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Nick and Sam had their backs against the corral as they tried desperately to herd adorable sheep to save their own "Big Brother" skins.

Cliff is playing the long game on "Big Brother," but is it possible to play long enough? After giving up a possible numbers advantage during his HOH to the Six Shooters, he's now waiting and hoping and praying that the alliance crumbles early enough that he can capitalize.

It's a risky gambit, and yet that alliance is showing signs of faltering. And it wouldn't be the first time, either. After all, the Six Shooters are the remnants of the Gr8ful (and fake Unde9able) alliance, so they've already turned on their own. After evicting former Gr8ful member Isabella last week, the Shooters are targeting Nick this week.

Clearly they're willing to eliminate their own, but they've managed to do it at the right time without ever giving up their total dominance in the house. And this week with Holly in power, everything was in place for Nick to follow his showmance out the door and the Six Shooters to keep on rolling as far as they're willing to work together.

At this point, their only enemy is themselves. And yet, it turns out that's a pretty big enemy indeed.

Six Shattering

Christie and Tommy are playing a pretty wild game in the house right now, sowing seeds of doubt to Analyse about Holly and Michie. And then when confronted, they backpedaled so hard they left Holly with doubts about Analyse in the game. Right now, she flat-out believes Analylse made up what she told her when she didn't.

Christie and Tommy really did say they had concerns about the fact Holly was considering putting Nicole up as a replacement nominee if Nick or Sam won the Power of Veto and saved themselves. Nicole is a genuine target in the house, and they theorized -- or Christie's paranoia convinced her -- that this could only mean Holly and Michie have some kind of deal worked out with Nick and Sam.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Analyse was being a true ally and friend to Michie and Holly by telling them the truth, and yet all it took was lies and denial from Christie and Tommy for Holly to believe them over the truth. They pulled this same thing when they turned Nick and Isabella against Nicole by denying the truth she shared with the then-HOH and his showmance.

It's impressively deceptive and shocking that it worked twice. Christie with her back to the wall can work magic. And the shorthand she has in communication with Tommy because of their history outside of the house is really working in their favor, too, as it makes them sound even more believable. There's nothing like fake shock, indignation and anger to rile someone up and keep them confused.

Corralling Control

In an absolutely adorable Power of Veto competition, Nick pulled of a much-needed win and secured his own safety for the week. It was awkward seeing all the fake congratulations from the Six, who were clearly devastated that he'd won. But Nick has proven himself a strong competitor and it was pretty hilarious seeing the city boy take down the cocky HOH ranch girl.

It also put Holly in an interesting situation, considering what was going on within her own alliance. Is it time to take a shot within the Six? Doing so gives the other side a numbers advantage, so that really never seemed like a logical choice she'd make this week. The other option was Kathryn's harebrained idea to offer herself up as a pawn to ensure Sam goes home.

Kat has been pretty successful in working both sides of the house, so she could find herself well-positioned if and when the Six collapse, whether the outliers gain power and take them down or they turn on one another. It's certainly not looking like they're willing to go to Top 6 together, despite what they say.

It's going to come down to who has the power and when they decide to take that first shot and take control of the game. Either that, or "BB" is just giving us this edit to give viewers false hope that something will happen that's interesting and it won't be the Six just mowing their way through this game. Granted, CBS doesn't know either, but you can tell they're going to find any and all clips that show division within the Six to keep fans guessing.

So far, though, the guessing has been unnecessary. Every nomination and vote has been in alignment with Gr8ful and then the Six Shooters' plans. If Sam goes home this week, which seems likely, that'll be five up and five down with the Six never relinquishing control or influence. It's an impressive feat. How long can they keep it going?

HouseGuest Report Cards

Jack doesn't even have to do anything and he's winning this game. Right now, his very presence is so intimidating no one wants to wind up in his crosshairs. It'll be interesting to see who has the nerve to take a shot at him, should they ever get the chance. Because if they don't, he wins this game. Grade: A

Christie is playing a very dangerous game, but she's playing it incredibly well. She is working both sides of the Six Shooters and is a solid enough liar that she can convince people of whatever she needs them to believe at any given moment. Plus, her solid Final 2 with Tommy makes them a power couple that people seem to be underestimating. Grade: A-

Tommy is playing the stronger social game of the power couple with Christie, but the two of them are working together beautifully to sow seeds of distrust without anyone being able to definitively pin it on them. How are they so trustworthy when they are lying so hard right to people's face? It's because they laid the foundation of being friends and likable early on. *Grade: B+**

Holly really stepped into her own with this HOH, and to his credit Michie gave her the space to do it. She's proven a strong competitor, a savvy player and someone who is willing to step out of her showmance's shadow when needed to at least be aware of the big moves that are coming down the line. Now she just needs to prove she has the nerve to act on them. Grade: B+

Kathryn has positioned herself beautifully in the house. Cliff says he's waiting for a crack to form in the Six to make his move, but Kat is making her move now before it happens, so she'll be the first person they think of to help them with the betrayal. It's an ingenious move. Plus, her secret Final 2 with Holly is a stroke of genius that could serve both of them well in the long run. Grade: B

Michie has made a lot of enemies of the women in the house, including those within his own alliance. And this week, Holly made it a point to distance herself in the game from him, even as the showmance is going strong, so he seems to be in a not-so-great position within his own alliance. His bromance with Jack is strong, but would it keep Jack from turning on him if the numbers aren't there? Grade: B

Analyse fell victim to the Christie and Tommy liar attack. Ask Nicole how that goes, as she's still feeling the fallout from it. Does Analyse have the social savvy to navigate her way back into the good graces of four of her alliance members? Christie and Tommy feel betrayed she told Holly and Michie what they said, and Holly and Michie now think she made it up so that's not great. Grade: B-

Cliff has the right idea in waiting for this big alliance to start showing cracks, but he needs to be in there working and hustling to be that guy they turn to when they need to make a big move. Kathryn is doing that work hard, while Cliff is more about being the nice guy. But he's also the guy who took a shot at the Jacks, which could leave them seeing him as either a threat or a bold player they want to do their dirty work for them. Grade: C+

Jessica is still in the house. People like her, but she's not doing much. Grade: C

Nicole isn't doing much, either, but she's also keeping all of her strategies and game thoughts to herself, which is sketching the Six Shooters out. It's not a great strategy when she's on the wrong side of the numbers and it's keeping a target at least pointing in her general direction. Grade: C-

Nick saved himself this week, but there's no indication that this was anything but a stay of eviction. The Six still want him gone, so as long as he's in the house, he'll be public enemy number one and on the block unless he wins himself off of it with HOH or POV. Grade: D

Sam is public enemy number two, though we're not completely sure why. It seems he's just in the fallout zone of the Six turning so hard on Nick and Bella. Up against Kat, he has his work cut out for him as the Six want him gone to break him and Nick up. This one seems pretty inevitable. Grade: D-

House Chatter

"I either win or most likely go home." --Nick (realizing importance of winning POV)

"Bella's already gone and we're getting rid of our former Unde9able allies. Don't let that infamous 'Big Brother' door hit you on the way out." --Holly (after nominations)

"This is the problem. Any other season has two sides of the house. We have one side and six floaters right now." --Nick (yeah, so why is that?)

"Right now what's best for our game is for the nominations to stay the same because if Nick or Sam comes off the block, there's a very good chance that myself or Cliff or Jess or Kat could end up being the replacement nominee and that is no good. --Nicole (more like a 100 percent chance)

"You bitches better not vote me out." --Kat (to Six Shooter women after volunteering to be a replacement nominee)

"In my head sometimes I think I'm like a genius at this game. Am I? Or am I, like, totally just,like-- This could absolutely backfire, so stay tuned." --Kat

"If I do not win this veto, I am going home. And I'm not ready to be done in this game. And I gotta do this for Bella, because she went out and guess what? I'm not following her out. So Belle, this one will be for you." --Nick (POV competition)

"I'm opening up the door and hoping I can just lure them in, but how do you bribe sheep?" --Jessica (yeah, that's not gonna work)

"These sheep are the fastest sheep in the world. Before the comp began, I saw them doing push-ups in the corner." --Sam

"I grew up on a dude ranch and as a safari guide I now work with animals every day. So the only thing that can make this competition easier is a glass of rose. I got this thing on lock." --Holly (but you didn't win this competition)

"I'm facing off against Nick. I already put Sam out to pasture. Now it's time for his buddy to join him." --Holly (but you didn't)

"Are you kidding me? Nick is the city guy. I am the Wyoming ranch girl. How in the world did he just beat me?" --Holly

"Maybe one day Zach and Bradley will watch this back and they'll still know that their dad tried." --Sam (after losing POV)

"Nicole is sketchy. She never talks game with anyone and no one knows where her head's at." --Analyse

"She's sketch, but is she ever going to be in power where I have to worry about that? --Holly

"I thought calamine lotion was supposed to be soothing. Do you feel soothed?" --Christie

"No, I don't feel soothed. I feel like a pink Oompa-Loompa." --Tommy

"There are really big threats in this house that eventually will have to go. And guess what? I'm aligned with most of those big threats, so I don't want to be the one to take those shots. Maybe Sam could be a really good ally for me if he stays in this house." --Holly

"For Holly to push keeping Sam is a little bit of a red flag for me. Because if Michie and Holly decide that they want to build a little army to eventually try to break away from the Six Shooters, it's brilliant, but it terrifies me." --Christie

"I'm not even being paranoid. I mean, like, something's clearly going on. I'm not an idiot." --Christie (you're paranoid)

"Christie can go f--k herself is she's pissed at the fact that you're weighing out options. Are you kidding me?" --Michie

"Why do you talk when I tell you not to? --Holly (to Michie after he confronted Christie and Tommy)

"Well, I'll say less." --Michie (storming out)

"She hasn't picked the replacement nominee yet and I sure as hell don't want it to be me." --Christie

"I don't like that-- because she just compared Jackson and I to Nick and Bella and that pissed me off." --Holly

"Who did?" --Christie

"Sis" --Holly (Analyse's nickname)

"And people also think this is mine and Jackson's HOH and that f--king pisses me off!"

"These bitches are conspiring against me." --Kathryn (joking after going up as a pawn)

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