One Houseguest overplays their hand as Power of Veto forces a difficult decision that could destroy trust -- plus, Turner's plan for the $750,000 cracks us up!
Strongarm tactics have been known to work in the game of "Big Brother," but they have to be employed properly by the right people at the right time. Tonight's episode was a masterclass in how not to do it.
With only five Houseguests in the House, Monte finds his game in a precarious position heading into the Power of Veto competition. As Head of Household, he has the targets he wants on the Block, and his allies safely off of it.
But he also has one of his allies pretty openly pitching to him to switch things up and put his other ally up so that she can get rid of him. Monte has good reason to want to keep Turner in the House heading into next week when he won't be able to play in the HOH competition.
If he agreed with Taylor to put Turner up and allow either her and Alyssa or her and Brittany (depending on who Veto might save) take the shot to get him out, that leaves him alone in the House with three women who've already floated the idea of an all-woman Final Three.
He'd be a fool to not be aware of how vulnerable his game would be in a week where it would either be he wins Veto or they get rid of their biggest competition threat. Turner is his shield and he definitely needs him next week. After that, he might be more open to it.
During the last episode, Monte told Taylor that if she wanted to win Veto and take down Brittany, forcing him to put up Turner as a replacement nominee, then that's what would happen and he couldn't stop it if he wanted to.
What he wants to accomplish is to keep both Taylor and Turner in the game as long as he possibly can. Even if they're gunning for one another, he wants to do what he can to protect them both -- from each other if that's what it takes. He needs them both for his game.
For a man determined to do what he could to keep his nominations the same, Monte sure didn't seem to be in a big hurry when the middle-of-the-night call came that they had only two minutes to get to the backyard for the Veto comp.
He was up in the HOH room brushing his teeth and using the restroom. The result was that he missed the deadline and got disqualified. Would this come back to haunt him? He may never know. What he did know, though, was that he now really needed Turner to win.
If Taylor won, Turner would go up and probably get voted out. If either nominee won, he'd have to then choose between Taylor and Turner to go up, at least partially showing his hand to the rest of the House.
The competition saw the Houseguests connecting 27 loose gears up a grandfather clock tower in order to turn a crank and let fly a cuckoo bird. All 27 gears had to connect with existing gears at the top and the bottom. To make matters worse, they were all groggy and foggy.
We're not sure that fully justifies what Alyssa was doing, just randomly placing gears all over the place that didn't even touch one another. Monte, watching from the sidelines, was as perplexed as she appeared to be. Maybe she was just trying to make it look pretty?
It quickly became clear that this one was going to come down to Turner and Brittany, who both at least had some idea of the overall concept of how to do this. In fact, it looked like it was very close between them, so for Monte, it was best or worst staring him in the eye.
It came down worst as Brittany pulled off a much-needed victory. Had nominations stayed the same, she was the likely target after Michael exposed her very messy game. Her problem is that she can't keep her mouth shut.
It was okay when Michael was protecting her, because she was feeding him intel. Now, she's still doing it, and it's just making her look sloppy. After Turner blabbed to Monte about the all-girls chatter she told Turner about -- and Monte then told Brittany he knew -- she really needed this win.
While Monte went back to bed, Brittany and Taylor began to talk about how necessary it was to take a shot at Turner in the House, because he's the biggest threat. After all, he had taking out Michael on his resume.
What they weren't talking about was that Monte was the next biggest target, as it was his Veto win that set Turner up to take that shot. So they wanted Monte to put up Turner so they could get him out of the house this week.
Did they not realize that next week they'd probably be talking about taking the shot at Monte if they could, or were they just not going to talk openly about that. After all, they needed Monte to help them this week before they'd boot him next week.
We've no idea if that would be the plan, but logically that would be their best move. Then the three ladies could fight it out at the end, as none of them have resumes as strong as Monte or Turner at this point.
Of the three, Taylor would probably have the strongest argument as she played from the bottom for so long, took control in a major alliance and survived the Block countless times. Brittany, meanwhile, would be trying to prove how she had a game outside of Michael and Alyssa would have to prove that she had a game.
And yet, with Monte clearly aware that he's the next biggest target after Turner and unable to play in next week's HOH comp, Brittany came at him hard with her pitch as to why he should put up Turner.
Monte later called it her "suburban mob boss" routine, and it was such compellingly awful strategy, we had to transcribe it in it's entirety (which you can read below in "House Chatter." She was basically threatening him and telling him that he has to decide between one Turner or two Brittany and Taylor.
She was also hinting that she and Taylor were a twosome, which would only make Monte want to keep Turner over Alyssa even more. If they're already a twosome -- which they're really not -- why would he get rid of a close ally that would have his back?
Honestly, this was easily the worst pitch presented in the worst possible way that we've seen in a long time. Even Terrance's terrible attempts to save Daniel were better than this. If anything, it cemented Monte's mind that he couldn't put Turner up.
Impressively, he was able to present this in a way to Taylor that actually made sense. He knew she wanted to take the shot at Turner, but Turner wasn't necessarily gunning to take the shot at Taylor. So, the best way to protect them both is to put Taylor up against Alyssa.
But will it work? Now, Brittany and Turner are the ones voting. Brittany would likely vote to evict Alyssa, as she's trying to work with Taylor. Turner might want to throw a sympathy vote to keep Alyssa, which would leave Monte to be the tie-breaker, sending Alyssa packing.
In order for Taylor to go home, Brittany would have to secretly vote to save Alyssa, as well, but why would she do that? Taylor is genuinely gunning to get Turner out of the House, which Brittany knows. The two of them are definitely more likely to win comps over Alyssa, who is batting a perfect zero this season, so to stand a chance against the guys, Alyssa has to go.
That's how things make sense logically, so everyone has reason to send Alyssa home this week -- not to mention all their professed fears that she has a good relationship with the whole Jury and could get a lot of votes even though she didn't really do anything this summer. Does that mean she somehow won't go home? We'd be stunned.
In a fun segment in the House, each of the Houseguests shared what they'd do with the money were they to win the grand prize. We don't know if this happened organically or "Big Brother" urged them into it, but it was fun to hear.
Alyssa talked about how she wants to set her mom up to be able to retire, because she's worked so hard to support her throughout her life, and maybe set herself up so she doesn't have to work multiple jobs.
Helping parents was a common thread among the Houseguests, with Taylor saying she'd want to help hers by moving out and getting her own place. She's envisioning the typical American dream with the white picket fence and the dog and all of that. Monte, too, talked about being able to help his family, including helping his brother kickstart his real estate business when he gets out of the military.
For Brittany and Turner, it's about getting their own lives moving into that next chapter. Brittany has a medical condition which makes it hard for her to carry a baby to term, so she'd like to be able to afford either IVF or adoption so she and her husband can start a family.
Turner envisions opening a coffee shop for his girlfriend to run and finally proposing to her so they can really start their lives together. And, randomly and beautifully, he shared that he also wants to buy a $40 chamelon -- and name it Nolan. A $750,000 grand prize and Turner has his eye on Nolan. That's definitely bussin'.
Monte Taylor (27) brilliantly navigated a very complicated situation this week to keep both people he wants safe heading into next week, where he'll be vulnerable. It might cause Brittany to want to come after him, but we're not sure she'll have enough support to do it as Monte seems to be solidifying his bond with Turner and Taylor. He's in a great spot to get to the end right now. Grade: A-
Matt "Turner" Turner (23) is positioned to gain some power next week based on his track record, and will likely keep Monte safe in favor of trying to take out Brittany. If Brittany saves herself, it could get interesting. We can imagine Turner and Monte turning on one another before the end, as they both have the strongest cases with the Jury, but we could also see them riding to the end together and duking it out. Grade: B+
Taylor Hale (27) has a remarkable story, growing even stronger with her fifth time on the Block, that she'll likely survive. The only way to strengthen it would be to get some control by winning her second comp of the season, or that very compelling story could be the reason that no one really wants to sit next to her at the end. She's done a lot without a lot of power, and that's always impressive if presented right. Grade: B-
Brittany Hoopes (32) saved herself for now, but she's in the Michael position. After her "suburban mob boss" move this week, no one is really going to want to keep her around any longer than they have to. She's too unpredictable, untrustworthy and -- as it turns out -- bad at this game. She tries way too hard, so unless she can win out, she's going to go out the front door, and soon. Grade: C-
Alyssa Snider (24) hasn't accomplished much this season and yet she made the Final 5. But she also wasn't able to do anything to determine her fate here, and we think this might finally be the week that the House gets rid of her, after kind of wanting to countless times over this summer. She's just not a strong enough ally because she can't win anything, so better to try to align with someone who could at least have your back in a comp, too. Grade: D-
"First one I didn't cry." --Alyssa (after getting nominated)
"Turner can't keep a secret for the life of him." --Brittany (in Diary Room about Turner -- pot calling kettle here)
"I'm very much getting the impression no one's wanting to talk game to me until Veto." --Brittany (to Monte after nominations)
"For some reason, Zingbot wanted to start some rumor that I am incredibly dirty. I promise you, all of America, you're being brainwashed and this is not the case. And I am down to unbrainwash everybody in this House from all of Zingbot's lies." --Turner (in DR after cleaning up)
"Now he just needs to learn how to do his dishes and I have a 10 out of 10 roommate." --Alyssa (in DR about Turner)
"If Brittany or Alyssa comes down, who are you putting up? --Taylor (to Monte)
"That's the part that's gripping me, but I think the shot would have to be [Turner]." --Monte
"Gotta ask, if one of them wins, Taylor goes up?" --Turner (to Monte about Brittany and Alyssa)
"Yeah, that's probably what it's gonna have to be." --Monte
"I don't want Turner to know that Taylor wants him out this week. I'm trying to keep both of them here ... so for his sake and mine, one of us needs to win [Veto]." --Monte (in DR)
"I can put together a cute outfit, I can't put together a clock." --Alyssa (in DR)
"This is for you, Michael!" --Brittany (after winning Veto)
"Really, Brittany? For Michael? The same person who was dragging you through the mud on double eviction? What the hell are you saying?" --Turner (in DR)
"I think they're going to pitch to Monte that I go on the Block and I go home." --Turner (to Alyssa)
"Here are the facts, I'm not going home this week. It's a fact ... How we move forward is it's either you or Turner. Monte's gonna have to show who he's with." --Brittany (to Taylor)
"He told me he doesn't want to make that decision. I feel like I am going up." --Taylor
"You? Why?" --Brittany
"He's clearly the strongest competitor left." --Brittany (to Taylor about Turner)
"If I'm Monte, why do I want to sit next to Turner? It doesn't make sense." --Taylor
"I hope he recognizes if he doesn't put up Turner, Turner won't be my target anymore, Monte will be." --Brittany (in DR)
"I know it would be a big trust-building exercise, but say you were to put Turner up, that feels like, okay, that would be you showing us that you're with us, not showing us that you're with you. I guess my thought would be, is one Turner worth two Brittany and Taylor? The message it would be sending leaving him here would be that we're okay to be the next expendable ones out. That would just show to me and Taylor you're not with us. I guess that's how I would interpret that. There's still a twinge of me that's not 100 percent sure that you and Turner are not working together ... If it went the particular way that I am proposing, it sure would make things a lot calmer, a lot easier, you know." --Brittany (to Monte)
"I don't know who this Brittany is or where she came from, but this whole suburban mob boss act ain't working on me. She's basically threatening me saying it would be a real 'shame' if I didn't put up Turner this week. ['Godfather' accent] 'Accidents happen. I would hate for you to trip and fall backwards into a knife that I happen to be holding.'" --Monte (in DR)
"If you're gone, I'm done next week. Like, I'm out. And this is just me versus the three women." --Monte (to Turner)
"I think about the likelihood of what sounds more appealing to somebody in that vote. I know how you feel about Turner. It sounds more appealing for you to want to vote out Turner than it would for Turner to want to vote you out. So I do hate the fact that this now puts you in a position where yet again you're on the Block." --Monte (to Taylor)
"I do trust Taylor, but I worry that putting Turner on the BLock this week is like putting a juicy steak in front of a starving man." --Monte (in DR)
"For me, I'm making this decision based solely on what's best for my safety next week." --Monte (after nominating Taylor)
Following is the expected schedule for the remaining episodes of "Big Brother," all airing on CBS. Times are set, but content may change:
Thursday, September 15 at 9 p.m. ET (live eviction)
Sunday, September 18 at 8:30 p.m ET (after NFL football)
Thursday, September 22 at 9 p.m. ET (live eviction)
Friday, September 23 at 8 p.m. ET (season retrospective)
Sunday, September 25 at 8 p.m. ET (2-hour live finale)