“Is Paulie getting more attractive? Is that possible?”
Yes, my dear, sweet colleague Dalene (who was texting me during tonight’s episode), it’s possible and it’s true. Somehow, local crockpot Paulie has gone from simmer to boil in just a few short weeks. Then again, such is the inevitability when you do the two things that can make a person impossibly attractive: 1) spending eight hours a day focused on a combination of working out and optimal ensconcing, and 2) orchestrating a seismic shift that will eventually — hopefully — lead to the ousting of rejected Mark-Twain-villain Frank.
Even though Paulie’s HOH win at the end of the episode guarantees that big-bad-bro Frank is safe for another week, I’d still credit Paulie with turning the tide on this week’s big decision. On one side of the house are Team Rocket members Frank and Bridgette; on the other, Da’Vonne and James. Everyone else seems to fall into an ethereal purgatory of allegiance somewhere in between, and it was Paulie who served as the voice of contention, reason, and decision.
It all began with this week’s block still intact after Bridgette opted not to use the veto Wednesday. Paul is okay with staying on the block because, somehow, he’s done a classic 115-degree quasi-U-turn in heavy traffic and endeared himself to everyone. Bronte doesn’t mind her block spot either, as she’s fairly confident the plan is to oust Tiffany. Tiffany, getting very little screen time this week, likely cried a lot, but I suppose the non-live-feed viewers will never know.
But Frank, following a display of punchable behavior I can only imagine has been quadrupally awful on the live feeds, has now become public enemy no. 1. His crimes? Criminal condescension, petty butt pats, and general douchiness in the first degree. (Also: Being the guy who accidentally sprains a girl’s ankle.)
The wheels are thusly set into motion, primarily by Da’Vonne, to keep Tiffany in the house so she’ll be an asset in the quest to vote out Frank next week. She swiftly convinces James, Nicole, Michelle, and Zakiyah to join in on the plan to vote out Bronte instead. By the time it gets to Paulie, though, he raises some valid points about whether Tiffany’s too volatile to keep. He does that man thing where he assumes only a broad-shouldered woman like Tiffany can win challenges, while a frail, plastic baggie of bird bones like Bronte can only be a non-threat. He also recalls Vanessa’s strategic gameplay and proposes that Tiffany will likely pull the same moves, despite everyone inexplicably insisting she’d “never put any of us up.” Corey offers a counterpoint, suggesting that keeping Tiffany means they’re all doing Frank’s dirty work for him (although I don’t see anybody breaking ankles up in here). An ego blow can change anyone’s mind, surely.
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Still, Paulie’s managed to instill in everyone some mild, low-stakes paranoia — just a little bit, like the kind of anxiety you get when Chipotle reminds you guac is extra, and though you are well-versed in Chipotle price lore, you can’t help but contemplate your decision for just a nanosecond.
So Paulie’s shaken things up and Nicole has received the brunt of the cerebral blending. Unfortunately, that puts her in the prime crosshairs of Frank, who’s desperate to recruit for HIS plan.
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