With only seven Houseguests left and a double-elimination looming Thursday night, it looks like loyalty is being evicted before anyone else!
On the positive side of the social experiment that is "Big Brother," Wednesday's episode included another important conversation about diversity, representation and acceptance.
We've had conversations already about race in the House, and even an eviction based on the pervasive issue of racism -- even unconscious -- but this was a discussion about a lesser-discussed member of the LGBTQIA+ community.
Michael, obviously, is an ambassador for gay people everywhere. He's been an incredibly smart player and an absolute competition beast. But flying far more under the radar has been Turner.
There are definitely some parallels to their respective sexualities and the visibility of their games. Representation has been on the rise for gay people in media, but Turner knew pretty early on that he was bisexual -- and that kind of representation is still hard to come by.
Even within the gay community, society is so indoctrinated into this binary notion of sexuality that when you ask people to accept that some people are attracted to the same sex, they can only see it as an either/or (and they're definitely not ready for gender diversity).
That meant that for Turner growing up, he felt like he had to make a choice to either like girls or like boys. The power of representation is that he'd have loved to see more bisexual people and characters on television to help him understand that what he was feeling was perfectly normal. Binary representation just doesn't cover enough.
It wasn't a dominant conversation on the night, as he opened up about his experiences with Monte and Taylor, but it was an impactful one. At its best, "Big Brother" is a microcosm of society. It can expose our weaknesses and our flaws, but it can also expose our beautiful diversity, if we're just willing to open our hearts and minds and learn.
With Terrance on the Block and Michael Head of Household, Turner quickly picked up the fact that his game was likely in jeopardy. That's because there's no reason Terrance wouldn't throw him under the bus for the backdoor plan to evict Michael last week (thwarted because he can't lose competitions).
Terrance is justified in being frustrated, because he is taking the fall for Turner on this one, and Michael is pretty sure he knows exactly what was being planned before he won Veto last week. But he also promised Turner that if he put Kyle on the Block so he could be evicted over his racist assumptions, Michael wouldn't target him this week if he gained power.
As dirty as Michael played it, waiting until it was advantageous for his game to throw Kyle under the bus, he doesn't want to punish Turner for doing the wrong thing -- or maybe it's that he doesn't want his game tainted by such an overtly dirty move.
Whlie there are those in the House pretty irked that he and Brittany played dirty with an issue as serious as race, when it comes to Michael, they have much bigger fish to fry. The dude is nigh unstoppable in competitions.
With him secure in power, both Turner and Terrance realized that their best move was to throw the other under the bus. Terrance is already on the Block, and Turner knows he's a pretty tempting backdoor offer, despite Michael's promise.
It certainly doesn't help that Brittany is campaigning hard to Michael that he should go back on his word and put up Turner. And that Michael readily admits it would be the smartest move. After all, Michael can't play in the HOH comp next week, making him more vulnerable than usual. Turner is among the best competitors there, and definitely seen as more of a comp threat than Terrance.
Turner's intention was to hit up Michael before Terrance could get to him, but he wasn't fast enough. Terrance's intention was to tell Michael he didn't like the way he weaponized Kyle and that he would taint the Jury against his dirty gameplay. He did also throw Turner under the bus.
Turner tried to back his way out from under the tires, but Michael wasn't buying what he was selling. Also, it's totally obvious to everyone (including Michael) that he basically has to win out the rest of the season if he wants to make it to the finale. The problem for everyone else is that he's clearly capable of doing it.
Of the seven remaining Houseguests, they've won a total of 17 competitions. Michael has won eight of those. He's already tied "BB" legend Janelle Pierzina's 16-year-old Veto record with five Veto wins. If he wins tonight's comp he'll set a new record, and also tie her overall competition wins record with nine. Can he be stopped?
Always one of the most iconic and entertaining competitions, "BB Comics" has become a staple and a milestone competition. Unfortunately for this week, only six people play in Veto comps, meaning one person will miss out on this huge moment.
Even worse for Turner, who's fighting to avoid a possible backdoor, that person was him. Instead, he served as host for the competition, which isn't remotely the same.
As always, it's an absolute blast seeing all of the Houseguests transformed into punny superhero characters that say a lot about how they're perceived in the game, outside the game and even by production. It's not always flattering.
The competition itself is pretty straightforward. Slide across a zip line peering into a window where you see all of the comics sitting on the rack in a certain order.
In your box are all of the comics, but there are two covers for each one. One matches what's in the window perfectly, while the other has a subtle difference. Houseguests have to put the comics in the same order as the window, and make sure they have the accurate image.
Probably the biggest surprise was how the times shook out. As a competition that requires mental attention to detail, memory and physicality, this is a great barometer of overall competition prowess.
It was not a huge surprise that Terrance came in last, but it was remarkably how close most of the other Houseguests were. Brittany and Alyssa's times were literally two seconds apart with Monte about 20 seconds behind both of them. Taylor had an impressive outing, beating all of them by more than a minute.
But Michael once again was dominant in a way that makes it look like he's an Olympic ice skater taking on someone who's never put on ice skates or stepped foot on ice. Taylor's time of 12:13 was eclipsed by more than three minutes, as Michael finished in 9:06. We reiterate, can he be stopped?
Throughout the episode, Brittany has been trying to push him to consider changing the nominees. With him having all the power, she tried again, but he's just not budging. Both are using language to suggest they are starting to play slightly different strategies and games. Could this be a crack in the biggest power duo of the summer?
Ultimately, Michael stuck by his wood (so as to not poison his chances with the Jury) and opted not to use the Power of Veto, leaving Terrance and Alyssa on the Block, with Terrance the most likely target to actually go home.
Aside from problems with how he handled the Kyle situation, the biggest problem with Michael is that it may already be too late to get rid of him. This was not an anomaly when it comes to his competition prowess.
He now holds the all-time Veto wins with six and ties Janelle's all-time comp record with nine. His next closest competitors are a three-way tie between Brittany, Turner and Terrance with two wins each. In fact, Monte and Taylor have one win each and if you combine all of those wins, Michael still has more wins than everyone else left combined.
Even Brittany seems to be wavering in her undying loyalty to him, or at least she's pretending to be that way to pump the other Houseguests for information. We're not sure how genuine it is, though, to talk about how much he needs to go with someone and then run to Michael and tell him that person wants him out.
For one thing, Michael knows they want him out. He's not stupid. He knows everyone wants him out. And after Brittany ran to him to tell him that Turner wanted him out, based on her conversation where she agreed with him, Turner again went to Michael to lay it all out.
Unlike when he was lying and trying to convince Turner that Terrance was behind the backdoor-Michael plan, this time he was being truthful in saying that Brittany was telling him that she couldn't beat him in the FInal Two. Now, Turner was also saying these things, but no one ever tells the whole truth.
It puts a bug in Michael's ear that Brittany may not be as loyal to him as he'd hoped, even though it mostly seems she still is. For one, she knows he can probably carry her to the end. For another, she believes he's the only one she might have a chance of beating in the end because they played such similar games -- except those nine wins (and counting) do give him an edge!
This week's double-eviction may be their best shot to get Michael out, and you can bet if Brittany doesn't win HOH, she's probably going to be everyone's backup plan if Michael were to win Veto and guarantee him safety.
The best bet is to just put them up side by side. Everyone plays in Veto anyway, so the worst-case scenario would be them both getting safety. If Brittany doesn't win HOH during Thursday's double-eviction, you put her and Michael up.
That way, they both have to play hard for the Veto. If either wins, they'll have to save themselves, guaranteeing that the other one can still go home, weakening the duo. Worst case scenario for the rest of the House would be a Brittany win, because that would make Michael eligible to play again in the next HOH.
Monte Taylor (27) is definitely going to be targeted sooner than later, but he's actually proven himself someone who's not necessarily a huge threat -- or at least he's smartly cultivating that perception. Either way, it buys him a little more time to scramble and keep dodging and weaving, which he's proving very good at. Grade: B+
Matt "Turner" Turner (23) is definitely high on Michael's radar, but it's as if the two of them are staring one another down. The big difference is that everyone is gunning for Michael and really only him and Brittany are gunning for Turner. With Michael out of commission for this next HOH, Turner is actually in a good spot. Grade: B
Taylor Hale (27) had the second-best time in this competition, and right now she is on no one's radar as someone who needs to be dealt with right away. She could surprise everyone by rising to power, but even if she doesn't, she's in a good position to ride safely through this week and then fight for her life in this game. Grade: B-
Alyssa Snider (24) is the epitome of a floater this season. She's won nothing. But she's also only ever been on the Block once, and then pulled down by a Veto. In other words, she's been about as invisible as you can be, despite a high-profile showmance. We're at the point where this could benefit her game, because she's been useless all summer, so who would award her the money over anyone else in the House? Grade: C
Brittany Hoopes (32) is starting to consider building a game outside of Michael in case the House can take him out, but she doesn't seem to realize in the absence of being able to take him out, they might happily settle for taking her out. She needs to step up and gain power and control in the game. It's too late to believably sever ties with Michael as the House sees the two of them as the power duo they are. Grade: D+
Michael Bruner (28) is in a nearly impossible position, but he fully realizes it. He's so far past the point of no return, he is going to have to win out to make it to the finale. The crazy thing is, as unlikely as it is, he actually could do it. We think the cast will get a chance to take him out at some point and will do it. But if they don't, he does have this in the bag. It's just a lot of weight to have to carry every day from now until the end of the show. Grade: D+
Terrance Higgins (47) has always thought he's better at this game than he is. Michael didn't even get out of their conversation what Terrance said he was trying to convey. His plotting and scheming never works out. But he has won a couple of comps, so of the two on the Block, he's the most likely to say hello to Julie on Thursday. Grade: D-
"I think the folks out at Dyre Fest made a plan to backdoor me last week, and I made a promise to Turner I wouldn't target him this week. That leaves Alyssa and Terrance." --Michael (in Diary Room after nominations)
"He told me, the reason I put you up there is you guys are close. And if you use the Veto on him, that screws up everything for me this week, so I had to put you up there." --Alyssa (to Turner about why Michael nominated her with Terrance)
"I hope he doesn't mention any backdoor plan that we had. 'Cause I was like, should I get ahead of the bullet and just say, 'Terrance wanted me to backdoor you, but that wasn't going to be a plan?'" --Turner (to Alyssa)
"I kind of heard from a few different people, me getting picked for the Veto and winning it kind of took away a potential plan form last week." --Michael (to Terrance explaining nominations)
"Who could have instituted that plan?" --Terrance
"It would have had to have been the HOH." --Michael
"I don't have nothing in this game. I don't have anything, no leg to stand on. It's like, okay, now The Leftovers can finish the assignment that was in place for them. I'm just at a point with the game that I'm just beyond, you know, f--- it. That's just where I'm at with it." --Terrance
"I feel like I could play the game at this point to make sure the right people win it. And I'm gonna start my game at Jury. I just can't wrap my mind around playing this way. Principle-wise, how I'm built-wise, I just lost a lot of respect for how things are going right now." --Terrance (to Michael)
"If he thinks that threatening me is gonna get him what he wants, he's sadly mistaken. If you want to stay this week, Terrance, you're gonna have to win that Veto." --Michael (in DR)
"It took me years to realize that I didn't have to pick one label that fit or another label that didn't fit. I could honestly just be myself." --Turner (in DR about accepting his own bisexuality)
"People need to be more curious than they need to be critical." --Monte (to Turner)
"I would have killed to see a bi person in media. So, if I am that for anyone, it was all worth it." --Turner
"Maybe he wants to backdoor me?" --Turner (to Alyssa after Terrance picks Taylor for Veto)
"That's not gonna happen." --Alyssa
"Why the f--- would he choose Taylor?" --Turner
"F--- me! Not to be aggressive with peace and love." --Turner
"Let's see how you all did at 'BB Comics,' which I'm really salty I did not play in." --Turner (after Veto competition)
"I think a lot of my game is tied to a certain someone. And that's gonna be pretty near impossible to overcome." --Brittany (to Turner)
"I mean, I feel like we're vying for second place right now. Not a single person in this House could beat Michael." --Turner
"I know. Definitely could be more realistic that we could get to two than with Michael. Can't believe I'm even talking like this. Michael's my best friend and he's helped me a lot in this game. But also, if we don't stop the train, there's no options." --Brittany
"If Michael won't go after Turner, maybe he'll go after Monte." --Brittany (in DR after Turner tells her Monte would target Michael)
"If an opportunity comes to take you out, they're gonna take out. Let's say you put Monte up, you take the preemptive strike." --Brittany (to Michael)
"Brittany is pulling me aside to get you out because she doesn't want to be in second place, which I was very surprised by." --Turner (to Michael)
"Why did Brittany tell you that?" --Michael
"I feel like she wants to get into a Final Two with someone she has a chance against." --Turner
"Big Brother" airs Sundays and Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET, Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on CBS.