The classic "BB" wall competition leads to a brand-new Head of Household -- and they are not great at strategizing their next best move (yikes!).
It was a disgusting night on the wall at "Big Brother" as the Top 11 battled it out in one of the show's most iconic competitions. The goo and slime was particularly disturbing this year, though the newspapers were a bit silly.
This was a potentially big Head of Household competition, too, as The Leftovers have maintained their dominance in the game since forming, but the cracks within have been widening. They're already the longest-lasting alliance in the game, but with a seven-to-four split of members and non-members, how much longer is it essential to stay loyal?
We'd already been discussing concerns about Kyle's loyalty. He may have started The Leftovers, but he's also fallen hard and heavy for Alyssa, who's not a part of it. As the showmance blossoms, his allegiance to The Leftovers appears to be withering.
Then, in this latest episode, we immediately saw a conversation between Michael and Brittany -- who really took the defunct Festie Bestie twist and used it to solidify their own tight alliance -- about how much longer it's worth staying true to The Leftovers.
The emergence of a new alliance in the house, such as it is, appears to be spurring even more conversations about where loyalties lie. And in a game of paranoia and distrust, even the truth isn't always enough.
Swatting The Leftovers
Terrance was the sole vote to try and save Daniel last week, and yet the remnants of the Girls Girls alliance (Alyssa, Indy & Jasmine) still aren't trying to rope him into working with them. We just don't see a future for him at all.
As for the girls, they instead started talking about forming a new alliance while Kyle and Joseph were in the room with them. And they included the boys in the new Five Swatters alliance. Unfortunately for them, Joseph is already disloyal, immediately telling The Leftovers about it.
But, as it turns out, the fact that it exist and he and Kyle are part of it is enough to send up some red flags for Michael and Brittany. After all, with The Leftovers and the Five Swatters, Kyle and Joseph are now in an alliance with everyone in the House except for Terrance.
They're pretty well covered no matter what happens. The only thing that could wreck everything for them sitting pretty is to win this next HOH. Even targeting and evicting Terrance could reveal their true allegiances depending on how pawns and vetoes play out.
The bottom line is that Michael and Brittany don't feel inclined to help Kyle and Joseph ride the middle of the House, feeling safe no matter who wins Head of Household, while they've pretty much gone all in with The Leftovers.
As it stood, if any of the Five Swatter girls won, those two boys would be safe because the girls think they're with them. Even if the boys are acting as double agents -- which is unnecessary with The Leftovers' numbers advantage -- they're still in a better position than the rest of The Leftovers alliance.
A lot was riding on this iconic competition, and as we noted in our last review, it's a competition that has more often been won by smaller or slighter people. That proved to be the case once again as Jasmine, Brittany and Terrance quickly flopped out one by one by one.
From there, the more fit contestants hung in there as best they could, but the platform proved to gooey for Monte, while Alyssa and Indy just wore themselves out trying to endure.
After Turner fell next, it was down to the middle-riders, Joseph and Kyle, and Taylor, who really wanted to cement the follow-up to Daniel's eviction on Thursday with an immediate Head of Household win.
Joseph immediately proved Michael and Brittany's concerns somewhat founded, as he decided that because he had at least the illusion of safety from all sides of the House, it was better for him to not win and not have to reveal his hands too soon.
Kyle, meanwhile, may have revealed something else entirely. Even with Taylor trying to negotiate a win for herself, Kyle made it clear he had no intention of stepping down. In a confessional, he revealed it's because he didn't know if Taylor would target Alyssa.
Already, allegiance to Alyssa is influencing how he responds to members of his own alliance. Day by day and kiss by kiss, Kyle is choosing sides in the tug-of-war between The Leftovers and Alyssa -- and the group is losing.
In the end, though, he didn't have what it took as one final tilt of the wall sent him tumbling, completing Taylor's fairy tale rise to power after being targeted and bullied for the first several weeks of this competition.
In "Big Brother," you're going to more than likely have to leave someone feeling betrayed at one point or another. For Taylor, that moment came almost immediately when she started to try and figure out her plan for the week.
Here's the problem. She promised Indy and Alyssa that she wouldn't target them, even though they've been wanting her out. She also promised herself she would never vote out a Black woman. That means she can't target Jasmine, even though Jasmine has been gunning for her since just about Day One.
That leaves only Terrance as her target, but she's now inclined to put a Leftover on the Block next to him. But, as Turner pointed out, what if Terrance wins Veto?
Now, there's a Leftover on the Block, Terrance can't be nominated and she's already said she won't nominate any of the other three women (who are the only candidates).
So then she threw out the idea of putting two Leftovers on the Block and backdooring Terrance. Again, Turner had to point out that if someone outside of their aliiance wins Veto, all they have to do is not use it and a Leftover goes home.
Damn. This game is pretty hard, isn't it? Maybe don't overpromise. And maybe get ready to betray someone, because there's just no way around it when you've basically promised everyone. Or, she could just abandon The Leftovers which gave her a new lease on life in this game, and genuine caring and friendship.
We do get that things are a bit more complicated as we're at the Jury phase of the game, but the advantage of these early Jury evictions is those people have a lo-o-o-o-ong time to get over themselves and start seeing game for game.
To her credit, Taylor decided to be upfront about putting Indy on the Block as a pawn. She also determined to let the House believe that Monte is her true target, and that both nominees, Indy and Terrance, are pawns awaiting a backdoor option.
At the moment, it appears that she's ready to send Terrance packing, but if we're being honest, we're not sure the rest of her alliance would do her bidding on that one. Tonight, they talked about how strong Indy was in that competition, and she's been a strong competitor in others, as well.
Meanwhile, Terrance is largely useless in almost every competition, as is Alyssa. That should be good news for Kyle, who's going to wait as long as possible to have to decide between his showmance and his alliance. If he chooses against The Leftovers too soon and they stay strong otherwise, he could see his own game over.
It's also worth pointing out that the early glimmers of a possible second showmance are emerging (this time between Taylor and Joseph) though it's too early to see if it will evolve beyond just a harmless firtmance and start to impact strategy.
Veto will be very telling this week, depending on who wins it and whether or not the use it. At this point, Taylor would seem to be inclined not to use it, but the alliance could well change their mind and decide Alyssa needs to go to free Kyle (they're so scared of her social game) or see if they can convince Taylor to put Jasmine on the Block.
Honestly, Jasmine would be the ideal target for The Leftovers this week. She's the savviest and most strategic of the remaining non-Leftovers in the House, and she's been pretty awful to Taylor, to boot. The problem is that Taylor is adamant she won't target a Black woman, so that's probably a non-starter. Here's hoping her integrity in this decision (for someone who would not return the favor) won't hurt her down the road.
Brittany Hoopes (32) is already plotting her post-Leftovers game with Michael, and on one else seems to even be playing at that level right now. She's got the best ally possible in comp best Michael, and the best shield, and no one even sees her coming right now. Grade: A
Matt "Turner" Turner (23) has a quick mind for the game, quickly dismantling Taylor's terrible strategies and immediately seeing the best strategic moves forward; even if Taylor isn't willing to make them. He's another player we think the House is sleeping on who will rise up and surprise them when they least expect it because he is seeing this game really well right now. Grade: A
Taylor Hale (27) is in the power position right now, but we weren't thrilled that she failed to see the flaws in her plans. Admittedly, it was brainstorming and it helps to talk these things out, but it worries us that if she were on her own to make decisions, would she miss something critical? Still, she's proving very loyal to her alliance and is in tight with strong players. Grade: A-
Monte Taylor (27) is being used as a misdirect pawn to keep the other side of the House quiet, but we're not sure they'll quickly forget that he legitimately is a threat. At the same time, we believe that he'll start to quickly suss that out when it starts to happen and pivot. He's been playing an extremely smart game, and even when they see the threat he is, he's been able to dodge being the target. Grade: B
Michael Bruner (28) is the textbook example of a huge threat keeping a low profile. The biggest comp threat in the House, and making a run for being among the all-time greats, Michael was also called out by Daniel but has managed to escape becoming a target this week. His social game and clever mind should keep the House dancing a little longer -- and maybe until it's too late. Grade: B-
Joseph Abdin (24) proved on the wall that he's content to play both sides, allowing others to do the dirty work so long as he can ride in the middle of the game. Had he not told The Leftovers, he could have gotten away with this strategy clean, but now there's some resentment brewing from Michael and Brittany, which could come back to hurt. Grade: B-
Kyle Caapener (29) is pulling further and further from The Leftovers as he tightens his arms around showmance Alyssa, and the rest of the House sees it and knows it. We don't see this group letting a showmance ride too deep into the game. If he draws a hard line in the sand, they might just send him home first as he's a much bigger threat. He has to tread so carefully right now. Grade: C+
Jasmine Davis (29) likely gets a stay of eviction this week simply because Taylor doesn't want to target a Black woman. No one else in the House will have that problem, so if Jasmine or her allies fail to gain power next week, we're pretty sure she's going to be public enemy number one -- and Taylor might even help vote her out. Grade: C
Alyssa Snider (24) is in a very complicated situation in the game. She's considered a social threat, but she's also tied at the hip with Kyle, which makes her an even bigger potential threat as a showmance. And yet, she's not proven much at challenges yet, meaning she's also relying on Kyle to protect her. This is not going to be sustainable for much longer, but the longer they're together, the less likely he'll be able to cut her. Grade: C
Terrance Higgins (47) tried to talk some strategy with Taylor, but she just wasn't all that interested. We'll give him credit for trying week after week to make some inroads into this game, but he's either on the outside or the wrong side of the House each week. There are no major alliances that have included him. But his very outsider status -- and lack of competition prowess -- could buy him some time, or set him up as a key swing vote if alliances fall apart soon. Grade: C-
Indy Santos (31) is on the Block as Taylor's pawn, but we still think The Leftovers would rather have her go than him. If she leaves, it rattles Alyssa and Jasmine, leaving them a desperate duo. It also eliminates a strong competitor who could actually win an HOH competition, whereas Terrance feels less likely to do so (as do the other two women at this point). If she's on the Block come Thursday, we think they'll take her out. Grade: C
"Daniel telling everybody that I'm working with Monte? Half the House already knows that and the other half assumes it anyway." --Michael (not bothered)
"Jasmine fell off, so all I can imagine her in her voice saying, 'I fell off quicker than a mudslide on a hot Mississippi day. I fell off faster than a jackrabbit running from a turtle in Mississippi. I fell off quicker than the best rack of ribs you've ever seen falls right off the bone." --Turner
"Aww man, I liked these pants." --Joseph (after getting blasted with green goo on the wall)
"Ew, it's so warm." --Turner
"You got it." --Taylor (to Terrance)
"Please stop talking to me." --Terrance (not here for it)
"So, Kyle's telling me that everything Daniel said isn't true. Let's face it, I can't stay mad at Kyle. I'm so glad that our moment of doubt is over." --Alyssa (she's got it bad)
"Newspapers? I think I remember hearing about newspapers in history class." --Alyssa (ouch)
"It doesn't pay to have a butt in this game." --Brittany (after falling off wall)
"Indy's out. Oh, thank the lord!" --Kyle (being a little obvious after last non-Leftover falls)
"Are you guys feminists? Wouldn't you like to see a female HOH?" --Taylor (once it's down to her, Joseph, and Kyle)
"I have to try!" --Kyle (not taking the bait)
"Me too!" --Joseph (not taking the bait -- but not willing to let Five Swatters think they have power so he drops)
"I don't know where Taylor stands with Alyssa, so I have to win this comp." --Kyle
"Okay, that's enough." --Alyssa (immediately over it as Kyle hugs Taylor following her HOH win)
"I don't think you can write a better season than this. My sworn enemy goes out and then moments later I win in the most iconic 'BB' comp in history. Who's ready for Taylor's reign of terror?" --Taylor
"We should've took her out when we had the chance." --Jasmine
"I just broke it, I'm so excited. Oh, I literally broke it. It's actually broken." --Taylor (with HOH key necklace)
"I'm happy that Taylor won, but Jospeh and Kyle? They just expect us to win everything. And I'm sorry, I don't want to give them a free pass." --Michael (to Brittany, frustrated Joseph and Kyle are aligned with everybody and playing the middle)
"She used me as a pawn when she won the first female HOH, but I came into this game to make sure that I wouldn't be targeting another Black woman, so Jasmine is not on my radar." --Taylor
"She does not care what happens to other people besides herself." --Brittany (wanting to target Jasmine)
"I have no allegiance with anybody, so however you move, I support you a thousand percent. Take your shots." --Terrance (trying to get in Taylor's good graces)
"I think Taylor's a beautiful girl, she's bright, she's definitely my type. I don't know if I'm getting ahead of myself, but there's definitely a spark." --Joseph
"He runs around without his shirt on all the time, how could I not notice other things about him? His biceps have biceps. I would prefer to be uninterrupted all day with Joseph, but that's not how this game works." --Taylor
"Obviously, you are the target." --Taylor (joking with Monte)
"So, I have to have a guy that is not Michael, Joseph or you [Monte], or Kyle. And that leaves you [Turner] and Terrance nominated, and you [Monte] as the 'backdoor.'"
"Taylor, I have no idea where you got this plan, but it is the worst 'Big Brother' plan I have literally ever heard. She is trying to protect her promises to the same side of the House that has been dogging on her for over a month. I was the one who put my neck out on the line just for you and now you want to put me on the Block next to Terrance? It just makes no sense." --Turner
"Question. What would you do if Terrance won Veto?" --Turner (to Taylor)
"S---." --Taylor (didn't think this all the way through)
"So then it would be you two up." --Taylor (to Monte and Turner; solved it... ?)
"But then, what if someone else won and didn't use it." --Turner (gotcha again!)
"Indy is the crankiest roommate I've ever had." --Joseph
"This is probably the hardest comp I've ever had: fix your bed without waking up Indy." --Joseph (he fails)
"In this House, there's always a larger target. But I make sure when I shoot, I don't miss." --Taylor (mean-mugging Monte at Nomination Ceremony to convince House he's her target)