But First Fridays: Your Weekly Big Brother Power Rankings – Week 4

LAST WEEK’S HOH: Vanessa (Austin relinquished after Jason and Meg won Battle of the Block)



DID THEY USE THE VETO?: It’s becoming a narrative trope at this point, but yes, he did


VOTES FOR EVICTION: 7-4 to evict Jeff (with Liz, Steve, John, and Jackie voting to evict James)


ANY NEW TWISTS?: Not that we know of yet, but apparently it’s 90s Week, and there was lots of twisting in the 1990s! Especially in the classic Bill Paxton disaster film Twister, which everyone should purchase in their local 50 cent VHS bin


GARRETT: Faithful readers, Jaime and I have a slight confession to make.

Jaime bought the feeds.

And gave me the password.

And now I can’t stop watching them. It’s insane. I can’t believe I haven’t watched them in 16 seasons of this show. It changes everything. But, that said, we’re going to try our damndest to keep any extra information we’ve got from the feeds from seeping into our objectivity in ranking the houseguests. We’re still writing from the TV perspective, but we’ll make sure to include any non-spoiling details to provide context if need be.

JAIME: Though it goes without saying that watching James get a haircut and John wash the dishes is going to have a huge effect on how we write these posts.

GARRETT: It’s been another pretty interesting week, and the houseguests are starting to dig into their trenches. The factions have formed, with the major “Sixth Sense” alliance (which, in my opinion, is a lame name) of Shelli, Clay, Austin, Vanessa, and both twins (Liz and Julia). Last week, Vanessa brought the twins’ real identity in to her alliance with Austin, Clay and Shelli, and they formed a final six pact.
Meanwhile, the rest of the house was reeling from Da’Vonne being evicted instead of Audrey, and assumed that evicting her would be the plan. But Vanessa and Austin, who won HoH, had other plans. The two put up pawns again, and Vanessa told John to throw the competition again in order to keep her in power. John, happy to do as the HoH asked for the second week in a row, didn’t even need to try as James was completely baffled by the competition that required him to match women’s clothes together.

And so Vanessa stayed as HoH with her sights on evicting James rather than Audrey. She planned on keeping the nominations the same, but the plan was dismantled by yet another Johnny Mac veto win – this time, aided by a last-second throwing of the competition by Austin.

Vanessa was not too happy about having to pick a replacement nominee, especially because she saw right through Austin’s throwing of the competition. But Austin had grown displeased with Jeff – who, he believed – was trying to win away the object of his affection: Liz.

Vanessa, backed into having to make another power move, concocted a plan to catch Jeff in a lie about splitting up Clay and Shelli. The plan worked, and Jeff, with no credibility left, went up on the block and was evicted in a vote that seemed closer than expected.

I, for one, won’t be missing Jeff, as his macho attitude and douchey, mopey attitude towards everyone around him was not my favorite thing to watch. Good riddance to him I say.

And so we stand heading into the week with Shelli (for the second time) and Liz in the HoH room. Liz has two more evictions to survive before her twin sister Julia can come in to play as her own self.


5. Meg

GARRETT: I actually don’t have too much of a problem with Meg as a person or as a gameplayer. She isn’t outright annoying and actually seems pretty well-liked. But as the weeks go on, the alliances you form are what you live and die by. She picked Jason, James, and Da’Vonne early on, and they just haven’t been able to win any competitions. Slowly but surely her entire foundation is crumbling.

JAIME: And she voted to evict Jeff, so clearly there is some communication going on between her and the side of the house in power this week. She just hasn’t totally committed to that side of the house yet; for now, though, she seems to make her moves based on what best serves her own individual interests, and that strategy seems to be working for her. She’d definitely have a stronger hold in the house if she officially joined forces with Shelli/Austin/the rest of the Sixth Sense, but I can see her skating by a little longer.

4. Steve

GARRETT: So Jaime and I both agree that we do really like Steve. He’s actually, no lie, our second favorite houseguest out of all of them. But regretfully, neither of us are playing the game this year. And the people that are just don’t seem to like him all that much. He can’t get any semblance of a social game going. He has no alliance, and seems a much weaker mental player than Ian Terry, a player who he’s constantly compared to. Steve needs to win a Head of Household or Veto to gain some bargaining chips. Otherwise, his time is going to come soon, as much as we don’t want it to.

JAIME: Some people are really mean to Steve in the house and it breaks my heart every time, okay. He’s in such a difficult position socially, because he does find it hard to connect with people, and it seems like whenever he really tries, the other houseguests aren’t willing to cut him any slack. Part of that, I think, is because he hasn’t really proved himself as a competitor yet – once he does, I’m sure more people will be willing to work with him and solidify his place in the house, but until then, I think most of the other houseguests are content to write him off as the smart guy they can occasionally convince to vote their way.

3. Austin

JAIME: Austin was in an incredibly powerful position for most of the week – he and Vanessa were totally on the same page when they started the week as joint HOHs, and they almost immediately came up with a plan that benefited both of their gameplay. He spearheaded the movement to get Jeff on the block and eventually evicted, but as the week went on, Austin lost sight of why they were working so hard to get Jeff out. Maybe it was just due to the editing of Thursday’s episode, but all of a sudden, apparently Austin viewed Jeff as a threat solely because they both had a connection with Liz. It underscored everything the Sixth Sense built this week – suddenly Austin’s main focus isn’t his friendship with Vanessa, but his feelings for Liz? He’s willing to risk his time in the house in order to protect Liz? Um, no, that’s stupid, don’t do that. Clearly Austin needs Judas to smack some sense into him.

GARRETT: He’s been a major liability for his alliance ever since he threw the veto. He’s also the most paranoid person on the feeds by far, and sooner or later, that amount of paranoia (especially before jury) will put you in jeopardy. And on the long list of Big Brother Don’ts that have been added up over so many seasons of this game, one of the ones near the top is to never take your eyes off the prize. You’re here to win, Austin. Not to find love. Especially when that love doesn’t actually have feelings for you.

2. Jason

GARRETT: I really value having Jason in the house, especially on the feeds. He’s very, very intelligent about the game, and very, very perceptive about what’s going on around him. He’s entertaining and funny and makes the show interesting. But he can’t catch a break in competitions. As we said about Meg, his core group is dwindling. I think he’s smart enough to get himself onto the powerful side of the house eventually, but time is running out, and he may just be the biggest target of the Shelli/Liz HOH reign.

JAIME: I totally agree – he could definitely reposition himself, but it seems like his side of the house has dwindled enough that now everyone remaining is standing out. The more time that goes by without Jason aligning with Austin or Vanessa or any of those people, the more obvious it is that he’s purposely staying away from them. I guess it’s good that he’s so loyal to James and Meg, but he just doesn’t have the numbers. Come on, Jason. Be smart so you can stick around to liven up the feeds.

1. Jackie

JAIME: No, seriously, what does Jackie do in the house? She spends most of her time with Jeff, Jason, and James, though she considered Jeff her only real friend in the house. With him gone, her only allies are people who have next to no power in the house. She has almost no relationship with the powerful side of the house, and seems like she has no desire to develop relationships with them. She has two, maybe three, people on her side, and refuses to expand her connections in the house – I think it’s safe to say things aren’t going to go well for her.

GARRETT: I think she’s going to make jury, just because the people in this house seem to constantly want to make big moves and take out the big personalities. But she in no way is setting up herself to win the game. She doesn’t seem to have much of a personality and has really not done much in competitions. For all the crap we’ve given Audrey in these posts, at least she keeps grinding along, trying to get herself into good graces again, and, above all else, makes the game interesting. Jackie just does none of that.

TOP 5:

5. John

JAIME: First of all, let’s all take a moment to applaud Garrett for finally seeing reason and coming around to accept that John is the best person in the house.

GARRETT: What did it for me was this hilarious compilation of Johnny Mac quotes. And we’re only three weeks in!

JAIME: He’s been put up as a pawn every week, and so far he’s competed in every single competition. He’s still a floater, but he’s put himself in a position where the HOHs know they can rely on him, even if they’re not necessarily counting on him to come up with big moves of his own. Obviously that’s going to have to change if he wants to make it past a certain point in the game, but I think he’s going to be completely safe for the foreseeable future as houseguests set their sights on more visible threats.

GARRETT: John is definitely making a beeline for the jury house. He’s not a threat at all in the foreseeable future, and just seems happy enough floating along in his happy-go-lucky way. Hopefully some luck swings his way because I’d love to see him finally be the one telling someone else to act as a pawn instead of the other way around.

4. Clay

GARRETT: Clay, man. I wish I was as attractive as him so that I could just waltz into the Big Brother house, align myself with the prettiest woman in the house, and let her win Head of Household twice. He’s honestly caught so much luck every week, and has emerged with no blood on his hands.

JAIME: He’s so, so pretty. And he’s actually kind of smart, too, which was an unexpected bonus. He’s definitely gotten lucky pretty much every week, but he’s certainly not skating by. He was instrumental in getting Da’Vonne and Jeff evicted, and even though he hasn’t won any competitions yet, he’s capable of handling power when someone in his alliance has it. Whatever plan Liz and Shelli have this week, Clay is definitely going to have a big week.

3. Liz/Julia

JAIME: For as much as I wanted a Steve/Johnny Mac HOH this week, I was really excited that Liz won. Obviously this means the power hasn’t shifted in the house, but this is going to give Liz a great opportunity to prove herself. Is she going to come up with a plan that benefits her alliance as a whole, or is her own self-interest going to come first? Considering that she went against the plan and voted to evict James over Jeff, I can see her putting herself first this week. I’m so excited to see where this goes, because it could just be a complete continuation of the last week, or Liz could make some huge moves and blow up the Sixth Sense just as it got going.

GARRETT: I’m very interested to see what happens with the next switch, to be honest. Liz and Julia are showing more and more to be different people, and both of them clearly want to be able to play their own game. For now, it’s Liz in the house, who’s been flirty and the subject of a macho male love triangle. She seems to relish her situation. But what happens when Julia comes in? Is she going to be pissed that Liz voted to evict James over Jeff? What happens if people find out? It’s exciting, if nothing else, and I’m glad the twin twist has brought a fair amount of narrative to this game.

2. Vanessa

GARRETT: Vanessa stays near the top of the power rankings this week because of her alliance sweeping HOH, and for concocting a great way of putting Jeff and his game on blast. As much as she was worried about getting too much blood on her hands, the Jeff vs. Clay/Austin/Shelli argument cleared her from any potential bad graces. She’s a lot to handle on the feeds, and seems to be drawn into paranoia quite easily. But with her alliance in charge this week, I think she’ll calm down quite a bit and play the great game we’ve seen her build up over the first few weeks.

JAIME: The way she prevented herself from getting any blood on her hands was such a smart and calculated move, too. Her alliance wanted her to put up Jeff, but she didn’t have a reason to put him up. So she draws him into a very public fight, where he questions her integrity and lies to her face. Just like that, it would be stupid NOT to put him up. She made sure to cover her tracks, which is something most HOHs forget and then leave themselves open to retaliation as soon as they lose power. Vanessa is playing a really interesting game, and luckily her reign as HOH seems to have solidified her near the top of the alliance, meaning she’s probably going to call a lot of the shots over the next few weeks.

1. Shelli

JAIME: Shelli kind of dominated this week, and I don’t think anyone was really aware just how much power she had. She was part of the initial group who petitioned Vanessa to put up Jeff, and while their group had strategic decisions for wanting him out, she also developed a personal vendetta against him as the week went on. He tried to throw her and Clay under the bus, and since she and Jeff had been close at the beginning of the game, she felt betrayed. But she managed to keep calm and, though that personal reason became her main reason for wanting him out, she still played totally logically and strategically. And now she’s HOH again, making her the first repeat of the season, and only in the third week. Last week solidified the Sixth Sense’s power in the house, and now Shelli and Liz are going to keep that going. I feel like another big move is coming up.

GARRETT: Shelli has been outright dominating socially and in competitions. She’s got a big alliance and just keeps winning competitions. She’s also seemed to remain calmer than most of the people in the house. That might be because of the fact that she’s been in power from the absolute start of the game, but the fact remains the same. Her only worry should be coming off as too much of a threat, with two HOH’s before jury. I’m thinking she throws the HOH to Liz this week if she can find some pawns to do so – and with her persuasion skills, it seems likely.

That’s it for week 4 of Big Brother! Maybe next week John’s reign as house perma-pawn will end, or maybe Liz will call out Austin for being weirdly possessive during Thursday’s episode (which, what was that all about?) Check back for next week’s But First Friday to see how things are going in the Big Brother house!


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