Manipulation, friendships and the season's first showmance further threaten to dismantle the early eight-person alliance.
Is "Big Brother" going down a familiar racist hole as in previous seasons? It's a little too early to tell, but Hamster fans are seeing some red flags from two of the show's strongest early personalities.
First, they noted that after becoming Camp Director, Jackson immediately targeted both black contestants, a plus-sized Latina model and the one older contestant for Banishment. Now, his best bro in the house, Jack, is making some familiar targets of his own.
While talking with Head of Household Christie, Jack basically decided to lay out for her who was going to go over the next three weeks. David, the show's only black guy, was eliminated at the Banishment competition. Jack was looking at Kemi, the only black girl, next, followed by Latina model Jessica and Bangladeshi college student Ovi.
But Is It Racist?
Now, there's no clear indication that Jack is targeting these people because of race. He does have Isabella, who is also of Asian descent, in his alliance, and he did give other reasons for targeting these people, but they're honestly pretty lame.
As an example, he said that Jessica needs to go because she has a chance to win a power in an upcoming "Wacktivity" Challenge ... Dude, that's everyone!
Reality Blurred reported on Monday that Jack had already been warned by production for his aggressive language about Kemi and others on the show. Reporting from the show's live feeds, the outlet details several bizarre things Jack has said about Kemi and Jessica.
About Kemi: "It won't even be a backdoor. It's like, bitch you're f--king going up and you can play for your veto but I'mma f--k you up. God, dude, she gets me so hyped! I f--king hate--" (at this point the feed cut to another room)
About Kemi: "Rip this band-aid off and cut this tumor out of us, because she's a cancer on this house."
About Jessica: "I flirt with her just to make her feel good about herself."
About Jessica: "According to all the stories I hear from Consuela..."
The jury is still out -- and arguing on social media -- over whether Jack is actually racist or not or he's just kind of an arrogant dick. He's definitely showed some tendencies to try and manipulate the house and push Christine around in her Head of Household, but it's again too early to see if this is sexism or just aggressive gameplay.
Jack has supreme confidence and he's used to using his good looks and charm to get his way. He also shows some tendencies to aggressively push his agenda in an almost bully-like manner, but that may prove to be just how he is with everyone and in life. As for Kemi, we don't now for sure why he has such a mad-on for her, but it's like no joke!
Christie is Head of Household and Sam pulled off a stunning upset victory in the Veto challenge, but Jack certainly has been acting like this is his HOH and even his POV, as he's got plans for exactly how the week should go. Jack is playing his game, and it's certainly a strategy to try and strongarm your agenda, but he chose the wrong target in Christie.
She bristled almost immediately under him "mansplaining" the paln for the week, and even laying out how the next two weeks would go after this one. That left her questioning if she was playing his game or her game.
Perhaps she gained some inspiration and confidence by the return of BB20 winner Kaycee Clark, who came back to emcee a competition she absolutely crushed last season ... one of many. This time, it was a bit more even, with no super-athlete running away with it. In fact, it was truck driver Sam (the second-oldest in the house) who emerged triumphant over Jack by one point.
The comp itself is brutal, with disgusting food being launched at them and HouseGuests tasked with picking out and catching one item. We're more feeling the half of the HGs who got no points at all.
Sam did ultimately use the veto on his pal, and oldest HG, Cliff, leaving Christie to go against the wishes of at least part of her alliance when she chose to nominate Ovi as a pawn next to Kathryn. She sees him as no threat, but he was on Jack's list of the first three targets, so anything could happen.
The friction between Christie and Jack was certainly a big factor in the cracks forming in this super-alliance, but not the only one. As part of her railing against Jack, Christie confided in Sam that she was part of a "group" and brought Nicole in on the notion that she's being pushed to backdoor Kemi.
In other words, Ovi is not the only one now who knows something is percolating. And after Christie nominated him, that pretty much blows up the fake alliance she agreed to in order to pacify him and throw him off the scent. On top of that, Jackson is hardcore sliding into a showmance with Kathryn (who's on the block now) and Isabella has forged a strong friendship -- the kind that can become a Final 2 -- with Kemi.
Both of those women are clear targets of Jack and supposedly the entirety of Gr8ful, but there is not a consensus. Nick and Isabella both said they didn't want to see Kemi going. Not to mention, the group decided to target Isabella's closest friend in the house without consulting her and that's not how alliances work.
Is the alliance over before it's begun, or is this just a blip? It's almost impossible to maintain such a large group as they can't even all ever meet together. We'll see if Gr8ful has a future.
Isabella is playing a savvier game than people give her credit for. She sees what's going on, and she's striking alliances and friendships wherever she can. Being a part of Gr8ful and forging a tight friendship with Kemi is actually pretty smart as it gives her options going forward. She's also not just following, as shown when she urged Nick to lobby for Kemi, which means she's ready to play this game. Grade: A
Christie made a bold move by going against the spoken consensus of the house, but she's already proven herself a savvy player, a strong speaker and someone who genuinely and compassionately makes connections. It's always hard to get first blood on your hands, but she's leaned on people throughout the house, so she's in a good position socially moving forward unless Ovi decides to make big waves and she can't smooth that over by assuring him Kat was always her target. Grade: A-
Cliff is well-liked and his zero score in the POV is enough that people are kind of feeling bad for him. That's a good combination for someone who might struggle in some of the physical competitions. He did great in the Banishment comp, though, so Cliff might have some tricks up his sleeve. His best game move is being able to relate to these people a generation removed from him and making no enemies. Grade: B+
Jackson/Michie seems to have survived the Camp Director twist, and even his showmance with Kathryn only has his alliance thinking about getting rid of her, rather than him. Seen as a natural leader and a likeable guy, Jackson could do very well in this game so long as he keeps his eyes open to the changing tides and proves able to change with them. Grade: B
Jessica may be on Jack's radar, but she seems to be absolutely beloved in the house. She has an incredible social game and she also has a pretty smart way of looking at the game and seems ready to use those social connections to her advantage. She already has people advocating for her and it's only Week 1, so she should be in a good spot for a long run, unless Gr8ful rallies under Jack ... then she's doomed. Grade: B
Analyse is laying low and staying quiet within the power alliance. It's a good position to be in, though she may find herself in an awkward spot now that Christie nominated Ovi and she was also in that fake alliance. Nevertheless, no one is looking at her as a power player right now or someone in charge, so she's good to just keep her head down. Grade: B-
Nick is another virtually invisible presence in the house, though Isabella has noticed him after deducing he was basically her only option (because Ovi doesn't exist in her world). She proved she could get him to do her will and he was willing to step up and lobby on behalf of Kemi. We don't know his own game yet, but he's playing with the right people now, so he's bought himself some time to figure it out. Grade: B-
Tommy is a big personality who is laying low and doing absolutely nothing. Nevertheless, he is in Gr8ful and can see that his best move is to let the alpha dogs fight it out and just make sure he's still here when it's all over. Not a bad strategy if he can stick to it and keep those lines of communication going throughout the house. Grade: B-
Holly is someone who exists in the house, but if you don't see her in the background somewhere, you might forget she's there. There's laying low and then there's virtually invisible and Holly is sliding into that position. That can work so long as she chooses the right moment to reappear. She is Gr8ful for now, which at least helps her standing overall. Grade: B-
Sam is playing a solo game, but winning the POV could prove a game-changing moment as he was able to bond with Christie and Nicole over Jack and his plans to backdoor Kemi. He already has a bond with Cliff and is well-liked in the house. All he needs to do is parlay any of this into usable strategy and alliances and he'll strengthen his place. Grade: C+
Nicole is the definition of a floater, as she is on no one's radar at all in a good or bad way. She might as well not be in the house. And yet, it was huge when Christie pulled her in and talked to her about Jack wanting to backdoor Kemi. Nicole needs to leverage that into something for herself in this game, or she's going to find it's too little too late when she does decide to start playing. Grade: C+
Kemi really rubbed some people the wrong way early on, but her damage control has been impeccable and Tamar Braxton during CBB2 proved you can overcome a rough start and still win this thing. She's now making friendships and has the power alliance arguing over whether or not she should stay, with enough of them lobbying for her that she managed to stay off the block. She's not out of the woods yet, but she's moving in the right direction. Grade: C
Ovi is in a tough spot, but if he gets out of this we hope to see him rise in these rankings. He was smart enough to deduce talk of an "eight" but unfortunately thought it was just in its genesis, so he has no idea he talked to that "eight" about its existence. He's proven himself a threat to them, but if he can help it unravel, he could become a strong ally in whatever emerges next. He sees a lot of what's going on in the house, but he's yet to quite work out how to make it work for him. Grade: C
Jack could be digging himself a slow grave, though he won't see it yet. He's forging enemies in the house with his aggressive behavior and outrageous mouth. He's been warned by production, but he's also earning the ire of at least some people in the house. Hell, Sam and Christie were already contemplating the logistics of backdooring him. And his comp performances thus far have been atrocious, so he may be in way more trouble than he realizes. Grade: D
Kathryn didn't necessarily do anything wrong. Her arrogance and confidence is just as bad as Jack -- she's basically his counterpart -- which is why she's probably in his crosshairs. But it was her admitting she'd use that charm to manipulate the house, with Jackson as her example, that may have sealed her doom. Now she's in a showmance with Jackson, so does that mean she's putting her plan into play and making a puppet out of him? Not a great idea to confess to a plan like that and then hook up with the professed target. Grade: D-
"I can't believe my showmance went home Day 1 ... just kidding." --Kemi (referring to David)
"Jack, I don't think he's hot. I really am not into him at all. And his hair." --Isabella"His hair what?" --Kemi"I just cannot stand it. And then Michie's, you know, here down [gestures neck-down]. So there's only one option for me left." --Isabella (talking dating pool ... and Ovi doesn't exist, apparently)
"Our alliance should be called Rush Hour." --Kemi"Always rushing to assumptions." --Isabella
"The only crack in our alliance would be how close Bella and Kemi are." --Christie
"Hell no, I"m not getting into a showmance." --Jackson (trying hard to resist Kathryn's charm)
"I'm focused on $500,000. But Kat, she's hot. She's hot. I'm not gonna deny that." --Jackson (failing to resist Kathryn's charms)
"As Kaycee always said last year, 'Let's roll!' --Cliff (aww, that's cute, but it's, 'Let's go!')
"How'd you get 37 points last year?" --Jack (knows the game, and respects how hard this challenge was)
"Kemi's gotta go because she's gamed too hard, too early. And Jessica's gotta go because she has the ability win a power in the Panic Activity Week 3. From there, we're looking at Ovi because he's brilliant. He's a smart young guy who's willing to win at any cost and he's outside of Gr8ful." --Jack (targeting people of color ... not intentionally?)
"Jack is kind of dictating how the eviction is going to go this week. And the next week. And the next week. And it's kind of a red flag for me, because first of all, who does he think he is? I'm pretty smart and I'm pretty smart and I could do without the mansplaining." --Christie
"Just follow your heart and put Kemi up." --Jack (that's not how that works)
"Honestly, Jack, you're putting a lot of pressure on me now, so how 'bout you take a seat, mind your own business, let me run this HOH (because it's mine) and if not, I could always put your ass on the block because I'm picking the replacement, remember?" --Christie (confessional venting)
"It's really too soon to backdoor someone. I don't know why I'm letting somebody else make me do their dirty work." --Christie
"He's so manipulative. I didn't come here to play the Jack Show." --Christie
"Backdooring Kemi is not sitting well with my gut." --Christie"Wait. What? Backdoor Kemi? Why?" --Sam (welcome to the game, Sam)