Big Brother All-Stars

Episode 29 Recap – Late Starter

Who was nominated?

Photo: CBS

Following a nauseating reminder that Nicole almost (but didn’t) go home during the Triple Eviction and an extensive recap of the previous week leading up to Tyler’s devastating eviction, we found the Foul Final Five teetering their way towards winning HOH.

Christmas made no bones about what had to be done: “If I win this, I’ll have to nominate Nicole and Cody. Nicole has been my target lately, but Cody is too good at this game, so Cody has to go home this week.” Cody, understandably, was on a different page, saying, “I need Nicole or Enzo to win this HOH, because if Christmas wins, I’m definitely going on the block, and if Memphis wins, I don’t know that I feel that safe.” For the first time in history, we found ourselves rooting for Christmas to do well in the game of Big Brother. I don’t like this feeling.

Nicole kindly walked us through the rules of the comp, a typical see-saw challenge where the players had to walk across a see-saw, drop pumpkins (bouncy balls) in a large basket on the far side, then walk back, repeating this process until such time as they had gotten 25 pumpkins. Memphis confided in the Diary Room that, if he were to win HOH, Nicole would be his target. Nicole, in the DR, was pressed. “What happens to my game is all up to me,” the human-shaped mattress realized. “It really feels like, if I want to get to the final two, I have to start now,” referring to, what, week 10? Good lord.

The comp continued, with Enzo complaining about the difficulty, Nicole dropping her pumpkins time and again, and, honestly, everyone having a bad time (Enzo’s repeated failures led to extensive lamentation from Cody and a montage of him dropping pumpkins to an incessant buzzer). Eventually, it was Memphis with 19/25 pumpkins, Nicole with 19/25 pumpkins, and Christmas with 23/25. Cody was horrified, feeling that every pumpkin Christmas put in her basket was “one pumpkin closer to me being on the block.” Tensions were high… Christmas snuck down the see-saw… gravity tipped the far side down… and a small pumpkin rolled out of her basket, devastating everyone except Cody and Nicole.

Nicole
Photo: CBS

Christmas would have to start all over and hope for some failure from the rest of the players. Things were looking good for her, as Memphis dropped a pumpkin and had to reset… but then Nicole actually did something for the first time all season and got all her pumpkins in and won HOH. She was overjoyed. “No one has ever won this game twice,” she crowed in the Diary Room, “and I could potentially be the first person to do so!”

The idea of the further inflation of Nicole Franzel’s professional ego due to her being de jure added to the two-time-CBS-reality-show-winner pantheon of Sandra Diaz-Twine and Tony Vlachos keeps me up at night. (We say de jure because there is absolutely no de facto comparison between Survivor’s Queen / King and Big Brother’s Snake).

Back in the house, Nicole expressed (in the DR) her readiness to make big moves, saying, “I don’t care how much blood is on my hands; I’m not gonna shy away from anything!” Christmas, still weepy from her sudden loss, joined her in the key bedroom, where Nicole consoled her and claimed to be glad that she was still in the house over Tyler, before Nicole walked to the bathroom and mimicked Christmas crying, saying “they’re all sad I won, nyeeeeh.” Memphis, the only other houseguest at risk this week, joined Christmas to reconnoiter and mourn the imminent demise of his remaining sub-alliance members.

Enzo made a poorly-reasoned claim that his wimping out of making a big move and saving Nicole was actually a brilliant strategy because now Nicole owes him for saving her life, I guess? And that Nicole is going to take out Memphis or Christmas and it will keep the blood off of his hands? And guarantee him a place in the Final 4? Because I guess you play Big Brother by doing ****ing nothing nowadays? Whatever.

Cody reassured Memphis that he was safe and that Christmas would definitely go before him, then, in the DR, he said the opposite and that it was likely that he wanted Memphis out this week. This continues the weekly trend that has seemed to be happening in every single episode we’ve recapped where a target talks to Cody, and Cody swears undying allegiance to them, and then as soon as they leave the room, he poo-poos them and gets ready to dunk all over them. I do wonder whether this will come back to bite him in the end. Hopefully, if it does, he’s sitting next to Enzo, because that would be hilarious.

Cody
Photo: CBS

Nicole, Cody, and Enzo talked about how horrifying it would be for Memphis or Christmas to win Veto after being nominated. Because then things would be slightly less as expected or controlled, apparently ignoring the fact that they could just vote out the other of the two of them. Anyway, they want Memphis to go home next because he’s in a better game position than Christmas, and he’s gone against them more than Christmas, and I think they see Christmas as more of a follower and Memphis as more of a leader.

Christmas walked in on Enzo pooping, and Cody went, “OH S****!” It was hilarious, apparently, because they showed it like three times in slow motion. To be fair, this has happened several times, so that’s actually kind of funny. “That is my office space in this house,” Enzo said about the tiny room where everyone relieves their bowels. “That is my sanity.”

The editors were clearly pressed for footage because they did the “WHO WANTS TO SEE MY HOH ROOM” thing. On the live feeds, Nicole complained extensively about how she didn’t get enough stuff and was irate with her fiance Victor for not saying “I’m proud of you” or “You’re killing it” in his letter, even going so far as to storm into the DR and ask where her goodies were. On the edited episode, she read aloud her letter from Victor and chucked lovingly as she learned that he had taken up golf, was coaching football, and had taken a trip to visit family. Oh yeah, and he confirmed that their destination wedding is happening in December because it’s not like there’s a global pandemic or anything that would make it a bad idea for people to fly to an island from all around the country.

Ali and I were appalled to discover that we have something in common with Nicole: “We actually had to postpone our first date because of the pandemic,” the newly crowned HOH said, ignoring the fact that the goddamn pandemic isn’t over. “Getting a letter from Victor means so much,” she went on, discussing the letter that she was actually very dissatisfied with. The extent to which production has gone to hide anything but this effervescent, cute-n-cuddly Nicole from the final cut of the show is staggering.

Nicole
Photo: CBS

Nicole and Christmas discussed the inevitability of Nicole’s putting Christmas on the block, but Nicole assured her (truly in this case) that she didn’t want her to go home. Christmas unsubtly pitched a Cody boot to Nicole, which would be a really good idea at this point because the guy is loved by the jury and wins comps for breakfast. Nicole didn’t seem to have any interest. Cody entered and jettisoned Christmas, and the two began roundly dumping all over her for going after Cody.

Cody immediately switched his intended target from Memphis to Christmas because Christmas had the audacity to suggest that a good player might be a wise person to target. Nicole tried to talk him out of it and lovingly said, “Your Big Brother life is in my hands,” something she should have said as a threat but instead phrased as though she were his gentlehearted caretaker.

Memphis approached Nicole and lied to her face about not having ANY other alliances outside of the Committee, which Nicole knew to be untrue. He offered her a bunch of deals that boiled down to “if you scratch my back I’ll scratch yours, and I promise you final 3”. This seemed unlikely at the time, even though Memphis (in the DR) seemed certain that it was a brilliant and generous deal to make. “Memphis’ offer is terrible,” Nicole exploded in the DR, “we all know nobody can control Memphis, and he’s gonna do exactly what he wants.” They hemmed and hawed at one another for a while, and then Memphis left. “You want me to keep you off the block,” Nicole said after he left, “you need to guarantee me final two, and you need to do a lot more than that, buddy.”

At the nomination ceremony, shocking nobody, Nicole nominated Memphis and Christmas. Memphis is her target. She doesn’t want nominations to change. Maybe they will, maybe they won’t. Veto will be BB Comics. The season is almost over. The season is almost over. The season is almost over.


Written by

Alexandra Shields

Alexandra "Ali" Shields is a sketch writer and playwright from Chicago and a graduate from Northwestern University. Alexandra has published humor articles with The Second City Network and cracked.com. Alexandra’s play, Twelve, won first place in the Jackie White National Memorial Playwriting Contest in 2018.


Gus Schlanbusch

Gus Schlanbusch is a Chicago-based playwright, theatre director, and Survivor fan. His plays have been produced in Chicago, Detroit, and Boston. He is a relatively new survivor superfan, his first live season having been Season 33, but his fiancée, Ali Shields, has caught him up pretty thoroughly on what he missed before then.


One response to “Episode 29 Recap – Late Starter”

  1. There’s a lot of people who underestimate Nicole. I can’t believe I made it to the top seven for three consecutive seasons. And I want you to know. There’s a way to win like this.

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