Last Week’s HoH: James (Jason relinquished after John and Becky won the Battle of the Block competition)
Last Week’s original nominees: Jackie and Steve
Last Week’s Veto Winner: Steve
Did they use the Veto?: Damn straight he did
Replacement Nominee: Jace
Votes For Eviction: 12-1 to evict Jace (Audrey with the sole vote to evict Jackie)
New Heads of Household: Becky and Shelli
Any new twists?: Oh indeed. Liz is playing the game with her twin Julia, and the two are inconspicuously switching out for one another at random. If they survive eviction for five weeks, both players will enter the game and play separately.
Kathy Griffin also made an appearance this week. She placed a telephone in the house, and informed the viewers (but not the houseguests) that the seventh person to answer the phone’s random calls throughout the week will choose three houseguests to exclude from casting a vote for eviction next Thursday.
GARRETT: So the first Big Brother 17 week is in the bag. With it, some early drama and some rises and falls in this week’s power rankings. As this was the first week of regular play (instead of simple introductions and HoH competitions, like last week), this week’s BUT FIRST post will be focusing a bit more on the gameplay over the week, rather than our simple impressions of the houseguests that we had off the bat. We’ll also have a new section of the posts, written exclusively from our friend Craig, that will give some non-spoiler insight from the daily feeds that will give some context to the actions and emotions of the houseguests. But the Power Rankings will remain from our perspective as people who solely watch the show without any news from the feeds.
Going into the week, we had a solid idea of who our favorites would be coming out of our opening impressions. There was the gameplay maestro Audrey and her partner in crime Da’Vonne, who orchestrated a solid alliance with Heads of Household James and Jason. The foursome created a plan to evict Jace through a backdoor, and brought in Clay and Meg to solidify the plan. So it was said, and so it shall be. Or so we thought. But soon, the paranoia set in and the cracks began to show.
Now, we’ve been watching Big Brother for a long time. But even without being superfans of the show, there are some clear tropes that players of the game consistently fall into that, from the outside looking in, seem easily avoidable. Audrey and Da’Vonne, though, failed to maintain their composure and set themselves up as monster targets for the coming weeks.
And then there’s Jace. I actually didn’t mind the guy, and he put up a hell of a fight to keep himself in the game. I always respect people who want to be there and understand just how special it is to play Big Brother. Jace, no matter how much he annoyed the other houseguests, seemed to relish his spot. And for that I’ll miss him.
Without further ado, here’s our rankings for the week:
GARRETT: Austin seems to be a bit more level-headed than we expected in our first impression of him. And he seems to have friends in the house through a solid social game so far. But he’s included in the bottom this week because of a clear disadvantage with his loss of main ally Jace. The two were a clear bromance-in-the-making, and Austin is now adrift without an air guitar buddy for the time being. But I see him working back towards the top and making himself a main competitor as we move forward.
JAIME: I don’t know what I’m going to do now that we won’t get to hear Austin and Jace call each other “bro” twenty times each episode. I think Austin is in a really interesting place now – he’s definitely at a loss with his main ally gone, but he was smart enough to vote for Jace and distance himself when he knew saving Jace was a longshot. I’m curious to see who he’s going to get close with in the house now that Jace is gone, and hopefully whoever he picks will reflect better on his gameplay.
GARRETT: I don’t really have an issue with Jackie so far, but she seems like a perennial pawn in the making. She doesn’t seem to have too many close friends, and her one confidant, Jeff, seems more than satisfied allowing himself to drift apart from her to save his own game. She’s not a bad person or a bad player, but seems like the most vulnerable floater in a house that’s quickly starting to form multiple little power structures.
JAIME: She stands out a lot too because most of the other players have jumped in already with the gameplay. She’s not part of any of the big moves, or at least not instrumental enough in anything that her contributions make it to the show. She needs to figure out who to align herself with, because the more the house keeps pulling itself in two directions, anyone left on their own is going to stand out massively.
GARRETT: I just really can’t stand his voice. As far as I’m concerned, dude is in the bottom until he’s walking out the door. He too seems like a floater. If he can’t get people to believe he’s even a dentist, how can he get people to believe him in the game?
JAIME: I like him fine enough in the house, but then he goes in the diary room and then he becomes the worst person in the world. I don’t even want him to gain more power in the game because then he might have more to say in the diary room.
GARRETT: A quick fall from grace from one of our favorites from the opening week. Her overreaction to the curiosity of the other houseguests, who were just wondering what she was doing in a bedroom, quickly turned into a catastrophe and labelled Da’Vonne as a loose cannon. There’s just no reason for her to have lost her head like that. It came off as arrogant, and clearly Da’Vonne thought she was in a position of power where she could act as such. But it just showed her paranoia and inability to maintain her cool in a situation that had no reason to get out of hand.
JAIME: It was such a huge overreaction, and somehow it ended in her deciding not to trust Audrey, who from the first day had been her closest friend in the house. She went from 0-100 really quickly, and I can’t imagine any of the houseguests who witnessed her blowing up would see her as someone to trust. She was so immensely paranoid, and for a situation that didn’t actually involve the game itself. What’s going to happen when it actually involves someone’s gameplay?
GARRETT: From number 1 champ to number 1 chump is a heavy toll to exact, but it’s one we had to make this week. Audrey committed not one, but two cardinal sins of early-week Big Brother this week, first through a massive overplaying of the game and not consulting her alliance before trying to add on new members, and then through revealing herself as the mastermind of Jace’s eviction to Jace himself (through a poorly-acted lie). You just can’t overstep your bounds this early on when there are so many people. It sets you up as a monster target and puts a completely unnecessary target on your back. I’m sad to have seen Audrey make these mistakes, because I do like her personality a lot. Hopefully Audrey avoids the blowback from this situation and can reclaim a spot in the Top Five moving forward.
JAIME: Also, when trying to add new members to your alliance, maybe don’t pull them from their beds at 5 AM, bring them up to the HOH room, and then ask, “So why can we trust you?” I literally didn’t understand any of the moves she made this week. She played Jace so well at first – she made him think he was going to be safe, and that they, Austin, and James were going to work together to get out Jason. And then she just completely blew up everything, for absolutely no reason. It’s like she’s making moves just for the sake of making moves, and forming alliances for the sake of forming alliances. She’s not letting any part of the game happen naturally, and if she keeps forcing everything, people are going to get really tired of her.
GARRETT: Jason lost his spot as Head of Household last week, but managed to form an alliance and kept most of the blood off his hands. One of his nominees, Becky, will probably put him up this week, but he seems to have made enough inroads socially to avoid any worrying about his safety moving forward.
JAIME: Jason seems like he’s in a really good spot socially in the game. He proved himself as a strong player by winning the first HOH competition, but I can’t see him being a huge target for at least a couple weeks. Everyone seems to like him, and it seems like he’s very willing to use that to his advantage.
GARRETT: Liz wasn’t a favorite of mine in the opening week because she just didn’t seem to have much to her personality. Sagittarius from Miami is a bit drab, but I can see that the producers likely simplified her in order to ease the twist of her twin, Julia, joining the fun. I’m excited to see them move forward, and I’m happy that the producers are still finding new ways to shake the game up even in its seventeenth season.
JAIME: I’m still not totally sold on the twins twist, just because I think it’ll only really have a good payoff if Liz and Julia wind up being instrumental to some aspect of the gameplay, like an eviction campaign. For now she seems really content to sit around and ask the guys to tell her she’s pretty, so, as long as she’s enjoying herself.
GARRETT: Both Becky and Shelli get the third spot as co-Heads of Household this week, because they find themselves in a very similar situation. Both are slightly on the outside looking in on the main action in the house, and both have maintained a couple solid relationships. They’re both likable people. I’m looking at them as using this week to solidify themselves within the main social circle in the house moving forward.
JAIME: This week will also hopefully give Becky and Shelli the chance to cement themselves in the house. We haven’t seen much of them so far, and don’t really have a sense of where they’re fitting in. But now that they’re both HOH, they’re in a position where other people are going to need them, which hopefully they’ll parlay into relationships that affect the rest of their game.
GARRETT: While Clay didn’t have any power last week, or earn any power this week, he managed to set himself up as arguably the most likable person in the house on top of finding himself as a go-to for power moves from James and Audrey. He exposed Da’Vonne’s paranoia without getting any blood on his hands from the rest of the houseguests. He’s a confidant, has no enemies, and is just so damn good looking that I don’t think he’ll be in any trouble moving forward. His closest ally, Shelli, is in power this week, so I think he’ll have a major say in any big decision that she makes.
JAIME: Clay is also in a really unique position because his physical game is probably just as imposing as Jace’s, if not moreso. But no one’s really brought him up as a threat, probably because he seems to get along with everyone. He seems smart enough to avoid getting into fights with people – even when Da’Vonne flipped out on him, he went and apologized, just to keep the peace. Also, he’s so, so pretty. He needs to stay in the house for a while so I can keep looking at him.
GARRETT: It was about as strong of an opening Head of Household term as one could have for James this week, as he was able to take out a threatening physical presence, form an alliance, and keep the blood off his hands all in one go. Audrey took almost all of the fault for Jace’s eviction and cast herself as a villain, allowing James to skate by. He’s the main player in the social circle, and a quality person who understands how the game is supposed to be played. He’s lied without being malicious, yet shown his ability to be trusted. Plus, as an added bonus, he seems to have lost the need to constantly talk about being an Asian guy with a Southern accent.
JAIME: Yeah, now that he’s seemingly given up on constantly reminding us that he’s an Asian man from the south, I can fully like James. I was so impressed by what he said after putting Jace up for eviction – that it was a decision he made completely on his own, to benefit his own gameplay. He really left no room for Jace to start thinking that there was some movement in the house working against him. Really, the only reason Jace figured it out was because Audrey pretty much told him. Otherwise, James’ game was totally clean, and he perfectly carried out every single part of the plan that he formed almost immediately after being named HOH.
Alright, now for what’s been going on behind the scenes, we’ve definitely got to talk about Audrey this week. Show viewers might be a little confused as to why she voted to evict Jackie, despite her original campaign to get Jace out of the house, and the subsequent blow-up the two of them had after Audrey essentially outed herself, but those of us watching the live feeds know exactly what was behind the seemingly sketchy vote.
As we all know, things can change on a dime in the Big Brother house, and with so many houseguests ready to become real players this year, it’s been a whirlwind keeping up with the house politics. There’s been more game talk and maneuvers in the first fifteen days of BB17 than in all of BB15 and BB16 combined. The energy in the house reminds me of the first day of BB7, All-Stars. These guys are here to play.
But Big Brother is a marathon, not a sprint, and every year we see houseguests who forget this mantra. Audrey is chief among them this year. If you think she’s been over-reaching with game talk and strategy on the show, you should see her on the feeds. It just. Doesn’t. Stop. At breakfast, it’s game talk. In the bathroom, game talk. Five in the morning, game talk. Playing volleyball in the back yard? Nope, just another opportunity for game talk. It’s overboard. ESPECIALLY for the first week. This is when houseguests should try ingratiating themselves into the group as a whole, but Audrey’s barely revealed anything personal or specific about herself or her life other than the fact that she’s transgender. People don’t know her. They don’t have personal connections with her. And when you don’t have connections with someone in the BB house, then you don’t have qualms about getting rid of them.
Which may be in the cards for Audrey this week. Though she managed to corral an alliance to support James’s decision to backdoor Jace, her constant strategizing and refusal to stop talking game turned them all (James, Jason, Shelli, Clay, Meg, Da’Vonne, and Jeff) against her in a matter of days. But Audrey’s good at the game, even she can’t seem to stop playing it, and caught on pretty much right away. So she teamed up with Austin, who saw an opportunity to save his bro, and they agreed to work together and rally the “outcasts” of the house (Vanessa, John, Steve, and Liz) into keeping Jace.
But again, Audrey took the machinations too far, and exposed her former alliance in front of the entire house, which earned like, everyone’s ire, and made the “outcasts” wary of voting against the house. And so they didn’t, but Audrey never checked in with anyone before the live show, so she voted for Jackie. And is going to have quite the week of scrambling ahead of her if she doesn’t want to follow in Jace’s footsteps next Thursday.
That’s it for this week’s installment of But First Fridays. Check back next week to see how Shelli and Becki fared as co-HOHs, and to see what havoc Kathy Griffin wreaked on the house!