Another reign as Head of Household for Vanessa, another week filled with more paranoia than a 1970s political thriller. Yes, Vanessa is once again in power, which means everyone’s dirty laundry is aired out in the open, as she jumps from houseguests to houseguest searching for news like a ravenous vulture dying for something to eat. The wheels are spinning in overdrive as she finds herself caught between a showmance with far too much hair and another showmance without much “mance.”
Vanessa ascended to power through the all-too-familiar egg carry challenge. Having to slip their fingers through chicken wire, the houseguests had to maneuver eggs into holders, and this year’s iteration made last year’s look like child’s play. Rather than scaling eggs over a vertical wall, each contestant had to carry the egg above their heads in the arc of a rainbow, taking it from one end of the rainbow to the other.
The only real strategy any of the houseguests could employ was to be careful not to trip over their own fingers. (ASIDE: Ever since the format was introduced during the eviction episode, I wondered if you could, once passing the midpoint, let the egg tumble down the other side just a bit to pick up a lead. As the many dropped eggs proved, that would likely not be the case. Those poor golden chickens. END OF ASIDE)
Liz, realizing she’s lagging behind, decides to go after the mystery luxury prize, which must be claimed before the competition could end. This decision puts more of an onus on Austin of course, who clearly believes he and his alter ego Judas (a name significant for belonging to one of the most selfish characters in the Bible) must protect Liz like she’s a dainty princess trapped away in a castle tower.
But it’s not Austin who pulls out the win — it’s Vanessa, meaning arguably the season’s most fascinating player (likable or not, at least Vanessa’s moves create tension in the house, as frustrating as some of it might be). It almost immediately sends her into a spiral of thinking and overthinking until she could think no longer, which is apparently a time that may never come.
Following her win, Vanessa is on a hunt for information, wanting to ensure whether she should stick to her Austin and Liz alliance or if her newfound team-up with Johnny Mac and Steve is better for her in the end. She runs the numbers, she interrogates all of her various alliance members for information, and though Vanessa has proven how impressive her manipulation can be, it’s everyone else who is trying to manipulate her this week. Or at the very least, make sure she doesn’t renege on whatever agreement they have with her.
She finds out about a deal between Steve and Liz before the eviction that Liz would save Steve in the event of a tie if she became HoH. She discovers from Johnny Mac Austin promised not to put his favorite dentist up but that Steve and Vanessa would have been the candidates for nomination had he become HoH. Everyone’s making deals that Vanessa wasn’t privy to, some of them legitimate, some of them clearly meant to just save face, but that distinction doesn’t matter to her. That anyone would make a deal without her, let alone one involving her and the chopping block, is unacceptable, and it sends her into a state of shocked concern.
She can’t remember conversations with Johnny Mac about keeping their alliance secret by making a deal they could break with Austin. Or if she does, she’s just particularly unhappy that it meant someone saying she would become a nominee. Time and again tonight Vanessa proves that as much as she thinks things through, she can’t seem to understand that not every deal made in the house is a binding contract.
NEXT: A concert is as good a time as any to think about nominations, right?