Taylor remains the easy target in the house, but after Pooch offered himself up as a pawn did he just become a bigger target -- did POV reveal an even better third option?
A comp beast is already emerging as "Big Brother" moves into its second full week of competition with a couple of pawns on the black -- wait, that doesn't work, does it?
If there are only two nominees, they can't both be the pawn, can they? Well, that's the interesting position new Head of Household Jasmine found herself in when Pooch agreed to go up as a pawn to assure last week's target, Taylor, becomes this week's evicted Houseguest.
As Taylor was only saved by Paloma's surprise exit from the game, many in the House feel like the smartest thing to do would be to just get rid of her this week. Certainly that was Jasmine's thought in targeting her, as it doesn't put as much blood on her hands.
But then Pooch offered himself up as a pawn and Jasmine saw an opportunity. What if he were to be blindsided out of the House? He's one of the bigger physical threats in the game, and that would keep the gender numbers the same.
We're not sure why it's happening, but there is a lot of concern about boys and girls alliances in the House this season -- and there seems to be a lot of alliances starting to form along gender lines. These rarely make it deep into the game, but we shall see.
These women seem determined to buck the trend of girls alliances that collapse only to be bowled over by big guys at the end of the game and then watching as one of those meatheads becomes richer by winning. Can they avoid that same trajectory this season?
Eliminating Pooch would do it. Honestly, we're still not entirely sure why they're all so against Taylor. She has no alliances in the House, nobody seems to want to work with her except for Michael (and he's afraid to rock the boat). That sounds like the perfect person to keep around. Instead, break up people you know are working together.
This week's Power of Veto competition dressed the Houseguests up as mermaids and mermen for a pretty physically draining slog through blue beads while pushing a large "pearl" with their heads. They then had to knock three of them into slots, again with their heads.
The instructions clearly stated that when they get to the end of the track and before taking their shot, they can use their hands to clear the beads out of the track so they can have a straighter shot. Exactly one of them seemed to remember this note.
Jasmine opted out of the competition due to her ankle injury, leaving Taylor and Pooch to battle alongside Ameerah, Michael and Terrance. She made it clear to all of them that she wanted her nominations to stay the same. So she just needed one of those bonus three to win.
Earlier, Michael had told Taylor that he didn't really want to win this one, but he was fighting to make sure Pooch didn't. He wouldn't guarantee he'd use it to save her if he won, but an almost was still better than anyone else in the House.
With to pearls dropped each, it actually came down to Taylor and Michael. Pooch had pearls all around the drops, so Michael was worried he could drop two in quick succession. But Taylor begged him to let her take a final shot -- which she missed.
And so, Michael solidified himself as the early comp threat in the House by winning his second Veto (out of only two Vetos). That certainly makes him the Veto king. But what do do with it?
Michael and ex-HOH Daniel found themselves in the HOH room talking with some of the women about their options. Daniel revealed that he'd no intention of working with "meathead" guys this season, instead wanting to work with the girls to upset that dynamic of big guys dominating and picking everyone off.
As such, a bold plan was concocted. Pooch and Joseph had developed a deeply bizarre bromance that was more phsyical than anyone else in the House expected. It was also sometimes more physical than either of the guys was really comfortable with, and yet it continued.
Things can get pretty wild in the Big Brother House.
So what was floated was the idea of Michael perhaps taking down Taylor and putting Joseph on the Block. That would guarantee getting a big guy out and with Joseph seen as the bigger threat, they were thinking it might be good to let him go first.
Jasmine said she was ready to make a big move, not afraid of these boys, but was Michael? After all, he needed to first use the Veto to put the plan in motion. So did he? He did...
Instead, he left Jasmine's nominations the same. At the time of this happening, it certainly looks like the House has the numbers to send Pooch packing. Michael said he didn't want to tip Pooch off that their target had changed by having Joseph join him on the hot seats.
He needn't have worried. Pooch is so blindly confident, he doesn't seem able to even conceive the possibility of himself going home this week. Even if he manages to stay, that's going to make him so easy to manipulate and get out later with another blindside. But it's not looking good.
Due to January 6 coverage on Thursday, this week's eviction episode has been bumped all the way to Sunday at 8 p.m. ET, creating a two-hour episode that will evict one player, establish a new Head of Household, reveal their nominees and also drop the next big twist on the game.
Nicole Layog (41) isn't even part of the Girls' Girls alliance and yet they're talking with her as if she is. That's a testament to the sheer power of her presence in the House. She's effectively a free agent right now who is in good with basically everyone in the House so much they're all talking strategy with her. That gives her lots and lots of options. Grade: A
Ameerah Jones (31) is emerging as another powerhouse in this game when it comes to strategy. She is also masterminding the all-girls alliance for now, convinced the boys are aligning. In a way, she's right. The only reason she isn't higher is we don't know yet if she'll be blinded by her conviction about the boys and her devotion to the girls alliance, which is less solid than she knows. Grade: A-
Alyssa Snider (24) is another savvy gamer who is really stepping into her own without the blind, manic, driven hatred toward Taylor that Paloma brought to their final two alliance. If she can stop obsessing over Taylor, there's a very clever and smart player in there. We're starting to see glimpses of just how well she reads the game, and sees opportunity. She's definitely one to watch. Grade: B
Jasmine Davis (29) was setting herself up to be a bit of a disappointment as HOH by taking the lazy route and targeting Taylor, but her willingness to immediately consider shifting that to Pooch after he offered to be a pawn tells us she's here to play. Being ready to put up Joseph is just another testament to her willingness to get in the dirt and play hard, even this early. She should be fun to watch as the season progresses. Grade: B
Michael Bruner (28) is emerging as a competition beast, and yet he's still not seen as worthy to be in the guys' new Oasis alliance. That just leaves him available for the girls to snatch up. In fact, the Oasis isn't nearly as strong as the boys think it is. With how things are set up now, the bros could be in trouble, and Michael is poised to play a central role in that. Grade: B-
Daniel Durston (35) pivoted quite wisely into the good graces of the girls, and even has Michael seemingly working well with him despite having nominated him last week. It's a smart move as that's where the movers and shakers of the summer thus far are. The boys are a little too cocky, too arrogant and too oblivious right now. Now, they just need to follow through on big moves to take full control. Grade: B-
Monte Taylor (27) and Kyle Caapener (29) are part of the Post Pack alliance with Ameerah, Alyssa, Michael and Nicole above, and right now those are the people you want to be working with. Monte also being in the Oasis -- admitting it's in second position for him -- just gives him a little more intel. For now, though, these two appear to be playing the lay-low game. Grade: B-
Indy Santos (31) and Matt "Turner" Turner (23) are laying even lower than that. Indy is in with the Girls' Girls and Turner with the Oasis, but neither of those alliances appear to be completely true (though the GIrls' Girls is starting to show that it might have some legs). Regardless, neither of them appear to be involved in decision-making or steering their respective alliances, which means they'll be expendable later. Grade: C+
Terrance Higgins (47) is just trying to play the chill social game, but he has no alliances that we've seen yet and that's going to become a problem sooner than later if he wants to last. Grade: C
Brittany Hoopes (32) has some ground to make up yet with Ameerah and the GIrls' Girls, despite being in the alliance, after she threw Ameerah under the bus with Pooch. Nobody's talking about it, but trust is all you have in the Big Brother house, and when it's eroded, it is so hard to rebuild. She may still be in the alliance, but we reckon she's toward the bottom. Grade: C-
Joseph Abdin (24) gets bonus points for telling Pooch that he should be concerned about the possibility of the girls coming after him while he's on the Block, but the fact it took him so long to suspect the possibility, and he still has no idea it's basically the plan right now, tells us that he's both smart and oblivious. And we now know that a good chunk of the House sees him as perhaps the biggest threat right now they should worry about. He's in worse shape in the game than he knows. Grade: C-
Taylor Hale (27) might survive the week again, but she's really making zero in-roads establishing strong relationships, connections or alliances with anyone. Her strategy to start with the boys hurt her with the girls, and then the boys seem to have rejected all girls equally, so that leaves her alone. And now that she's been targeted twice in a row, it's going to be easier and easier to keep throwing her up there until it sticks. Grade: D+
Joe "Pooch" Pucciarelli (24) looks like he's on his way out the door, cocky and oblivious to his doom. If it happens, it will be an epic blindside that will draw definitive lines between the genders and shake up the House tremendously. In other words, we really hope it happens. If it doesn't happen, then the House is lame because Taylor is basically zero threat at this point. Grade: D
"In all honesty, I don't really care who goes home. Taylor is not in the Girls' Girls alliance, and she's already been on the Block. And Pooch is this huge threat who made the risky decision nominating himself. This should be an easy-breezy week." --Jasmine (after nominations)
"If we get rid of Pooch, that would actually be one of the best-case scenarios. I'm taking my shot, I'm sorry. I'm just trying to protect the girls. I feel like the guys are just gonna wipe us out." --Ameerah (talking with Girls' Girls + Nicole)
"This plan is going so great, I'm more excited than ants with sugar." --Jasmine (Pooch thinking he's the pawn when he's the target)
"If the girls are setting me up, I'll be devastated." --Taylor (hoping she's the pawn)
"I'm watching the house for you. I'm watching the house for you. No one is sending Pucciarelli home." --Joe (to Pooch, but he better open his eyes!)
"I don't like it when you do it." --Pooch (when Joseph touches him)
"Oh, so you can touch me, but I can't touch you?" --Joseph
"I'm not submissive." --Pooch
"Pooch and I definitely have an interesting relationship. He's the girlfriend I never asked for." --Joseph
"I need to go shave my underarms now. Now I have work to do." --Ameerah (after getting picked to play in Veto)
"I would love to take you down, but I would want to talk with her." --Michael (not guaranteeing he'd take Taylor down if he won Veto)
"I would love to take Taylor off of the block. However, a lot of the house doesn't trust Taylor and that could put heat on me." --Michael
"For once, having a big nose may actually come in handy." --Michael (shooting pearls with his face during Veto comp)
"This might be the first time Pooch is having a little trouble finding the sweet spot." --Pooch (struggling during Veto comp)
"Michael, let me go for it." --Taylor (trying to win before Michael does, but she misses)
"That'd be the dumbest move in 'Big Brother' history." --Pooch
"If they pulled it [off], it'd be the smartest." --Joseph
"Don't get comfortable." --Joseph (trying to convince Pooch to be worried)
"I love him, but he's an idiot. He's a f---ing idiot, bro." --Pooch (to Turner about Joseph)
"Joseph's gonna float his rock-hard a-- all the way to the end of this game." --Alyssa (considering switching targets)