Last week’s HOH: Shelli and Becky, with Shelli remaining in power
Last week’s original nominees: Da’Vonne and John
Last week’s veto winner: John
Did they use the veto?: Yes, even though Shelli and Clay actually tried to ask him not to.
Replacement nominee: Meg
Votes for eviction: 7-2, with Audrey and Jason being the sole votes to evict Meg
New Heads of Household: Austin and Vanessa
Any new twists?: First of all, it turns out most of the house has figured out the twins twist with Liz and Julia. Da’Vonne brought it to their attention, but so far, no one else has addressed it directly with them. It’s too soon to say if it’s going to affect anyone’s gameplay, but the secret is more or less out there.
Additionally, Rob Gronkowski is going to be partying with the houseguests this week, or at least having some party-themed competitions thanks to the BB Takeover. There are no Have-Nots this week, and hopefully none of the competitions will be heavily focused on athleticism. Poor Steve wouldn’t stand a chance.
JAIME: Welcome back to the third installment of But First Fridays! It was a big week in the Big Brother house, filled with lots of manipulation, changing alliances, and Kathy Griffin. Probably a little too much Kathy Griffin. Still, it was a big week, and as a result, our power rankings were pretty shaken up. But first, let’s recap what happened in the house this week.
When we last left off, we were left with our new HOHs: Shelli and Becky, both of whom immediately jumped to action and had clear targets for eviction. Becky wanted Audrey gone, after Audrey’s constant manipulation alienated the entire house, while Shelli was set on Da’Vonne.
After establishing their pawns, Shelli nominated Da’Vonne and John, and Becky nominated Steve and Jason. Shelli asked John to throw the Battle of the Block competition – which, as it turned out, required almost no effort on his part, since Da’Vonne’s strategy for the competition was so slow and illogical compared to Steve and Jason’s. The two men won easily, much to Shelli, Clay, and John’s delight – John’s especially. Really, no one has ever been so excited about not having to do anything.
While John was willing to be a pawn for the second week in a row, and willing to throw the Battle of the Block competition to help Shelli’s plan come to fruition, he also knew he needed to start making some moves so that people didn’t think of him as a weak player. He crushed the veto competition, and as a thank-you, Shelli asked him not to use the power of veto so that she didn’t have to come up with a replacement nominee. But thankfully, John is no Marcellas. So Shelli scrambled to find a replacement: she was too afraid to step on anyone’s toes so she didn’t want to put up anyone uninvolved with this week’s power struggle, but she had a limited pool of possibilities to stack the votes against Da’Vonne. Ultimately, Austin and Vanessa came up with a plan to get Meg put up against Da’Vonne.
The thing was, no one in the house was going to vote against Meg. Everyone kept saying it was because she’s so sweet, but personally, we don’t see it. But there was one final twist that gave Da’Vonne a fighting chance: this week’s BB Takeover. Through pure luck, she won, giving her the ability to prevent three people from voting. That meant that five votes were needed for eviction. She wound up choosing Jeff, Jackie, and Becky to abstain from the vote, but it still wasn’t enough to save her from eviction.
Then came this week’s HOH competition. Essentially, it was a massive game of beer pong. They had to use a catapult to throw a ball into a numbered cup. Whoever got the two highest numbers won. Austin took first place, but there was a three-way tie between Vanessa, Liz, and James for the second HOH spot. After a tiebreaker, Vanessa was crowned.
It was a weird, weird week. Most of our predictions from the previous two weeks were essentially thrown out the window; the original power in the house has been broken and shifted, and it seemed like the stronger alliances had to rely a lot on floaters to get by. So now that we’ve tackled the events of the week, let’s turn to this week’s power rankings.
JAIME: Has Jackie done anything at all on the show? I don’t watch the feeds or get constant updates, but I hear things now and then and I’ve never heard her mentioned as being part of any plan. She seems like she’s just there to add an extra vote. But, of course, since she’s so far in the background, she’ll probably get by for a while because there are so many bigger targets in the house.
GARRETT: She’s really done nothing so far. She hasn’t done nearly the job Jeff has of establishing a solid core of friendship with anybody and seems like a non-challenger in competitions. I just hope she doesn’t turn into a Victoria and ride her suckiness all the way to third place.
JAIME: Again, has Becky done anything? I was impressed with her conviction when she first won HOH – she was intent on getting Audrey out, and thought that she and Shelli were on the same page. Of course, Shelli had a totally different plan. But the fact that Austin and Vanessa were able to get Meg put up as a replacement nominee shows that Shelli was flexible – if Becky had tried hard enough, she probably could have put up a good case to get Audrey put up. Maybe she just didn’t try hard enough, or maybe she just doesn’t have enough power in the game so far to actually make any real impactful decisions. There’s time for that to change, but at this point, I just can’t see her doing more than floating by for a few weeks.
GARRETT: She does seem to have a good personality and people seem to like her enough to keep her in the house. But she just hasn’t established a core yet – at least to us TV viewers. I like her enough, but as you said, she just hasn’t done anything yet. Even after only two evictions, I think the alliances are starting to form, and as of now, it doesn’t seem like she has one.
JAIME: Liz/Julia are still such a non-entity to me, just because they’re not really involved with any of the decisions or plans. They’re just sort of there for now; the only thing they have working against them is the fact that everyone knows that they’re twins. But it’s not even really the fact that people know that’s disadvantageous; it’s that when Da’Vonne confronted Julia about it, she covered it horribly. Still, they were smart not to believe Da’Vonne when she said she would protect them if they voted to keep her in the game. They might have zero chill, but they’re not going to let someone force their hand.
GARRETT: I kind of want them to just get to their reveal and for them both to join the game at this point. Big Brother superfans are very attentive – especially when they play the game and have to live with and study their fellow houseguests for 24 hours a day. For now, it seems like Liz is favored by Austin and won’t be in too much trouble, but they’re not interesting enough to warrant me giving them much of a thought behind their twist.
JAIME: With the entire house turning against Audrey, James voting to evict Da’Vonne (which, who saw that coming?), and Da’Vonne being evicted, most of Jason’s allies are gone. He knows enough about the game that I’m not worried about his chances this week; he’s going to do what he needs to survive, and he’s definitely charismatic enough that he’ll find himself a new close group soon enough. But he might be stupid enough to try and get revenge on everyone for turning on Da’Vonne.
GARRETT: I think that Jason’s main worry isn’t his closeness to Da’Vonne – it’s his closeness to the rest of his alliance – specifically, James and Meg (and maybe even Jeff?). I think he makes the easiest target of that bunch for the other faction of the house – Austin and Vanessa – who both happen to control the game this week. He may be able to scramble and save himself – especially when three other people will be nominated next to him – but he needs to take his survival very seriously moving forward.
JAIME: I don’t even know what happened to Audrey. She just can’t stop playing the game, ever. It seems like she’s constantly manipulating people and trying to get them to turn on each other, but for absolutely no reason. It’s not like that happens as the side effect of some master plan to get a certain person evicted; she just lies for the sake of confusing people. It’s such an overly aggressive approach, and she’s already alienated most of the people in the house. Hopefully she calms down enough that people can start to trust her again, and if she still wants to manipulate her way to the final two, then great. But she still needs other people to get there, and at this rate, she won’t have anyone to help her out when she needs them.
GARRETT: It’s a bit sad, because we had major hopes for Audrey at the beginning. She reminds me a lot of Brian from Season 10, completely overestimating her standing in the house and playing so hard so fast that she loses the trust of everybody at lightning speed. Big Brother is such a social game as well as a mind and strategy game, which is why I love it. It requires you to make actual friendships and actual relationships with the people around you, and if you don’t do that, there’s no amount of game moves (besides winning the Veto every week) that can save you. And the thing is, Audrey had maybe the best window of opportunity into a social game with her reveal of being the first-ever transgender houseguest at the beginning of the game. People wanted to get to know her, and trust her because of that piece of information. It’s just so incredibly unfortunate that she completely overplayed that trust so early, because she’s now a pariah in the house, completely on her own doing. I’m rooting for her to climb back into some good graces, but she seems so completely out of the movement of the house (as evidenced by her votes to keep Jace and Da’Vonne) that I’m running out of that hope.
JAIME: Shelli managed to do something that is kind of difficult in this game. She had a plan set out from the moment she won HOH and she was actually able to carry it out. She wanted Da’Vonne gone, and it worked. Now, her plan wasn’t necessarily rock solid – it depended a lot on people (especially John) doing her a favor to keep Da’Vonne from winning Battle of the Block or the veto, not her own manipulations and machinations, but hopefully that’s a sign of a strong social game. She definitely needs to expand her circle of trust beyond just Clay if she wants to get anywhere, but I was surprised at her ability to create and execute her own agenda this week.
GARRETT: All things considered, Shelli has herself in a pretty decent spot. I’m always wary of the showmance, especially in the later years of this show (who could forget the disaster that was McCranda) but through the CBS editing, her fling with Clay takes a back seat to their gameplay alliance. Hopefully she doesn’t lose sight of the $500,000 at the end in favor of her boy toy, but as of now she’s in the clear.
JAIME: I don’t know, you guys. Something happened to me this week and I started to really love John. He has this sweet, eager little face, and he’s always just so willing to go along with people’s plans and put himself up as a pawn…I don’t know. I still need to turn down the volume on my TV whenever he’s in the diary room, but he’s been playing a really interesting game. He’s agreed to let himself be put up as a pawn for the last two weeks, but does so knowing the risks. And, as his actions this week showed, he’s more than happy to go along with someone’s plan, even if it doesn’t directly benefit him (like throwing the Battle of the Block), but is smart enough to know when he needs to put his own gameplay first – he knew he had to win the veto, even though he knew he wasn’t a target. He’s like a little puppy who’s so eager to please everyone. Obviously he’s going to have to start developing his own strategies if he wants to get far in the game, but I think he’ll be safe for the next few weeks because he’s established himself as a safe, amicable ally.
GARRETT: I still find John’s annoyance in the diary room to be a trump card over my ability to see him as a quality player in this game. But I also think he did well for himself this week, especially in the carefully edited moment of Clay telling him that he wouldn’t be an expendable part of their alliance. Pawns always are in precarious spots, but his blind loyalty may have gained himself some trust coming back this week. Hopefully for John, that remains the case as he continues on in the game.
JAIME: In a lot of ways, Steve and John are sort of in the same position – they were both put up as pawns in both nomination ceremonies, and are smart enough to know when they need to put their own safety in the game first. But Steve is so interesting because he’s doing it with more strategy and reluctance than John – he’s never agreed to being a pawn, because he knows how dangerous that position can be. Last week he von the veto when he needed to, and this week he won the Battle of the Block when he needed to. He’s proved that he’s more than capable of keeping himself afloat in the game, and I think that once he finally gets a little bit of power, he’s going to be able to make a lot of changes in the game. Also, like, I love Steve. He’s so cute and sweet and apparently Meg was mean to him on the feeds so this just solidifies my hatred of Meg.
GARRETT: Steve plays this game knowing this is a one in a lifetime opportunity at his dream. It’s really cool to see that and I wish that more people played with his mental tenacity. The guy wants to be in the house so badly (as Jason told him in week one: “nobody will vote you out because everybody knows how much this means to you”) and he carefully picks out his moves knowing his dream depends on it. A lot of times the floaters in the early stages are able to tack themselves on to alliances and ride to victory (see Ian and Andy) so I feel like he’s in a relatively decent spot, as long as he doesn’t mess up with his game moves – something I don’t see him doing.
JAIME: I am so, so intrigued by Austin and Vanessa as HOHs this week. Neither of them have gotten a ton of airtime so far, so while we know that Austin was close with Jace and promised last week to keep playing for his evicted bro, we don’t really know what, or more precisely who, his focus is. Whatever his long-term plan is, I definitely see him intending on making some big moves.
GARRETT: In his case, I feel like there may be some feeds info that we’re missing. The biggest insight I had to his game this week was his move to save Liz from going up as a replacement nominee, letting the diary room know that they were allies. That came from nowhere from the TV-watching perspective. It seems like he’s formed his own branch in a house that’s formed three factions – the James/Jason/Meg grouping, the Shelli/Clay showmance, and now, his own alliance with people that we thought were floaters – Liz and Vanessa. And since Jace’s eviction, he’s majorly calmed down the bro antics, so I see myself liking him much more going forward.
JAIME: I feel similarly about Vanessa as I do Austin – apparently she’s been playing the game hard on the live feeds, and while I don’t know the specifics of the plans she’s concocted, I’m confident that she has a clear agenda for this week. From how she’s been portrayed so far, it seems like she’s sort of a floater. I feel like this week will cement her place in the house, and hopefully make it clear what her long-term plans are.
GARRETT: There’s no way she doesn’t have an alliance that she wants to keep safe. From the looks of it, she’s very tight with Austin (probably going off her choice of keeping him safe Week 1) and they look to do some serious damage this week. She keeps a very cool poker face (pun very much intended) and should be able to swing a lot of people to do her bidding. I’m glad she won HoH purely because I’m excited to see where her loyalties lie. And I’ll probably be in the rooting interest of those loyalties as we move forward.
That’s it for week 3 of But First Fridays! Check back next Friday to see what the next week brings for our houseguests, plus lots of running commentary on Clay’s abs and John’s sweet little face. See you then!