See who got eliminated after a surprising eviction vote and who rises to power for their first HOH of the season -- time to start scrambling!
The Cookout is desperately trying to hold it together week by week this season on "Big Brother," with their goal of the last six Houseguests standing all being Black. But can it work?
It's a lofty goal, and one filled with power and statement, but also an incredibly challenging one. Tiffany's outside pairs strategy of creating duos with Cookout members and someone on the outside is working well -- but we're starting to wonder if it's working too well.
Like last week, we started this live eviction episode without even knowing who the nominees were. Claire and Derek F were sitting on the Block, but with both Alyssa and Head of Household Kyland holing dual Power of Vetoes, everything could change.
Kyland wrapped Wednesday's episode by having Sarah Beth let Britini know she'd probably be going up as a replacement nominee. After Britini exploded, Derek F pitched Derek X as a possible replacement nominee, as he's going to be best served with a backdoor exit.
We suspected that was a producer fakeout to build drama, and that's exactly what it was. Kyland used his Veto to pull Claire off (who saw right through his tactic to try and build trust by saving her) and replace her with Britini. Alyssa opted not to use hers at all.
What followed was a series of conversations where we saw players like Claire and Derek X suggesting that this might be an opportunity to get the king of the social game out in Derek F, trying to pull their duo allies, Tiffany and Hannah, into their plan.
In a world where The Cookout doesn't exist, Hannah admitted she'd go for it, and even Tiffany had to admit it was sound logic. And yet, The Cookout does exist and they're trying to hold it together and believe in it.
But how strongly is it holding together? That is the real question.
With her fourth time on the Block, we were not at all surprised that Britini's time in the "Big Brother" finally came to a close, but we were a tad surprised that Azah actually threw a vote her way, voting against Derek F.
Now, this could have been a nod to their friendship, as Azah surely knew the read of the House in that vote, or even Jury management. Nevertheless, it was another minor spark in the growing fire surrounding and threatening The Cookout.
Xavier seems absolutely determined to see The Cookout to the Final 6. Hannah, Tiffany and Kyland are also working in that direction, but they also have relationships outside the Six that seem to mean a lot to them, and some members of the Six they're not as keen on.
Let's face it, only one person can win. Is getting the Six to the end worth the statement it would make if it costs someone $750,000 who knows they can't beat the other five? Is there reason for someone like, say, Azah or Derek F to stay strong all the way to that point?
Even Tiffany has to realize that she's probably going to become a quick target who may not be able to beat competitors like Hannah, Xavier and Kyland when push comes to shove. They all know how smart she is in this game.
With Britini gone, that leaves only ten people in the House, and six of them in The Cookout. But it's not smooth sailing from here. If one of the outside four takes power and puts two Cookout members on the Block, everything is at risk.
On top of that, there's the Chopping Block Roulette game in the High Roller's Room this week that some will be eligible to play. That could remove a nominee, but replace them completely by random, which could jeopardize anyone and everything.
In other words, this was a pivotal week for The Cookout to gain power and try to hang onto it as much as possible from the beginning. At least we started hearing talk from Tiffany that she's ready to cut Claire, and even Derek X if it comes to it, despite how tightly he's worked with The Cookout so far.
The problem is that while The Cookout has remained in stealth mode all season long, players are starting to notice things. DX noted to Tiffany that there are no white guys left in the House, and that none of them made Jury.
With Britini's eviction this week, the season continues it's streak of evicting only white Houseguests, with only three remaining in the house (Alyssa, Claire and Sarah Beth). And three of the four non-Cookout members (including DX) are not at all dumb players.
They're also not pushovers in competitions, and that goes for all four of them. In fact, this week's competition appeared to favor some of them, having players run across a series of balance beams in the fastest time across the yard.
Slighter, athletic players can certainly move effectively in this competition, and that proved to be exactly what happened. Derek X and Hannah came so close to securing victory, but it was Sarah Beth who scored fastest with an impressive run time of 21.03 seconds.
From House target over the past few weeks to the player in power, The Cookout just hit its first major obstacle of the season. Can they navigate Sarah Beth in power? Of course they can, but it might take some work. It might also take sacrificing DX as the most obvious target, but even that would be a hard sell as DX and SB have a good relationship in the House.
The biggest risk, though, is that with Sarah Beth in power, everyone is going to have to talk to her all week long, even with High Roller powers potentially in play, backdoor options and a pending Veto. That's a lot of opportunities for someone to let something slip.
Luckily for The Cookout, Kyland has been Sarah Beth's duo partner since the beginning of the game, just about, which should give him some influence in her ear. This season's puppet master Tiffany, though, likely won't get a single bit of influence in, as she and SB have been at each other for just about as long as Ky and SB have been tight.
There's also a good chance SB will choose Kings loyalty, which protects both Alyssa and Xavier, as well. Honestly, this week could be bad news for both The Cookout and the former Jokers, if she decides to target Azah and Derek F, or maybe she'll just take a shot at Tiffany as they neither one trust the other.
It's the unpredictability of where her head is at, and what influences if any she'll accept from scrambling Cookout members trying to convince her that she should at least put Claire, Alyssa or Derek X on the Block. At that point, it almost doesn't matter her intended target, because so long as it's not two Cookout members on the Block, they've got the numbers to control the vote.
Kyland Young (30) just stepped out of power and into the most dangerous time for The Cookout, but he's still sitting pretty. As Sarah Beth's closest ally in the House, he's got the best shot at guiding her nominations and targets to what best suits his game and The Cookout's game. It's not going to be an easy week to navigate, but he's in the best possible position to do it. Grade: A+
Tiffany Mitchell (40) and Sarah Beth do not trust one another, but they appear to have been building bridges in their relationship. More importantly for Tiffany, SB has bigger targets in the House right now than her. We're not sure SB would listen to her, per se, but Tiffany has ways to get her message across indirectly.. Grade: A
Xavier Prather (27) could well be on Sarah Beth's radar, but he's also more than capable of protecting himself in this game, and has the numbers to protect himself even if he is targeted. On top of that, he's incredibly smart and savvy in this game, with a great social presentation on top of it. He just seems like someone who can take care of himself if the need arises. Grade: A+
Hannah Chaddha (21) could well be a target for SB this week, and might even see the Block. They're probably playing the most similar games from their strategic approach to it and even their strong duo alliances with strong physical/mental competitors in DX and Kyland. Hannah's smart enough to pivot, though, and with The Cookout backing her, she should be okay. Grade: B
Claire Renfuss (25) is definitely going to get into SB's ear and they're going to start discussing how the House has been going. With that much devoted time during one-on-ones that have nothing to do with The Cookout, they might just start to figure things out. We don't think SB will see Claire as a reasonable target this week at all, and with Tiffany also in her corner, she should be okay. Grade: B
Derek Frazier (29) could be an easy target for SB if she decides to go after the Jokers, with whom she has not been working. If that happens and it were to come down to Big D and Azah, we suspect it would be Azah going home. But we also suspect they could sit there until Veto and a backdoor could find a bigger target. Grade: B-
Alyssa Lopez (25) is working with no one in this house officially, but she's also not seen as a threat by anyone to really do much of anything or disrupt anything. She' a classic floater right now. She's also a former Kings member, which might just be enough for her to float through another week with fellow King SB in power. Grade: C+
Sarah Beth Steagall (28) should absolutely be celebrating her HOH win, and hopefully she will make huge moves and rock the boring Cookout-dominant trajectory of the summer. But it's only going to increase the target on her back that was already there. She was targeted before, and no matter what happens this week, she'll be deemed to big of a threat to keep much longer and could go as soon as next week. Grade: C
Azah Awasum (30) is another easy target, like Derek X, but as unpredictable as she's been even within The Cookout, sparring with Tiffany and voting to keep Britini this week, if it came right down to it, we suspect she'd be seen as the bigger liability or threat to The Cookout's secrecy -- and so she'd be the one cut loose. Grade: C
Derek Xiao (24) is definitely in danger of being a backdoor target this week if Sarah Beth is determined to make a big move. The Cookout will be fighting to protect their big targets, so to not rock the boat more than she has to, she may go with a target they can live with. He's got all the tools to save himself, but it could be an uphill battle this week for him. Grade: C-
Britini D'Angelo (24) was too loyal to the Jokers and too secretive about every other strategy she may have had, if any. It made her a wild card and with numbers dwindling, the danger of a wild card in power was too great a risk. We can already see The Cookout scrambling with SB in power, but at least they have some idea of her targets and goals. Grade: F
"I volunteered to be a pawn when I thought I was going up against anybody other than Britini. Everybody else, I have no problem gripping them by their hair and dragging them through the mud, but there's no way I can campaign against Britini."
"I'm not going to say thank you for pulling me up, I'm going to say why they heck did you push me over the cliff in the first place." --Claire (after Kyland used POV on her)
"How in the world am I up again? ... I'm so sick of being picked on in this House. I'm so sick of it ... Four out of six weeks!" --Britini (after getting nominated)
"I could beat Big D at anything. He's somebody I know I could kick out later if I need to." --Tiffany (to Claire)
"Don't you think that's what everyone thinks?" --Claire
"So he's just gonna keep skating by." --Tiffany
"That's my fear." --Claire
"If I were playing an individual game and The Cookout didn't exist, I'd be gung ho for this plan." --Hannah (about Derek X's plan to save Britini)
"If these will not stop coming at The Cookout like this, as much as I love them, we might have to get rid of them sooner than later." --Tiffany (about Derek X and Claire)
"DX asked me: Are there any more white guys left?" --Derek X (to Tiffany, worried he's starting to figure out The Cookout)
"They're all low key starting to put it together, but none of them are going to say it out loud. They get in Jury, they gonna be like, 'Y'all notice there's only Black people in the House.' I'm gonna be like, 'We did it.'" --Xavier (to Tiffany)
"I think if either myself or Alyssa won, you wouldn't go up." --Xavier (to Derek X)
"Now, I'm trying to think, damn, I might throw it to you." --Derek X (to Xavier)
"If it makes you feel better, I'll go for it. You will know you and Hannah are good." --Xavier (his plan with Kyland coming to fruition)
"If Derek X throws this next HOH competition to me, he will be sealing his fate in this game." --Xavier
"If someone says they're not going to put you up, that just means--" --Derek X (reasoning Xavier's proposal with Claire)