To cover their tracks, the power alliance turns truths into lies and turns all their misdirected rage on Nicole.
We know that lying is a part of the "Big Brother" journey, but sometimes it's just so damned hard to watch. Couple that with herd mentality and "mean girls" tendencies that can emerge from the "cool kids" of the social microcosm and it can get downright ugly.
This week, we saw that in full force as the mega-powerful Gr8ful alliance (plus Sam) turned their collective nastiness on Nicole, simply for daring to try and play the game and share some truth with the current HOH, Nick. Granted, this was Nicole's first mistake because the current HOH is attached at the hip with Isabella, the biggest bully in the house.
At issue was the bombshell revelation Nicole dropped on Sunday's episode when she told Nick that the Top 4 of Gr8ful (Jack, Michie, Analyse and Holly) had called Nick and Bella bullies and had indicated they were looking to betray them. Now, all of this was true. But Nick, because he's a terrible player, decided he couldn't make a move on Nicole's word until he'd had a chance to talk to his alliance.
In other words, he needed to give them a chance to lie through their teeth and deny everything, which of course they did. CBS even did the courtesy of flat-out showing Analyse and Holly in a lie by sharing footage of them saying Nick and Bella (in particular) were bullies. They then lied to Nick's face and said Nicole had said this.
And guess what? When you lie to bullies and people who want to believe they're better than they are, apparently all you have to do is pretend to get really angry and they'll buy your lie so hard. On the one hand, it was very sad for Nicole that her truth was mowed over so easily. On the other, it will be refreshingly sweet when the Gr8ful four do finally turn on Nick and Bella.
It was bad enough that Bella and Nick had decided that Nicole was a liar based on their own alliance lying to them, but then Bella had to go and have a "conversation" with Nicole about it, only it wasn't a conversation.
Maybe Bella knows she is easily swayed by what people say, because she made sure to not let Nicole say anything at all. She even cut her off and asked Nicole to let her finish. But when Nicole tried to respond after doing just that, Bella said she was done here and needed to leave before she got mad. In other words, she only wanted to yell at Nicole and disparage her character over false information she'd received.
Benefit of the doubt, Bella had chosen to believe that Nicole lied to her, but there is no evidence of this either way. And in this case, Bella had it wrong. But rather than even give Nicole a chance to talk, she bowled right over her so hard that Tommy, who was bizarrely sitting in as mediator, started to wonder if maybe Bella was a bully.
Spoiler alert from everyone watching the live feeds: she totally is. And she's not the only one.
Jack has shown the same bullying tendencies, which has set Ovi off on multiple occasions. Ovi and Nicole are advocates against bullying and yet they find themselves becoming the victims of it over and over again. Jack was dismissive and shitty to Ovi when he tried to talk to him in the storage room.
When Nicole tried to find out what was going on in the HOH Room, Michie slammed the door in her face after rudely dismissing her. Both Michie and Jack have routinely used hyper-aggressive language against marginalized people in the house, even getting warned by production over it. This is an incredibly arrogant and nasty bunch.
And that's the crux of it. Bullies are able to do what they do because they have dismissed your basic humanity. It is "us" and "them," and they genuinely think of "them" as somehow less than "us" in every way, including their humanity and their value as individuals. As such, it's no big deal to slam a door in Nicole's face, because she's not an equal. She's an "other." Same with Ovi.
It's a hateful and ugly way to live life, and it's something that is much more prevalent in youth -- thus the problems we face with bullying in schools. One of the drawbacks of "Big Brother" casting almost exclusively young hard bodies is you're getting people who are not yet fully developed mentally, and some that are developmentally stunted. Thus, we can see high-school-level bullying like this and half of the house genuinely doesn't seem to even get it or see it.
On top of that, if the idea is to do a cross-section of America and you pick 6-8 people from the same clique ("popular kids" or "jocks" or "preppy kids" or whatever), then this is going to happen every season. Like people flock together and pick on the marginalized people who don't have the numbers.
The one older person we get every year is a great example of this; what chance do they really have? Add in social misfits and a few people of color alongside your hordes of fit, popular, young white people and you're asking for bullying and racism.
Another facet of "BB" life manifested this week in Christie's totally irrational paranoia. This can happen when you're surrounded by people who are almost certainly lying to you about something in a game where they'll be the ones deciding if you come and go. Nevertheless, she hit that panic wall really hard, convincing herself based on nothing that she was going to get back-doored when Nicole was the clear target.
That's another reason we see things like racism and bullying on a heightened scale in this world. Everyone is so ragged and raw that sometimes the filters they put up to mask their true inner selves get frayed and worn and suddenly a truth that has perhaps never been seen will suddenly be exposed.
It's so hard to keep up a facade of decency 24/7 when cameras are on, and then add the heightened reality and stress of this show and the truth will out.
In a way, people are going slightly mad playing this game because there is never a break from it. It can manifest in a lot of different ways, with paranoia being one of the main ones.
Another is uncontrollable anger, and then there are those who stun themselves by just how much they're crying. An lest we forget the alpha men and women who just get meaner and more domineering and dismissive and nasty to their other HouseGuests without realizing just how much they're dehumanizing them.
We can only hope that once they leave the house, they do some self-reflection and realize that you don't have to be awful to play the game. You can even lie and cheat and betray without being nasty. It's been done.
Michie is playing a smarter "mean girls" game than his cohorts, keeping his intel closer to his vest. He's spreading lies and manipulating the house, but in a more underhanded way, which keeps him off of targets and radars for the time being. He's also in the "Top 4" of Gr8ful, so things are looking good as their dominance continues. Grade: A+
Jack is more blatant with his bullish and ugly character, but it doesn't seem to matter this season. Dominance is what it's about and the bullies have had the power since Day One and they've got such a numbers advantage, it's all over but the counting. Jack uses aggression and intimidation to get his way and for the most part, everyone gives it to him. They might turn on him later, but he's sitting pretty for now. Grade: A
Tommy made a huge revelation this week when he stopped drinking the Gr8ful Kool-Aid and saw Bella for the bully she is. He may not be ready to rock the boat yet, but considering he has Christie's ear, this could prove a pivotal moment for his "BB" career. Or it might not change anything as he and Christie were already five and six in Gr8ful. If they stick with them and turn on Bella and Nick, nothing changes ... but we can hope. Grade: B
Sam is working inside Gr8ful as part of the new Unde9able, but he knows the new alliance is a sham. He just needs to figure out what to do with this knowledge so he's not ninth in the pecking order, but it's not going to be easy to do. So far we don't see a plan, nor is he even working to keep numbers on the other side, so he must be hoping for one Gr8 explosion before it's too late. Grade: B-
Analyse and Holly totally lied to Gr8ful to throw Nicole under the bus and they bought it. There's nothing like righteous fury, even if it's totally fake. Christie was there with them, but she's causing her own problems. Still, it was nice to see the Jacks' showmances do something. Grade: B-
Nick low-key bullied Nicole this week, too, but his biggest blunder was simply choosing to believe his alliance rather than even consider that he might be at the bottom of that big old group. They do realize that someone is at the bottom, right? Sigh. Grade: C
Christie almost derailed herself completely with paranoia, which is a bad sign for the next few weeks. Hopefully Tommy or someone can rein her in before she blows up. As a part of Gr8ful (middle of the pack) she should be safe; she just needs to believe it. There's no future in her position long-term, but she's good for now. Grade: C
Kathryn stepped up in a huge way with a dominant POV win, but it may prove more detrimental to her game than playing dumb. The MENSA member killed a puzzle and immediately put herself on Gr8ful's radar as a possible threat. In other words, she's going to have a lot of work ahead of her if she wants to turn that win into a real run at the prize. Grade: C
Isabella is bullying her way right out of contention. Gr8ful is putting up with her for now, but they really have been gunning for her and there's no reason for that to change. She has made no friends on any side of the house and her awful game play has done nothing but expose how much she needs to grow still as a person ... that is, if she cares at all about being a mature and good person. Grade: C-
David is basically a non-entity in the game. When he tried to say something to Jack, he was basically told to shut up and mind his place as a member of Camp Comeback (yeah, it reeked of dismissiveness and racism). He's trying, but it really doesn't seem like he's going to get a chance even if he does get back in the game. Grade: C-
Cliff is in the same boat as every other older person in the game. They're not seen as an actual competitor in the game and they're more often just seen as amusing diversions from the game. Not taken seriously as a competitor, he will be picked off whenever they're done enjoying him. Grade: C-
Jessica will be gone soon enough, just as soon as Gr8ful is done picking off other targets. The season is boring already because the "mean girls" are just picking off everyone else one by one. It won't really pick up until they finally have to turn on each other and ... get even meaner? It's a shame, because Jessica is interesting, but she's been marginalized since the start of the game. Grade: D
Nicole played a little too hard with the wrong person and it blew up in her face way too hard and way too big. But she's done for because of it. Even if she comes back in, she's already gone. She was probably a little too smart and definitely not "cool" enough to play in the big clique, thus her downfall and being attacked when she dared threaten the social hierarchy. Grade: D
Kemi and Ovi are just another pair of marginalized people awkwardly living among people who are barely acknowledging their existence, or dismissing them to their faces. It's uncomfortable to watch on a good day. Came Comeback is a joke twist this season because everyone there will just get voted right back out unless they can somehow break up Gr8ful. But as we saw tonight, that's not going to be easy. Grade: D-
"Nicole said you guys were saying to her that me and Nick are bullying her." -Isabella"She told us that she was being bullied and cornered by you two." -Analyse (lying)
"They're bullies! Bella's a bully, like 100 percent." -Analyse (to Nicole in flashback .. told ya!)
"Seeing the anger in Chris and Sis' eyes, I can tell that none of what Nicole is saying is true." -Isabella (sucker)
"Bad time." -Michie (to Nicole, then slams door in her face)
"Nicole is airing out a lot of dirty laundry. Some of it's mine and some of it's true. We have been plotting against Nick and Bella. Plus, I cast that rogue vote to pin it on Nicole. So right now, I'm keeping my mouth shut and I'm gonna act just as mad as everybody else, because if I stand out, it might just bite me in the ass." -Michie
"I am like so freaking stupid. I am officially that person that handed information and thought, 'This'll work.'" -Nicole
"So this little bombshell Nicole dropped threw me off. Luckily for me, I thought through it rationally, I talked with my alliance and now we are stronger than ever." -Nick (duped by his own alliance)
"As soon as everyone stopped fighting and flipping out, they were like, 'Yo, right now. Let's make an alliance of nine people. Which reminds me, I should probably be totally Gr8ful for this opportunity; it's literally Unde9able." -Sam
"It's very easy to get swept up in the mob mentality. When we were all hashing it out in the HOH room to just pin everything on Nicole. But now, I'm listening to Bella bulldoze Nicole; Nicole can't get a word in. I'm starting to think that maybe Nick and Bella were bullying her." -Tommy (uh, yeah, totally)
"I came into this house as an advocate against bullying. All those people who are different and get bullied; all those kids that get bullied for being special or being different. And then I sat there while she called me disgusting and atrocious. I just don't go for that. I would never, never attack any of you on a personal level." -Nicole (to Kathryn and Jessica)
"She has just ruffled so many feathers in the house and I can't mess up my game in order to save hers." -Jessica (choosing Christie to compete in the POV)
"Jessica, again you pick somebody who belongs to this group that Nick, the HOH, is also a part of. If you would have picked me I would have taken you down. But now, I think we're both out of luck." -Nicole
"Maybe she is in MENSA." -Jessica (after Kathryn dominates POV comp)
"Joke's on them. I've actually been playing this game really well this whole time ... and I didn't even know it." -Kathryn