As the "BB24" Houseguests face punishments and prizes at the Power of Veto competition, one moment of selfishness could change someone's game ... and not for the better!
Taylor's Head of Household reign continues to be tumultuous and way more complicated than it perhaps needs to be as she focuses so heavily on "Big Brother" jury management.
This is the first week that the evicted Houseguest will join the Jury, so it is something to consider. But after Taylor basically promised everyone in the House except for Terrance that they wouldn't see the Block, she backed herself into a corner.
She did finally make the most logical move by setting Indy up as a pawn alongside her target, Terrance. At the same time, the rest of her alliance isn't even so sure that her target makes sense.
On paper, Indy and Terrance are basically the same, with neither having won any competitions yet. But Indy has come close on more than one occasion, whereas Terrance's competition performances have been closer to the realm of atrocious.
So the question becomes, is Taylor playing a strategic game or a personal one? Is she playing intellectually or emotionally? Terrance was close to Daniel in this past week and lobbied hard to save him. He also tried to get Taylor out the week prior. It seems like more of a vendetta to us this week.
And then that pattern continued.
This episode was all about the classic prizes and punishments Veto where each successive loser had to release a new prize or punishment and then could swap for one of the already-revealed prizes. It's a classic game because it can expose a lot, considering how the players treat one another.
But it was also a week dominated by all of these overly-complex maneuverings. Now, we have to give credit to Joseph for playing his double-agent schtick to the hilt. He's one of the savviest and cleverest players in this game and he's got Jasmine, Indy and Alyssa thinking he's an absolute idiot.
His feigned confusion this week as to why Taylor would target Terrance was a masterclass in "Big Brother" acting. It's also very smart Jury management. Depending on how he navigates these evictions, he's socially in a very good place throughout the House.
This fact, however, is not lost on the biggest plotters and schemers in the House, outside of Monte and Joseph. Michael and Brittany might as well still be Festie Besties, because they are playing as if their fates are fully intertwined. But they're also playing very smart.
While all eyes are on Kyle to likely be the one to help The Leftovers inevitably implode due to his showmance with non-Leftever Alyssa, Michael and Brittany have been planning for it these past few weeks, and determining when it's their time to strike.
Joseph has been playing all sides of the House, but he remains loyal to The Leftovers and filters intel back to them regularly. Michael and Brittany, however, see it as him setting himself up nicely for the endgame, making him a bigger threat to their games.
When the end of the alliance does come, we fully expect these two to come out swinging and with a plan. This game is going to get messy when it happens -- but how soon is the inevitable?
Wanting to maintain control this week was even more challenging for The Leftovers after players were picked for the Veto Ceremony. In an effort to save her own social game, and Jury management, Taylor selected Alyssa to play.
Jasmine and Kyle saw their names pulled out, as well, which was good news for the (fake) Five Swatters alliance as that meant every member save Joseph was playing. But for The Leftovers, it was all up to Kyle and Taylor.
That is, if it mattered at all. At this point in the week, Joseph and his over-complicated strategy had decided that it might be best for Taylor to have the Veto used to save Indy (thus helping her save face with the ladies), and then Joseph could go up as a replacement pawn.
He saw it as a way to protect the alliance, make it look as if he and Taylor were not working together, build trust, and give her the illusion that she's going after a big target -- until the alliance eliminates Terrance.
But, Michael isn't so sure Terrance even makes sense as a target, for those aforementioned reason that he's no real threat to win the next HOH competition, but the same can't be said for Indy. So a lot was riding on who won this Veto and what they did with it.
The game was played in rounds, with each round's loser smashing a guitar and releasing either a prize or a punishment. And here's where things can get tricky socially in the game.
The first prize is always the Veto itself, because inevitably someone is going to take it. Terrance and Indy were the first two out, assuring that her nominees did not have the power to take themselves down. It might have simplified things a lot for her and the alliance if Indy had taken herself down.
Terrance, out first, wound up with the Veto. Indy pulled the "Ink 182" punishment, so she definitely swapped. This means, Terrance will have to apply 182 temporary tattoos on his body throughout the week.
The next out was Taylor herself, who scored a trip to London. Not wanting to have the obligation to pull Indy down in case she opted not to, she kept the trip. But that's when things got hinky.
Alyssa was next out, and she picked up a "Skid & Fancy" punishment, which would see her tethered to another Houseguest for the entire week. Even after Taylor warned her that she still had a replacement nominee to consider, Alyssa took the trip to London, leaving Taylor with her punishment.
Giving a punishment to the HOH during their reign is never a good look. And you never know how personally they're going to take that. Alyssa has been among the "mean girls" who targeted, bullied and made Taylor's life a living hell in the early weeks of this season. And yet, Taylor was trying to protect them this week when they still would not return that favor.
Making it even more complicated, that left Alyssa's showmance in the competition alongside Jasmine. In the end, he did emerge triumphant, scoring the Power of Veto just after his showmance irked the Head of Household. Talk about risk of using it.
Jasmine picked up $5,000 in cash, but swapped it for the London trip, so Alyssa didn't even wind up with the trip she'd taken from Taylor. Instead, she has a cash pittance compared to the $750,000 grand prize for winning the season. Will short-sighted selfishness and greed cost her her game?
To ratchet up the tension, we didn't find out what Kyle is going to do, but we definitely saw him and Alyss considering that Taylor could decide to target Alyssa now after that move. Even Taylor's alliance believes she just gave Taylor a reason to target her.
Only Michael (and probably Brittany) doesn't think this is a logical move. He thinks that Taylor is again making decisions for personal and emotional reasons rather than strategically. That's because Indy is seen as the most likely to win a competition out of the non-Leftovers left.
Matt "Turner" Turner (23) is impressing us more and more with his strategic mind and willingness to just play this game so hard. His idea this week for Taylor to publicly say she wants to save Indy and then the House vote her out anyway is a perfect solution to please everyone. And it's a testament that he'll do whatever it takes with a smile. Grade: A+
Brittany Hoopes (32) and Michael continue to determine when their right move is. They're seeing the game in a way most of their alliance is not, except perhaps Turner. They're seeing a bigger game with more moving parts, playing at a different level. With Michael as a shield and no one really aware of just how clever she is, Brittany is very well positioned. Even if the alliance implodes, there are so many bigger targets. Grade: A
Joseph Abdin (24) is using the fact that he's a muscle-bound meathead-looking dude to his advantage and we are here for it. One of the cleverest players in the game, no one but Monte seems to fully grasp just how savvy he is at understanding this game. And even though Michael and Brittany are onto him, he has everyone in the House loving him right now, and you can't get better Jury management than that. Grade: A-
Taylor Hale (27) takes a minute to get there, but ultimately makes the right move for her game at this moment. She plays a game that looks haphazard and emotional at times, but she is listening, taking feedback and willing to adjust. Her lack of ego in those moments is a saving grace. She's still in a great position for the time being. Grade: B+
Michael Bruner (28) is the biggest comp threat in the House and yet no one seems to remember that. He's also one of the cleverest players in the House, with a brilliant mind for complex strategy and the social maneuverings in the House, and yet no one save Brittany seems to even know that. He's lowkey a huge threat to win this game. Grade: B
Monte Taylor (27) is basically Joseph's shield, though he may not know it. He's another huge threat in the House, but the only one that people seem to actually publicly consider a threat -- despite Michael winning five comps and Daniel calling him out for it. That's the only mark against Monte because when The Leftovers stop protecting him, they're going to come for him. Grade: B-
Kyle Caapener (29) has reached the point where he might have to make a decision between alliance and showmance, because Alyssa just made herself an easy target for Taylor. The advantage at this point is that the House is big enough that he might survive the end of The Leftovers, if he can quickly align with Michael and Brittany and the other side. Kyle is better at this game than he looks, but this showman could cost him his game. Grade: B-
Jasmine Davis (29) thinks she's got this game figured out and has all the confidence in the world. She's also been wrong about the game at almost every turn, and was wrong again about Joseph this week. It's almost delusional watching her play at this point, thinking she's doing so from a position of power. The Leftovers are toying with her like a barn cat with a rat (as she might say). Grade: C
Alyssa Snider (24) is in even worse shape in the game than Kyle, and the showmance is almost definitely going to doom her game. Unless the other side of the House can bolster their numbers with an immediate Leftover collapse, she's always been considered one of the biggest social threats in the House, as well as someone who's more likely to win a comp than Jasmine or Terrance, at least. And then, after tonight, she went and made herself a bigger target specifically for this HOH. Grade: C
Terrance Higgins (47) appears to not be Taylor's target now after The Leftovers explained that Indy is a legitimate competition threat, and he is not. He has, though, started playing a more aggressively strategic game. It's been a terrible strategic game and nothing has worked out for him, but we give him credit for seeing that Taylor is lying to him and correctly believing that she is working with Monte rather than wanting to backdoor him. It's just not going to help much in the long run unless something drastic changes. Grade: C-
Indy Santos (31) has gone from Taylor's pawn to the likely target for the House this week. It's not what Taylor wanted to happen, but Indy would have likely turned on her at some point anyway if she had somehow gained some power, as would Jasmine and Alyssa. Taylor needs to get over her faux loyalty to them, as they'd likely not vote for her in the end unless her opponent was someone they disliked more. Grade: C-
"As much as I want to make moves, we're in the Jury phase of this competition, and I want to make sure everyone going into that Jury House has a reason to root for me." --Taylor (after nominations)
"I don't like hugs, remember?" --Indy (setting boundaries after nominations)
"Am I f---ed?" --Terrance (to Taylor after nominations)
"I want you to win this Veto, take yourself down and be the reason that I put Monte up." --Taylor
"Taylor tells me I'm a pawn to backdoor Monte. I don't believe that. I think Taylor and Monte are working together. Why else would you put up myself and Indy, neither one of us have great competition accomplishments. Let's see, I won the-- And then, there was the-- Oh, and by the way, I won the-- Exactly." --Terrance
"I think she put Terrance up because he was so close to Daniel." --Jasmine
"Ah, there it is. What am I thinking? I completely forgot about that." --Joseph (playing dumb as a double agent)
"Get your head in the game, Joseph." --Jasmine
"Oh, my sweet Joseph. My sweet Joseph. He is definitely not the sharpest tool in the shed. But he's extremely useful because Taylor obviously has a crush on Joseph. So we're using him to milk her like a dairy cow and bring all that information back to us." --Jasmine (except she's got it backwards)
"It would be crazy for me to put Alyssa up, with all the reassurance I've given her." --Taylor (to Joseph, exploring options)
"At the end of the day, I just want it used to pull down either one just so I can see what the f--- is the truth." --Terrance (to Joseph, doubting Taylor would really nominate Monte if Veto is used)
"Taylor might put Joseph up as a pawn. He's on board, he volunteered, which I'm like [surprise reaction]." --Michael
"He's definitely overplaying, just stick with the plan." --Brittany
"Exactly. But if there's a world in which we could get Joseph out this week and be good with The Leftovers and the other side of the House, do we take our chances?" --Michael
"It definitely would be a bigger target, that's for sure." --Brittany
"I haven't put you or Kyle in jeopardy. Please use it. Please, please use it." --Taylor (to Alyssa after picking her to play in Veto)
"Absolutely, I will." --Alyssa
"I'm just thinking about threat level. Terrance versus Indy, in my opinion, like, is it personal to get Terrance out this week versus Indy?" --Monte (to Joseph)
"Taylor's made it clear she wants Terrance going home." --Joseph
"I think we can convince Taylor. I think we can." --Monte
"We have one person who isn't going to win a comp and one person we think is pretty strong." --Turner (to Leftovers)
"I just don't need those girls [thinking I sent Indy home]." --Taylor
"You could even openly say, 'I want Indy to stay.' And then when we kick her out, she's like, 'Oh, I love Taylor. She fought for me.' That's an idea. Not set in stone, just an idea." --Turner
"Bold. Little disrespectful. I've done everything I can to protect Alyssa this week and now the first chance she gets, she takes away my trip to London and saddles me with a punishment. I know Alyssa's going to regret this. I'm positive. And I will make her regret it." --Taylor (after Alyssa swaps punishment "prize" for vacation prize)
"I don't know. I should have just kept it. What if you use it and she puts me up?" --Alyssa (to Kyle, second-guessing stealing vacation from Taylor)
"That's also what I'm worried about. Like obviously, Taylor says the girls are safe and then puts Indy up. I don't think she's sticking to her word." --Kyle
"My mom's probably so mad that I took a freaking [trip], because taking something like that means you feel comfortable, which isn't a good idea." --Alyssa
"Five grand is nothing compared to seven-hundred-and-fifty thousand. That's why I'm like, I shouldn't have done that." --Alyssa (wound up with $5k after Jasmine swapped with her)