Everything changes as this pivotal eviction creates a new power dynamic in the house even before the new Head of Household is crowned.
Things can turn on a dime in the "Big Brother" house and that's just what happened during this week's live eviction episode with Kathryn and Cliff facing the chopping block and a short drive to the jury house.
In the end, it all came down to a deal and the difference between playing "Big Brother" with your heart and with your head. The problem is that "Big Brother" is a game of both, as evidenced by the jury voting to decide who wins the game in the end. Just ask Paul Abrahimian how it went playing a shrewd strategic game without worrying enough about real emotions, feelings and connections.
Bitter juries are a thing and being sequestered in the jury house with no one to talk to but other bitter jurors doesn't allow time to alleviate that hurt for some. Instead, it can actually make it much worse.
At the same time, the deal that was being offered in this episode wasn't a particularly flattering one. It was basically the people who've dominated the game all season throwing a bone to two players and asking them to come be on the bottom of our totem pole and we promise not to pick you off until later.
Nick was the one who presented the deal, first to Cliff and then to Nicole. As the flippiest of floppers in the house, Nick was the perfect person to offer up the chance for others to do the same. What's insane is that Nick thinks any of them have a chance of rising above Christie and Tommy (and perhaps then Analyse) in the final rankings of things.
For all of her whining about not wanting to be in the final six with couples, Christie is part of one with Tommy. But perhaps that's why. She wants to be the only couple so they have the bloc voting power to control the game at that point, much as she has controlled the game throughout with tears, bullying, emotional manipulation and general awfulness.
And yet, Cliff immediately took the deal. But then, Cliff plays the short game and just hangs onto confidence he'll figure out the long game when it gets shorter. So far, though he's had to battle his way back into the game twice already, it's been working for him. Perhaps because he's older, he's had no trouble separating game from personal.
Again, this could bite him with a young and emotional jury, or they could respect his gameplay. IF the vote were to happen right now, though, several of his own Angels would not have his back.
Just as the Six Shooters imploded and turned on one another, so did Cliff turn on his own Angels. Nicole got roped into the whole mess because she was part of the "new six" offer; not because she asked to be part of it. In fact, her position in the house was murky at best throughout the episode.
After Nick presented the idea to her, Nicole immediately ran to Jessica to tell her that she didn't like Jess being left out of the deal. This would seem to be an honoroable thing to do. And yet, when she asked Jess to keep the intel between them for now, Jess did nothing of the kind. Further, she presented the story as if Nicole was in that six, when Nicole had not committed to anything.
Or at least, not based on anything show in the episode. Suddenly, it was Cliff's betrayal but Nicole was right there with him. In the end, she did finally make a decision, but only because she was the swing vote this week. Her decision would set the course of the rest of the game, and as she pointed out, could be a $500,000 decision.
If Nicole chose to join up with the "new six," that would mean evicting Kat. Doing so would leave Holly, Michie and Jessica on the outside of the six which is a terrible numbers disadvantage. But it also puts Nicole possibly six out of six in those rankings. After all, she wasn't approached by Nick first with the offer. It was presented to Cliff.
And, as stated, both Cliff and Nick are token numbers the four wanted just to bolster their advantage in the game to try and get rid of Michie and Holly. They're essentially looking to use them as loyal soldiers to help them (or even better just) do their dirty work and then they'll cast them off.
At least, that's how it looks from the outside.
On the other hand, if Nicole chose to evict Cliff for betraying the Angels, the "new six" would be down to just four (Christie, Tommy, Analyse, Nick). Meanwhile, Nicole could be strong with Jessica and Kat while holding onto Michie and Holly as their own big guns to aim at that four. This seems the stronger strategy overall.
So why didn't she take it? Well, things do look different from the inside.
Holly is in the best spot right now, inexplicably, simply because she chose to lay low this week and make no waves. Michie is the big target of the "new six," and if he follows Kat out the door, Holly becomes an attractive free agent for both sides of the house, which isn't a bad spot to be in. It's a precarious perch atop the heap right now, but one she's earned. Grade: A
Tommy had a successful HOH, securing a new alliance to protect him and Christie (if Cliff and Nicole are true to it), and skating throught it without making any real enemies in the house. Christie remains a huge shield in front of him, as she is being targeted by everyone. Once she's gone -- which seems inevitable at this point -- we think he'll bounce back just fine. Grade: A-
Nick has snaked his way back into a powerful position in the house. He is playing a sneaky game all around, shifting where the power lies, and he's willing to do anything or say anything. And yet, he's never the head of any particular alliance, making him less of a target and more of a pawn in other people's games. It positions him well to bite that head off when the time comes. Grade: B
Cliff made a strategic game move to save his butt for at least another week. The deal is mostly superficial and crap, but he's still in the house. And he's proven quite savvy at keeping himself alive and just taking it week by week, so we won't count him out until the votes do it for us. Grade: B
Michie is public enemy number one for the "new six," but we're not totally convinced it's more than the "old four" just yet. He's been targeted for weeks and weeks now but hasn't gone home. It's really going to come down to who wins HOH and if the "new six" is as strong as they think they are. He's in a precarious position, like Holly, so we'll just have to wait and see. Grade: C
Nicole was roped into the "new six," but it's unclear how loyal she is to them. She did vote with them to evict Kat, but that could be to convince them she's part of them. It's hard to imagine her abandoning Jessica entirely, so it might just be a matter of her and Jess wanting to keep Cliff as they feel he's more loyal to them than Kat would have been. The truth will yet out as to what really happened tonight and why. For now, though, Nicole has value to both sides of the house. That said, we still think she made the wrong call here as the "new six" has no loyalty to her. Grade: C
Analyse is still the ultimate floater in this game. She really hasn't done much of anything other than be in the right alliance at the right time ... and that hasn't changed. She's a number. Grade: C-
Jessica keeps drawing the short straw for some reason and winding up on the outside of everything, which has to feel personal and so hurtful. With Nicole and Cliff being invited into the "new six," Jess is now the only HG in the house to have not been a part of that power alliance at one point or another and now she must feel truly alone ... unless, of course, Nicole is only pretending to be a part of it. Still, we feel bad for Jess' experience, and it's a testament to her strength of character that she continues to fight and persevere. Grade: C-
Christie is well-aligned, she is in a position of tremendous influence and basically rules the house through bullying, tears and manipulation. And yet, so did Jack at one point and he was much more liked than Christie. Outside of Tommy, it's not clear if any of the HGs really like Christie, and most of them would love to see her go out the door. If she stays much longer, it will be by sheer force of will and incredibly impressive. Grade: D+
Kathryn did her best to blow up Cliff and Nick's games, but it didn't matter at this point. She played a more honorable game and that's always rewarded on "BB" with a trip to the jury house. Plus, by this point everyone knew what Cliff had done and Nick's role in it, and his maneuvering throughout the season. Kat was doomed as soon as Cliff took that deal. Well actually, as soon as Nicole took the deal (or whatever she did). Grade: F**
"He is totally a man of his word. He's someone that I trust, so if Cliff jumps onto our side, he's just another ally that can hopefully take down Michie, and eventually Holly, too." --Christie
"I would do that in a heartbeat."
"If Kat leaves, that leaves just Jessica, Nicole and myself. From a competitor's standpoint, I just don't know if that's going to be enough to get me to the end. I came to win this for my family and if I take this deal that Nick's offering, not only does it keep me safe this week, but it gives me a path to the end of this thing." --Cliff
"If I could actually go to the final six with no couples, then that kind of seems like a manifested dream come true." --Christie (non-coupled with Tommy)
"I'm the one who's going to determine who goes home and that could be a $500,000 decision ... and that really, really, really stinks." --Nicole (finding out she's the swing vote)
"If Kat leaves, now Cliff owes us for keeping him. Then it could be the six of us--" --Nick (to Nicole)
"Yeah, but I'm also low on all of these people's totem poles. I'm not stupid. My brain just doesn't work this way. I need to like digest it." --Nicole (truth)
"Well good, this is why you have me." --Nick (the look she gives him here!)
"I know you have to separate personal from game. I know that. But I don't have a lot of people in my life that accept me for me and are friendly with me and just make me feel comfortable to be me. Cliff and Cat are two of those people and now I need to vote one of you out." --Nicole
"I'm leery about certain relationships on that side. He's very close with Tommy and Sis." --Nicole (concerns about Nick's final six proposal)
"Jess not being included in this alliance, this final group of six, it's just not sitting well in my gut. And what feels right for me right now is talking to Jess about it because I don't necessarily trust those people in that group of six, but I do trust Jess." --Nicole
"I can't leave you out on a limb because I've realized you're the only person I can trust in this game." --Nicole (spilling beans to Jessica)
"I definitely feel left out in this game. It pisses me off! Dammit! They don't include me in basically anything and it legit makes everything so much harder. I don't know with this information and all I want to do is just blow up everybody's game." --Jessica (confessional)
"We have an opportunity, me, you, Michie and Holly, to keep Kat. But then we're drawing a line and it'd be five against everybody else." --Nicole (to Jessica)
"I will blow up Cliff's Angels." --Kathryn
"I don't want to blow up Cliff's Angels if we don't have to." --Jessica
"Cliff made a deal without you in it." --Kathryn
"Why did you make a deal that doesn't include Jess in it?" --Kathryn
"Because I'm on the block." --Cliff
"I personally wouldn't, and that makes me really disappointed in you and I'm so sorry."
"Well I'm sorry, but when I'm told the only way I can stay in the house--"
"It's a f--king game."
"It is a game. What am I supposed to do?"
"Stand up for what you believe in. Like, stand up for the things that you told us that I thought that you believed in."
"I'm sorry. I am. But if the only way I can stay in this game--"
"--is to throw Jess under the bus."
"I always kept the logic of the game separate from the emotion." --Cliff
"Well, third time on the block and it's been a great summer no matter what happens tonight. I am a little bit sad that it is me and my dad up against each other.I do want to hand it to Cliff. He fought his way back from banishment, he got evicted by almost everybody here and then fought his way back from Camp Comeback to then win that competition, come back, win HOH, yet he still has that great of a social game that he convinced everybody that I am still a bigger threat than he is. So I give you props, Dad. And also congratulations to everyone for their immunity going into next week, even though that's completely dependent on who wins Head of Household tonight because you know that Cliff is going to march right up there and make more deals and I don't know if that's going to save everybody; we'll see what happens. And you know that Nick is going to be right there with him. With that being said, conspire away, bitches." --Kathryn
"I love 'Big Brother.' I signed up to play in the competitions, I signed up for the mental strategies nad competitions with all of y'all. I signed up to show that age shouldn't and won't be a restriction, whether playing this game or in the real world itself. I want to say, I'm not sacrificing my game tonight. I want to stay, please vote for me, I would be most appreciative. Kat, I'm sorry that it's gotten to this point where our paths are going to go different ways. You're a fine young woman. I've enjoyed being with you, I'm sorry. One thing I do want to clarify. Kat, the results are in, I am not your father." --Cliff