16 new HouseGuests start the battle for $500,000 and Julie Chen gives one of them way too much power based just on first impressions.
Sixteen strangers moved into the "Big Brother" house -- or make that "BB Camp" this season -- but what if they weren't all strangers? And what if Julie Chen Moonves (still using it) then offered one of them way too much power this early in the game.
It was another bout with first impressions, only rather than immediately send someone out the door as they've tragically done in the past -- rude! -- they instead gifted one HouseGuest incredible power almost immediately.
So those first impressions meant everything because the very first task of the summer was for everyone in the house to vote to give one of them this mysterious (at the time) power. And then, once the full extent of that power was revealed, first impressions could mean the difference between continuing to fight in the game, or fighting to avoid getting the boot.
That's because this new power move guarantees one of these 16 HGs won't make it to the live eviction. Now, we fully expect they'll get a chance to battle back into the game down the road a bit, but it's still a terrible situation to be in even if you do fight your way back in. Usually by that point, alliances are starting to form and no one is looking for the newcomer, unless you can find the underdogs and flip the script.
I Know You
One of the strangest mini-twists of the summer came when Julie told us, "Just like summer camp, some of them may even know each other."
We immediately pictured several HouseGuests finding out they know one or more of the others, setting up interesting cross-allegiance possibilities. But it wasn't nearly as interesting as all that. Instead, Tommy announced in a confessional that he and Christie have known each other for years; she dated one of his family members.
Well, we've had one pair of people know each other before, so the twist wasn't nearly as interesting as it could be. And for now, both are lying low that they even know each other, but surely there will be a conversation forthcoming as to how they might use this secret to their strategic advantage. Or at least, they absolutely should.
In line with the "Camp" theme, Julie announced that they would have to select one of their own to be Camp Director -- wonder if this position will continue beyond this first person? But other than telling them they were safe and could jeopardize someone else's game, she left them wondering.
Logically, since this is "Big Brother" and every gift comes with a curse, this isn't a great thing, so Jack suggested they look for volunteers. And right away Cliff stood up, because he could see the writing on the walls.
Once again, "Big Brother" has cast almost exclusively young, hard bodies in their 20s with a single token older person they can use as they see fit or vote out immediately. This season's sacrifice is Cliff, and he knows it. It's a shame the casting continues to focus more on youth and looks over anything else.
They make efforts to diversify the cast with ethnicities and sexual orientation, but age-related discrimination remains in full effect! It's a shame, because some of the most interesting HGs of all time have been beyond their 30th birthday.
But we digress, and face it, this is nothing new and clearly CBS doesn't care. Maybe new leadership at the top will make a difference next summer, but it's too late for this batch. And we wouldn't hold our breath anyway.
David also volunteered himself, but no one seems to remember him as soon as he stops talking. And so it came down to Jackson and Jessica. The girls immediately rallied around the plus-sized model, who seems to have a good head on her shoulders.
But then Jackson used his down-home Southern charm and convince almost all of them to flip the script and emerged victorious. Then came the bad news. The CD must choose four HGs to get banished from the house into the very cheesy-looking "BB Woods." There, they will compete to get back in. Three will return and one will be eliminated from the show ... for now?
In future installments, this will be the home for Houseguest Report Cards but it's basically the first day of class here, so all we've got is first impressions. So we'll look at who's made some good ones, who might be in trouble already, and who's laying so low we keep forgetting they're in there.
Analyse is a "Big Brother" superfan who is mostly being noticed so far for her beauty. She's totally playing into this, though, while hiding her intelligence, physical prowess and knowledge of the game. She is riding the middle of the bigger personalities right now, which is often a good strategy unless the big personalities align and stay dominant (it's happened!). She already missed the boat on the vote flip, so she may be a bit too outside the know right now.
Christie has kept her outside history with Tommy a secret and seems to be striving to be well-liked in the house right now. She flipped on Jessica along with most of the girls (and Tommy), but we don't yet know much else about her motives. She has to be careful how she uses her Tommy connection and if/when she exposes it, but it's a good thing to have in her back pocket.
Cliff seems to be in as much trouble as he thinks he is, and it's an unfair situation "BB" always puts their older players in. They can't connect with him in the same way they do each other, so it's going to be tough for him to find a way in. Absolutely no one talked about him for CD, but they're also not talking strategy with him. He's going to have to work extra hard to infiltrate any alliance if he wants to last beyond when he's useful to someone else's game.
David has disappeared every time he's not on-screen talking. He was ignored every bit as hard as Cliff when he offered to be the CD, and then he's one of the few who didn't get the memo to flip to Jackson -- or he chose not to. He hasn't gotten much screen time, but relationships are forming and he doesn't seem to be in any of these, either. Time to get to work!
Holly has already impressed everyone with her knowledge of wine and horseback riding -- why this story resonated more than anyone else's is a mystery. Jack is totally into her, which could be good for her game if she plays it right. The stronger, physically fit guys always try to emerge as the house alphas early on, so it's not bad to be in good with them. Then she can pick them off when the time is right, should she choose, or ride with them if that makes more sense.
Isabella has a Chinese tiger mom at home, and she references this a lot. She's also playing very strategically and logically, avoiding CD leadership because it's too early. She's in line with the power structure in the house, having voted for Jackson, but we haven't seen her a part of any of the big conversations just yet, so it's too soon to see if her social game can match her strategic thinking.
Jack came in with those Jason Momoa locks and he knows it. He played into his own beauty hardcore and has all of the girls swooning over him. He brings with him a breezy confidence and established the season's first official alliance by bromancing with Jack. Early 2-person alliances have done very well historically, and they are big, strong, competitive dudes. Plus, for now, they're both very likable so they're in a good starting position.
Jackson echoes a lot of what was said above, except that he also volunteered for and won the CD position. It remains to be seen if his picks for banishment are taken personally. If he's smart, he'll ask for volunteers and make it a house discussion. If he doesn't and simply chooses with some of the house, lines will immediately be drawn, allianes will form on either side and it will be game on, so this decision is perhaps even bigger than he realizes. He has charm, but also an incredible ego, so hopefully he doesn't carry the negative side of a big ego. Only time will tell, though.
Jessica nearly took the CD crown, but Jackson was able to sway people. This is leaving her feeling a little put out, but now that she knows what a double-edged sword it was, she should take the goodwill she engendered going into the vote and solidify herself with those people as an early power alliance. She is clearly likable, so it's important she not take the loss too hard and maybe even play into the guilt a bit to loop people in. She's actually in a good spot if she doesn't blow it.
Kathryn is crushing on Jackson and doesn't know Jason Mimosa's [sic] name. She has a photographer follow her around at home for social media purposes, which would seem to speak a lot about who she is and what matters the most to her, but how she plays the game has yet to emerge because she's yet to emerge. She also voted Jessica, which means she was on the outs of the flip, too. Are there already lines forming based on this vote? Possibly.
Kemi was also on the wrong side of the CD vote, but we're more worried about her for another reason. Now, she could just be playing up her image, but she said in her intro package she is a reformed mean girl and she struggles with showing empathy to other people. Then, when a joke fell flat in the house, she said that it's on everyone else to be more perceptive when she cracks a joke. Hopefully that was just her playing it cool, or this social game could absolutely destroy her. "BB" tends to bring out your worst side, and if her worst is whats being suggested, she could be in trouble.
Nick actually got a vote for CD from Cliff -- who's out of all the conversations. Nevertheless, it shows that Nick is making a good first impression. He has the savvy to navigate the psychological side of the game and he voted with the house for Jackson, which means he's not on the wrong side of any numbers yet. It's very early, but Nick seems off to a solid -- if not particularly memorable -- start.
Nicole needs to think about playing her own game rather than just following where the numbers are. She's got the geek chick thing down, but this not a very geeky crowd -- except for maybe Ovi -- so she may find herself on the outs. Plus, she's admitted to social awkwardness and she's with a group of very socially confident people so she's really going to need to step out of her comfort zone and push real connections so she matters to them.
Ovi is in a similar situation as Nicole, even if he and Jackson share an alma mater. At first, Jackson thought that was a great connection, but almost immediately he seemed to cast out Ovi and start bromancing with Jack. Ovi should work to keep himself in good with Jackson, possibly pushing for a trio there, but he should also keep his options open. He's laying mostly low right now, so it's hard to see where his head is at.
Sam is way too much muchness like ALL THE TIME. It's exhausting watching him. That said, we've had obnoxios people -- (ahem)Josh(ahem) -- win this show before, so it's not necessarily problematic. But it can also become very annoying, so hopefully Sam can temper it with meaningful connections. Otherwise, he might come across as a guy who thinks he's way, way cooler than he is.
Tommy is another who could tone it down a bit, though we can tell a lot of this is early excitement. Another "BB" Superfan, he has kept his history with Christie secret, too. What's working for him, though, is that he's already kind of being considered as "one of the girls," as he was part of that pro-Jessica all-girls alliance. Unfortunately, it fell apart immediately, but nevertheless those connections could survive this CD twist and that could be good for Tommy. Especially if he can also make connections with the guys. It never hurts to be well-liked by everyone!
"Can we hug?" - Tommy (as part of the first four HGs in the house)
"I know coming into the house that I could be seen as a threat to some folks; physically fit guy, social and I'm mentally stable. I would be threatened." --Jackson (confident much?)
"I'm going to Big Brother." - Isabella (after finding her key) "What's 'Big Brother'?' - Isabella's mother
"I can't believe I leave you at home for three months and now you're telling me you're going on a reality show." -- Isabella's mother (see why we need older people on this show?)
""The dumber thing I am the better it is for me to win." - Nick
"I've been watching this show since Season 8 and unfortunately the older guy is an easy target. I've gotta make sure that I can stay alive for the first two weeks." - Cliff (good luck!)
"I have to play this like we do not know each other or that will put a huge target on our backs. I have to get her alone at some point without drawing attention; we have to discuss what we want to do. Holy shit, this is wild!" - Tommy (so far, so good)
"Holly is hands down the coolest person out of all of us." - Jack (he knows they're all in love with his Momoa locks)
"Holly, super-cute, she drinks wine and rides zebras. I'm going to say that I'm relatively outdoorsy. I know how to pitch a tent." - Jack (rim shot)
"I bang gears past deers." - Sam (he really likes these trucker jokes) "He bangs what? Is that even legal?" - Tommy
"I really need to work on my sense of humor, 'cause people never know when I'm joking. I guess I don't need to work on it. Maybe other people should be more perceptive." - Kemi (please tell us you're being funny and we're not getting it)
"I know, obviously, he's not Jason Momoa. But he can be my Jason Momoa for the summer." - Analyse
"Jack #Aquaman. Oh god, you can like drown me in a pool any day if he's here to save me." - Nicole
"He looks like Jason Mimosa. Hang on, did I say that right?" - Kathryn
"I'm pissed. Someone lied to me. A lot of people lied to me.' - Jessica (after losing CD to Jackson)
"Big Brother" continues Wednesday and Sunday at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.