This time, Taylor is cruelly attacked for trying to be kind and offer emotional support -- she has no idea what's happening or why and it's heartbreaking to watch.
You know the bullying is getting bad when a whole new alliance forms in response to it, and that's exactly what happened on a very difficult hour of "Big Brother."
Since the first week, Taylor has been the target of vicious attacks on the show, but most of those have been more behind her back. Tonight, she was verbally assaulted twice with no idea what she'd even done wrong.
Spoiler alert: as with every other time this season she's been bullied or attacked, she did nothing wrong.
The new Festie Bestie twist partnered Taylor with Nicole, who immediately started concocting a plan to get them both backdoored and onto the Block so the House could vote Taylor out. Is it just because Taylor has been a target since the beginning, or is there more to it?
This week, we learned a little of why she's been more reserved in the House after she opened up to Monte about dealing with colorism within the Black community (being judged and looked down upon because she has a darker sink tone).
But things took a crazy and uncomfortable turn the morning of the Veto competition when Nicole was having an emotional breakdown over her own decision to throw the competition so she could get herself backdoored.
While Nicole was talking with her ride-or-die Daniel bout what a "bad person" Taylor was, Taylor was calling for Monte to pray for Nicole. She had no idea why her "Bestie" was crying, but she was concerned because Nicole was hurting. But Nicole was "hurting" because she was going to throw a comp to try and get Taylor evicted.
Taylor finally went in and tried to offer some emotional support to a woman she thought was her partner in this game only to have that backfire spectacularly.
Nicole interpreted something Taylor said as Taylor telling her it was okay not to fight. Basically, Taylor knows that Nicole's mother is dealing with some serious health concerns, so if she got some bad news on that front and wasn't in the right headspace to compete, Taylor was telling her she understood and that was okay.
Taylor also said that no matter what, it was okay for Nicole to do what was best for her game. Throughout all of this, Taylor looks like a kind and decent human being with compassion for others. Nicole, on the other hand, is looking more and more like a bully.
She ran and told Daniel that Taylor was basically trying to manipulate her into quitting the game or some nonsense. At least, that's how Daniel took it. And then he took it a step further, blaming her for the mental health crisis Paloma suffered that saw her quit (or be removed from) the game.
Seriously, if Nicole was being nasty, Daniel was downright monstrous to Taylor, yelling and cursing at her and telling her not to talk to him again for the rest of the game. She was so confused she thought he was talking about her bag of chips at first and then she thought he was joking.
When Daniel finally yelled at her to never talk to Nicole that way again, Taylor at least had a clue and went to Nicole to see what she'd done wrong At this point, Nicole yelled at her about telling her to be a quitter -- which is not what Taylor was trying to say.
It was heartbreaking watching Taylor's face through all of this, attacked relentlessly without a single person on her side throughout. Sure, one of the women who'd been there said she didn't think Taylor meant anything by it, but Daniel didn't want to hear it and she said it after Taylor had walked away, stunned and about to cry.
In the moment, no one was there for Taylor and it looked like the loneliest most painful experience of confusion and loss. She had tried to be a friend. She had tried to reach out and connect with Nicole and look what happened. It was a disgusting display of cruelty and bullying, with Nicole clearly projecting her own nonsense onto Taylor.
Something extremely interesting started to happen before the Veto competition, aside from abject cruelty that was very hard to watch. This episode was a whirlwind of emotion.
Four of the guys in the House started to suss out this Girls' Girls alliance, including Head of Household Turner, Joseph, Kyle, and Monte. Kyle then threw out the boldest idea yet. Nicole had already volunteered herself on the Block to get Taylor out, but they wondered who getting rid of Taylor really served in the long run?
Kyle said that he believes Nicole and Ameerah are the ones poised to win this game -- which we'd been saying for weeks now -- and so he threw out the wild idea of maybe instead backdooring Ameerah and her Festie Bestie Terrance, with the plan to "cut off the head of the snake" in Ameerah.
It was diabolical and it was brilliant. We love when players are smart and can see what's going on. Ameerah has been paranoid about a guys alliance and she basically just created on -- only that's not entirely, true.
The four guys firmed up their own allegiance as The Pound, in a nod to what they saw as the completely unnecessary eviction of Pooch last week. They then prepared to make the biggest move of the summer if Michael three-peats as Veto winner -- or if Turner and his Festie Bestie Jasmine can pull off their own victory.
As we hinted above, Nicole and Taylor were the other pair picked to compete in the Veto Comp, which was another fun and creative and difficult challenge. One of the Besties was tied to a rope and pulley system where they could raise and lower their partner by walking across the yard.
On the other side of the yard were a bunch of puzzle pieces that had to be assembled atop a tall tree stump. So one Bestie had to run the yard and fetch pieces, pulling the other Bestie into the air so they could assemble the high puzzle. It's a beautifully intricate challenge.
Unfortunately, Jasmine's fear of heights and anxiety caused her to pass out and even though she was medically cleared, she opted out. Honestly, we're starting to wonder if she's letting her fears and anxieties keep her from competing more. Turner, though, was totally cool with it.
That left only two partners, with Nicole actively wanting to sabotage Taylor. She didn't have to do much, though, as Taylor was struggling. But it didn't help that she had the better vantage point across the yard as the puller. Brittany was the puller with Michael and she helped him get their puzzle assembled, winning her first Veto of the season. Michael has won all of them.
The stage was set for The Pound to orchestrate an epic blindside, but would they go through with it?
When they first formed, they had an eye on expanding their ranks. After seeing the deplorable way Taylor was treated and the way the Girls' Girls and some of the others in the House were strutting around like they had this game already in the bag -- Ameerah was certainly saying as much in the Diary Room -- they realized it was now or never.
What we love about it is that Monte, Michael, and Kyle were already a part of the Po's Pack alliance with Ameerah, Alyssa and Nicole. But after Alyssa spilled the beans that there was a girls alliance and Nicole was abhorrent and Ameerah was a little too cocky, they flipped the script.
Joseph has been proving more and more what a student of this game he is, even seeing the blindside of Pooch before anyone else did (and no one believed him anyway), and he quickly saw the value of the "outsiders" working together.
With the core four established, they looked at Taylor, amazed that the girls didn't just bring her in to bolster their numbers and solidify their alliance. They then checked in with Michael and Brittany, who was also starting to feel left out of Girls' Girls (she said they're not in the clique).
And that's exactly what it was starting to look like. The "cool kids" were getting all cocky and thinking they were about to dominate the game. What they didn't realize is that if you're not the majority and you ostracize enough people, sometimes they can unite.
And so the four became seven with the numbers and intention of putting up Ameerah and Terrance -- with Ameerah the target, though she'll probably assume it's Terrance -- and with the numbers to get their target out.
In recent seasons aside from last season's Cookout blowout, we've seen the bullies emerge victorious. After copying the Cookout strategy of divide and conquer last week, Po's Pack couldn't survive it's own nasty behavior. It turns out, if there are enough decent people in the House, they will eventually stand up to bad behavior.
If this works, and the narration at the end makes it sound like they're at least going to get Ameerah and Terrance on the Block, it will turn the game upside down and we'll see what happens when the bullies realize they don't have the power they thought they did. This next HOH is going to be critical.
It's also worth noting that we're only a few weeks into the season and already this is the most unpredictable and exciting season of "Big Brother" we've seen in a long time. We've now see two power alliances collapse under their own hubris. Can The Leftovers, as they called themselves, go the distance?
After the events of this single hour, we've just had the most dramatic changes we've ever seen in these rankings and grades. The house basically just flipped upside down, if this new alliance holds and does what it says it will, and the fireworks are about to explode!
Kyle Caapener (29) had been quietly impressing us with how savvy he is in the game and how much he's been paying attention underneath his over-the-top enthusiasm. It was him who came up with the idea of taking out Ameerah to kneecap the other side of the House, and the way he presented it was just perfect enough to make it feel like a group decision. That's good savvy and social play. Grade: A- [Bestie: Daniel]
Joseph Abdin (24) has been on our radar as a smart game player since he sussed out the real plan with backdooring Pooch. We were just waiting for him to step up and start playing with the strategic mind he clearly has. He showed up with the formation of this group and his fantastic read on what's really going on in the House. The other side wondered if he was an even bigger threat than Pooch because of his physique, but they underestimated his mind. Grade: A- [Bestie: Monte]
Matt "Turner" Turner (23) earned his HOH victory by seconds of Ameerah and now it look he's going to have the nerve to take a huge shot in the House, making a big target of himself to the other side of the House by nominating her and Terrance. In a game where so many people take the safe move, if he follows through it'll prove he's here to play. Grade: B+ [Bestie: Jasmine]
Monte Taylor (27) connected personally with Taylor and seems to have a conscience and a heart in this game. He's got a strong Bestie in Joseph and they're sitting in an incredible place with The Pound to carry themselves deep into this game -- though we don't trust any alliances to last that long this season. But we do see Monte as someone who can navigate tumult pretty well. Grade: B+ [Bestie: Joseph]
Michael Bruner (28) got pulled into The Leftovers, so he's once again being invited into dominant alliances despite the fact that he wins every single Veto. A competition threat like that not being targeted says a whole helluva a lot about his character and his social game. He's in a great spot right now. Grade: B+ [Bestie: Brittany]
Taylor Hale (27) has gone through the wringer all season long and was torn apart on Veto day. To see her finally invited to be part of something is very exciting. She's smarter than anyone on the other side wants to give her credit for and she's a strong competitor. It'll be fun to see what she's like when she's not public enemy number one every day (when the rest of the House realizes the tides are shifting). Grade: B- [Bestie: Nicole]
Brittany Hoopes (32) was a beast in that Veto competition, not only handling a very phsyically demanding role, but also helping Michael to see the puzzle and directing him from the ground. She's got a great partner and now that she's not on the outside of power, she's well positioned to make a difference in the game. It should be fun to watch. Grade: B- [Bestie: Michael]
Jasmine Davis (29) is going to run out of good will if she keeps opting out of competitions. Turner is being gracious now, but she's going to have to prove she has the grit for this game, or someone's going to eventually decide she'll be easy to pick off. On top of that, she's suddenly on the outside of the moves and the shakers, despite being Turner's Bestie, so it'll be interesting to see where she goes. She's kind of at a crossroads right now in her game, even though she doesn't yet know that. Grade: C+ [Bestie: Turner]
Alyssa Snider (24) disappeared in this episode, but she also made a major blunder in exposing the girls girls alliance to Kyle because she has a crush on him. He used that to orchestrate an epic blindside of one of Alyssa's closest allies (and the de facto leader of the Girls' Girls). She at least stayed out of the ugliness, but she's going to probably need to scramble soon. Can she work her wiles on Kyle? Grade: C+ [Bestie: Indy]
Indy Santos (31) is still just kind of floating through the game unaligned. Right now, with alliances gunning for one another, that's probably to her benefit. But it doesn't help build a resume for later in the game, so at some point, she's going to have to choose a side and play. Grade: C [Bestie: Alyssa]
Terrance Higgins (47) isn't really doing all that much, either, but we suspect he'll soon find himself on the Block again. We also suspect he'll survive the Block again, but it's further testament that he's going to need to step up and start playing this game. If he loses his partner, we still don't know yet what that'll mean for his game, but he might find himself in the middle of something interesting -- be it positive or negative. Grade: C [Bestie: Ameerah]
Ameerah Jones (31) started getting way too comfortable, which is never a good thing in this House. If it starts to look too easy, either you've got it sown up or you don't know something huge. She is poised to find out she doesn't know something big and it might send her out the door. She's been a brilliant strategist and mastermind, but she got a little too cocky and was a little too public about it. Grade: C- [Bestie: Terrance]
Nicole Layog (41) is living proof that your character sometimes matters as much as your savvy in the game. She was our top scorer in the last episode and now she's collapsed to the bottom and we don't even think she's being actively targeted this week. But her incredible cruelty in bullying Taylor rubbed us and the House the wrong way. Nobody wants to play with someone who treats people that way -- especially as there are people in the House who know Taylor was just trying to be nice. If Taylor stays (and she likely will), the House is going to have to choose a side, and it's probably not going to go well for Nicole. Grade: C- [Bestie: Taylor]
Daniel Durston (35) was so much worse than Nicole in that none of it even happened to him, he took Nicole's side of the story and then he was unbelievable cruel and awful to Taylor. And when he was told that Taylor was actually just trying to be supportive and nice, he didn't care. Daniel showed his true colors and the House just saw it. There's no way they're going to want to continue with him much longer if he stands by that behavior. Grade: D+ [Bestie: Kyle]
"When she gets evicted, I can have whatever power Julie [Chen] has in store. Peace out, Taylor." --Nicole (ready to betray her Festie Bestie)
"I do not want to see me and Terrance on the Block this week, so I want to make sure Turner sees that there's a big target in the House." --Ameerah
"I think Michael will win the Veto, so like, -- I'm assuming Taylor. She's a complete wild card. I don't believe anything she says. I have personally heard Taylor say she wants to go after guys." --Ameerah
"I don't want Nicole to think I'm f---ing her over." --Turner (unaware Nicole wants Taylor out, too)
"What I was thinking, and tell me what to think, not to backdoor you, but to backdoor Taylor." --Turner (to Nicole)
"No, that's fine." --Nicole
"People have said some pretty awful things to me in my life about my skin tone. I just never thought color was going to be a big issue and it was." --Taylor (to Monte)
"We all come in different shades, but sometimes people within the same race will still treat people with deeper skin tones as less than." --Taylor
"I don't even think Pooch did things that incriminating to make him that big of a target so early." --Monte (to Kyle, Turner, and Joseph)
"Unless the girls were like, there might be an alliance." --Joseph
"If we build that trust with Taylor, I think once she finds a home she's a smart girl; I think she's loyal." --Kyle
"That girl is a machine. She was two seconds away from being in this room." --Joseph (about Ameerah almost winning HOH)
"I think who would win this game would be Ameerah or Nicole." --Joseph
"I'm thinking about making big moves. We win the Veto, we take down Michael and Brittany. Homeboy puts up Ameerah and Terrance." --Kyle
"Po's Pack is dead to me." --Kyle (to Monte after formation of The Pound)
"Not only do I have to play, I have to possibly throw this comp so that Taylor and I end up on the Block." --Nicole (after getting selected to play in the Veto Comp)
"I clearly have to throw this Veto and it's really messing with my head." --Nicole (breaking down)
"I hope it's not her mom." --Ameerah (worried about Nicole crying)
"I don't see her as a good person." --Daniel (about Taylor)
"I know. I don't see her as a good person, either. She's a loose cannon." --Nicole
"Would you mind saying a prayer. I just want her to be okay." --Taylor (to Monte about Nicole)
"All I'm gonna say, whatever you need to do at any point, do what's best for you." --Taylor (to Nicole)
"Fight, fight, fight. That's all you can do." --Nicole
"If there's a point where you gotta tap out of the fight, don't even ... consider me." --Taylor (to Nicole)
"That's not even part of my vocabulary." --Nicole (thinking Taylor is being passive-aggressive)
"Taylor tells her she can leave this game any time she'd like." --Daniel (this is getting blown way out of proportion)
Just stop. From this point on, just stop." --Daniel (to Taylor, walking in with a bag of Lays chips)
"With the Lays?" --Taylor (genuinely confused)
"No, with the fake-- Don't speak to me until finale." --Daniel
"I am a fake bitch." --Taylor (thinking he's joking)
"The thing you did to Paloma you're trying to do to her? You can f--- right off. You don't think America's watching all that." --Daniel
"This is getting intense now." --Taylor (still confused)
"From here on out, don't even speak to me." --Daniel
"I thought he was joking. Is he serious?" --Taylor
"You think [Paloma] didn't spiral because of you? And now you're trying to do it to Nicole. Mind games." --Daniel (to Taylor)
"That's not fair." --Taylor (getting emotional)
"I'm not trying to hurt or manipulate anybody. It seems like every time I try to connect with somebody, I'm just hurting them." --Taylor
"I'm a 41-year-old woman who makes my own decisions and the last thing I need is for you to tell me that it's okay to quit." --Nicole (to Taylor)
"My strategy is to give Taylor a few of the correct pieces before I start to sabotage her." --Nicole (during Veto Comp)
"Us seven are on the outside of what could be a juggernaut alliance who are making a lot of decisions and pushing different narratives to have things done throughout the House." --Monte
"I feel like you've been treated so poorly by so many people in this House and I'm honestly sick of it. That's why I'm so passionate about this. I think we have the opportunity to change the narrative, take control of this game, because we literally can." --Michael
"Big Brother" airs Sundays and Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET and Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on CBS.