Power of Veto sets up a huge opportunity for Head of Household Sarah Beth to enact her backdoor plan -- unless a better option presents itself?
Tonight's Power of Veto competition on "Big Brother" was a double-edged sword, because in order to win it, you also had to select three punishments. And these weren't silly humilitards, but potentially game-changing problems to overcome.
We actually enjoyed that added element of risk and strategy. The fastest way from start to finish in this giant dominoes course is to knock your way through one of the worst possible punishments. Who is so desperate for Veto this week that they'd make themselves a third nominee at the next available opportunity?
It was a fun challenge, and a pivotal one for Sarah Beth's clearly stated plan to backdoor the remaining biggest comp threat in the House, Derek X. And we'd like to give a huge shoutout to Claire for sussing out SB's goal simply by knowing the lay of the House and getting a good read on SB.
We'd give her more kudos, but like everyone else in the House this summer, she is completely oblivious to the existence of The Cookout, which makes so much of this maneuvering like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. It doesn't matter in the long run. Find the orchestra and just start playing.
Veto with a Side of Suffering
After Claire figured out that SB was looking to backdoor DX out of the House, she quickly told him, sending him into a spiral of early despair. That was only compounded when it came time to pick players for the Veto comp -- and his name wasn't drawn.
Just like that, there was almost nothing he could do to change his fate in this game. Again, we're talking Titanic deck chairs here, but so long as this ship isn't taking on water yet, there is yet hope ... right?
Some of those punishments we were talking about weren't nearly as big of a deal to the Houseguests, like BB Bankruptcy or even Solo Have-Not. Even Strategy Shutdown -- which would see them locked away for 24 hours before this week's live vote, is survivable.
The ones that scared the most players were Veto Disadvantage (which was not fully explained) and Third Nominee (which was painfully obvious).
Of course, if you're Derek F, you're not worried about any of those punishments, or gunning for the Veto. There was an alternate route that could be set up that would just run through money opportunities, including additional BB Bucks.
DF was the only contestant to play that game, which earned him a cool BB250 and $7,500. The BB Bucks is a big deal, because it means he already has enough now to play in next week's Coin of Destiny, making the rest gravy. Will America still give him BB100 knowing he doesn't need it? Or spare another Houseguest?
That left Sara Beth, her nominees Claire and Xavier (thanks to Alyssa's random roulette spin on Sunday) and their non-DF picks, Azah and Alyssa, to battle it out for the Veto and risk all those punishment possibilities.
This is where having a solid and massive alliance of six can come in real handy. While Azah didn't take advantage of it, Xavier was willing to risk it all, going the straightest and shortest route to the finish, picking up BB Bankruptcy, Strategy Shutdown and Third Nominee along the way.
We didn't see anyone else's scores, but we'll say it wasn't even close. The bottom line is that he's feeling very safe with The Cookout, so even if he is on the Block, he feels confident they'll have his back.
That does start to get more complicated, though, as numbers in the House dwindle. Assuming The Cookout survives this week intact (and with X's win, that seems more likely), there will only be three non-Cookout people left in the House.
He needs for none of them to win the next HOH (or maybe win it himself; but then this punishment will haunt him later when the numbers are less in his favor). If multiple Cookout members see a three-person Block, their ability to influence the vote diminishes. Next week could be pivotal for the alliance.
As for this week, with Claire securely still on the Block, The Cookout is looking pretty. So it's just a matter of which non-Cookout Houseguest is going to go home.
With Derek X her clear target, Tiffany even started scrambling against her closest ally in the House, Claire. They concocted a plan to try and convince Sarah Beth that Hannah is actually the better target for her game -- with Tiffany knowing full well The Cookout will have Hannah's back.
DX even lied to SB, telling her outright that Claire would definitely be safe next to Hannah He may not know about The Cookout, but he knew where the votes would go against Claire and Hannah.
Ultimately, though, SB continued to play her own game and she stuck to her guns, plopping DX on the Block next to Claire. That's probably Claire's best-case scenario, but she should probably still pack her bags.
Tiffany has already stated that DX is better for her game than Claire, and she has a lot of pull in the House and among The Cookout. At the same time, DX is not going to be an easy competitor to get out, and this setup mirrors exactly how he put a defenseless Christian on the Block to get rid of him.
Strategically speaking, their best bet would be to take the shot now, as SB did. We feel extremely confident that they will, but we're sure the "BB" producers will edit some footage together to make it look like they're actually considering getting rid of Claire over the biggest comp threat in the House.
Kyland Young (30) had an extremely successful week with Sarah Beth in power, getting The Cookout's biggest target on the Block and even managing to keep the Block clear of any Cookout members come eviction night. Yes, he had some help, but as SB's closest ally, he was instrumental in being that voice in her ear to gently guide her to non-Cookout targets. Grade: A+
Hannah Chaddha (21) was willing to offer herself up as a pawn to protect Derek X, and even though it didn't work, it shows how hard she is playing this game. She's willing to take a (small) risk to further the game she's trying to play. It's all very interesting how hard she and Tiffany are playing for people not in The Cookout -- it could either mean they are at least considering going rogue, or just trying to keep their allies as long as possible because what else is there to do? Grade: A
Tiffany Mitchell (40) has us thinking it's the latter, because it wasn't that long ago that she was fighting tooth and nail to keep Claire in the House, and suddenly she's willing to throw her under the bus and get behind the wheel. This also proves that Tiffany's head is firmly in game mode, which is where she needs to be at this stage of the game. She's still a masterful player, so it'll be interesting to see how she pivots as we move toward the endgame. Grade: A-
Xavier Prather (27) got himself off the Block, but put himself in potential future danger with this third nominee nonsense. It'll probably happen before he becomes a target, so he should get away with it. Going for it was both a bold statement in his Cookout confidence, as well as his confidence of his place in the game. He may be the most universally respected player right now among the other Houseguests. Grade: B
Azah Awasum (30) might no longer be at the bottom of The Cookout, thanks to the antics of another member. But she is definitely still loyal to it, even as she has friction with various members of it. That will definitely help her get further in the game, but she's still toward the bottom of that exclusive club, so when the time comes, she'll be in trouble. Grade: C+
Derek Frazier (29) has no f---- to give at this point, not even bothering with the Veto competition. And this with a fellow Cookout member on the Block. He's already not in good graces with Tiffany, and these things will be remembered when the time comes that they turn on themselves. And with him not excelling in challenges, his social game was his saving grace, and it's slipping just enough. Grade: C+
Alyssa Lopez (25) is growing closer to Xavier, which is probably good for her, as he's a great protector. But she's also part of a dying breed (non-Cookout Houseguests), so her time is coming sooner than later. From what we've seen, there's not much she can do about it, but maybe she'll surprise us yet. Even if she wins a comp or two, it will only delay her ultimate fate. Grade: C
Claire Renfuss (25) took a blow she didn't even realize when Claire decided to stop fighting for her this week. Now, if DX goes home, Tiffany will probably rally again to Claire's side, but it's indicative of just how disposable Claire ultimately is. Like Alyssa, it's just a matter of time as other more urgent options disappear. Grade: C-
Sarah Beth Steagall (28) has had a very aggressive and singular HOH reign, and it will probably only increase the target on her back. Getting out DX would look great on her resume, which is just another reason for the House to regroup and coming gunning for her again just as soon as they can. Unlike every other Houseguest, no one knows exactly where her mind is as she has no strong alliances with anyone. And she can't win her way to the end. Grade: D+
Derek Xiao (24) hit the Block as a backdoor target. And while there has been some teasing that maybe the House will want to keep him, we just don't see that happening with only four viable options to eliminate. DX and SB are the only two The Cookout is really worried about and SB can't fight for HOH next week, so it would make sense to take DX out this week, SB next week and then relax a bit. Grade: D-
“X is so awesome. He’s always looking out for me. And I put him on the Block.” --Alyssa (after Chopping Block Roulette)
“I need a tequila shot.” --Alyssa (after randomly nominating Xavier)
“I think that they want us. I mean, that’s the calculations.” --Claire (telling Derek X he’s Sarah Beth’s backdoor target)
“I am thinking that if X comes down, I might put DX up.” --Sarah Beth (telling Alyssa on the down-low)
“If he’s not playing, then he’s definitely going home.” --Sarah Beth (hoping Derek X doesn’t get picked for Veto)
“If X wins Veto, you’re probably going up. If Claire wins and pulls herself off, you’re going up.” --Hannah (to Derek X)
“I feel kind of pumped. I’m definitely gunning hard for the Veto this week. I do want to take Xavier down because I want to make sure there are no Cookout members on the Block come Thursday -- plus, he’s cute.” --Azah (after getting picked for Veto)
“Yes! Gimme that money, baby! Sorry, I’m a lady. I shouldn’t be yelling like that.” --Derek F (to cameras after getting excited during Veto comp)
“Honestly, America can wipe their butts with the BB Bucks. You don’t give them to me anyways.” --Sarah Beth (choosing BB Bankrupt as possible Veto punishment)
“Worst-case scenario for me is Derek X to end up on the Block next to Claire. So if I need to figure out a way to keep him off of the Block, I will.” --Tiffany
“It’s almost like I would rather for you to try to convince SB to put [Hannah] on the Block instead of you being on the Block, trying to campaign against Claire. If Claire goes home, is that the worst thing that can happen?” --Tiffany (to Derek X)
“Claire is my girl, but Derek X is ultimately more valuable to my game.” --Tiffany
“If what you need from me is some form of guaranteed safety, if you do not put me on the Block this week I can promise you that I will not come for you for two, three weeks, whatever helps you feel safe in this house.” --Derek X (to Sarah Beth)
“I see what you’re saying there. I’m not the type of player that finds it easy to trust other people.” --Sarah Beth
“Do you think if it were Claire and [Hannah] on the Block that [Hannah] would go?” --Sarah Beth (to Derek X)
“I think you would just have a unanimous decision there.” --Derek X (lying)
“Derek X, I think if I were not to take this shot while it was perfectly lined up, it would show reckless overconfidence on my part. Please take a seat.” --Sarah Beth (nominating Derek X)
“It really made me nervous thinking about him staying in this House one week longer. I’m winning this game, not him.” --Sarah Beth (about Derek X -- but neither of you are winning this game)