The Final Four emerge as one of the nominees outplays themselves before the vote.
Not a single player left in the "Big Brother All-Stars" house has ever had to settle for lower than third place in this game, so you know you're dealing with high-caliber players.
While they're all playing vastly different games, all five of them have been playing hard since Day 1. It's just a question of how hard do you play, and who really has your back. Most importantly, it almost always comes down to which lies you can get away with.
This week, it looks like the final decision on whether to send Christmas or Memphis out the door came with the proposition of a bold backdoor plan that could have sent Cody out the door. We saw Christmas propose it to Head of Household Nicole in the previous episode, unaware that Nicole has a Final 2 with Cody.
Now, Nicole also suspects that her Final 2 doesn't mean quite as much as Cody's relationship with Enzo, and we suspect that's true. Christmas made the argument that Nicole's best chance at winning the game is having Christmas by her side, which isn't a terrible argument.
Memphis, on the other hand, told Enzo that it didn't matter who Nicole was sitting next to if she makes it to the end. If the "All-Stars" Jury sees a former winner sitting in the Final 2, they might just give her the money because she pulled off the seeming impossible.
Sandra Diaz-Twine of "Survivor" is proof that a jury can do exactly that, blown away that a former winner can pull enough strings, secure their safety through an entire game and somehow outlast people hungry for the title and prize she'd already won.
Information is key in this game. Who is willing to share with whom, and who doesn't know what's being shared to whom. This week, it was the power of truth that actually determined which of the nominees went home.
Christmas quickly told her closest ally, Memphis, that Nicole was actually considering her plan to backdoor Cody. So Memphis told Cody that, in hopes of showing both Christmas and Nicole as threats to Cody's game so Cody would vote Christmas out this week.
The problem for Memphis is that he never considered Nicole might have a closer relationship with Cody than even he does. By the time he was coming clean about Christmas' proposal, Nicole had already told Cody that Memphis had expressed interest in jumping on board that plan.
In other words, Nicole covered her own ass beautifully on this one -- whether she was ever considering it or not -- by making it clear that both Memphis and Christmas are ready and willing to get Cody out of the house.
Now, everyone is right in saying that getting Cody out of the house is probably the best move for everybody left in there. Even Enzo, who has been in a Final 2 with him since Day 1, is going to have a very hard time against his boy with the Jury. Cody's game has been about as clean and flawless as we've ever seen.
If Memphis had not entertained the backdoor plan, he might have survived this week as Cody and Enzo knew for sure that getting rid of Christmas was better for their game. Memphis would have ultimately been more loyal to them, so he just needed to rein it in for one week ... but that's hard to do from the Block.
In the end, it would prove his undoing, giving Nicole a much stronger position in a Final Four now made up of two women and two men. This is a huge boon for Nicole, and a nod to her savvy in this game that she got her wishes, even if it wasn't the best move for the guys.
Props to the ladies for leveling the playing field in a season that saw women represent four of the first five evicted players. It really was looking like there was a real chance that the men would come together and run this game.
Now, we have a far more interesting Final Four, as Christmas still being in the house gives Nicole a little more strength left in her game. A lot will hinge on who wins this next HOH competition ... or more specifically, the Veto.
Though she's never really done it before, there is a real possibility that Christmas will truly try to work with the girls -- in this case, Nicole -- in breaking up the real power duo in the house. At least they recognize it for what it is now.
If Cody or Enzo win HOH, then Nicole and Christmas will almost definitely wind up on the Block. After all, both guys are enjoying the fact that they've never seen it. To their credit, it is incredibly impressive to have two players with that nod at Final Four, but a large part of that is due to The Committee's competition domination this season.
But while HOH can ensure that person's safety this week, the real power in determining who sits on the Block out of the other three Houseguests depends on who wins the Veto. Basically, the HOH and Veto winners will be safe this week, and the other two on the Block.
From there, if we somehow end up with a guy and a gal up there, the vote should be obvious. Only one person will cast a vote this week, so they'd likely take out their gender opposite.
It gets more interesting if you wind up with two guys or two ladies up there. Logically, the two people who should get clipped in this scenario would be either both guys voting out Nicole or both ladies voting out Cody.
In other words, this week and the rest of the season feels like the only real mystery as to what will happen is who wins each competition. Competition wins is the only way to assure a path to the end, but we would give the edge to Enzo and Christmas to get there over either Cody or Nicole -- their paths are just a little more challenging.
Enzo Palumbo rises to the top because he's played the second-best overall game this season, making him less of a target than Cody. As we said, so much depends on who wins competitions from this point forward, but Enzo is in the best position to advance no matter how those wins fall this week. Grade: A
Christmas Abbot finds herself in one of the best positions of her entire game, now that Veto is so essential to who stays on the Block. She is one of the strongest competition beasts in this game. And as she can play in both HOH and POV, she's got a double shot to save herself. Plus, at this point, she's a smaller target than either Cody or Nicole, giving her a better shot of surviving the week. Grade: B
Cody Calafiore finds himself in a more vulnerable position this week because of the incredible game he has played. It's so much about competition wins this season, and he's got the same shots as Christmas and Enzo with both HOH and POV this week. But he's also more vulnerable than either of them. If he sees the Block, he's the biggest threat in the house and could well go home. His own comp prowess and Enzo in his corner are his saving graces. Grade: B-
Nicole Franzel is vulnerable as the outgoing Head of Household and as a former winner. Now that Memphis has Enzo thinking about the danger of taking her to Final 2, she's going to have to fight her way there. And while she should be able to count on Christmas to have her back if she wins, Nicole can only control her own fate this week in the Veto competition, making her the most vulnerable of the remaining Houseguests. Grade: C
Memphis Garrett played a very aggressive, very maverick game. In many ways it's a testament to the power of his personality that he was able to last as long as he did. He was always a comp threat, but ultimately he got caught in a few too many lies, and gaming a little harder than he had to. Grade: F
Once again, we applaud "Big Brother" for giving air to serious conversations that need to be had. In this case, they gave closure to one of the most unexpected developments of the season, when Tyler almost threw in the towel for Da'Vonne and Bayleigh.
We were so glad to see the conversation the two of them had once Tyler got into the "Big Brother" house. While we knew that Tyler was sincere in wanting to help advance Day and Bay in the game, at the detriment of his own, only to be talked out of it by his own alliance -- and Christmas in particular -- it was nice to see Day get to hear that truth.
Now, if Nicole winds up in Jury House, we expect that conversation to be a lot harder. Nicole flat-out lied to Da'Vonne's face about David voting Ian out, destroying their relationship and strategic chance in the game.
"I do have to ask you a question. I never was upset with you for anything game related, but Week 5, you told me you wanted to go and you started to speak about the Black Lives Matter movement and how you were an ally and so it was, like, cool for you to lay your life on the line for me and Bayleigh to excel in this game. I have to ask you because that's been bothering me heavily, was that strategic for game or were you serious." --Da'Vonne
"I was one million percent serious, dead serious. I understood, after a little bit, they might think that was strategy. And so I was talking to Christmas and she was just like, that makes absolutely no sense for my game to backdoor you, you're my Final 2, like why would i do that? I felt so terrible that you guys-- I felt so bad. And I felt like I was the reason, but that was genuine, and it still is. And I'm sorry it worked out that way." --Tyler
"Oh my god, if looks could kill, I'd be dead. I put the two scariest people up on the Block." --Nicole (hiding in pantry after Veto ceremony)
"I think Nicole kept noms the same because she really wanted to ensure that Memphis goes home. There is bigger moves to be made, which is gonna happen this week, but I'm good making those moves myself. Okay, Nicole, I'll do the dirty, dirty work." --Christmas
This is how you play the game. Take notes, everyone. Position yourself in a situation where it doesn't matter. I could care less if Nicole used the POV, it makes no difference to me. I feel confident that The Wise Guys will be here next week. Cody and Enzo are gonna keep me around." --Memphis
"It's definitely going to be 2-0 this week." --Nicole (believing Christmas is safe)
"I wanna thank you for reassuring me and letting me know." --Christmas (about vote)
"Yeah, trust me on this." --Nicole
"I just need to make it 100 percent clear to Cody that Christmas was trying to backdoor him." --Memphis
"Memphis is telling me all this nonsense about what Christmas was trying to plan this week, but what he doesn't know is that Nicole told me that he tried to get in on the backdoor plan as well." --Cody
"Dude, I'm decades ahead of you in this game. Like decades. I'm playing a whole 'nother season, but, like right now, you're still in the first one." --Cody
"You ready to take this to the end? Yeah, you ready to see the Jury house?" --Cody (about Memphis)
"There gonna look at us like, how? You guys are dummies for letting it happen so we're giving her the money." --Enzo (about Nicole possibly winning twice)
"For me, personally, strategically, Memphis is probably the better choice to stay this week." --Enzo
"She's done well, but she doesn't, like, pull it out." --Cody (about Christmas)
"Nicole knows the only way she's winning is against Christmas." --Enzo
"Enzo wanting to split the vote could definitely work out in my favor. It might not only help me safe face with Memphis, but it would definitely worsen Enzo's position with Nicole. We could have two blindsides this Thursday; Memphis realizing, uh-oh, I'm going to Jury, and Nicole having to get blood on her hands and be the one sending him there. This could get very interesting." --Cody
"So good. So wildly underrated." --Cody (about Memphis)
"He was a beast, man, I'll give him that, bro. He impressed me the whole season." --Enzo (about Memphis)