After a long Big Brother Scary-verse week with no HOH or Veto, alliances started shifting and targets started changing as everyone made backup plans for either Cameron or Jared's return to the game -- so who won their way back?
During last week's Big Brother double eviction, Cameron and Jared were evicted, leaving the FInal 9. Then, they both came back as BB Zombies, pushing the House back to 11. After one final competition during tonight's live broadcast, one of them finally left for good.
With this season of Big Brother pushing into the fall due to the summer's Hollywood strikes, the show is shifting nights to accommodate Survivor and The Amazing Race. This week, though, they just skipped the mid-week episode altogether.
That left the Houseguests with nothing to do through most of the week. Cameron and Jared competed in three rounds of a single competition, with the first two playing out in Sunday's episode. Beyond that, though, there was nothing but time.
In a game with this much paranoia and this many trust issues, time can absolutely be the enemy. It's something Survivor legend Cirie has learned. On that show, things move much quicker so there isn't as much time to second-guess everything, gather more intel and suffer even more trust issues.
This week, all they had to do was have conversations and prepare for tonight's live episode that would see either Jared or Cameron return to the game. It was particularly stressful for Cormerica, or Cory and America, as they basically flipped the house against Jared in that double.
Jared coming back would be disastrous for their game, and so the showmance did their work to try and make sure they were in a good position with everyone in the house. They'd already shored up a new alliance with power duo Matt and Jag.
Then, Cory decided it would be smart to shore up something with people from Jared's side, just in case Jared did return. So he set about making another final four with Felicia and Mecole. As they were talking, he even started considering making this one more real as he believes they'd be easier for him and America to beat in competitions down the road.
We have to respect the extent of his gameplay at this midway point in the game, but he got a little bit sloppy. There are so many places to have conversations, so why did he choose to have one with Felicia in the backyard about possibly working together when Matt, Jag and Cameron were over playing pool.
He even went so far as to hold his hands up to obscure his mouth because Matt can read lips. The problem is that it wasn't remotely subtle and Matt picked up on it right away. Later, he walked over on all four of them talkiing.
This was enough for Matt to have his doubts about Cormerica, which he brought to Jag. And the Blue double down on every bit of it.
Backing up just a moment, Cameron was also trying to build a future for his game. As we predicted, the fight between Cirie, Felicia and Jared was more like a family fight, as they and Mecole seemed to come together just fine this week. Felicia even compared it to family.
Cameron had no one, so he had to work harder to build any sort of relationships. He chose to lean on the "comp beast" aspect of the game. Aside from Jared, only he, Jag and Matt have won more than one competition. As such he chatted with that pair about making a trio, which they seemed amenable to.
They then figured they could probably trust Blue (if Jared left) and work with her. They considered her expendable to the trio, but it still brings us to her chatting with Jag and Matt about Cormerica.
In part because they took out Jared in the double, but also because she knows how aggressively they're playing, Blue helped the guys see how Cory is covering all of his bases, and sees them as expendable. In fact, he's got them in front of him as shield and so they can do his dirty work for him, if it comes to that.
By the end of the night, Cormerica's game looked like it was in a much worse position than it started -- again as we anticipated. This house does not like success and always manages to talk itself into targeting whomever was just in power or made a big move or proved themselves a threat.
The good news for Cory was that Julie announced that because of this unorthodox week of non-play, Cory's HOR reign during the double does not mean he's ineligible to play in the upcoming HOH competition. The game is back on, and everyone is able to play.
After Sunday's episode, Cameron had a 13 to 9 lead against Jared in their game of running back and forth across a teeter-totter to put various-sized balls in a giant shovel. They'd been tied after the first round, but Jared started rushing and getting sloppy.
With a lead going into the third and final round -- where the game would only end when one of them had all 30 balls in the shuttle -- Cameron stuck with his strategy of slow and slow and steady.
Jared, who was a little behind, had to move a little faster, and it caused him to spill again ... and again. He was closing the gap after one spill, but was just too frantic. Cameron's number just kept climbing one by one.
In the end, Jared actually dropped a ball (his third time in this round alone) just before Cameron hit his buzzer and secured his victory, making the final score 30 to 0. But this didn't mean Cameron was back just yet.
That victory only gave him the power to decide who competed in tonight's live competition. This one was the classic game we've seen on all sorts of these shows where you have to lift a ball on a platform up a flat, shaped surface and drop it into a hole. In this case, the surface was a zombie and the hole was down in his hand.
To make things even more stressful, the Houseguest who competed only had three minutes to complete the task. Cameron had told Jared earlier he was going to compete and after seeing the game ahead of him, he stuck to his word.
He quickly made his way up the zombies body with the ball perfectly controlled, but things got a lot hairier when he tried going down, and he dropped his first ball. But that was the only drop. It only took him two minutes to complete the task and he'd secured his own return to the game ... and Jared's swift exit.
Jared broke down completely while trying to talk to Julie Chen outside the house, first cracking when Julie asked him how he thought his mom, Cirie, would fare without him. Even though he's been an extremely problematic player and person, it was sweet seeing how much he loves his mom.
The episode ended without even starting the next Head of Household competition, so it's anyone's game. All of those new conversations and alliances and targets will surely be tested depending on who rises to power.
Matthew Klotz (27, deaflympics gold medalist) gets a gold medal for perception, seeing through Cory's attempts to set up another alliance with Felicia and Mecole. He's proving flexible as the game shifts, he's in the strongest competitor alliance and tired with Blue, who may have feet in both houses. He's positioned so well right now. [Grade: A]
Jag Bains (25, truck company owner) has been laying so low since his own unanimous eviction, and now he's aligned with the latest guy to get unanimously evicted. They're in a great position as far as their ability to win collectively and control their own fate. If they stay true to one another, this trio could really shake up this mid-portion of the game. [Grade: B+]
Blue Kim (25, brand strategist) just became a free agent, and has already established a tangential relationship with the strongest trio in the house. She's also proving that she's got great insight into the house and what's going on. Top that off with a solid (-ish) relationship with Cirie's side, and Blue has the ability to have even more intel. [Grade: B]
Cirie Fields (53, nurse) lost the guy who could physically protect her game and her son, but it could prove good for her game. She's done a lot to fix her social relationships. Alone, which is how she's seen, she's not seen as any kind of threat physically, and that is mostly what this house focuses on. There's a good chance she'll be overlooked for a bit here, which is when she works her best magic -- plus, she'll be stronger without Jared running around behind her messing everything up, though she'll have to work harder herself. [Grade: B-]
Mecole Hayes (30, political consultant) slips a bit just because the new power trio knows that she's been in talks with Cormerica about forming an alliance. She's not as under the radar as she has been most of the game, though she's still not considered target-worthy really by anybody, which is a pretty good spot to be in. [Grade: B-]
Bowie Jane Ball (45, barrister/DJ) has been working with Cameron, who just slid into a pretty good position in the house among the power players. That could be good news for Bowie. That and the fact no one really sees her as even playing, so they're not really worried about what to do with her yet. [Grade: C]
Cameron Hardin (34, stay-at-home dad) is in about as good of a position as he can hope for a week after he was voted out unanimously. He's got some people who seem ready to work with him, and he definitely seems sincere in playing a straight-up game with anyone willing to role with him. If he can solidify some trust in this new alliance, he'll be in a good spot. That said, there are those who'd probably like to see him out yet, and he'll always be a tempting backdoor, so he's probably never going to be able to feel completely safe. [Grade: C]
America Lopez (27, medical receptionist) is vulnerable as half of a showmance that the house is now looking at as problematic. Cory has been making the flashier moves (she's more a puppet master), so he's more likely to be targeted than her, but she'd be an acceptable second if they can't rise to power and protect themselves. That is if the house decides they're ready to take this kind of show. [Grade: C-]
Felicia Cannon (63, real estate agent) may have made up with her alliance, but she could be in trouble after chatting with Cormerica and getting caught. She's been on the radar several times already as someone who stirs things up and plays perhaps too emotionally, so she could find herself an easier target if the house doesn't want to go right back to war with one another. [Grade: C-]
Cory Wurtenberger (21, college student) kind of needs either himself or America to win HOH. As the outing HOH who made a big move and rallied the house, and then started making side deals and getting caught, his showmance is starting to look more and more powerful and dangerous in this game. And this season, that's rewarded with a visit to go see Julie. There are a lot of eyes on breaking up this power couple. Even if they don't take the shot right now, it's coming. [Grade: C-]
Jared Fields (25, exterminator) was a longshot to win any of these competitions as he's not nearly the competition beast his record would have you believe, whereas Cameron absolutely is. After he blew the first game, he could only sit and watch his game go down the toilet. But he'd blown it so many times, and finally by not seeing Cormerica coming for him and taking Cameron's offer of a partnership. We can't say we're all that sad to see him go as he was a messy, sloppy and at times awful player. [Grade: F]
"Every time Cameron raises and lowers his beam, it feels like he's gently holding my game in his hands." --Cory (in DR about Resurrection Rumble)
"Right now, I've gotta focus in on creating a future after I come back into this house." --Cameron (in DR)
"You gotta shake that off and be ready for whatever's coming." --Cirie (to Jared after RR)
"Think about what your mom would be telling you now." --Felicia (to Jared … with Cirie right there)
"You know, life brings about disappointment. So, I was disappointed when I thought that Jared and Cirie had gone against me. He, then, was disappointed when I was willing to vote against him. Now he's back in the house, so even though we've had our hiccups, we need each other. All of us, we cannot get to the end without each other. Families fight all of the time but at the end of the day, they never forget they're a family." --Felicia (in DR)
"If I have an opportunity to work with you and Matt, even if it's a f--king tryout basis-- Y'all give me one week, give me one week of trust and see what I can do with it." --Cameron (to Jag and Matt)
"Jag and I have a unique bond. You see, when I come back into this game, Jag and I will be the two Houseguests who have been unanimously voted out and come back to fight. Now we're fighting on the same team." --Cameron (in DR)
"Do you feel good with Blue?" --Jag (to Matt and Cameron)
"If Jared's gone." --Matt
"Let me show you where to put it." --America (climbing into the shower with Cory)
"When I see someone that's around me covering their lips, using their hands to hide their face, that's an instant red flag that they don't want me to read what they're saying. And now I don't think this conversation is casual, I think there's something more to it that we don't know about." --Matt (in DR watching Cory talk to Felicia)
"I'm doing the same thing, covering my bases with Cam. The only difference is I didn't get caught." --Matt (after catching Cory, America, Felicia, and Mecole talking)
"The more I drag Cormerica's name through the dirt, the closer I can get Matt and Jag to me." --Blue
"They are covering their asses while leaving us in the dirt." --Blue (to Matt and Jag about Cory and America)
"They're selling us out big time." --Matt
"They're selling y'all two specifically big time." --Blue
"They're in a good position with everyone other than whoever comes back. And do you know how badly they want whoever comes back to get the f--k out as soon as possible?" --Jag
"I won't impede on your decision, but how do you feel about it? --Jared (to Matt about live RR comp)
"I'm gonna do it. I mean, why wouldn't I?" --Cameron
"Now that you're out of the house, how do you think [your mom Cirie] is gonna do?" --Julie (to Jared)
"That's a tough question. I hope she's amazing." --Jared (getting choked up)
Big Brother continues Sunday at 10pm ET, Tuesday at 8pm ET and Thursday at 9pm ET.