It's pretty much every man or woman for themselves as the cut-throat endgame of "Big Brother 24" begins -- who rises to power and which two are on the chopping Block?
With the biggest threat in the House finally evicted after a brutal and nasty double-eviction on last week's "Big Brother," the Final 5 kick off the endgame of the season.
We seem to say it every week, but it's never been more critical for someone to take control of the game this week because it really is every man or woman for himself! At one point or another in this episode, just about everyone at least acknowledged they'd be okay with anyone else leaving.
But who is the right person to leave? The easy choice would be to follow up the eviction of Michael by sending Brittany packing, assuming she doesn't win Head of Household. But untethered as she is now, is that the right move?
It's also time to really start thinking about who you want to be sitting next to at the end. Certainly that was a factor in what turned out to be a last-minute decision spearheaded by Monte to get Michael out on Thursday. Turner was actually planning to keep him, and boot Brittany.
Before we got to the new events unfurling, we took a deeper dive into the behind-the-scenes drama of that wild double-eviction that saw Michael saying some pretty shocking and awful things to Turner and about Brittany.
He certainly gave one of the cattiest and most memorable exits of any Houseguests, and his final few moments were an absolute whirlwind of lies and manipulation. It can't be denied that he was trying his absolute hardest.
He even went so far as to say that Brittany was lying about her professional, when it's actually him who is lying about his. We saw him throw Brittany under the bus during his save-me speech and we caught enough of his LGBTQ attack on Turner to know he tried that leverage, as well.
As it turned out, Turner intended to honor the Final Three deal he'd made with Monte and Michael. It could be that Monte intended it as well ... at least until he won the Veto. Until that point, Turner's intention was to take out Brittany, which Michael was totally cool with.
Then, after Monte won, he let Alyssa and then Turner know that it was time to flip the script and get Michael out. When would there be another guaranteed chance? Nine wins deep in his season, it may never come again.
After he left, Michael admitted to Julie that it was the right move, but he tried everything in his power to convince his fellow Houseguests to keep him. He promised he wouldn't come after Monte, he promised Taylor and Alyssa that he would take out Monte and Turner for them (like he did in his save-me speech).
He scrambled until the final moment, but he had to have known that it was probably fruitless. At the same time, there have been seasons where the obvious target has managed to weasel out of eviction and gone on to win. Super-fan Michael was clearly hoping to follow that path, but these players just weren't going to fall for it.
We're still on the fence if he was going for iconic exit by telling everyone he had one thing to say while running for the door, or if he was really that mad that they evicted him -- even though he knew it was the smart move. Maybe he was mad they were smart enough to see it, or mad at himself he couldn't trick them into keeping him.
Either way, it left the House an absolute basket case after his departure. They sat so long on the couches, they missed his picture fading to gray as everyone consoled themselves that they'd done the right thing. This proves he was getting to them.
Had they not taken the shot during a double-eviction and he'd had more time to plead and lie and manipulate even after being on the Block post-Veto, he might have started to change some minds. He really was the biggest threat in so many ways.
One of the most entertaining competitions has always been the pitch-black house crawl. This year, the house seemed a bit smaller and the challenge not quite as strenuous -- though it was still too scary for one player -- but it was still fun to watch.
The theme was a murderous killer was on the rampage and headed to the very house the Houseguests were in. They had to find six boards and barricade six doors before tripping an alarm to end the challenge.
With Turner ineligible to play, it was Monte versus the ladies. Both guys felt somewhat confident that neither Taylor nor Alyssa would nominate them, but it's always possible that Girls Girls alliance has some weight. They took out Michael, why wouldn't the girls consider taking out one of the guys.
Even taking out the gender thing, these guys have been two of the strongest competition players in the game, while these women have not fared nearly as well. Brittany and Taylor each have one solo win (Brittany shared a win with Michael) and Alyssa has zero to Monte's two and Turner's three.
Despite making a Final Three deal with Turner and Monte, Taylor was determined to win and take a shot at Turner -- see, they're right not to trust -- but she couldn't even make it into the secondary room. As soon as she touched goo in pitch black, she had a full-on panic attack and had to bail.
Brittany was also gunning for Turner as he'd put her on the Block with all three of his HOH reigns. Alyssa had a Final 3 deal also with Monte and Turner, but it's never really clear where her loyalties truly lie, which makes her an incredible social player.
In the end, it came down to a nine-second deficit between first and second. That's nine seconds that could come back to haunt someone. With Taylor timed out and Alyssa several minutes behind, it was Brittany who fell just short to Monte's time. And at more than fifteen minutes each to complete the challenge, it's incredible they were that close.
It's also a reminder that Brittany is a legitimate competition threat herself. She has more than the other women and this isn't the first time she's come dangerously close to winning one. But is that reason to target her?
Monte has decided that there is a FInal Three he's going to honor for the moment, and that's the one he made with Turner and Taylor. And so he puts Brittany and Alyssa on the Block.
Taylor pitches the idea of Turner to him, but he suggests to her that if she wants that to happen, he can't stop her from winning the Veto and then pulling either Alyssa or Brittany down, forcing him to put up Turner as a replacement nominee and leaving it up to the girls who to send home.
That would keep Monte's hands clean. He's not willing to take the shot himself at this point, but he's not opposed to someone else doing it. At this point, it looks like Monte is mostly going to stay true to his Final 2 deal with Turner. But if an opportunity comes to take him out, will he take it?
If Brittany or Alyssa take themselves off the Block, the backdoor exists for both Turner and Taylor. Monte just betrayed one alliance to get Michael out the door. Turner has evicting Michael on his HOH resume (even if Monte was the one who used the Veto).
Could he resist getting him out if it comes to it? At the same time, if he were to evict Turner this week, then when he's not eligible to compete in the HOH next week, who'd have his back? This is where allegiances get complicated. The simpler thing would be for nominations to stay the same.
Simpler but still not easy as Monte has made it clear he sees reasons to take out both of the women on the Block. Brittany is the easy target, plus she's a strong competitor as she proved by nearly beating him. And everyone still sees Alyssa as a huge threat with the Jury because she has friends there.
It is hard to predict if a Jury will reward good gameplay or nice gameplay. There have been floaters who've won over better strategic players because the better player played a game perceived as unnecessarily cruel. Michael was at risk of that, though it's hard to deny all his competition wins. The Kyle move, though, was going to be hard to justify -- a battle Brittany still faces if she gets there.
Monte Taylor (27) has all the power this week and still remains underneath Turner as far as targets in the House. He's in a tenuous position, though, depending how Veto plays out. If Turner goes, he'll be vulnerable with no shot at HOH, counting on Veto to save him. But the odds are with him that he can keep Turner, if he chooses to, or control if he goes up or not, thus meaning he'd have solidified a deal he believes in. Grade: B+
Taylor Hale (27) remains in the center of the House, with no one really talking about getting rid of her, even as it was acknowledged she has a great story for the Jury. The guys seem loyal to her, while she's ready to take a shot at Turner. Her underdog story is compelling, as is her clear willingness to make the moves she needs to get there -- she just needs to get some power here at the end to control things. Grade: B
Matt "Turner" Turner (23) is protected right now by Monte, but moving forward, he's in incredible danger by every woman in the House. If he's still here, he needs to win the next HOH and/or POV or he will be on the Block and he will be the target to go home. He's built an incredible resume, so now he heeds to hang onto it. Grade: B-
Brittany Hoopes (32) is the obvious target, but at the same time, she might be the better candidate to take to the end. She has fewer friends on the Jury, and there's that messy Kyle racism issue and how she and Michael chose to handle it. She's also a legitimate comp threat of this remaining group, so she has a slightly better chance of controlling her own fate. Grade: D+
Alyssa Snider (24) has proven to not be a competition threat of any kind in any type of comp to date, so there's really little concern that she could change her own fate. Kyle carried her deep into the game, and there have just been other priorities to this point. Looking at the end game, though, those nagging fears about her Jury relationships are rearing their head again. If she cant' save herself -- and it appears she can't -- she may just go home next. Grade: D
"I just hope he kind of sits in Jury House and realizes that that was, that was too far ... I played that messy game for him and I-- It just hurts; there's no other way to say it." --Brittany (in Diary Room about Michael's save-me speech)
"If there is someone I did not want to take out, it is the only other LGBTQ person in this House, and I told him that. I don't love that he called that manipulation." --Turner (to rest of Houseguests after Michael's eviction)
"The reason that I wanted to use the Power of Veto is because I respect how much of a gameplayer he is. We all know that we were gonna come second if he stayed in this House. We all have discussed that at some point." --Monte (to rest of HGs)
"My target, Brittany. She's been making deals with everybody left in the House. She just can't be trusted." --Turner (in DR, immediately after winning HOH)
"It's gonna be Brittany and Alyssa. I cannot send Alyssa home. Brittany, I'm gonna put up and out her game. If you win the Veto, please don't take her down." --Turner (to Michael)
"You know, like, I've got you." --Michael
"I've locked in my nominations. All I've gotta do now is win the Veto and keep them the same." --Turner
"I know Michael, Turner and myself made a deal to watch out for each other throughout the rest of this game, but there's really never gonna be an opportunity to take a shot at Michael." --Monte (after winning Veto)
"I'm using it, bro. I'm taking down Alyssa, so that way they have to choose between Brittany and Michael." --Monte (to Turner)
"I love and respect you--"
"Monte, please don't do this." --Michael
"You know you are the best player in this game ... I would look stupid in Jury if I don't do it, if I don't take the shot." --Monte
"What Jury votes do I have?" --Michael
"You have everybody." --Monte
"Dude, you have won everything to this point. It is out of respect for you and love." --Monte
"It is not out of respect. No, that is not respect, because I have done everything to get us to this point." --Michael
"Even with who is in the House left, you are my people. I hope the same from you." --Turner (solidifying deal with Monte and Taylor)
"She's lying about a lot. She's lying about her profession. And she's told me, and I have not told anyone up until this point." --Michael (who is lying about his profession)
"Turner, I am disgusted. Upstairs, you were talking about, I would never take out the LGBT person." --Michael (in front of everyone)
"That was my plan." --Turner
"Don't use that for manipulation." --Michael
"I expected it from other people." --Brittany (to Michael after he threw her under the bus)
"I know. I'm so sorry." --Michael
"I really had no game but to be your friend. That was literally it." --Brittany
"I don't even know what to say to Brittany anymore. Like, I don't wanna, wanna like, talk to her." --Alyssa (before going to talk to Brittany)
"We both get it in our resumes. He was right about that." --Monte (to Turner about getting Michael out)
"Turner's third HOH. Michael had three HOH's. Turner has to go up." --Taylor
"Turner, I don't have much of a game right now. I know I'm probably next. It just sucks." --Brittany
"Uh-huh, Turner, I'll hear you out. You are the first to go if I win HOH." --Brittany (in DR)
"I just feel so angry. I think I prioritized friendship over game and he was just the opposite -- which I should have known, because he was a really big fan. I'm a really big fan, too, but--" --Brittany (to Alyssa)
"Although it very much made me feel betrayed in the moment, I know Michael just said those things that he said in his speech for game purposes, and I just-- I know that we're gonna be friends on the outside of this." --Brittany (in DR)
"Someone save me!" --voice during Head of Household competition
"Can't girl." --Alyssa
"Better you than me." --Alyssa (responding to scream during HOH comp)
"Is that nine seconds?" --Turner (looking at Monte's margin of victory over Brittany)
"Unless I hear something amazing from Alyssa or Brittany, they're probably going on the Block." --Monte (in DR after winning HOH)
"Obviously, being on the Block three times in two days isn't ideal. But I want to work with you and me going up on the Block, it's just another step to show that to you." --Alyssa (to Monte)
"I'm telling Alyssa she's just a pawn. What she doesn't know is she could be a decent target, especially since she has so many friends in the Jury House." --Monte (in DR)
"All I have to do this week is convince Monte that there are people in this House that want him gone [Alyssa] and there are bigger targets [Turner]. Surely he can see that." --Brittany (in DR)
"Alyssa, from a competition threat is pretty low, but at the same time, if she happens to drag herself all the way to FInal 2, she's a much bigger threat to me and to you than anybody. With Brittany, yes, she's been running her mouth, but is she that much of a risk when it comes down to sitting next to her. So that's why I'm feeling like Alyssa would probably be the ideal one." --Taylor
"I guess I'm trying to gauge how close you are to Turner. Like, where does Turner fall in your long-term game. Is that your Final 3?
He's got more HOH's than I do. His resume is stacked. He's somebody who is like a shield that I know that people will go after him first than they would go after me." --Monte
"This is between the two of us. I can't help if you win the Veto and I can't help if you use the power to bring down Brittany and put up freaking TUrner and that way it's up to you and Brittany who goes home this week." --Monte (to Taylor)
"If you want this to happen, then you need to make it happen. If Tayor pulls this off, then I feel pretty good and the blood is not on my hands." --Monte (in DR)
"Big Brother" airs Sundays and Wednesdays at 8p.m. ET with a live eviction episode Thursdays at 9 p.m ET on CBS.