After the shocking blindside eviction of Ameerah by the newly-formed Leftovers alliance, the House is left reeling -- can The Leftovers keep power, or is it time for them to start scrambling?
With only 13 Houseguests left in the "Big Brother" House, a solid alliance of seven players should be in a pretty good position. But that requires they hold onto power, making this week's Head of Household critical for The Leftovers.
After the self-perceived "outsiders" of the game united last week and successfully blindsided the biggest threat to their games in the House, Ameerah, it was chaos in the House.
No one had imagined Joseph, Kyle, Monte, Turner, Michael, Brittany and Taylor ever coming together strategically -- Ameerah even ironically referred to them as "leftovers" from the real strategic players -- but that's exactly why it worked.
But even though seven is a pretty solid number, it's tenuous with six people outside of it who are now angry, stressed and struggling to figure out what happened and who flipped on the Po's Pack Alliance (Ameerah, Alyssa, Monte, Michael, Kyle, and Nicole) to take out one of their own.
It's also worth noting that to this point, no large power alliance has lasted more than a week or two at most, so it's a lot early to go ahead and declare The Leftovers something that will last. There was a lot riding in this week's Head of Household competition.
If the new "outsiders" secured power, that could spell trouble for members of The Leftovers, and they can't afford to lose numbers. Joseph and Monte cleverly invited Terrance into their Festie Besties duo (speculating that as a possible option after his original Festie Bestie Ameerah were evicted) because he's not part of The Leftovers, creating protection for them if they hit the Block.
In other words, they're certainly thinking long-term with some of their strategies right now. Could this be the one that sticks? And would they face their first test this week, or secure power and take another shot at the other side of the House?
Easily the most important HOH competition of the season for The Leftovers as this is their proving ground as an alliance. They'd rather work from a place of power, but can they hold together without it?
As we saw in Thursday's show, the competition itself played out in two phases. The first saw Houseguests scrambling to rip open hundreds of envelopes seeking a red invitation. The first eight would go on to the second and final round.
At the close of the show, we saw Jasmine, Terrance and Brittany. For The Leftovers, that's one possible shot at winning so far. But as the new episode progressed, Brittany was joined by fellow Leftovers Monte and Joseph. Daniel, Nicole and Alyssa also advanced.
The second round's challenge was sliding goblets across a narrow table. The further the slide, the more points you could earn. Push too hard, and it topples off the table and you get no points. With only three of five Leftovers in the competition, the whole alliance was definitely sweating.
Nicole took an early lead with a commanding nine points. No one else could come close to that mark ... except Monte. Monte had a stellar run, picking up 11 total points and coming away with a critical Leftovers HOH victory. Looks like they'd be playing from a position of power.
The Festie Besties twist makes it so much more complicated to choose targets because Houseguests must be nominated in pairs. When the other side of the House was in power, that meant Nicole had to face the Block if she wanted Taylor out (and she does).
But it now means that Taylor would have to see the Block to get Nicole out, and she is not ready to go through that again. That could change as the week progresses, but Taylor was adamant she wasn't feeling it right now.
To his credit, Monte was incredibly respectful in listening to her and assuring her passionately that he wanted to respect her on this one. Everyone agrees Nicole is a huge target The Leftovers want gone, but he will not put Taylor up if she's not down to go through that.
It's a huge statement of trust and respect from Monte that is incredibly admirable. Even in Diary Room chats, his message never changed. If Taylor gives the green light, he'd consider them. If not, he started eying the Festie Besties duo of Alyssa and Indy, because neither is a Leftover.
Daniel was their other perceived biggest target in the House, but his nomination is also complicated as he's paired with Leftover Kyle. For his part, Kyle said he'd take one for the team if it came down to it. Taylor didn't seem entirely opposed to it, and knows it would need to happen at one point, but she's trying to give herself some breathing room after weeks and weeks of turmoil directed at her in the House.
Even this week, the other side continued to trash her, angry that she knew about the blindside of Ameerah and they didn't. Alyssa, Nicole and Indy were all disgusted that Taylor should be on the inside of something and not them. Seriously, what did this woman ever do to any of you?
Ultimately, Monte went with his straightforward option of putting up Alyssa and Indy, but he also told them that neither of them are his real target this week. That's almost true. While they're not his ideal targets, he'd be fine with Alyssa going home as she's seen as a huge threat because of her social game.
The Leftovers are sitting in a pretty solid position for the time being, no matter what happens with the Power of Veto. If all of them stay true to the alliance, they should be able to control the vote this week and increase their numbers advantage -- and every boost is key at this early stage.
Can The Leftovers go the distance? Will Alyssa leaning into her burgeoning showmance with Kyle to guilt him over not including her start to weaken his will? He's a little concerned after Joseph revealed she may have a "person" on the outside (though there was no indication what she meant by that), but he also admitted to being weak and "horny" and definitely attracted to her.
Will anyone else on The Leftovers falter? Will Taylor decide to offer herself up as a backdoor option in order to try and get Nicole out of the House? Or might Monte take Kyle up on his offer to help them backdoor Daniel if Alyssa and Indy come down. Does that offer still stand? There are a lot of moving parts right now.
Monte Taylor (27) took control in a major way this week, and not just with his HOH victory. He was so respectful in listening to Taylor, used his power to gather intel from the House and really is playing an incredibly smart game right now, not just for this week, but positioning The Leftovers for the long run in this game. Grade: A [Besties: Joseph & Terrance]
Joseph Abdin (24) is this muscle dude that people keep underestimating strategically. He's so much more clever than the House knows, and he has a great read on what's going on with the other Houseguests. His is a more subtle game, but definitely one to respect. Grade: A [Besties: Monte & Terrance]
Taylor Hale (27) is being heard right now, which has not been the case this season, and respected. You can see in her mind that she's considering offering herself up as a backdoor option to get Nicole out. She doesn't want to have to "prove" herself, but knows it's the only way to get a big target out. She's coming into her power in this game, and it's nice to see her smiling. Grade: B+ [Bestie: Nicole]
Michael Bruner (28) remains likable and a huge physical threat in this game. Now well aligned, he's smartly laying low and letting things happen around him. We also have to give him kudos for strategically being honest about having voted for Ameerah to go because he knew it would come out or be figured out anyway, as that saved him a little grace from the other side. Grade: B+ [Bestie: Brittany]
Matt "Turner" Turner (23) could have been in huge trouble after heading up last week's epic blindside, but instead finds himself in a good spot with Monte as HOH. He's very smart to just play it cool right now. Grade: B [Bestie: Jasmine]
Brittany Hoopes (32) is another one playing it cool as a cucumber, but in the right alliance at the right time. Just ride it out for the week and hope things stay smooth. Grade: B [Bestie: Michael]
Kyle Caapener (29) is the piece of the Leftovers puzzle that has us a little concerned as he appears to be a little more naïve in life and with women, and Alyssa is playing him hard with guilt over the vote. If he starts to second guess the "meaner" aspects of the game on a personal level, he could waffle and the other side would pounce all over that. Grade: B- [Bestie: Daniel]
Terrance Higgins (47) is safe for this week in his new Festie Besties trio, but little does he know that he was invited into the group as a shield they could discard to protect themselves. In other words, Terrance is seen as expendable. He's yet to do much strategically in the game, and this move isn't as above board as he thinks, which isn't great for his long game. Grade: C+ [Besties: Joseph & Monte]
Jasmine Davis (29) is sulking right now after the loss of Ameerah with the remnants of the Girls' Girls alliance, but that's not going to get any of them anywhere. They need to suck it up and use this as fuel to fight and do something in the game. Grade: C [Bestie: Turner]
Indy Santos (31) has apparently rubbed some people the wrong way with abrasiveness and her more emotional personality (which we've only seen glimpses of). That could hurt her game if The Leftovers hold together because it gives them a reason to target her. It didn't help she bristled at Monte trying to talk to her about being a pawn this week. Grade: C- [Bestie: Alyssa]
Daniel Durston (35) is a tertiary target for The Leftovers, but he remains a strong strategic and physical player. His personal outburst at Taylor was still gross, but he still has allies in the House and the ability to regain power. He's a bigger threat than The Leftovers are treating him as, which could be to their detriment. At least they do acknowledge he needs to go; they're just not prioritizing him. That said, if Indy and Alyssa come down and Taylor balks at going up with Nicole, Daniel could find himself backdoored right now. Grade: C- [Bestie: Kyle]
Alyssa Snider (24) is in a very bad spot right now. While she's not Monte's direct target, if she winds up staying on the Block this week because the Veto user opts not to use it, she's gone. She needs her or Indy to win in order to guarantee her safety, and she doesn't even quite realize it, which could mean she won't fight as hard as she otherwise might. And even if she does come down this week, she's a huge Leftover target for next week. Grade: D+ [Bestie: Indy]
Nicole Layog (41) appears to be Monte's dream target this week, but he's respecting Taylor's wishes as to whether she's willing to hit the Block to get Nicole out or not. Nicole's life could be saved by the person she's been trying to get out all week. But eventually Taylor will relent, and Nicole will be targeted -- if the other side doesn't manage to wrest control and flip the House again before it can happen. Grade: D+ [Bestie: Taylor]
"Ameerah shouldn't have been evicted. She is one of my closest friends in this House and I feel like Po's Pack should have kept her safe." --Alyssa
"Did you vote to evict her?" --Alyssa (to Michael)
"I did." --Michael
"Thank you for being honest." --Alyssa
"I have to be honest because it's pretty obvious where the votes came from." --Michael (in Diary Room)
"Idiot. I'm a f---ing idiot." --Alyssa (crying after eviction)
"I didn't even get to say goodbye to her. I didn't get to say goodbye to my best friend in this game." --Nicole (to Alyssa and Indy)
"I'm sorry, Indy. I really need this because I was just blindsided and I need to take my power back." --Alyssa (in Diary Room after taking last HOH Comp slot from Indy ... who was also blindsided)
"Oh my god, you hug really hard." --Monte (to Nicole after he wins Head of Household)
"I feel on the outs right now and it's a super crappy feeling." --Nicole (in Diary Room, maybe talk to Taylor as she certainly knows what that feels like)
"I sensed something was happening." --Daniel (to Nicole about vote flip)
"So did I." --Nicole (they have no idea what it was, though)
"If they would have told me, I would have been fine. It just sucks that I didn't get to say goodbye to her. Like, you made me go to Terrance and cry to him. Come on. You could have told me. I can't trust anybody." --Nicole (to Daniel about Ameerah)
"I thought it was going to be unanimous and Kyle didn't say anything to me. I don't even want to look at him, I don't want to talk to him." --Alyssa (to Nicole and Indy)
"Guess who f---ing saved this week?" --Monte (to Joseph and Terrance)
"This works out perfectly because now if Monte, Terrance and I are ever nominated, The Leftovers should have the votes to be able to bring Monte and I down and evict Terrance." --Joseph (in Diary Room after inviting Terrance to join their Festie Besties team)
"They always say, 'Don't get too comfortable.' I'm like, 'No. Never me.' And here we are." --Jasmine (commiserating after Ameerah's eviction)
"You wanna know what hurts me the most is that we didn't know, but Taylor did." --Jasmine
"That's what I'm f---ing saying." --Alyssa
"I just wish I was at home with my person." --Alyssa (to Turner and Joseph, who wonders what that means for her burgeoning showmance with Kyle)
"I was like, 'What do you mean 'your person'? Aren't you flirting with Kyle?'" --Joseph (to Kyle)
"Dude, I can't be doing this, like get away from me. I know it's bad for my game, but she's so attractive and we get along great and ... I'm just too horny, dude. Don't air that!" --Kyle (in Diary Room)
"I don't understand why your first thought wasn't, 'I should say something to Alyssa.'" --Alyssa (to Kyle about the vote)
"She said, 'P.S. No chicas.'" --Monte (reading letter from his mother)
"I don't think anyone wants Daniel or Nicole to stay. I can go up with Daniel." --Kyle (to Leftovers)
"Would I like to see Nicole out of this house, yes. It's, like, a weight off my shoulders. But I would prefer to not have to touch the Block again this week." --
"I'm gonna put on a show tomorrow and have everybody come in. And honestly, I'm just gonna be trying to gather intel, see who's lying, see who's telling the truth." --Monte
"I understand, and you're gonna do what you have to do. But I would never do that to you." --Monte (about her and Alyssa going up as "pawns")
"I want to make this clear that you guys are not my targets this week." --Monte (after nominating Alyssa and Indy)
"If Taylor gives me the greenlight, Nicole, you better watch out because a backdoor is coming." --Monte (in Diary Room after nominations)