We’ve officially come to the end of the first week of Big Brother All-Stars, and the results are… well, less than ideal for those of us that missed the old school dynamics of the game. Despite this being an All-Stars season, it seems like the majority of players are still sticking to the new school methods of large alliances and under-the-radar gameplay.
Episode 4 starts with the conclusion of the Veto ceremony, where Enzo decided to keep the nominations of Keesha and Kevin the same. Kevin is understandably disappointed that his “Houseguest’s Choice” pick didn’t save him, but he remains optimistic that he is not the target for this week. This makes sense, considering that HOH Cody has made it clear he would prefer for Kevin to stay over his primary target, Keesha.
Speaking of Keesha, she is also not surprised by Enzo’s decision and declares that she needs to start fighting to stay in the house. Except… we don’t really see any fight from her afterwards. Janelle makes it clear that she wants Keesha to stay over Kevin, but she doesn’t want to put an even bigger target on her own back by campaigning too hard for her. She tells Keesha that she will vote to keep her if Keesha can secure the other votes needed to stay. The fact that Keesha can’t remember one houseguest’s name (Taylor? Trevor? It’s Tyler, in case anyone’s wondering) is not exactly promising.
Meanwhile, Kevin attempts to connect with other houseguests. He and Nicole Anthony have a bonding session in the hammock and make a final two agreement. While I love to see these two have so much trust in each other, there are much more formidable partnerships to keep an eye out for right now.
Memphis and Cody have officially aligned, calling themselves “The Commission.” The former finalists are the core two, with Memphis recruiting Dani, Nicole F., Christmas, and Tyler as a secondary group to secure the numbers.
And, while Bayleigh and Tyler didn’t explicitly agree to an alliance, they both agreed that it was in their best interest to use their drama from Big Brother 20 to their advantage. I don’t think either of them would necessarily stick their necks out for one another, but it will be interesting to see if their past comes back to haunt them in the next few weeks.
The alliances continue for current HOH Cody. In this episode, we’re reminded that Cody is aligned with Enzo as well, and they have a final four deal with Bayleigh and Da’Vonne. We also saw in earlier episodes that Cody is aligned with Nicole Franzel.
Of all the houseguests, Cody, by far, has the best connections. He’s in good standing with most of the new school players, has played with Nicole F before, is a “good ole’ Jersey boy” like Enzo, and lost in the final two to their ride-or-die like Memphis. You think it would be discussed at some point how dangerous a player Cody is setting himself up to be, but it hasn’t been suggested from the episodes we’ve seen. Things could very well change for Cody, but there would need to be a major power shift for that to happen.
Back to the nominees, there is a brief segment of various houseguests weighing each player’s pros and cons. The episode began with Keesha being more likely to go home, and not much changes by the eviction ceremony. Both final speeches are fairly generic; Keesha wishes MOST of the players the best of luck (but to my frustration, she didn’t name any names), and Kevin panders to the players by saying they are his “light” and that he hopes he can stay so that they can shine together. All in all, it is exactly what I expected from the person expecting to go home (Keesha) and the person expecting to stay (Kevin).
When it comes time to vote, there aren’t many unexpected occurrences. David casts his first vote ever, which is a sweet moment to acknowledge, regardless of how you feel about him returning for an all-star season. Da’Vonne gives a shoutout to #JusticeforBreonnaTaylor, and I hope we have more moments like that throughout the season. Big Brother can feel like its own world for both contestants and viewers alike, but it’s important to remind everyone that the outside world hasn’t stopped for the players just because they’re in a competition.
The votes are unsurprising and uneventful, as the houseguests vote unanimously to evict Keesha. Once again, we’re reminded of the conditions of the outside world as Keesha puts on her mask to leave the house and sits at a safe distance for her interview with Julie. Keesha admits that she isn’t surprised by the vote, but she is upset at Cody and Enzo, who avoided her all day rather than tell her that she was going home. The goodbye messages from Janelle, Memphis, Kevin, and Da’Vonne all have similar tones: they wanted to work with her but couldn’t make it happen.
As a Big Brother superfan, it was heartbreaking to see Keesha (and Kevin, for that matter) on the block after waiting over a decade to play again. This quiet acceptance of the house dynamics from Keesha and other houseguests is rather frustrating for those hoping for more exciting, adaptable, and dramatic gameplay. Some players are very clearly at the bottom of the pecking order, and unless a significant upset happens soon, there doesn’t seem to be any major power shifts on the horizon.
The HOH competition doesn’t do much to change my opinion. Titled “Big Brother Watch Party,” houseguests are shown a video of Big Brother “fans” (just one guy in various costumes) in a Zoom conference setting. Players are asked true or false questions about the video and are eliminated if they answer incorrectly.
The first video sees Kaysar, David, Enzo, Dani, Nicole F., and Christmas eliminated. After the second video, Kevin, Ian, and Janelle are eliminated, leaving only Tyler, Da’Vonne, Nicole A., Bayleigh, and Memphis. In the final question, everyone but Memphis answers false. The answer is true, and Memphis wins the Week 2 HOH.
At this point in the game, a Memphis HOH is far from the power shift many of us were hoping for. I fully expect to see more of the same of what we saw this past week, especially since he is so closely aligned with Cody. There has been a lot of talk about whether All-Stars will turn into “Old School vs. New School,” much like it did on Survivor: Winners at War. It does look like that is still a possibility, and by that logic, Memphis winning HOH would be good news for the old school players.
However, Memphis is in an alliance that is comprised of largely new school players. While he hasn’t explicitly targeted Janelle and Kaysar like his alliance members, it’s too early to tell whether they’ll convince him to nominate them, especially since they can’t compete in Safety Suite.
Now that alliances are solidified, Memphis has a lot more information to go off of for his nominations (his first nominations ever, at that). The Safety Suite may shake up his plans, but probably not in the same way it did with Kaysar winning last week. That being said, it will be interesting to see who decides to participate in this new competition and what Week 2 has in store for us.
Want more Big Brother content?