If there’s anything you need to know while playing Big Brother, it is that your plans have to change with the environment, especially with giant bananas involved. As we saw in the last episode, Head of Household Cody’s plan was decimated when his targets, Kaysar and Janelle, were not eligible to be nominated due to the Safety Suite twist. Kevin and Keesha are now the new targets—both seen as wildcards in a game, eerily comparable to the “old school vs. new school” mentality of Survivor’s recent Winners at War season. Alliances are starting to form, leaving the old-schoolers fighting for any chance to fit into the new school environment inside the Big Brother house.
While these alliances are starting to take shape, other houseguests are trying to navigate the game’s socio-political world. Kaysar and Da’Vonne discuss racial representation and discrimination both within Big Brother and the world at large. Both have dealt with pressure to perform despite these obstacles. Kaysar, a first-generation immigrant from Iraq, talks about the first time he played Big Brother amidst the war in Iraq and how he wanted to change perceptions. Da’Vonne touches on a similar topic later when she talks to Bayleigh, and they establish their “Black Girl Magic” alliance, formed through their bond and admiration for each other.
The real-world also enters the game in a conversation where Ian discusses being on the Autism spectrum and how hard it can be to play a social-based game with added societal pressure. I personally loved seeing these conversations, and I’d like to see more of them come into the main episodes, which usually avoid any sort of in-depth non-game discussion. We watched all of this unfold on the live feeds, but having it edited and shown to the casual audience on prime-time network television is truly satisfying.
Back to the game, and Tyler is up to his old tricks. We’ve seen before in Big Brother when the cast all have a trust for one player, but it usually happens later in the game (Paul in BB19, Andy in BB15). However, we are getting this in the first week with Tyler. Cue the montage of him cutting deals with multiple people, all inexplicably believing they are the only ones who have a “true alliance” with him. The last time Tyler played, this cost him the game as he wrote too many checks that he couldn’t cash. Will he lose because of that again? I thought the montage was a great way to showcase how Tyler has played so far, he hasn’t had to try too hard, but his charm and charisma draw everyone in with ease.
Meanwhile, Kevin tries to figure out who he can trust and how he can get numbers on his side. He asks players like David and Ian if they’d play in the Veto competition for him, but they shrug him off. The only player who gives him anything is Enzo, who Kevin eventually picks to play in the Veto comp. Kevin’s had a rough start to the season, finding himself in situations where he has to strategize in the bathroom, or being forced to select someone to play in the Veto for him even though they barely talked. Kevin seems overwhelmed by all the “icons” around him, but he needs to wake up and remember he is an All-Star too and has to start playing like one before it is too late.
The Veto competition is a very fun and silly parody of the popular fitness app Peloton. The players have to straddle giant bananas for 90 seconds at a time before stacking fruit and vegetable shaped puzzle pieces. If you don’t get back on your banana before the 90 seconds are up, you’re eliminated. Tyler, Ian, and Cody all fall victim to this, while Enzo has a hilarious slow-motion sensual moment with his banana. Enzo may not have any experience in that department, but he does a great job in the challenge, clocking in his score with 18 stacked pieces.
Kevin actually pulls ahead with 19 pieces stacked with time remaining and surely would have won had he clocked in his score. But with Keesha still slowly stacking at the other side of the backyard, Kevin thinks he needs to do more to assure victory. Sadly, as he goes to place one more piece on his stack, he forgets about the running clock, which reaches zero and eliminates Kevin from the competition. Keesha’s stack eventually falls, and Enzo is crowned the winner of the Power of Veto.
Cody is pleased that the power is with Enzo, one of his closest allies in the house alongside Nicole F. Keeping the power within those two is beneficial for Cody’s game. Enzo does briefly consider using the Veto on Kevin, mainly due to spying Ian and Nicole F having a mysterious late-night strat-chat in the bathroom. Enzo has every right to be worried, as Ian and Nicole (the only previous winners in the game) are in their own secret alliance, the “Million Club.” Enzo brings this info to Cody, and both agree that Ian has to go sooner rather than later. Still, ultimately Enzo does not use the Veto, leaving Keesha or Kevin to be evicted during Thursday’s live eviction.
So who goes? As of last night, Keesha seems to be the primary target. Cody, among others, sees Keesha as a non-entity and someone who he won’t be able to use as a number down the line. Janelle and Kaysar, the biggest targets in the game, have expressed a desire to keep Keesha, but the writing seems to be on the wall unless something changes in the next 24-hours.
While this first week may have been a little dull, especially for an All-Stars season, I fully believe what Da’Vonne said in the Diary Room, that a storm is brewing, and things will kick up a notch soon, especially if Janelle or Kaysar win the next HOH.
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