To say that this week has been frustrating to watch unfold would be an understatement. With another Thursday come and gone, just a fraction of this frustration has been highlighted in the most recent eviction episode.
We’ve seen bits and pieces of the fallout of Memphis’ HOH reign throughout the week, and his alliance members were definitely not happy about his decision to play the middle ground. This disapproval continued in the aftermath of the Veto ceremony, where Memphis decided not to play the Power of Veto and keep his original nominations of David and Nicole A.
Janelle is upset that Memphis didn’t take her suggestion to nominate Nicole F and sees this as a sign that his loyalties are not with her (she’s right). Meanwhile, Nicole F is upset that Memphis did not go with their alliance’s wish to backdoor Janelle and concludes that Memphis is not thinking about the alliance’s best interests. She’s also right because Memphis continues to defend his decision by telling viewers that he wanted to remain as neutral as possible.
To be fair, Memphis’ choices in nominations are not necessarily bad ones for his personal game. Strategically, it makes a fair amount of sense for him to nominate David and Nicole A, two people with no personal connection to him. It also makes sense to push as many people as possible to play Safety Suite to increase his chances of winning in Week 3. However, his choices were made in such a way that instead of being on good terms with everyone, he has now pissed almost all of them off. He might have made himself safe for the short term, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this week damaged his game long-term.
Believe it or not, Memphis’ poor decisions as HOH pales in comparison to the lousy gameplay of both nominees. Rather than use the mistakes of their opponents to secure their safety, both Nicole A and David continue to ruin their chances to better their positions in the game. When Nicole A tries to pitch to Da’Vonne why she’d be better to keep around, Da’Vonne states that she can’t bring herself to vote out David, one of the few Black contestants in the house. However, David does nothing to earn her trust. If anything, he gives her ample reasons to vote him out.
When Da’Vonne confronts David about being in a male alliance, he simply replies that he has “safeguards in place,” but he refuses to elaborate more on the matter to her. To add insult to injury, he tells her that she needs to calm down when she continues to push for more information. Perhaps he should consider Bayleigh’s advice, never tell a woman to calm down, and especially never tell Da’Vonne to calm down.
Any other week, David’s shortcomings as a gameplayer would’ve been a death sentence. Not so much this week, because Nicole A’s choices are equally bad, if not worse. Kaysar and Janelle have made it abundantly clear that they feel keeping Nicole A would be better for their games, a thought that is reinforced when David more or less confirms he is on good terms with the other guys in the house. In order to keep Nicole around, all three of them would have to work to secure the other five votes in her favor.
Rather than take this as a sign to align with the only two houseguests actively trying to save her, Nicole resists their help. She feels that if Janelle and Kaysar had worked harder on Memphis, she wouldn’t be on the block. What’s more, she tells them that she shouldn’t be on the block, blames them for not trying hard enough, and spends most of the week badmouthing them to other houseguests.
This week’s strategic choices have been exceptionally poor, but the fact that this is on an All-Stars season makes it significantly worse. It’s not every day that we see this bad of social games from the HOH and both nominees, but I suppose it’ll make this week memorable, if only in the worst sense.
Finally, it comes time to cast votes to evict. David and Nicole give fairly generic pleas about why they should stay in the game. David talks about his social connections and the appreciation he has for everyone. Nicole urges players to vote for what is best for their own individual games. They both take time to specifically show appreciation for each other and are even holding hands in support during the voting process.
If anything, these moments serve as a reminder of the toll that Big Brother 21 had on them. I won’t pretend to know what David or Nicole experienced in the aftermath of last year’s season, but I do believe that the toxicity of BB21 has negatively impacted both of their games to a small extent. It doesn’t excuse the blatant mistakes they both made, but it’s definitely a point of reference to consider in some capacity when looking at their relationship to Big Brother.
The final vote is 10-2, with Nicole being evicted from the Big Brother house. Only Kevin and (surprisingly) Enzo voted to keep her. Kevin clearly voted for David because Nicole is his closest friend in the house. Enzo most likely voted this way to cause some paranoia, and it will be interesting to see if anything will come about from the surprise vote.
Nicole’s exit interview with Julie Chen does little to soften the blow of her early departure. Julie questions her choices throughout the week, particularly why she was so angry with Janelle and Kaysar, the only two actively campaigning for her. Julie also exposes the six-person alliance of Dani, Nicole F., Memphis, Cody, Christmas, and Tyler, who wanted to keep David as a number.
A teary-eyed Nicole admits she was wrong and owes both Janelle and Kaysar apologies for her behavior; she shouldn’t have listened to what the other houseguests were saying about them. Let this be a warning to any future Big Brother stars: Janellousy is real and potentially fatal to player’s games.
The HOH competition was an overly complex version of the table games occasionally found on Big Brother. Contestants have to slide beer glasses across a table three times in hopes of getting the highest combined score in the shortest amount of time. Because it’s 2020 and we can’t have anything nice, Tyler ends up winning HOH.
This is disappointing for those who wanted a shakeup in power dynamics, especially since outsider Janelle was so close to winning herself. Bad news: this likely means more of the same big alliance running the show for another week. Good news: if any of the six were to shake things up at this stage, it would probably be Tyler. He’s been playing all sides of the house and has multiple final two deals with people. Even if he goes the predictable route of nominating Janelle and Kaysar, it exposes to the rest of the house where his loyalties lie.
Right now, we can only hope Week 3 brings something new and exciting to the same predictable gameplay we’ve seen since premiere night. Otherwise, these All-Stars will not be shining very bright.
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