There was a lot of game in this live hour from Cameron's POV decision to multiple house flips before someone was finally evicted -- and then, in a shock to everyone, someone brand now won Head of Household!
Big Brother wrapped Tuesday's episode on the cliffhanger of whether or not Cameron would backdoor Cory. Thursday's live episode began with that decision and ended with a first-time Head of Household winner, sending someone brand new to the big bedroom in the sky!
Cameron's dilemma was that he's trying to build trust and a relationship in the house, rather than playing week by week with his back against the wall. The problem is that this is the season of micro-alliances.
For some reason, it seems that it's been impossible for their to be any real trust beyond two people working together. Even the early trio of Cirie, Felicia, and Izzy was really just Cirie and Izzy.
Now, we have the showmance of Cory and America, The Minutemen of Jag and Matt, and the final two deal of Felicia and Mecole ... and that's it! No one else has any real trust for anyone else in this game, with allegiances shifting moment by moment.
A similar shift happened on Survivor a few years back, where powerful alliances no longer ran the game, with players instead shifting between each vote. Is it coincidence it's happening again on a season with Survivor legend Cirie playing?
She was definitely orchestrating a lot of the flip-flop voting of early weeks, but she was effectively neutered a month ago. Now, with Felicia and Mecole on the Block, it's the other two duos who seem to be controlling the game.
Cameron is wise to mistrust Jag's hesitancy in him using the Power of Veto to backdoor Cory onto the block and out of the house, because he's right in that jag is trying to work with Cory. The problem is that Jag is almost too hesitant to show his cards, wanting to somehow massage working with everyone as long as possible.
At some point, it's time to draw that line in the sand and show your cards and choose your allegiances. Right now, only Cameron and Felicia have shown the ability to do that. Felicia threw Cory hard under the bus, and she was absolutely right. He did lie in saying she proposed the FInal 4 with her, Mecole and Cormerica.
In the end, Cameron banked on not burning the relationship with Jag and Matt, even if he can't fully trust it, and chose not to backdoor Cory this week. Could he come to regret that decision? We believe wholeheartedly it was the wrong decision, because no one is playing this game as hard as Cory.
It remains to be seen if he's playing the game too hard, but lying about Felicia is nothing compared to his later plotting and scheming. As America quickly learned after the Veto, though, he'll be dastardly and bastardly in the dark, but doesn't necessarily have the balls to do it in public.
In particular, he was not willing to go toe to toe with Felicia over his lie with the entire house watching. America was, though, as she doubled down on her man's lie and boldly lied directly to Felicia's face in telling her she was the one who pitched the Final 4.
Felicia was dumbfounded, but did not back down. And by the way, America looking around at everyone else to see if they were buying what she was selling while she lied was a pretty good indicator she was lying. Felicia looked her dead in the eyes and called her a liar. Which one was more believable?
Cory, meanwhile, tried to coward his way physically out of the line of fire. He'd just gotten called out in Felicia's Veto speech, and here was America backing his lie, but he didn't have the guts to stand there and fight (and lie) with her.
Instead, he offered Felicia a one-on-one, so he could control the narrative of that later, and finally fled to the backyard where he offered for her to join him. At this point, Cory and America are sinking their own games, and we're not sure they've Cameron's ability to "win out."
Cameron, meanwhile, was positive that Felicia had just sunk her own game with her outburst, but this is BB25 and nothing is ever set in stone. What's obvious and locked in one minute flips completely over the next.
From Veto to Thursday's live eviction, the house probably flipped a dozen or more times (as it does every week), with arguments coming up for why it might be better to take out Mecole. The fact she lost to Cameron in that Veto comp by 22 seconds actually did her no favors.
She's proven herself a potential competition threat, even as she'd won nothing, by coming in second and close multilpe times throughout the season. Also, her lowkey game of invisibility didn't help, because no one confidently knows where she stands.
Everyone knows where Felicia stands because she tells them. Loudly.
When Jag and Matt started floating this idea of flipping the vote with Bowie Jane, Jag -- again being overly cautious about drawing a line against Cory and America -- didn't want to do it without them on board.
Before he could say anything, Cory started orchestrating the vote like it was a game of 4-D chess. He liked the idea of a weaker competitor in the house. He also liked the idea of blindsiding Felicia by saving her with a 5-2 vote and only Cirie and Blue not knowing about it, to hurt their relationship. Plus, if Jag and Matt don't tell Blue about the flip and she votes against them, he can sever that relationship.
Honestly, if anything is going to take down Cory's game -- and it seems to be on life support to us -- it's going to be his own tendency to way overthink every little thing. It's exhausting, but he's trying to control every single aspect of the game.
So did the flip stick? Or did it flop? Well, Cory may have had a dastardly plan to control every vote and every relationship coming out of it, but that isn't quite what happened. Somewhere between that plan and the live vote, everyone got on the same page.
Just like almost every vote this season, it was unanimous, and it was the end of the road for Mecole. Mama Fe lives to verbally fight with someone (probably Cormerica) another day. Plus, with Fe and Cirie reconnected, it seems, they might have some life in them yet.
Mecole picked up in her exit where Felicia left off at the Veto Meeting by throwing Cory and America under the bus as hard as she could, calling them out for trying to use other people to do their dirty work and award them the money. She also said "you" a lot, pointing to everyone, but it was all moving so fast, we're not sure anyone got much more than don't trust them ... which they mostly already know.
Now, it's just a matter of how big a mistake Cameron made by not backdooring Cory. And how big a mistake did Jag make by not wanting him to backdoor Cory? Who would Cory go after?
For that matter, in a very interesting moment in the game, we're not exactly sure who anybody would go after with this upcoming week's Head of Household power. Can the week be navigated without blowing up any of these tenuous alliances? Could they survive anyway?
The only person who had zero shot to win this Head of Household was the outgoing HOH, Cameron. Before tonight's show, the Humili-verse served up some social media posts from the pre-jury Houseguests with all kinds of details.
The competition was pretty simple. Answer seven true-false questions about those images, which could cover everything from picture details to likes and even who posted them. It was purely a mental game.
What was interesting, as it played out, was seeing the most unlikely names starting to rise. Cirie faltered in the first round, followed by Blue and Jag in the second. From there, it was everyone getting it right until Round 6. After that one, three people clung to the lead.
Cory has been Head of Household before, and he's been pretty clear what he'd so as HOH The obvious target for him would be Blue, who tried to get Cameron to backdoor him after he'd lied to her and told her he would target Cameron this upcoming week. He was really targeting her.
Felicia was also hanging in there, with her clear target being Cory himself, or America if he proved out of reach. With them both blatantly lying to sabotage her game, that's the only smart move she's got at this point. They're too disruptive to the flow of the game.
The outlier in the lead was Bowie Jane, who's done very little throughout this game. Then, making things even more interesting, Cory blew the sixth question, leaving the ladies to decide his fate. Would Bowie take a shot at him? She's a lot harder to read.
Ultimately, the duo both got Round 7 right, sending them to a tiebreaker. Guessing how many minutes Jared was a BB Zombie in the house, Felicia's math put her number way too high, while Bowie's was too low. But it was closest without going over that won, creating a brand spanking new Head of Household out of someone who's been impersonating wallpaper all season.
Talk about a wild card in the HOH room. She's had semi-alliances all over the house throughout the season. At one point, it was her and Cameron against the whole house, seemingly, while she's been working closely with Matt and Jag this week and Mecole just accused her of working with Cory and America. So what's real?
The big question mark is how much she'll want to play her own game and how much she might be willing to do someone else's bidding ... not that we know what her game is. Cormerica seems the obvious target to eliminate, but if she's working with them, Cory seems set on Blue -- plus, there's no denying that any chance to get Cameron out should be considered if a backdoor becomes possible.
Cory and America will be pushing hard for them to target Blue because, like Mecole, she's come close to winning several comps. But they are the ultimate pot-stirrers in the house, and even if that were not the case, they are one of two strong power duos. You should always break those up. Is she working with them? Are they ready to turn on the other power in the house, or Cameron?
Honestly, Blue would be a terrible target for Bowie's game right now because she's actually not in tight with either duo. They'd throw her under the bus the moment it became convenient, but of course they'll want her to take care of their targets for them. Felicia and Cirie would also be a waste of an HOH because what threat are they right now?
It's always fun to have something so completely unexpected, because it means we head into this week with zero expectation about what might happen. Anything can happen.
Actually, we do know one thing. Zingbot is coming our way on Tuesday's show, meaning there are extremely insightful insults coming along. Zingbot does a good job of showing the HGs how they look to the outside, and sometimes exposing what kind of game they're playing.
Matthew Klotz (27, deaflympics gold medalist) has his hands in every relationship in the house and everyone is convinced they're good with him. He's letting the people he works with appear to make the big decisions and do any nasty work that might come up, leaving him looking squeaky clean. [Grade: B+]
Jag Bains (25, truck company owner) has a lot of influence right now with both the outgoing HOH and the current HOH. He's also managing relationships throughout the house, though he's not trusted quite as much. His wishy-washiness is a strategy, but he's not hiding it well enough that people aren starting to see through it. At some point, this duo will be looked at ... but probably not before the showmance. [Grade: B]
Bowie Jane Ball (46, barrister/DJ) has the future of her game in her hands, because now she can't avoid making decisions or showing her true allegiances. If she goes the safe route (Blue), she risks looking ineffective in the game, though it could prolong her game. If she makes a bold move, she'll need to play harder (or actually play) from here on out. It'll be interesting to see what she does. [Grade: B-]
Cirie Fields (53, nurse) has been so effectively neutered in the game, no one is really worried about her. Sure, they'll still talk about what a potential threat she is, but no one is paying attention. Her reconnecting with Felicia, when they're two of the most persuasive people in the house, could be dangerous for everyone else. But they're all busy shooting at one another. [Grade: B-]
Felicia Cannon (63, real estate agent) lucked out this week that she was up next to Mecole after Cameron chickened out on backdooring Cory. Now, she's got a chance to use her strong social game to gently massage things the way she wants them to be, and maybe start forging some stronger bonds. We think she'll be safe this week because the house has bigger fish to fry, and now that she's made Jury, that concern is gone. We don't think she'll be a priority for a bit, though her second-place finish in this HOH might have rattled a few people. [Grade: C+]
America Lopez (27, medical receptionist) showed how hard she's willing to play this game 99 -- or is it Cory's game -- by lying to the house about Felicia. We're just not sure that either of them are as good as some of the legendary BB liars of seasons past. The house sees the threat they are. She's seen as less of a threat, which is to her benefit, but no one is looking to trust her. [Grade: C-]
Cameron Hardin (34, stay-at-home dad) wants to believe The Fugitives is real, but we're not so sure. Jag wants to have his cake and eat everyone else's, and Matt seems to defer to him a lot. As it stands, Cameron remains a huge, huge, huge threat and he has to know the temptation will always be there to pause whatever other strategy exists to backdoor him the moment an opportunity arises. It worked once.[Grade: C-]
Blue Kim (25, brand strategist) finds herself the easy house target this week. She meddles in a lot of things and they see her as a potential threat, even though she's not proven herself one yet. If Bowie doesn't want to rock any deeper alliances, she could take the easy shot and that would be Blue. But with Cormerica wanting Blue so bad (at least as of right now), would she do their bidding? Mecole warned against it! [Grade: C-]
Cory Wurtenberger (22, college student) is the smart move, but we're just not sure Bowie will want to take it. It would take Jag deciding it's time to take that shot. Cameron was ready and Matt was ready this past week, but he didn't want to burn that relationship. We think he's kind of controlling that decision right now. But, we also don't know who Bowie is really going to lean on and trust this week. So many unknowns! [Grade: D+]
Mecole Hayes (30, political consultant) fell victim to her quiet game, leaving everyone unsure of where she really stood with them, and her prowess in challenges, even if she didn't win any. All season, comp beasts have been targeted, but now the true comp beasts are doing the targeting, so it's time to look at the almost-beasts. [Grade: F]
"I could take out the biggest target in the house, but I would be drawing a line between me and the other Fugitives." --Cameron (in DR not using Veto, perhaps trusting Jag and Matt too much)
"I knew Cameron wasn't going to use the Veto … but if I can convince them to keep me to help them get rid of Cory, maybe I can stay." --Felicia (in DR about her save-me speech)
"I'm not going to kiss any ass or make any b.s. Deals. I'm just gonna lay low and hope that the target sticks." --Mecole (after Veto Ceremony)
"These Final 4s that we've been talking about have been coming from you." --America (to Felicia, lying in front of whole house)
"Have been coming from me? See, that's another lie." --Felicia
"Cory's been lying and cheating and stealing on everybody this whole damned season. How long do you think your game's gonna last riding under Cory? What you think you've been done so far?" --Felicia (to America in front of whole house)
"I'm not being carried." --America
"I would say that went very well … Cory got bodied." --Jag (to Cameron about blowup)
"He's the new Cameron." --Cameron (who's been public enemy number one)
"How bad you guys think I just blew up my game?" --Felicia (to Cameron and Jag)
"What game? … It's blown. It's just a tough game to have from this point. At least you got stuff off your chest." --Felicia
"Keep me in the house and I'll take the big shots. All you acting like you scared, let me do it, 'cause I ain't scared." --Felicia (in DR about going after Cory)
"How funny would it be again if we save Felicia without Felicia knowing." --Cory (before Jag can even approach him with the idea)
"We can engineer it so it's a 5-2 vote where the only two votes to vote out Felicia are Cirie and Blue." --Cory
"After this whole blow-up thing I honestly just don't want her in the house." --America (about Felicia)
"So why would I want to keep someone in the house who just called me out in front of everybody. First of all, it'd be very funny. Scond, obviously, Meme is a much stronger competitor than Felicia. And number three, there's a possibility we can make this a 5-2 vote where only Cirie and blue are voting out Felicia. Then, there's the real benefit. If Matt and Jag leave Blue out of a vote, it's no longer Blue against Cory, it's Blue against the house. It may sound crazy, I think there's something there." --Cory (trying to outgame the game)
"Before I go, I just gotta tell y'all. Y'all know Cory, America and Bowie got an alliance. They planning to target you, you, and you, and they trying to use you to do they bidding. So watch. Don't let 'em run off with this money off y'all hard work 'cause he can't put in no work. You know they can't win nothing. That's all I got." --Mecole (exiting house, but moving too fast to make it clear who all those "you's" belong to)
Big Brother continues Sunday at 10pm ET, Zingbot crashes Tuesday at 8pm ET, and Thursday at 9pm ET.