In the aftermath of Kyle's eviction last week, the Top 7 are left flailing and scrambling to figure out who they can trust and who they should target.
It was a night of savage insults and even more savage game strategy. We've officially reached the point of "Big Brother" where everyone just sounds so mean as they plot how to evict one another.
It's endgame time, though, and the Top 7 don't even know (for sure) that this week's eviction episode is a two-hour double-eviction, which will subsequently reveal this season's Top 5. Could this be the week they finally get rid of Michael?
Only one person in the House seems to be okay to riding to the end with this season's comp beast, who is moving dangerously close to some all-time "Big Brother" records. He is currently tied with Janelle Pierzina's for most Veto wins in a single season at five, and only two behind her incredible nine-win season.
Could this "Big Brother" legend be about to get surpassed by a comp legend in the making? Can anyone stop him? Well, the first thing they needed to do to start stopping him was to stop him from winning Head of Household this week, so he could be vulnerable.
After Kyle's eviction last week over racially-tinged comments and strategizing, Michael and Brittany actually put themselves in a pretty good position. Was it strategy? Don't let them fool you. It most definitely was, no matter how they may try to spin it. They chose when to share the intel to benefit their game.
With Turner in power and their ally (who they will turn on) Taylor on the Block, they dropped this bombshell to save her and put themselves in a power position. At the time, the perception was that the House was pretty evenly divided between Dyre Fest (Alyssa, Kyle, Terrance, Turner) and BroChella (Brittany, Michael, Monte, Taylor).
By effectively forcing -- and Michael was heavily strong-arming Turner into putting up Kyle -- Dyre Fest to turn on their own, Michael and Brittany put BroChella in firm control of the House. But who won this week's HOH was going to possibly determine the rest of the season -- depending on allegiances.
The live broadcast of the Head of Household competition ended before we got to crown a winner, but apparently it wasn't much more than a minute or two after that that one was crowned.
Probably before Julie Chen even got off the set, it was all over. Watching it back on television, it wasn't even close. And just about the entire House sighed in frustration as Michael ran away with another competition, inching one win closer to Janelle's record.
With so many of the genuine competition threats eliminated, he's actually very well positioned to make a run to the end. And now that there are only seven people left, he will get to play in every single Veto -- and he's basically won every one he's played in. Is he unstoppable?
That became the running discussion in the House for the rest of the season. Pretty much everyone except for Brittany seems to think that if they ever get a chance to take him out, they're going to have to do it. We would be stunned if he's ever vulnerable again and he doesn't go home.
They also realize that in the event they can't get rid of Michael, Brittany would be a next-best option. It would eliminate her from winning comps to protect him, and it would weaken his position in the game as they are definitely a power duo.
They think this becomes a problem for next week, but it's actually going to become an issue to deal with on Thursday's double-eviction. Now, Michael won't be able to play Head of Household, so unless Brittany wins Head of Household, it should be either Michael or Brittany going home.
The smart thing to do would be to make sure Brittany doesn't win HOH and nominate both of them straight up. If the HOH nominates neither of them and one of them wins Veto, they'd just keep nominations the same. If they nominate one of them, the other could win and save them both. With both of them up, if one wins, they'd have to save themselves, leaving the other available to evict.
This is going to be their absolute best chance to get out Michael, and barring him, to get out his closest ally in the game. Can they pull it off?
We get it, we're at that point of the game, but after his dirty move last week in taking something very real and sensitive and weaponizing it to further his own game, we weren't enamored with Michael's Godfather-like behavior while talking with the Houseguests.
It's understandable that he and Brittany would be very arrogant in the game because they are doing very well (thanks to Michael), but that kind of behavior can rub a Jury the wrong way. It's certainly starting to rub the House the wrong way.
The only one they've got pretty convinced she's in tight with them is Taylor. Props to Brittany on this one, she seems to have Taylor convinced that Brittany would turn on Michael in the end and take Taylor to the Final 2 with her. That's about the only way anyone would agree to align with such a tight twosome, so kudos to Brittany for strengthening their alliance by one with this lie.
As for Michael, he was pretty condescending to both Terrance and Alyssa, and dismissive. He basically wanted to try and pry information out of them, but neither of them would give him what he wanted. What he wanted was confirmation that he was last week's backdoor target, but why would they do that?
For one thing, Michael is sitting here saying that morally he can't put Turner up because that would send the message that you can be punished for doing the right thing (i.e., putting Kyle up for eviction last week). Brittany, though, is ready to do it -- and we're not totally sold Michael won't talk himself into it.
Alyssa opened up to him and told him about The Pound alliance, without knowing that Kyle had already told him. She thought she was opening a line of trust, but he was dismissive of her because he already knew what she told.
In the end, he nominated Terrance and Alyssa for eviction, with a pretty ridiculous reason for why he nominated Alyssa, in particular. He told her that he felt like she withheld information until he was in power -- but didn't he just withhold information about Kyle until it benefited his game? Hypocrisy is never a good look.
It's also not great optics, suggesting that maybe he doesn't remember that he and Brittany were just accused by Terrance of doing basically the same thing with the Kyle intel. They held onto it for two weeks until they needed to use it to save Taylor (for their games). Maybe don't call someone out for doing what you just got called out for doing.
We also loved Terrance just laughing in the middle of the Nomination Ceremony when Michael tried to explain why he was nominated because he knows it was "b.s.," and then laughing again and saying we'll have plenty to talk about when Michael said that he was available to talk to either of them alone after.
What is there to even say about this season's zings. They are brutal in a way that felt even harsher than we've seen before -- insulting people's appearance as well as their games and personalities? We do have to say, though, that the old jokes always come and they're so lazy.
"We're about to get humbled." --Monte
"Turner, you used to be a van lifer. It seems you've been everywhere except the shower." --Zingbot
"With all that's going on in the world, there's some new zinging guidelines. Masks are now optional, unless your face looks like Michael. Cover that up. Zing!" --Zingbot
"Monte, I hear you're good at impressions. In fact, I've been working on my Monte impression. Are you ready? 'I'm Monte and I'm so boring.'" --Zingbot (impression in monotone)
"I heard the Big Brother backyard was hot, but this is brutal. I really could use something icy and cold. Could I borrow your Taylor. Ice Queen Zing!" --Zingbot
"Oh my god, it's DJ Showtime. You are so popular in the underground because that's where they find fossils." --Zingbot
"Alyssa, when I see you, I can't help but think of a heavy winter coat in the desert: dead weight and completely useless." --Zingbot
"Brittany, I have a song for you. 'Jeepers, creepers, where did you get those peepers? No seriously, where did you get those crazy f---ing eyes?" --Brittany
Monte Taylor (27) remains in a good spot because no one really sees him as a huge threat to win competitions or even the game, making him not on anyone's radar as an immediate priority, no matter who wins HOH. Him being aligned with Turner is very good, as that increases the odds of him having some control on Thursday's double-eviction. Grade: B+
Matt "Turner" Turner (23) could be in trouble next week if Taylor or Brittany wins HOH, but he's proven more than capable of winning comps (that Michael's not in), so he's in a good spot to control his own fate. His target is growing, though, because he's played an overall very solid game, which could prove problematic. Grade: B
Taylor Hale (27) has a shot at winning HOH on Thursday, which could set her up to try and take Turner out -- if she can get the House on board. She's in more danger than she knows aligning with Brittany, because Brittany will cut her, but she's still got a good social game with most of the House, which could help her pivot again. Grade: C
Alyssa Snider (24) finds herself in a better position for now because she is basically dead weight, and now has no strong player in her pocket protecting her. That makes her persona non grata when it comes time to figure out who to target. The only person who's won nothing, no one is worried about her at all and figures they can pick her off at their convenience. Grade: C
Michael Bruner (28) should be much lower than he is, but he's such a comp warrior, he could well win his way to the end. That said, if any opportunity to take him out arises, the majority of the House will take it. With a double looming, that's the perfect time to take out a threat like him as it gives him little time to try and talk his way out of it (though, at this point, we don't see how he could). Grade: C-
Brittany Hoopes (32) is way more vulnerable than she realizes because with Michael having to save himself at every opportunity, he won't always be able to save her, too. He's more than capable of winning out, but if the House plays it right, they can weaken him slightly by getting rid of her. She's just not as capable of defending herself against a relentless onslaught, and depending on who wins HOH, she could go this Thursday in the double. Grade: D+
Terrance Higgins (47) is probably in trouble this week after laughing at Michael. Of the two current nominees, he's the biggest threat to actually win something, and we could see the House deciding to cut him loose. He's a wild card and a loose cannon when it comes to strategy. Grade: D
"Michael has got to go this week." --Turner (echoing everyone's Diary Room sentiments)
"Much like my game right now, this competition is about putting the pieces back together." --Alyssa (in DR)
"Michael has a huge target on his back. Nearly everyone in the House has thrown around trying to get him out. And I feel like, if they can't get him out, they might try to come after me." --Brittany (in DR)
"You have got to be kidding me." --Turner (watching Michael run away with HOH competition)
"You're kidding me." --Taylor (watching Michael run away with HOH competition)
"I'm looking around and I"m not seeing a lot of happy faces. I don't know if they're sick of me winning or surprised at how fast it was over, but I'm excited." --Michael (in DR after winning HOH)
"If this were any other week, Turner would be my target. But I gave him my word last week that I wouldn't send him home and I plan on sticking to that." --Michael (in DR)
"It's good to be Michael's best friend." --Brittany (in DR after Michael wins HOH)
"I'm a little bummed 'cause I was kind of hoping this would be the week I might be able to take a shot at Michael, but it's okay, the time will come." --Taylor (in DR)
"At the very least, you or me will probably win next week." --Turner (to Monte)
"Can we get something that Michael isn't going to win?" --Turner (in DR)
"He has to win every Veto. He gonna slip once, I'll make sure to catch him. It's crazy, man. I'm not confident in what I'm saying, but at the same time, I think he has to slip once." --Monte (about Michael's comp dominance)
"Since you brought Dyre Fest up, I've heard bits and pieces. What happened?" --Michael (mining for intel from Terrance)
"I appreciate the information, Alyssa, but you're not telling me anything that's useful. Half of the members are gone already." --Michael (after Alyssa tells him about The Pound)
"You do Alyssa, Terrance first. Then, if we have the opportunity -- you, me, or even Taylor win Veto -- we should be thinking about--" --Brittany (to Michael)
"I don't want to put Turner up." --Michael
"I view Turner as a big threat in this game. I think getting rid of Turner would be best for me, but I know that last week Turner putting up Kyle wasn't the right move for his game, but it was the right thing to do. So, I don't want the lesson here to be, if you do the right thing, you get punished for it. With this decision, I'm weighing if I put my morals first or I put my game first." --Michael (in DR)
"I just feel like, once we get Turner out, it's smooth sailing." --Brittany (to Michael)
"This is what I've been contemplating, 'cause like if we have a chance to take out Brittany, I think we should. 'Cause at that point, I don't think the jury-- if they have to choose between Michael and Brittany, of course Michael's gonna win, but if they have to choose between, say, Michael and you, Michael and me, Michael and Taylor, I tell you what? There might be enough ruckus stirred in the jury where they're like, 'You, that was some pretty low s---, what they did to Kyle.' I feel like they were trying to play the saints of the saints of the situation, they did the best that they could, they may have made some mistakes. No, they didn't make any mistakes. This was very calculated; they 100 percent forced your hand into putting up Kyle." --Monte (to Turner)
"And while saying, 'It's not good for our game.'" --Turner
"Big Brother" airs Sundays and Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET on CBS, and Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET (with this Thursday's episode a live two-hour double eviction).