As Episode 2 began, the fears of fans across the world were assuaged: we would, indeed, have opening titles for Season 22 of Big Brother, something that Survivor fans have been mourning the loss of for years. Regretfully, they would not include the bizarre shots of people jumping and dancing, instead opting for images from the players’ previous seasons. Less goofy, but more respectful, perhaps? What kind of newfangled Big Brother is this?
New school and old school players alike immediately began looking for alliances, hoping to avoid being the first one out. Ian expressed concern that he and Nicole Franzel would be targeted on account of their being previous winners. Janelle, confiding in the Diary Room that she’s now the first four-time player of Big Brother, sought friendship in Kaysar, with whom she’d played multiple times before. Kaysar, the closest thing Big Brother has to Survivor‘s Jeff Varner (multiple time player who has never made jury… the comparisons stop there), started bonding with whomever he could, beginning with last year’s first boot David.
Nicole F (already in tears) expressed her gratitude to Da’Vonne for her having provided the tiebreaking vote for her to win three years ago in BB19, telling her “you changed my life, and I would love to change yours,” leading to a heartfelt hug and a “we good” from Da’vonne. Unfortunately for Nicole, this seemingly heartfelt moment appears to have been one-sided. Da’Vonne harbors resentment towards Nicole post-season, as Nicole apparently went back on her word in the game without letting Da’Vonne know. It’s also worth considering that Nicole’s had three years to thank Da’Vonne, and her doing it now seems… tactical.
In stark contrast to her failure to connect with Da’vonne, however, Nicole F’s conversation with Cody in the HOH bedroom bore tremendous fruit. They bonded immediately and began a vigorous discussion about who should be nominated. Nicole also pitched a long-term gameplan to Cody, suggesting that he form a guy’s alliance while she forms a girl’s alliance, followed by the two of them feeding information to one another for mutual personal gain. This is a tactic that served David “The Golden God” Genat well in Australian Survivor All-Stars, but it remains to be seen if it will work (or even happen) for Nicole “Not David Genat” Franzel. In the short term, however, they agree that Kaysar and Janelle would be great targets, as they’ve both proven to be extremely capable players in the past. Taylor and Enzo also found time to bond with Cody.
Big Brother called the houseguests together and introduced the Safety Suite twist. Each player received a “VIP Pass” to access the Safety Suite, which they will be able to use exactly one time at specific points during the first three weeks to enter themselves into a special competition for safety. The players who swipe their passes in a given week will only be in competition against one another. The winner of the comp receives safety (immunity from being nominated for eviction) for the week. They also get to pick a “plus one” who will also receive safety and a punishment.
Many houseguests discussed the idea of playing, and tensions were high as Big Brother unveiled a one-hour window wherein the houseguests could swipe their passes. David expressed the fundamental dilemma of the Safety Suite twist well in a Diary Room segment: “[I]f you swipe that card, you let the house know that you don’t feel safe right now. You put yourself out there as a potential target for people. Everybody’s playing it safe right now… no one wants to be the first person to make a move.”
As the clock ticked towards its expiration, Janelle and Keesha discussed what would be best to do. Neither of them felt secure with Cody, and both were concerned about being an easy first boot. Kaysar went straight to Cody and aired his grievances, denying any alliance with Janelle and expressing interest in working with Cody in the long term. Cody was reluctant to commit to anything: “I like stuff to happen naturally and not like force, because then it’s like, how natural is that and how serious is that, and how much are you gonna hold true to that?”
Understanding Cody’s words to be a garbage, evasive non-answer, Kaysar headed out of the HOH room. Janelle was the next one to make her attempt at building a bridge with the HOH and also received a milquetoast reply. As Janelle left and Memphis walked in, Cody dropped his façade of uncertainty. “All right,” he said to Memphis, “Someone I can actually not ****** with,” before saying that he’s hoping to nominate Janelle and Kaysar.
It looked like the twist might be a dud for this week as the clock ticked down to zero, but with 33 seconds remaining, Kaysar and Janelle leaped to their feet and sprinted to the door, swiping their passes just before time ran out. As might be expected, Cody was less than pleased. The comp involved trying to reconstruct a dubstep remix of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” (or “Baa Baa Black Sheep” or “The Alphabet Song,” because they all have the exact same tune) by hitting certain buttons in a certain order. With only Janelle and Kasyar playing, and the two of them already being in a loose alliance, the outcome was essentially a given: one would win, and the other would most likely give the other their plus one (although it’s possible that Janelle would have given Keesha her plus one, but we don’t think so).
In the end, that’s what happened: Kaysar won and gave Janelle his plus one pass, and he was pretty pleased with himself: “If you mess with the bull,” he said in a DR segment, “you always get the horns. I’m gonna take them all down, and I’m gonna enjoy every moment of it.”
With both Kaysar and Janelle safe (and Janelle wearing a hilarious star costume for the next few days), Cody and Nicole F would have to come up with new nominations. Cody suggested Keesha and Kevin and Nicole didn’t object. Despite a conversation wherein Kevin opened up emotionally and tried hard to win Cody over, the former Hitman (not literally) ultimately followed through on his secondary nominations and put Kevin and Keesha on the block.
“Even though, like, I thought I was going up,” Keesha said afterwards, “it is a huge wake-up call to see my face on the wall. It would be so devastating to be the first person out of the house on All-Stars! Like, what?!”
We might suggest to Keesha that the best way to keep yourself off the block would be to talk to the Head of Household at least once before the nomination ceremony, but that’s neither here nor there. It remains to be seen whether Keesha, Kevin, or a replacement nominee will be going home this coming week, but our money is, sadly, on Keesha.
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