Nicole has made it clear that she would take out Michie, if only to say that she did, and take Holly with her to the Final 2. We also know that Michie would obviously take Holly there, where he could argue he literally carried her through the entire game.
But who does Holly feel better about being able to beat? Honestly, she's probably got a decent chance against either of them. She's done great jury management, and she can play on the fact she never saw the block and aligned herself with a huge target that no one ever got rid of, if she were next to Michie.
If she's next to Nicole, then she need only argue that she and Michie carried Nicole to the end of the game, and that she took the shot in the end to put game over personal and evict Michie. Hell, she might even get his vote, depending if the move makes him angry or not. Jury management again.
It's impressive how much the Final 3 continue to play mind games with one another. Even before the HOH comp kicked off, Michie is in Nicole's ear about how much the jury hates him, in hopes he can convince her they'll be a bitter and emotional jury (even though there's no evidence to support that).
The saddest moment is hearing Nicole saying that she sees right through him and his manipulation and his lies. That's because we recall that she saw through them when he was setting Tommy up for the fall. She is easily one of the best readers of people in the game, and yet she deferred to Cliff, because she had blinders on when it came to him.
She trusted that Cliff wouldn't lie or manipulate her, and yet that's what he was doing when he pushed to keep Holly over Tommy, because Cliff was worried about himself at that moment. And Cliff doesn't have as good of a read on people as Nicole does. He had Michie blinders on and Nicole had Cliff blinders on and if she wins this game, she will relive that decision to defer to Cliff over and over and over again.
But it's not over yet, and Nicole is playing some games of her own, and she doesn't even need to lie. She's trying to get into Holly's head that Michie is a real threat to win this game over either of them if he makes it to Final 2. That's just a statement of fact. So she wants Holly considering taking Nicole over Michie, should Holly win the final HOH.
Shrewdly, "BB" is not showing us any commentary from Holly as to what she would do if she wins that Final HOH. She says to Michie they're good and they have each other, but he says those things in the Diary Room, too. We don't know what she says about it in there.
Julie brought out last season's Final 3 -- Kaycee Clark, Tyler Crispin and JC Mounduix -- for a chat about this season's finalists, but they didn't really say much we weren't already yelling at our screens. Every single one of them is dumbfounded that Cliff and Nicole let a showmance get to the Final 4 when they had the power to stop it.
And now, unless Nicole can pull off a miracle, they're paying the price for it one by one.
But they have a lot of respect for everyone's game, with agreement from the panel that Michie's downfall might be that he played a too "aggressive" game. No one used the word dirty, but we've already heard the jury saying that about Michie's game. And with Tommy revealing Michie's lie and Cliff heading there on another one, you have to wonder if the jury will respect this strategy.
When it came time to pick who they thought would win, Kaycee said she wanted it to be Nicole, but thinks it will be Holly. JC, too, thinks Holly has it, while Tyler thinks this is Michie's game to win.
He continued to pad his resume with a victory in Part 1 of the Final HOH competition. He is absolutely capable of winning his way to the finale no matter what Holly or Nicole do, in which case it's goodbye, Nicole.
This season of "Big Brother" has really laid it on thick with physical challenges, which are right up Michie's alley. At the same time, he's proven himself formidable in mental challenges as well. And he did dominate in the puzzle portion of this challenge.
But that puzzle was barely 10 percent of the total effort needed. The rest of it was pure physicality, which pretty much doomed poor Nicole from the start. She would be the first to admit she's not the most graceful or coordinated, so navigating those rope bridges was never going to be easy.
And they had to go back-and-forth 25 times!
Sometimes, it seems like "Big Brother" really does what it can to control the narrative it wants, and it really seems to want to see a showmance in the Final 2, even though the other three Final 5 HouseGuests are far more popular among "BB" fans than Michie and Holly, based on several online polls for America's Favorite HouseGuests.
It's not even close: Cliff, Nicole and Tommy dominate every single one of those polls, though there is no consensus on a winner out of those three.
Michie has really been preparing his speeches and his martyrdom and his reluctance to play dirty and his loyalty until "y'all" decided to turn your back on him and Holly. And he just keeps winning. It's going to be very hard for a jury to overlook his competition dominance (physical and mental), as well as his shrewd and manipulative and deceptive and winning strategy. Grade: A
Holly is in a tough spot, because it's going to be hard to beat Michie, but not impossible. She really needs to win this Final HOH to make a statement to the jury that she is not just relying on Michie to carry her through this game and into finale night, because he will do just that and then argue that by doing it, he proved he is more worthy to win. Grade: B-
Nicole is blowing it here at the end. Not keeping Tommy was the first nail, losing Cliff was the second and losing the first part of this HOH is the third. If she loses the second or third, she'd better hope Holly wins and decides to make a huge move. But her odds of making it to the Final 2 are dwindling day by day, and it all goes back to that decision to get rid of Tommy. Grade: C-
"My speeches didn't come out like a personal thing, did they?" --Michie
"Jury management!" --Nicle
"I know. That's my biggest fear. Jury management." --Michie
"Right now, Sis hates me. I'm dead to her and she thinks I'm a f--king liar. Jess hates me. Christie hates me. Tommy f--king hates me, and I just sent out--" --Michie
"Kate probaby f--king hates me." --Michie
"I'm trying to convince Nicole that the people in jury are emotional players and will vote accordingly. As a result, they will not vote for me to vote a half a million dollars. So she has a better chance of beating and I'm hoping that she will take me if she wins this last HOH." --Michie (in DR)
"Michie's playing the, 'Oh no, none of them like me. I would be a great person to sit next to because I would lose.' I see through it. I am over it." --Nicole
Jackson, on a game level he's killed. And I'm very aware of them. Jess said if he's up there, she's like, 'I would have to vote for him.'" --Holly (to Nicole)
"If I'm Holly and I'm looking at Michie and Nicole, I'm gonna say, yes Michie's my guy, but I'm gonna lose." --Nicole
"Michie has mastered the art of manipulation. The Southern gentleman who is coming to protect you and then, AH!, stabs you with a knife and you're like what just happened. But I see right through it." --Nicole
"On a game level, it's a no-brainer for Cliff and Nicole to break up Michie and Holly. The fact that they didn't, I'm speechless. But I'm very thankful they didn't." --Michie
"Cliff done done lost his mind." --Tyler (about not evicting Holly last week)
"This is Big Brother 101. Come for the couples. Like, showmance? Destroy them." --J.C. (about not evicting Holly last week)
"Let's go!" --Kaycee (didn't really say this, but we're sure she was saying it in spirit)