The Cookout is so close to their season-long goal of all six Black Houseguests making it to Final 6 -- an Alyssa win or betrayal from within are the only things standing in their way!
Tonight's surprise double eviction episode of "Big Brother" would either usher in a truly historic moment for the game, and a reset of sorts with 20 days to go, or the final collapse of one of the most dominant alliances in "BB" history.
The Cookout has been running the House since Day 1, which is remarkable because they kept their numbers small with only six people. But they managed to do it as a non-alliance, never quite working together as much as they were protecting one another in the game.
Then, Tiffany came up with the side duo strategy, which left everyone non-Cookout thinking there wasn't a dominant alliance in the House at all. They were never even all six in the same room at the same time until about a week ago. That's a masterclass in "BB" stealth alliance right there!
Tonight, they were so close to achieving their goals of having the six Black people who walked into the House be the last six Houseguests standing. They just needed things to go their way, and maybe a little smoother than they did for Tiffany when she had to put her side duo partner on the Block this week.
In The Cookout's defense, she wasn't supposed to win that. And now, the power move has made her one of the two biggest targets in the game alongside Kyland, who's rubbed people just about as wrong.
The question was whether or not The Cookout could wait until Top 6 to take these shots. With Claire and/or Alyssa still in the House, the women could have more strength in numbers to go after someone like Kyland.
Claire made a valiant effort to get the House to believe that Xavier is well on his way to winning this game if they don't do something about him. It was a compelling argument. In any previous season, it might have worked.
X has been holding back in competitions all season long, so no one really knows what he's capable of. The Cookout has been orchestrating this season like a marionette, going so far as to determine who should win which comps, so we really don't have a sense of the real potential of some of them.
We do feel like we have a sense of the true potential of Azah and Derek F, neither of whom have won anything even when they've tried their absolute hardest. In a regular season, it would be likely that both would have been gone by now.
This season, everything is upside down for "the culture," which is why the logical target of Xavier managed to outlast Claire, picking up all of the votes except for one. Hannah threw a rogue vote in support of Claire for two reasons: Jury management, and so she can try and pin it on Kyland.
Even though Alyssa was still in the House and there was no indication that she wasn't going to be the next target, we have to give props to Hannah for thinking ahead strategically to the moment it's just The Cookout and it's time to start cannibalizing one another.
With this competition, we learned that this week is all about "BB Comics." The fan-favorite competitions we can look forward to include a sneak peek at all of the Houseguests' superhero alter-egos, as well as their comic book covers. It's always a fun week!
This comp was all about comic book sound effects, and a memory game. What we learned from this competition is that Azah has a terrible memory -- seeming to at one point even forget she was still playing the game.
Xavier did no better than her, so we hope for the sake of his clients, this lawyer uses copious notes when building and defending his cases. The results weren't much better for Derek F or Alyssa. In fact, it came down to Hannah and Kyland.
Hannah appears to have great recall, so when she messed one up and Kyland crept up right behind her, it looked like anyone's game. But Hannah managed to secure the victory. If the Houseguests are paying attention, this should only further remind them why Kyland is a threat.
This was the moment of truth for Hannah. Would she take a shot at Kyland now? Is it worth destroying the mission of The Cookout? We'd argue that it might be if winning is the ultimate goal, as Kyland is a huge threat to comp his way through this game ... as is Xaver.
But just as Tiffany put her bestie Claire on the Block, Hannah stayed true to the mission and put Xavier on the Block next to his bestie in the House, and the obvious target, Alyssa.
Alyssa may be "dim," per Zingbot," but kudos to her for accidentally stumbling on the reality of The Cookout, and even going so far as to suggest she's probably next because she's a minority who's half-white. It's not about minority so much as Black, but we're impressed how close she got ... even if she didn't believe it herself.
A puzzle-building competition, and we're not sure if Julie Chen and the producers had any idea what was about to happen. Xavier has lamented this week that he's been throwing competitions this summer for The Cookout, but all of that is over.
On the Block for the fourth time in a row (one as the result of a punishment), Xavier was on a whole 'nother plane of reality than his fellow competitors. Now, we feel a lot more confident that he could put the pieces together for a strong case on behalf of his clients.
His "BB Comics" logo came together while everyone else was still fumbling around on the bottom layers. Forget what we said about Kyland, Xavier is the single biggest threat in the House. Not only is he a secret comp beast, but his social game is incredible.
Other than suspicious about what he really does for a living, everyone loves and respects him in the game. If he makes it to the Final 2, he's a virtual no-brainer to win this whole game. And with this victory, he at least assured no one will take an early shot at him.
With Xavier removing himself from the Block, Hannah set her sights on her other biggest obstacle to winning this game, Kyland. Talk about a rare and beautiful opportunity to take out a huge threat. Backdoored on the Block, Kyland was sitting there like a ripe apple ready for picking.
Taking him out would be logical and likely in almost any other season of "Big Brother." But we've seen The Cookout work against their own self-interest time and again for "the culture" and their mission.
There was a time the women had a 7-4 advantage in the numbers, and yet only peripherally was it ever spoken about them turning those numbers into a clean sweep of the boys. The Cookout was first and foremost, always, even when it got hard.
History or strategy? With Alyssa on the Block next to Kyland, The Cookout had dual opportunity. They could stay true to their Day 1 alliance and their mission to be the Final 6 standing, or they could take away one of the two biggest threats to dominate competitions for the rest of the game.
As we've seen time and again, Xavier threw his vote of support behind his side duo, Alyssa, but his was the only vote she got as The Cookout completed their clean sweep of the House with their tenth consecutive eviction. It's an absolutely incredible and dominant performance the likes of which we may never see again.
We do find ourselves a little worried in the short-term that Houseguests are going to be very wary of minorities in the next few seasons after seeing what this group was able to do completely under the radar all summer.
We also don't think minority groups will feel any need to do this ever again. This was a statement about blatant and subtle racism running rampant and virtually unchecked in the "Big Brother" house from production to Houseguests. This was about seasons where there were only two Black Houseguests and they saw the Block together and early to ensure one would go, usually followed shortly after by the other.
This was a slap in the face to wake fans and production up at the same time that Black people and minority voices are just as compelling, just as relatable and just as worthy of screen-time and existing in spaces as white people.
While dominant alliances often make for boring summers -- and this one had its moments, to be sure -- there was something exciting about watching history unfold. And this is the first time we've seen people support an alliance despite themselves, almost reluctantly at times, which is certainly different.
Now, though, the game begins in earnest. Only one of the Final 6 can win the $750,000 grand prize, and they have no idea that there's another Double Eviction looming.
Hannah Chaddha (21) might be positioned better than anyone in the game, but that doesn't mean it'll be easy for her to move forward. She's got Tiffany in front of her as a shield in front of the guys, but they'd probably gun for her right after. She's crafty enough to navigate her way out of trouble, so it'll likely come down to who's winning which comps when. Grade: A-
Xavier Prather (27) is in the best possible position to win this game. Not only is he a huge threat to win competitions, but he's got the guys ready to back him in this game, and a pretty close relationship with Azah (who's crushing hard on him). Is he willing to exploit that? As a huge threat, he's got a massive target on him, but not as big as two others, surprisingly enough. Grade: B+
Azah Awasum (30) is suddenly a very important player, a potential swing vote if the guys and girls do square off against one another. She's kind of in an alliance with the ladies, but we're not sure how confidently she could work against Xavier if he lays on the charm. She probably has the best case for someone to take her to the end if they want an easy win against her, but would anyone take that offer? Grade: B-
Tiffany Mitchell (40) was already pretty high on the radar of the other Houseguests, but after going rogue last week, she's the top target of the guys' side of the House. If they win, they'll surely try and get her out. And they'd be smart enough to put Hannah up next to her to weaken the ladies altogether. So much hinges on who wins this next HOH. Grade: C+
Kyland Young (30) is the big target on the guys' side, and a bigger overall target than Tiffany because even the guys don't really want him around any longer than they need him. He's got the capabilities to propel himself forward with comps, but that can't last forever and he seems to have very few true allies. Grade: C
Derek Frazier (29) is probably going to target Tiffany right off the bat, but beyond that, we're not sure he'd be totally loyal to the guys as he'd have to know he's at the bottom of that ... unless Kyland and/or Xavier don't want to face each other in the end. No one wants to face Xavier, but no one wants to face Derek F, either, as he's so beloved by everyone in the Jury. Grade: C-
Alyssa Lopez (25) was next. It's as simple as that, and nothing was going to change it unless she'd been able to save herself. Grade: F
Claire Renfuss (25) also fell victim to The Cookout, but she can definitely know Tiffany had her back this whole game, carrying her this far. We also respect that Tiffany opened up to her (almost completely) about why she had to go up, and how graciously Claire accepted it. Grade: F
“I am so shocked that Tiffany was comfortable enough to put her number one ally, Claire, on the Block. She’s so confident that X is going home.” --Alyssa (still oblivious about Cookout)
“Putting up Claire is probably one of the most difficult things I’ve had to do. But, before there was a Claire, there was a mission.” --Tiffany
“I just thought of this, and I know this is not the reason why we’re doing this at all. But if this plan follows through, the Final 7 are all minorities.” --Alyssa (bless her heart)
“Oh, I didn’t even think of that.” --Derek F (hilarious)
“Technically, I’m half-white, so am I next?” --Alyssa (so close to getting it)
“What? Why do you think that?” --Derek F
“When Claire goes home on a four-to-one vote, what I have to do to Alyssa is blame it on Ky. If Alyssa wins HOH, Ky should be the first one to leave.” --Hannah (planning sympathy vote for jury management and strategy with Azah)
“It’s just scary to think, like, it could be a double. Like, yeah, I made it to Top 7 but that only gave me an extra 30 minutes.” --Alyssa
“I find myself almost at a loss for words because I’m sitting next to the fabulous X and his loyal and he is trustworthy and in three weeks he’s going to be $750,000 richer. Because for me to go and him to stay, he must be playing a damned fine game. For that to happen, you know, I have to tip my hat to him and I’m going to be going to Jury potentially and I’ll make sure that all of the Jury knows that. With that, I will say thank you … and one of you will be joining me very soon.” --Claire (save-me speech)
“Once again, it is everyone versus Alyssa.” --Julie (ahead of HOH comp after Claire’s eviction)
“You can either keep me and have a chance at winning this game or you can keep Kyland, not win and keep doing what he tells you to do.” --Alyssa (save-me speech)
“Even more beautiful.” --Hannah (as Alyssa’s pic turns black-and-white)
“She’s the most beautiful in black-and-white.” --Tiffany
“Would you have taken Xavier to Final 2.” --Julie
“I would have taken him to Final 3.” --Alyssa (keeping it real)