Big Brother gets back to business after that bizarre "Scary-verse" non-week with a new Head of Household competition -- so who rose to power and why is everyone so nervous?
This was a pivotal Head of Household competition for all of the Houseguests on Big Brother after last week's lack of gameplay that focused instead on the BB Zombie and saw the return of Cameron to the game, and Jared sent packing.
For a solid week, no one but those two was really playing the game of Big Brother, as there was no Head of Household or Power of Veto or even eviction. As soon as Cameron won the Do or Die competition and resurrected his game, though, it was game on!
As it had been an entire week since the live double eviction, Cory's short-lived HOH reign that night didn't stop him from being eligible to play in this week's HOH competition. That meant everyone was gunning for it.
With no game to play last week, the Houseguests spent their time talking and strategizing and building new alliances. This time, it seemed that Jag and Matt were in the middle of everything.
They solidified a three with Blue, in the hopes Jared would go home and leave her a little vulnerable. They then expanded that to tangentially include Cory and America. At the same time, they went even more formal in a trio with Cameron, even naming it The Fugitives (inspired by legendary BB alliance The Brigade).
Felicia and Mecole solidified a Final 2 deal, Bowie was kind of kept on the periphery of The Fugitives with Blue as votes when needed. And with Jared gone, Cirie felt more alone than ever.
What a perfect time and way to test all of these new understandings and relationships than with a new Head of Household. Depending on who rises to power and who becomes vulnerable -- well, we've certainly seen some Grade A under-the-bus throwing already this season!
This week's competition was a 3-D rocket puzzle, standing upright. The pieces didn't appear to be all that heavy, though they were awkwardly big. Still, it's definitely a challenging puzzle, but one that relies more on brain power than brawn, evening the playing field a bit more.
Cory suddenly learned that despite being the "brain guy" this season, as he dubbed himself, he is quite terrible at puzzles. Mecole completely missed that there were images on the side of the puzzle that had to be lined up, costing her precious time.
Eventually, as time wore on, it came down interestingly to The Fugitives, with established comp beasts Cameron, Jag, and Matt outpacing everyone else. Honestly, if this becomes a dominant alliance, it really is hard to imagine them not running this last month or so of the season.
In the end, it was down to a matter of seconds. Matt was running for his button with his puzzle completed, but Cameron just beat him. That's right, the sower of "chaos" the last time he was HOH, and the guy who was just evicted unanimously last week is now HOH.
We don't need a transmission from the Scramble-verse this week, because the Houseguests were going to be doing plenty of that on their own. And we all know Cameron loves to keep things interesting.
When it came time for his one-on-one talks, he was incredibly blunt with everyone, without giving away the whole story to those not involved with it. His talk with Felicia, in particular, was very candid from both sides.
Felicia has proven to have a good read on the game and a good instinct for what's going on in the house. But she's also proven to be someone who doesn't really keep much to herself, even when she should.
Still, Cameron complimented her by telling her she's the best persuader in the house. Almost as if proving his point, she immediately tried to shift that target to Cirie -- which, okay, fair. But, and we don't know how much it means to him, we also saw a brief exchange before Jared left.
As BB Zombies, Cameron and Jared did bond during their week half in and out of the house. In one of their chats, Jared asked Cameron to promise him he would take care of Cirie. Now, Cameron could have just tucked this away and dismissed it. He certainly didn't have to tell Cirie about it. But he did.
Can he be trusted? He's actually proven himself a pretty loyal player, that no one seems to be willing to trust in the house. He was extremely loyal to Red, even after Jared's lies destroyed that relationship. He has vowed his determination to be loyal to The Fugitives. Will he really protect Cirie ... at least for a while?
This week, there are two ways to look at the house. One is to look at legitimate targets. After a mistake by America, who forgot Cameron was sitting right there while she blabbed to Jag and Matt about her and Cory making an alliance with Felicia and Mecole, Cameron now knows there are deals without him in the house.
In particular, he is fully aware of how dangerous Cormerica are as a duo and individually as strategic, mental players. Logic would dictate it might not be a bad idea to target the two of them and try to get one of them out, because they will gun for him.
On the other side, this next eviction will be the last person who does not make Jury, so Cameron is already thinking ahead to the Jury management phase. That's where his fears about Felicia's persuasiveness come in, as he fears she would work to convince others not to vote for him in the end.
She tried to assure him she would, but he also knows she could just be persuading him to try and avoid the Block. Ultimatley, it didn't work as he put her on the Block as his number one target, and put her best friend in the house, Mecole, up next to her.
This was so Mecole couldn't win Veto and pull Felicia down, as well as taking a possible vote away from his target. He told Mecole as much in perhaps their first game-talk discussion of the season. But will that continue to be the right move going forward?
This is the season of changing minds, and Cameron has already been backdoored once out of the House. He knows full well how effective that can be, and how few and far between those chances can be.
If he or one of his Fugitive allies wins POV, we know they're going to at least consider taking a shot at Cormerica, and of the couple, most likely Cory. Honestly, it would be the smartest move as it would all but ensure one of The Fugitives stands the best chance of winning HOH and/or Veto every single week.
If they believe in one another as a powerful trio heading into the Jury phase of the competition, that's the move. If anyone balks, you have to wonder if they don't have a side deal with Cormerica.
We know Cory is pretty damned persuasive, too (debate club!) but we can never understand why people leave showmances alone in the house. They broke one up with Jared's elimination, leaving Blue a free agent that could be scooped up to bolster an alliance. Why not bust up Cormerica, too, and pick up the scraps.
Without their closest ally, they'll be lone wolves like Cirie is. They're down, vulnerable and easier to either pick off or work with, depending on what's best for your game at that moment. We'll be surprised if they don't talk about it, and honestly, a bit surprised if they don't do it, given the opportunity.
Matthew Klotz (27, deaflympics gold medalist) finds himself in the best position in the house, aligned with just about every power player -- and some non-power players. He's in good with the HOH, who wants to really work with him, but he's got his options open on the downlow in case things change or power shifts. He's playing a masterful social game. [Grade: A]
Jag Bains (25, truck company owner) and Matt have solidified their duo, and got in Cameron's good graces just in time. Not only are they safe, they have some influence on what he will do this week as he's trying to really show trust to the two of them. As the three competition beasts of the house, they're in a great spot. [Grade: A-]
Blue Kim (25, brand strategist) is kind of floating around right now, but making inroads both on the Jag/Matt side of the house, as well as the Cirie/Felicia/Mecole side through her connections with Jared. That gives her flexibility and options for this period where Cory and Cameron seem to be holding the power alliances in the house. That also means she's no one's main target right now. [Grade: B]
Cirie Fields (53, nurse) is a known threat for her social game, but no one seems concerned enough about her right now to take a shot. Cameron's plan to weaken her support system worked beautifully, as she truly feels alone now. If he gets Felicia out, she'll truly be alone, even as her and Felicia's relationship is strained. But is Cameron serious about protecting her? Are she and Matt still tight? How about Blue, protecting Jared's mom? Cirie might be a little more protected than any one person realizes. [Grade: B-]
Bowie Jane Ball (45, barrister/DJ) is just kind of there. People will kind of work with her on one vote, or when they have no one else, but no one is really talking game with her or establishing anything long-term with her. These kinds of players can make it a little further than this in the season, but not much. [Grade: C]
Cameron Hardin (34, stay-at-home dad) has given himself the best possible allies in this game, but he's also the biggest threat in this game with a lot of days yet to go. If he's not in power, he will be vulnerable. Even his allies will consider backdooring him or taking a shot if it becomes available. He can't let his guard down for one second. [Grade: C]
Mecole Hayes (30, political consultant) is vulnerable because she's on the block, but she doesn't seem to be Cameron's target, and we'd be surprised if the house voted to evict her over pretty much anyone else. She's played a masterful game of being under the radar and no threat to anyone so far, so there are so many other bigger threats. Still, she's on the Block, so she's vulnerable. [Grade: C]
America Lopez (27, medical receptionist) remains vulnerable through her alliance with Cory. It doesn't help that she exposed some of their double-dealing right in front of Cameron, who's now in power. He'll take a shot at Cory first, but if that option comes off the table, America might be considered. Her game could rebound if Cory were to go, but she's as big a mental threat as he is, so we wouldn't be so sure. [Grade: C-]
Felicia Cannon (63, real estate agent) is Cameron's current target, and depending on how Veto plays out, she may wind up the target on Thursday. There's a long time between now and then, though, so minds could change. There are bigger threats to his game right now than her, whereas she's only a potential Jury threat (though she did promise to vote for him, respecting his game). She can be persuasive and she'd be right to pivot him toward... [Grade: D+]
Cory Wurtenberger (21, college student) is the single biggest threat to Cameron's game in the house right now. They're not really working together, and Cory absolutely will try and rally the house against Cameron the first chance he gets, because he knows Cameron is the biggest threat to his own game. These two big fish can't both survive in this house, which makes Cory vulnerable this week if the opportunity arises for a backdoor. [Grade: D]
"The gloves are off. I don't owe anybody anything. The people I love are gone. These are just strangers and vultures and serpents." --Cirie (in DR after Jared leaves)
"Keep it together. We still got business." --Cirie (to Blue about Jared)
"You're gonna be fine. We got you girl." --Felicia (to Blue)
"I've done some pretty good work leading up to this HOH. Yeah, I think I'm gonna go ahead and win this one, too." --Cameron (in DR)
"So, I'm talking with Matt and Blue and I want to be fully transparent with them with what's going on with them with Meme and Felicia. So I tell them Cory and I made a deal with them, just to make them feel safe. And honestly, I did not even notice Zombie Cam in a corner hearing everything." --America (oops!)
"Stevie, I love you. Daddy's not gonna be home for a little while." --Cameron (after winning HOH)
"I'm damn near happy. Y'all wanted Jared gone, now you got Cameron. How you feeling now, Felicia?" --Cirie (in DR after Cameron wins HOH)
"The last time Cameron won HOH, he put me up against Izzy. And my gut's telling me he's coming after me again." --Felicia (in DR)
"Oh my god, is everything going to go Cameron's way this week? … This is not good for me." --Mecole (in DR)
"I have a good relationship with Cameron. Not gonna be one of his targets. Should be smooth sailing for me this week." --Cory (in DR)
"Last thing he said to me was to take care of you." --Cameron (to Cirie)
"That boy." --Cirie
"You know more about it than I do." --Cirie (to Cory about Survivor)
"And the best part, it doesn't annoy her." --Cory (in DR about talking Survivor with Cirie)
"Give me a damn break." --Cirie (in DR)
"The next person to leave the house will not make Jury. I need the Jury to be very pro-Cameron." --Cameron (in DR)
"You both know I f--king love the guy, but he's dangerous from this point on." --Cameron (to Jag and Matt about Cory)
"Two cans probably ain't gonna do the job, but it's all I got." --Mecole (taking care of the "funk" in the BB house)
"I was having fun." --America (about kissing everyone "washing machine" style for 10 years)
"No one else was." --Jag
"I don't know why Cory's so comfortable." --Cameron (in DR)
"I need Cory out of this house." --Blue (to Cameron)
"Well, one thing I do want to ask you. You and I have never talked game this whole season? What is that?" --Felicia (to Cameron)
"I figured you were talking with everybody else and I was just there when I needed to do something. That's how I felt." --Cameron
"You guys planned things and then I was kind of left out there to do what I needed to do … And all throughout that time, over the past month or so, my name was getting drug throughout this house like I was some sort of evil monster, don't get close to him, don't talk to him, he's a liar, he's an evil manipulator, he's a this, he's a that." --Cameron (to Felicia)
"My gut tells me you're putting me up." --Felicia
"Is this the standoff?" --Cameron
"I don't do standoffs." --Felicia
"You're a hell of a competitor. You are easily the greatest persuader in this house." --Cameron
"Well, actually, that's where you're wrong." --Felicia
"See you're doing it now." --Cameron
"You know who the greatest persuader is, and that's who I discovered, it's Cirie." --Felicia
Big Brother continues Tuesday at 8pm ET, Thursday at 9pm ET, and Sunday at 10pm ET.