The Houseguest doesn't even realize they just revealed the existence of a major alliance by name to someone totally not in it!
It's really hard to keep track of all your secrets and lies in the "Big Brother" house, so you learn to expect someone to blow it. But we never expected this person!
It's a good thing producers did away with Teams and the Wild Card competition this week, because there was no time on this Sunday's episode to squeeze in one more thing. Between wrapping up the season's first HOH endurance comp and the fact there is no house target this week, it was non-stop plotting and scheming.
Honestly, by the end of the hour even the new Head of Household was lamenting that they'd won, kind of wishing they'd fallen off that wall way sooner. Instead, they put a bigger target on their back than was already there, and that was before nominations.
As we anticipated, Derek F was not built for this HOH competition, falling after only nine minutes. The competition would go on for more than an hour, with Alyssa echoing our sentiment that petite people often do very well on this one.
Claire hung in there a little after Derek F, probably to not make it too obvious she didn't want power this week because she was safe anyway (thanks to her Wild Card win last week). Why get blood on her hands unnecessarily.
She was followed by Sarah Beth, Hannah, Kyland, Britini and Azah in that order. At this point, Tiffany was sweating things because her elaborate chess plan to get The Cookout to the Final Six included five other players ... the only one not in her plans was Alyssa, so she wanted her to drop.
Alas, Tiffany was not able to hang on, leaving Alyssa up there to sweat it out alongside genuine comp beasts Xavier and Derek X. Those two guys and Christian are absolute physical powerhouses in this game, and at least two of them can match their physical prowess with mental acumen. At least Christian has Alyssa.
What Alyssa didn't have was the strength to hang on anymore, securing a deal for safety before finally dropping. Xavier, who'd never intended to win anyway, made his own deal for safety before giving it to Derek X. He then tried to add safety for all of the Kings after the fact, but that's not how deal works.
With Derek X struggling to figure out nominations, he spoke to Xavier about this after-the-fact deal, suggesting that he'd never actually agreed to that deal. It's a fair statement, but it also raises a huge red flag.
After all, Derek X is the "ace up the sleeve" of the Royal Flush alliance, which included the Queens and the Kings -- so shouldn't the Kings have automatically been safe? Honestly, the whole House was gunning to get a King out last week before Christian won them all safety, so this is nothing new.
It just means the inevitable death of the alliance was delayed a week. We're not entirely sure about Derek X's willingness to take a shot at the Kings and dismantle the Royal Flush, considering he's not in any particularly strong alliances outside of it.
Granted, there is only one other alliance outside of it with any strength that we know of and no one else knows about that one (The Cookout). Is he thinking there are no other alliances in the house? Or he can quickly forge a new one?
We did have to agree that taking a backdoor shot at Christian was the best way to get him out of the House, because he is more than capable of saving himself in a Veto comp. And we thought he was onto something when he had Britini half-willing to considering being a pawn for the third time.
But after talking to basically everyone else in the House, he quickly learned that everyone else would be mad at him for using them as a pawn, leaving him no good alternatives. That made him putty in Hannah's hands, who proved as deft a manipulator as Tiffany.
With the two of them borderline showmancing, she definitely had his ear, and she took advantage of it to double down on her own desire from last week to see Sarah Beth go home. If Derek X's target is Christian, Hannah's goal was to have Sarah Beth on the Block as a pawn -- and a potential backup if Christian somehow isn't an option.
Now, Hannah is not in the Royal Flush, so her making this suggestion makes perfect sense, as it isn't her betraying anyone. Derek X taking it, though, is a betrayal of the Royal Flush. So it was a little surprising when he did.
We get there are no good options here, but burning your own alliance is maybe not the best solution, though the rest of the House would probably accept Sarah Beth as an option just to whittle the Kings down to three members.
There are no easy options at this point in the game, but his mission was to cut the Kings down to size, and he'd made safety deals with both Xavier and Alyssa at the end. That leaves only Christian and Sarah Beth.
If Britini comes down as a pawn and Christian goes up, then he ensures the Kings are cut down to size ... and blows up the Royal Flush along the way -- or at least his part in it. It's a big game move with a lot of moving parts, but Derek X has proven adept at navigating those moves in the past and they've worked out.
If he sticks to his guns, we could definitely see him getting his target on the Block one way or another, and possibly next to Sarah Beth. If that works out, he'd better hope he can get Christian out of the House.
We're very impressed with his strategy to this point, and he might even be able to smooth over his logic of needing the Kings not to be four strong. The reality is, though, he's going to be in a very vulnerable and tough spot next week, and he may have just blown up the one group that might have his back.
Getting rid of Christian is a great move, but is Derek X trying to take that shot too soon? Is it short-sighted in that he doesn't have a way to protect himself after. Plus, he's only making himself a bigger target.
If Christian goes, Derek X and Xavier are the two remaining comp beasts in the house ... and Xavier is all kinds of aligned. It's definitely a risky way to play. Now we'll see how good his social game is.
Tiffany has been playing an almost flawless game to this point, but in this latest episode, she made a huge mistake -- and she didn't even know she did it. When Hannah came up to her later and asked her more about this Royal Flush, Tiffany actually asked her who told her about it.
"You did," Hannah said, to which Tiffany could only laugh and fall into Hannah playfully. She most certainly did.
She dropped it so casually while chatting strategy with Derek X that she didn't even realize that Hannah was sitting right there. Even better, Derek X didn't even realize what she'd done, either, until Hannah asked him about it after Tiffany wandered off.
There are good and bad things to this mistake. Both Tiffany and Derek X downplayed the Flush, with Derek X telling Hannah it was as good as dead after this week. He then targeted one of its members, which certainly could help convince Hannah it's meaningless.
Hell, it might mean nothing now. Time will tell.
That helps Tiffany, too, though Hannah was also a little upset that Tiffany and the other Cookout members in the Flush didn't bother to keep her apprised of this little side hustle they had going. As we've said many times, though, The Cookout is not a traditional alliance, so it's not about sharing information or working together. It's about protecting one another while still playing their own games.
So far, it's working brilliantly. We've seen Azah struggle a little inside of it, and now Hannah growing a little frustrated, but all six people who are in it have managed to keep it well below the radar (only Sarah Beth is a little suspicious; another reason Hannah wants her out).
Xavier Prather (27) rises to the top without raising his grade. Instead, he's just consistently playing a very strong and solid game. He rolled with Derek X not guaranteeing King safety well, keeping the right attitude with the new HOH. His deal for individual safety was also very intelligent, and he again proved what a strong competitor he is. Grade: A
Tiffany Mitchell (40) did great in that competition, and continues to play a very strong strategic game. Her grade slips here for exposing the existence of the Royal Flush to Hannah, one of the last people you want suspicious of you as Hannah is also incredibly savvy in this game. With Derek X targeting Sarah Beth, though, he may have helped Tiffany get away with this slip. Grade: A-
Hannah Chaddha (21) is wisely choosing to take this Royal Flush information and tuck it in her pocket for possible use later She is a student of the game, paying very close attention to whatever everyone else is doing She's aligned tightly with The Cookout and a comp beast in Derek X, though his immediate future is more uncertain. She is on people's radars, but has protection they don't even know about. Grade: A-
Derek Frazier (29) has the strongest social game in the House. We are still cracking up over him trying to teach Azah to not wear her anger (and every other emotion) on her face. No one is going after him any time soon. so he's set up very well for right now. We'll see how far this strategy can take him. Grade: B+
Kyland Young (30) is a strong physical competitor and a smart gameplayer. He's also very smartly downplaying all of that after his early HOH reign to let bigger, brasher players make themselves bigger targets. If they all pick one another off, he'll be around to dominate later in the game. Grade: B
Azah Awasum (30) is apparently now struggling socially in the House because she cannot hide her feelings, as her face betrays her. Big D is giving her some pointers, which will hopefully stick. She's perfectly aligned in The Cookout and is running right down the middle in comps and everywhere else. In other words, she's not standing out in any way, which is perfectly valid at this stage of the game.. Grade: B-
Derek Xiao (24) is making a great move right now in the short-term, and still one of the smartest players in this game, as well as a comp beast. The problem is he's a huge target and he just took a shot at his own alliance. How he navigates the other side of this decision -- which is what much of the House wants -- will dictate how much longer he'll be here. Grade: B-
Claire Renfuss (25) is quietly safe this week, after which we will have reached Jury and she loses it. Until that point, she is smartly staying well off the radar. If what's left of the Flush means anything after this week, that could help her in the short term, but if no one figures out The Cookout soon, she's going to be in trouble. Grade: C+
Alyssa Lopez (25) is safe this week, thanks to the deal she made with Derek X. He's at least trying to stay a man of his word, which is good for her right now. If he takes her showmance out, though, that will leave her a free agent, and the Flush even more damaged. So her position is very much in flux right now depending how this week plays out. Grade: C+
Britini D'Angelo (24) is a pawn again, determined again to win the Veto and save her fate. But she hasn't won anything yet, so either she's due or she's due to sit on the Block as the pawn yet again. Either way, we suspect she's in no danger of going home this week. And even if she doesn't win Veto, it could well be used to take her down if the backdoor Christian plan is still in effect and the House wants two Kings on the Block. The problem is that she's right, eventually she will just wind up going home. Grade: C
Sarah Beth Steagall (27) is on the Block and the target as of right now, we would guess, but the odds are at least in Derek X's favor that he can either win Veto or have someone else win it and force him to change his nominations (even if he has to throw it to make it happen like he has before). If he follows through with the big plan, Sarah Beth should be safe ... unless the House is more worried about a mental threat. Grade: C-
Christian Birkenberger (23) isn't even on the Block and he's the target. If he gets picked to play in the Veto and wins it, then that'd be bad news for someone, as he'd probably take Sarah Beth off the Block. But statistically, those odds are slim with so many people still in the House. So the odds are better Derek X will follow through on his plan to target his biggest competitor, to give himself a better edge at controlling his own fate with comp dominance. Grade: C+