"Row, row, row your boat, gently down the stream / Win the veto, earn your safety and betray your team."
"Big Brother's" Wednesday night show usually brings both the Veto competition and the Veto meeting where it's determined if it will be used and who any replacement nominees might be. Things spiraled so wildly out of control this week, we couldn't even get through all of that.
We should have anticipated as much with Derek X ascending to the Head of Household after outlasting his fellow Houseguests. We've already seen the level of complexity he's capable of when he orchestrated a convoluted competition plot to keep Britini on the Block weeks ago.
He's also clearly a student of the game, and made it pretty clear that he was considering what would be the biggest move of the game if he could pull it off. With three major competition wins under his belt, DX only has one player at his level and that's Christian.
Last week, when Christian held both HOH and the Power of Veto, he didn't take a shot at DX. But Derek still knows he may not get another chance. Clearly -- and wisely -- he's very nervous at just how good Christian is at competitions.
Nominating Britini and Sarah Beth as clear pawns was just phase one of his plan. Like his elaborate previous plan, he needed a lot of things to go his way to pull this off. He needed to make sure that whoever won the Veto used it. Then, he needed the house to vote Christian out if he put him up.
It's a great strategic move for his game, but also a potentially disastrous one. It would almost instantly blow up the Royal Flush, or at the least his involvement in it. It could leave DX alone in the House heading into a week where he can't even compete for HOH with a whole alliance mad at him.
Is it worth that risk? We've seen bigger and bolder moves before in this game, and we've seen people talk their way out of it. It's a tall order, but we also know DX is more than just a comp beast, he's one of the smartest players in the game.
The good news for DX is that he's not the only smart player in this game. We were cracking up at Sarah Beth's "silent" tactic to get DX to spill the beans as to why she'd been put on the Block. And even more impressed that it worked.
But when DX came clean with his backdoor plan for Christian, SB proved how savvy her own mind is working and quickly endorsed the plan. Yes, it keeps her in the House, but it also takes away a huge threat for everyone's game.
In a confessional, SB said she's okay with DX taking a shot at her Kings (former) team because she's been playing a solo game all along. This was our first hint that it is possible for DX to survive this move, if he could even pull it off to begin with.
It's easy to think the Kings or the entire Royal Flush would immediately be gunning for him, but that may not necessarily be the case. At the same time, he's as big a comp threat as Christian, so SB might just as happily see him go out the door next.
We always get a kick out of the comp that comes with a "prize" for every competitor. This is where we get some of our most ridiculous humilitards and punishments. It's also where someone winds up taking home some cash and someone else gets mad about that.
One by one, the six Houseguests competing were eliminated, and after each round they each picked up a prize. The next person eliminated could swap for someone else's prize, meaning the Veto was going to switch hands a couple of times.
As we went along, DX once again proved that his emotional side may yet be his downfall. When SB picked up $5,000 after her elimination, he considered taking it. But a plea from her weakened his resolve, and he wound up with a hilarious punishment for it.
On the other hand, the move -- even though he regretted it immediately -- could serve him well, as it could leave SB feeling a little more favorably about him at a time when he might just need all the friends he can get.
With a frighteningly impressive final round, Britini scored her first big win of the season. After three times on the Block, she finally earned the ability to take herself off. What's even more remarkable than her crazed final round is that she won two previous rounds by one single rep.
The game saw them doing exercise(-ish) moves, having to complete as many reps as possible in the allotted time. Being within one of someone is already pretty wild, but winning two rounds by one is amazing.
In the end, Alyssa made it to the final round, but as Britini let out a primal scream, it wasn't even close. We're not sure if this was won by strength or by sheer force of Will. Either way, it set up an epic opportunity for DX, and an opportunity that could guarantee a King goes home (which the whole house wanted last week).
Suddenly, it's looking more and more possible that he could survive the week even if he does choose to backdoor Christian. Last week, the house wanted to take out a King as it is the only team still with four members.
Everyone knows DX made deals with Alyssa and Xavier on the wall. That only leaves SB and Christian as Kings options. If he winds up with both of them on the Block, he's still doing the House's will, Royal Flush be damned!
The final piece of DX's puzzle went off even better than he knew as it was blowing up around him. Again, DX's heart sometimes gets in the way of his head. He was absolutely right to try and give Alyssa a heads up that he might be gunning for her showmance.
He didn't seem prepared for the inevitable aftermath when she blew up and pushed back against it. She wound up telling Christian and before long just about everyone knew what DX was thinking about.
While it was hard in the moment, DX was clear in that this was a game move because he knew Christian would come after him when that opportunity arose. Whether he's right or not, it's sound logic.
It's a move that showed a lot of integrity, but it's even smarter than DX might have known. It allows tempers and emotions to cool before Thursday's live vote to have the plan out in the open. Tonight, we saw Christian and everyone trying to talk him out of it, and they actually held off on revealing if he went through with the backdoor plan or not.
Honestly, we can't imagine him not doing it. His whole week was this plan. And while emotions are heated right now, DX is still playing a very logical game. And now that we've seen how the early reactions are playing out, coupled with Kings concerns last week from everyone else, we think the plan will not only work, but DX won't be immediately targeted because of it.
Now, Christian is right in that he is a huge shield for DX. But Xavier is a pretty big shield, too. There may be no way to save either of them at this point, but at least if DX goes, we're more and more confident it won't be next week as a direct result of this move.
As unexpected a bonus as it might be, it could help DX that he wound up with the first punishment from this Veto comp we got to see, and it was a hilarious one. For 24 hours, he held the only key to the main bathroom, and had to grandly announce anyone using it.
DX gave up $5k for this? Well, he embraced the silliness of it, having a lot of fun (at first) as he got the opportunity to escort people to the bathroom. It got tiresome pretty quickly as he lamented that this group must have the smallest bladders ever.
But there's something about bonding over such a private situation that most people don't really talk about with others that brings people closer. DX was able to laugh with people about their bathroom needs and they were laughing right back.
That it happened right at the same time that the Veto meeting was looming really helps his social game in that moment, and could do a lot to soften the blow of the inevitable blindside that Thursday's show is going to start with.
Xavier Prather (27) and Tiffany Mitchell (40) continue to hover at the top of this list even as they didn't have to do anything this week. DX taking a shot at Christian is great for both of their games, and the Royal getting Flushed doesn't impact The Cookout at all. Xavier fighting for the Kings only helps keep it off the radar. Grade: A
Hannah Chaddha (21) is sitting in a great position with DX on one side and the entire Cookout on the other. The House knows what a smart player she is, which is a bit of a detriment, but she's been able to navigate her way to this point deftly enough, and we've seen the power of her influence. She's in a very good position. Grade: A-
Derek Xiao (24) being good with Hannah helps him a lot for someone who's not in The Cookout. We still say that if anyone can break in, it would be him. But even if he can't, he's proving what a comp beast he is and what a strategic threat. His may not be the easiest path, but he's also proving great at succeeding through extremely complex paths. Grade: B+
Derek Frazier (29) is so beloved in the House, he's the name you throw out as a pawn when you want to guarantee the other person goes home. That's power. Add The Cookout secret alliance on top of it and DF is sitting pretty right now. Grade: B+
Kyland Young (30) and Azah Awasum (30) are just letting all this week's chaos happen around them, secure in the Cookout and knowing that they don't have to do anything. No one is paying any attention to either of them right now, and that's just the way they shoudl want it. Grade: B
Sarah Beth Steagall (28) may still be on the Block, but if Christian goes up, she's definitely safe (and we totally think that's how it plays out). We love how smart she is in this game and how most everyone thinks of her as this super-sweet player. Tiffany will probably want to gun for her soon, but SB may prove harder to get out than she thinks. She's a strong competitor and has a keen understanding of the game and the social politics going on. Grade: C+
Claire Renfuss (25) and Britini D'Angelo (24) aren't doing anything wrong in this game, and in fact are both performing very well for where they're at. The problem is that they're on the outside of everything and sooner rather than later that's going to cost them their games. Grade: C+
Alyssa Lopez (25) is probably about to lose her showmance in Christian, so her next move will be critical for her game moving forward. If she gets vindictive and tries to hard to make it about revenge against DX, she could alienate others in the House. If she pivots well, she could reset her chances as a solo player. Grade: C
Christian Birkenberger (23) is poised to hit the Block, and we're confident both that it will happen and that he will ultimately get voted out. The opportunity is just too sweet for the House to pass up. If he hits the Block and survives, he'll be that much more motivated to stay in beast mode forever, and then it could be forever before another chance comes. Grade: D-
"I didn't think Derek X would take a shot at the Royal Flush this early." --Sarah Beth (after getting nominated)
"You had no one else in this House? Are you kidding?" --Britini (hitting the Block for the third time)
"I know we all think this is stupid, but he clearly has an idea in his head." --Alyssa (about nominations)
"I need this man to be honest with me about what his actual plan is. So my first tactic is to be dead silent and just let him sit in the awkwardness until he breaks." --Sarah Beth (going up to talk to Derek X)
"Okay, I'll just say it. I can't do this. I don't want you to go home this week. You are not my target." --Derek X (Sarah Beth's tactic works)
"I'm telling you straight up, if you pick Christian and he wins the Veto I'm gonna tell him straight up I'm putting up Alyssa. And he won't use the Veto." --Derek X (to Sarah Beth)
"I think I'm the only one that can take the shot at him, that's why I have to do it on my HOH." --Derek X (about Christian)
"I wanted to throw any suss off of the alliance because Hannah's smart. I feel like she is going to figure it out if I didn't nominate someone from the Kings." --Derek X (to Kings)
"To be clear, Britini is your target this week?" --Xavier (Derek X nods)
"Row, row, row your boat, gently down the stream / Win the veto, earn your safety and betray your team." --Sarah Beth
"THere's a lot happening and I'm definitely enjoying the show." --Derek F (watching Kyland during POV)
"Maybe Nicki Minaj might hit me up to be in her next music video." --Alyssa (during POV)
"Can I take the $5,000?" --Derek X (after winning 3rd place prize in POV)
"Come on, Derek, please don't. Please don't." --Sarah Beth
"GIve me the stupid veto." --Derek X
"The Lady Alyssa is using the porcelain throne. Wishing Alyssa a strong and steady stream." --Derek X, Lord of the Latrine
"I don't want America to know when I'm taking a poop. I'm scared when it's time for me to go poop. I might not poop until after the 24 hours is up." --Derek F
"Apparently everyone in this House has a bladder the size of a penny." --Derek X
"Right now, an option I'm considering is to put Christina up." --Derek X (letting Alyssa in on his backdoor plan)
"I think this is the last time I'll be able to take a shot before he takes a shot at me." --Derek X
"Pretty ballsy for a guy that can't play HOH next week." --Alyssa
"I'm telling you that, if you do that, no one is going to trust you. We could have the votes, so is it even worth the risking?" --Alyssa
"He's thinking about you." --Alyssa (to Christian)
"Are you f------ kidding me?" --Christian
"He's gonna take me out on a week when I didn't even have a f------ chance? ... The dude's a coward because he knows he can't beat me." --Christian
"You have to take this shot. They're coming after you either way, you have to take it." --Sarah Beth (to Derek X)
"We can come after each other eventually, not now." --Christian (to Derek X)
"The repercussions of this one move will affect my entire game this summer." --Derek X