Big Brother All-Stars

Episode 5 Recap – Play or Go Home

Who will Memphis nominate?

Photo: CBS/Global

We begin our blessed COVID escapism with the aftermath of Keesha’s unanimous elimination. Kevin, happier than we’ve seen him before or since, shimmies like a Vegas showgirl in the Diary Room over the fact that he’s still in the game. He describes his feeling as “taking a laxative.” If that’s the case, perhaps he shouldn’t shake so much?

Memphis is the new HOH. His alliance, “The Commission,” is the most white bread alliance since, well, last season. Tyler’s incredulous that Memphis has never won an HOH before. Considering Tyler’s challenge abilities, this creates some unintentional, yet hilarious, shade. David professes that he’s concerned that Memphis will put him on the block (he’s right).

While David sweats, Bayleigh and Janelle discuss how safe they feel with Memphis. Which, in true Big Brother style, is later undercut by Memphis contemplating putting them on the block. Classic Big Brother.

But can we interrupt this moment to thank Memphis for making Have Nots relevant again? Just when it looked like Have Nots would always be inconsequential in the BB house, Memphis decides to stick David as a Have Not in the most blatantly personal way possible. The conflict this sparks continues to have ramifications for the rest of the episode. Memphis basically tells David that he is in trouble, and gives David an opportunity to save himself. Is David successful? No. But if Memphis keeps throwing obvious hints like this, then it’s all good for team good feeds.

Nicole F. then volunteers to be a Have Not. While her name twin, Nicole A., picks “good sport” Christmas. Kevin, in a not at all personal, definitely objective move, picks Kaysar.

Da'Vonne
Photo: CBS/Global

Da’Vonne and Bayleigh lead a powerful discussion about racism. Bayleigh shares her experiences growing up in a predominantly white area and how white boys would fetishize her. Da’Vonne discusses the colorism she faced (how darker-skinned black women are viewed as inferior to lighter skin black women) in a raw and emotional DR confessional. The subject then moves to Black Lives Matter, and how racism is taught, not ingrained. There’s absolutely zero to snark about here. Conversations like these need to be had and shown.

We check back in with Memphis, who wants everyone in his alliance to burn their Safety Suite passes, which was transparent as a ghost. Christmas, who presumably likes ghosts (past, present, and future), bites on this opportunity to be loyal immediately. Lest we forget, her son’s name is Loyal. Meanwhile, Nicole F. and Dani look out for themselves because they didn’t forget they’re playing a game. Ultimately, Memphis can only convince Cody (also Mr. Loyalty) and Christmas to play. I guess Cody forgets that someone he’s not aligned with could win HOH next week.

Nicole A. decides to pull the anti-Keesha and have a discussion with the HOH. Memphis, in no uncertain terms, tells her to play in the Safety Suite competition. And why not? It’s potential guaranteed safety you can only use for three weeks. There’s not a ton of reason to hold onto it, especially considering Memphis is pretty much telling Nicole he’s putting her up. But Nicole takes offense to his advice, stating in a DR session, “I do not take orders from you.” Nicole, there are orders, and then there’s common sense. Nicole A. later confesses her concern that she will regret her decision not to play. Ya think?

Ian then tootles his way into the HOH room. During the following conversation, Memphis has Disney villain-esque DRs about how he wants to get revenge against Ian for Dan Gheesling. Dan has won the game before, Memphis, and he lost to Ian years ago. He’s likely over it. Ian immediately guesses Memphis’s motives and catches onto some bad vibes from Memphis and makes the correct decision to play in the Safety Suite competition. Not only that, Ian makes a deal with LOYAL Christmas so that she would give him her plus one if she wins. You love to see it.

Nicole A
Photo: CBS/Global

In addition to Ian, these players participate in the Safety Suite competition: Cody, David, Da’vonne, Bayleigh, and Christmas. The competition is a weight stacking game that plays on our nostalgia for a time we could safely go to bars. Meanwhile, Enzo stands around with weights without working out and moans about not wanting to die fat.

Nicole A. hems and haws about whether she should play (she should) and ultimately decides not to let Memphis boss her around (mistake). Did Memphis get HOHitis this week? Absolutely. It doesn’t mean Nicole A. shouldn’t play. It appears that Nicole A. is suffering from some past season traumas that she hasn’t gotten over. Completely understandable, but it’s not going to help her moving forward. It makes zero sense to hold on to the Safety Suite for next week if there’s no guarantee you’re going to survive until then.

Christmas emerges the winner of the competition and follows through on her promise to save Ian. Memphis is pressed that he isn’t able to put Ian on the block, but there was really nothing he could do about it as he communicated his plans to zero people in his alliance (though it didn’t stop him from low key scolding her for it anyway). The Creative Contestant award goes to Da’vonne, who picks up the drinks with her feet (sadly, it wasn’t a creativity competition, but a speed competition).

Memphis makes the decision to put Nicole A. on the block because she didn’t play the Safety Suite. And, surprising no one, puts David up next to her with some condescending words about grown-ups the grown ups table.” As of now, it appears David has the better chance to stay, but time will tell as Thursday is still a way off.

Want more Big Brother content?

Chrissy & Ovi Week 2 Power Rankings
Week 1 Stats
A Beginner’s Guide to Big Brother


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.


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