Tommy is sitting on the outside looking in, but there may be cracks forming in that Final 4 of Michie, Holly, Cliff and Nicole.
Things are starting to look a little crazy in the "Big Brother" house now that we're down to it. The Final 5 emerged after Thursday night's shocking double-eviction and it was good news for the Final 4 alliance of Michie, Holly, Nicole and Cliff.
For the first time since they came together as a foursome, it was Nicole and Cliff who carried the weight of the alliance and helped carry them through "BB's" most notoriously unpredictable and dangerous night. Had Christie or Tommy won HOH or POV in that breakneck hour, Michie and Holly would have likely seen the block and one of them might have gone home.
As it was, Nicole scored her first-ever competition win with a timely HOH victory and then stayed true to her word, putting up Christie and Holly. This is also exactly what Michie and Holly wanted to happen after Jessica was evicted at the top of the hour: the other two couples taking shots at each other.
After Cliff won POV, he sealed the deal by keeping Nicole's nominations the same, thus sealing Christie's fate. Now, Tommy is effectively alone in the house with two couples who will never turn one one another ... and also happen to be in an alliance of four. But just how tight is that alliance? Reports vary.
Your Word vs. Your Game
Cliff and Nicole actually found themselves contemplating their best case scenario toward making it to the end. They recognize that they may not be the strongest competitors in the house, though they've proven they can compete and win. Is it actually smart to honor their alliance with Michie and Holly and send Tommy packing?
Would it be smarter to dismantle the showmance and be the only remaining power couple in the house? Tommy would be so grateful for an olive branch, he might even honor Nicole and Cliff far enough to eliminate both halves of the showmance, pending them not winning their way to the end. And with Michie, that's a real threat and possibility.
And as Christie said, if Michie goes to the end, who has a resume that can beat him? This house, this season and this jury doesn't appear to be nearly as bitter as previous seasons, meaning they're far less likely to vote emotionally. Therefore, Michie is the clearly dominant player of the season and would be a clear winner if he's sitting there.
Nicole reasoned that her best-case scenario would be for Tommy to win HOH because he'd most likely be willing to take the shot at Michie and Holly. And recognizing that this is going back on her word, she felt bad about it. At the same time, Cliff and Nicole have both bobbed and weaved their way through this game, playing a savvy social game that's gotten them this far ... while turning their backs on allies and breaking their bond from time to time.
Unfortunately for Nicole's dream, Michie scored his eighth competition win with his third Head of Household and Nicole and Cliff found themselves with their backs against the wall. Michie has made it clear he fully intends to honor their final four. He's play an honest game thus far and it's part of his argument for integrity. Plus, he's probably pretty confident he can keep winning.
On top of that, he fully expects that Cliff and Nicole will also honor the alliance. But will they?
This week, it's all about who wins the Veto. By the end of the night, Cliff and Tommy were on the block with Tommy the obvious target. It only gets interesting for Cliff and Nicole if Nicole wins the Veto. If she pulls off Cliff, both of them are safe and Holly goes up. They then have all the power to choose whether to honor their Final 4 or be able to tell the jury they broke the two biggest power couples of the season (after they sent Christie home Thursday).
It's a tempting and tantalizing situation, but there are a lot of ifs to get there. Obviously, if Holly or Michie win, nothing changes. If Tommy wins, Nicole and Cliff see the block and their dreams of Final 2 dashed. If Cliff wins and takes himself off, Nicole goes up and Tommy still goes home. There is a one-in-five chance of them being able to make a huge move in this game. And that's only if they decide to do it.
The risk is that it would elicit the wrath of Michie, who is a comp beast, were they to boot Holly. He might just team up with Tommy and work to get both of them out before the Final 2. It would also cost them Holly's vote (maybe) and Michie's (maybe) if they can get him out, too. Still, at this point it's mindless speculation.
The important thing is that Nicole, and to a lesser extent Cliff, is running these scenarios and weighing all of her options. Her mind is as sharp as ever and she really does see the best path forward. On top of that, she's proven able to adapt and quickly adjust that path to stay alive and keep moving forward.
If she could articulate well how she's navigated through this game from bottom feeder to the end, she might be able to sway a jury against even Michie. That would be a huge accomplishment!
Michie is in the driver's seat right now and in a good position overall. He is a competition beast and has the best resume to win this game. That said, he's a huge target, so if he become vulnerable, people will take shots. Having Holly there, though, improves both of their odds tremendously as they have each other's backs. Grade: A-
Cliff is sitting on the block, but still in a very strong position overall in the game. He has his alliance of four, and the flexibility to possibly work with Tommy. He's a great speaker, has a great social game and if he makes it to the end, most everyone thinks he'll win. He's a deal maker and ready to do whatever it takes to get there, even if it means betraying another alliance. Grade: B
Nicole has a weaker resume than Cliff, but she's shown a lot of strength in this past week, as well as competitive savvy. If she can win another comp or two, she could quickly rise toward the top as someone who stepped up and started winning when they needed to. If she and Cliff can turn the tables on Holly and Michie, they will be superheroes in the eyes of the jury. Grade: B-
Holly seems to be fading in this game. She hasn't done much at all in recent weeks, and has mostly been safe thanks to the beast-mode of Michie. That makes her vulnerable if Michie ever doesn't win because she's the obvious target to weaken his standing in the game. It's a shame her game has become a shadow of Michie's, but she needs to start doing something to build her case outside of him. Grade: C
Tommy has his back to the wall, but we're not ready to count him out yet. Nicole and Cliff are already considering jumping ship from the showmance, should the opportunity arise. It seems less likely he could flip Michie or Holly, but with three of the four Veto players on his side (maybe), Tommy's fate may not be as sealed as it looked at first. He plays a great social game and could well win this if he can survive a Final 4 alliance and make it to the end. Grade: C-
"Having Christie in this house was having home here. Playing this game without Christie is going to be scary. I definitely feel like I'm alone in this game. At this point, I don't trust anybody." --Tommy
"Karma. It finally hits. It finally hits. And I don't feel bad for her. Every time I've thought I could respect her gameplay or respect her as an individual, she continues to do things that make me realize and remember why I don't have that respect And I'm praying for her. I'm praying for her sister." --Michie (Christie swore lies on her sister's life constantly)
"I survived double eviction and I'm in the Top 5 of 'Big Brother,' and I got myself there." --Nicole (after HOH win)
"Listen, I know I should probably put you guys up, but I can't do it. Because you kept me safe for the last three weeks and it's just not right. Hopefully this is not the sword I die on." --Nicole (to Michie)
"I'm so proud of you regardless of what you decide. That was badass to watch." --Michie (to Nicole)
"Not the right choice. There are bigger targets in the house than Christie or myself. It doesn't make sense. This could be the decision that costs Nicole $500,000. --Tommy (he underestimates their threat)
"Look at me. I love you so much and you are such a fierce competitor, you are such a great social player. You have survived the block multiple, multiple times and this is-- it's out of respect." --Nicole (to Christie)
"I just hope that it's good for you to win. I want you to win. I hope that this is going to get you there, and I love you." --Christie (to Nicole)
"It's going to be really hard to be in this house with four people who just backstabbed me." --Tommy
"I love you so much. I really mean it. I could never have gotten this far without you." --Christie (to Tommy)
"Saying goodbye to Christie was a lot of emotions. The biggest one? Relief. Relief that it wasn't me going." --Tommy
"I'm happy for her. I wanna be out there." --Tommy (throwing off his funk to celebrate with Nicole her HOH win)
"I am so proud of Nicole. The dad in me comes out. Just watching how happy she is as she is looking at these pictures, I think I'm almost as happy as she is right now." --Cliff
"With three new unicorns? How long have I been away?" --Nicole (marveling at box of Lucky Charms in her basket)
"No one expected us to do anything." --Cliff
"When they were forming, they were like, oh the bottom feeders." --Nicole
"We were the bottom feeders." --Cliff
"Sitting on the block next to each other and we both stayed!" --Nicole
"I think we just continue to be friendly with Tommy and hopefully it works to our advantage." --Cliff (in case Tommy wins HOH)
"Nicole's plan is, always was, and will be adapting and navigating. I see everything visually in front of me. Right now, best-case scenario is Tommy wins the HOH and puts up the showmance. I need him to take a shot at our alliance so that me and Cliff don't have to. Why am I smirking? I'm evil. I have an evil streak and it's very concerning." --Nicole
"Michie wins. My guess is, I'll be seeing the block for the second time this week. I feel like all of my allies have been evicted from this house, but I'm still here. There's something about me that survives. And that's exactly what I have to do this week." --Tommy (after Michie wins HOH)
"If you don't see that I'm not the biggest threat in this house, you don't deserve to win. I'm not the biggest threat in this house. Cliff is. If you're sitting in the Final 2 with him, you don't stand a chance." --Tommy (about Michie)
"My Final 4 with Cliff, Nicole and Holly is the most important thing in this game to me; it has been since I shook their hands. And I plan on seeing that through to the end of the game." --Michie (they don't seem to feel as strongly about it at this point)