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Big Brother recap: The Tides Have Turned

An endurance competition ends with the balance of power shifting and the season’s big showmance being put at risk.

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Big Brother

TV Show
Reality TV
Julie Chen
Current Status:
In Season

With the Battle of the Block behind us this season, Sunday nights of Big Brother have now thankfully returned to primarily being about the players actually playing the game rather than worrying about an extra competition. And while the endurance comp took up more than a fourth of the hour, it helped to signal the start of a new regime’s control in the house, one not under the watchful eye of King Clay and Queen Shelli. Far from it, in fact.

But let’s start out with that test of endurance. (ASIDE: Oh how I miss the day when the time on an endurance competition would tick up by hours, not minutes. Seeing “Time Elapsed: 1 hour, 20 minutes” is far less impressive than the seven or eight hours these challenges would take at a minimum in previous years. END OF ASIDE) The competition picked up from the last episode, tasking the players with gripping onto the rock climbing handholds beside them for dear life. The rain, pelting by felt-bald-eagle, and bird poop splatters appear to have driven the houseguests to the point of insanity. All of them begin babbling—not quite as horribly as we’re shown Clay talks on any given day later in the episode, but they all act strangely in their own ways.

Becky yells out about the comp being a wet t-shirt contest, James repeatedly asks everyone else on the walls to strike deals, and Austin frequently looks over at Liz with wolf eyes, spurred on by the promise of a kiss if he wins. (He must be really love-struck if he can’t quite see how little interest she actually has in him, but such are the ways of a proper showmance.) Unfortunately, Austin is one of the first to fall off alongside Steve.

Yes, Steve is still in the game, a fact he may try to hide from just about everyone, but fails to do so. When James scares Steve coming out of the bathroom later in the episode, Steve falls to the ground, presumably shocked that anyone remembered he was still in the house. There are floaters like Johnny Mac and Becky, and then there’s flying so far under the radar that it’s easy for the audience to forget you’re on the show, which is where Steve is comfortably sitting.

Julia and Meg then fall, and the rest of the houseguests tumble like dominoes, leaving James, Shelli, and John up on the wall. Shelli is clearly shaking in her sneakers, ready to drop at a moment’s notice; James looks like he’s zoned out in another dimension; and Johnny Mac is just wishing his good pal Baldy the bald eagle would come back to visit him. (ASIDE: Once again we we’re teased with the kiss between Johnny Mac and Becky before the opening credits and the infinitely more intriguing showmance couple that could be. END OF ASIDE)

Shelli, thinking she is anywhere near a position of power, asks James to make a deal. She and James throw in Johnny Mac’s safety, but she also asks, for all that is good and holy in the world, that James not touch a single hair on her or precious Clay’s heads. She repeats herself so many times which is understandable given the freezing rain—nevertheless, she begs for Clay’s protection so many times I had to check that my cable box wasn’t sputtering, rewinding the perfect five-second clip over and over out of sheer luck.

James accepts the deal, not really needing to, as one look at Shelli’s quivering legs would have proved (Jackie and Meg later point this out to James as well). But the HoH contender doesn’t want to rock the boat too much and outright reject the deal, so he agrees and assumes the throne.

NEXT: James decides how soon is too soon to get blood on his hands…