • “You know what coconut oil does in your body? Clog your arteries.” Joey

  • “I use coconut oil for something else.” Ryan

  • “I hate the way shit is. I’m actually really, really disappointed that we haven’t been able to, like get close while we in the house. That’s still my prayer.” Tamar (to Kandi)

  • “I don’t want to sound corny but she called me her friend, and for me that was a big deal. So, I guess we’re friends.” Tamar (so sweet)

  • “I really want the people just to see me for me, and not many people see that, they only see it from all the headlines and everything that’s happened in my past.” Ryan

  • “I see myself as the person they would put on the block again. I am really tired of surviving. I want to win.” Kandi

  • “I need to face my fears and jump.” Tamar (frozen in fear at HOH comp)

“Celebrity Big Brother” wraps its second season with a two-hour finale on Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET on CBS.

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