Will Cassi be this season's Annie? Does any hope remain for her?

For starters, I always thought that Annie got a bad deal in Season 12 of Big Brother. Sure, she was the Saboteur, an undesirable position to start the game in. Especially if you get caught! But I always felt that what got her burned the most was Rachel.

Even as the game began, Rachel built her own motivation for disliking Annie. During the getting-to-know-everyone phase, Brendon and Annie were on the hammock getting to know each other. Rachel pulled a bit of a butt-inski and drew herself into their conversation. Brendon was telling Annie that he was working on his Ph.D. With that comment, Rachel instantly declared her love for him. Squeezing her way onto the hammock, she proceeded to dominate the conversation with Brendon, leaving Annie out in the cold. And the rivalry had begun.

The instant alliance of Brendon/Rachel was obvious to everyone in the house. Hayden won HoH that first week and put up the obvious nominations of Brendon and Rachel. I'm reasonably certain that Annie was petitioning to have Rachel voted out, but I can't remember that with certainty. It was easy for Annie to see through Rachel's glitter-covered veneer, considering how their rivalry began. However, Brendon won PoV and took himself off the block. I cannot say this next sentence as undisputed fact, but I'm pretty sure that Rachel petitioned to have Annie put on the block against her. After all, the rivalry was in full-swing by now. Even if Rachel didn't specifically petition for Annie to be nominated, it was obvious to all that Annie was playing the game fast and hard, especially against Rachel.

Maybe Annie started playing the game too fast because she was Saboteur, or maybe she started playing too fast because of her obvious rivalry with Rachel. And maybe Rachel didn't petition to have Annie put up, but something reminds me that she did. No matter, Annie did get put up as Brendon's replacement during the PoV Ceremony.

Annie fought long and hard the rest of that week for survival. But the more she fought, the more she was perceived as annoying by the other house guests, especially with Rachel whispering in their ears. The only thing I found annoying about Annie was the clack-clack of those shoes that I disliked so much, otherwise I really liked Annie a lot. But I didn't have a vote, and during the Live Eviction Ceremony, Annie was unanimously voted out, almost exclusively at Rachel's bidding. Rachel had eliminated the first and biggest threat against her monopoly on Brendon's affections.

As Season 12 progressed, it became all-too-obvious to everyone except the Rachel fans that Rachel was eliminating all the pretty girls in the game as fast as she could. Whether this was the legitimate strategy or an inferiority complex, Rachel's motives are the only things that remain disputable. Because one by one, the girls were eliminated until the house had become a testosterone-overloaded sausage-fest. The Bro-gade might not have survived last year except for what some of us saw as Rachel's personal vendetta against all the females in the house.

And now we have Cassi. Is she a victim of Rachel's M.O. as established last season? It could certainly be argued so. After all, as is obvious to anyone who has been paying close attention on the Live Feeds, Rachel's arguments against Cassi during last night's confrontation were vague and incomplete. Rachel responded with dumb-founded looks and momentary blank stares whenever Cassi got the upper hand with concise facts and indisputable counter-arguments. Don't get me wrong, Cassi isn't perfect either. She's playing the game too. And her situation with Rachel isn't identical to that of Annie's situation. But they are both very attractive women who were in Rachel's sights for one reason or another. If Rachel's mind is as trifling and petty as it sometimes seems, there very well could be an Annie/Cassi connection short-circuiting somewhere in Rachel's mind.

Ironically, the only thing saving Rachel at the moment is the current HoH, Jordan, who really put Rachel in her place in the HoH Room right after the Cassi/Rachel dispute. But the house was divided into veterans vs. newbies from the start of the season. Rachel is in an alliance with Jordan, and Jordan isn't planning to get rid of her until some point after the Couples - Golden Key twist is over.

I was kind of hoping for a resolve to the Rachel/Cassi situation during last night's pool tournament. Rachel and Cassi playing pool in the Big Brother backyard was the first time I've ever sat through a complete game. They didn't make up, but they didn't get into another fight either. It was a very long, slow, and silent game of pool.

Unlike Annie, who fought until the end, Cassi refuses to fight against her partner Shelly. She likes Shelly, and sees her as an equally good and deserving player as herself. Shelly is crying, not wanting to fight against Cassi either. It's a lose-lose situation. I don't want to see either of them leave the game just yet, but the deck has been shuffled and the cards are on the table. So it seems at this point that Cassi's only saving grace might be if Shelly, who is already feeling homesick, was to throw herself under the bus. But somehow, I just can't see that happening.

With Cassi or Shelly going home for certain this week, my biggest hope at the moment is that Rachel doesn't get to turn this season into another boring sausage-fest.