“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.
NEXT: Make the Big Brother house great again
Frank is thinking towards the future. He wants to make the house great again. He’s not sure how he’s going to go about executing these plans, but he’s a mouthpiece for unsure, unconfident, non-inquisitive people in the house (Bridgette) and is just saying what the house wants to hear, so what’s the harm in blindly following his whims? Frank sets his sights on Nicole as someone he’d like to bring into the future with him before, ostensibly, drawing a wall between them and the rest of the house.
One thing Frank shares with his alliance members is the overall belief that the Eight Pack alliance has basically served its purpose. (That was fast.) Now it’s time to move forward, and Frank proposes a new alliance of four consisting of himself, Nicole, Corey, and Bridgette. His first target happens to be Da’Vonne, who’s realistically too major of a target to get Nicole on board. As much as I don’t want to see Nicole align herself with the off-brand trash bag, it wouldn’t have been the worst move for her to form a small alliance, but Frank choosing Da’Vonne as his first victim is essentially asking Nicole to go from sneaky spy to straight-up terrorist.
Nicole’s conflicted but interested in the idea, and oh gosh, I wish she could have heard him talking to Bridgette, who expresses her mistrust of Corey, to which Frank says, “We’ll cut him eventually.” Ugh.
But Nicole is largely on board, until Frank makes another play — trying to loop in Michelle — and accidentally reveals that Nicole is on board, which is the perfect thing to say when you want someone who is on board to get off board. Michelle tells Day just as Nicole enters the room, and Day has the most entertaining response to Nicole being caught in a possible-side-alliance-planning-plot. I like to think Day has already forgiven Nicole for the malfunction, after maybe just a little relishing of watching Nicole squirm.
With Nicole now completely averse to working with Frank, the conversation resumes to vote out Bronte. A fun wrench in the plan: Nicole, Michelle, Corey, Zakiyah, and Paulie decide they’ll follow James and Da’Vonne’s plan, but they won’t tell them — so there’s an extra layer of confusion throughout the house, because that’s always fun. Credit goes to Corey for the suggestion, although none of the five of them have the wherewithal to actually suggest they form a new alliance of five, then and there, between all newbies.
When eviction time rolls around, Tiffany lays into dictator Frank in a scathing speech that legitimately pulls so many “Oohs” from the crowd, you’d think Topanga just broke up with Cory. (In her speech, Tiffany also refers to Bridgette as his “little Cabbage Patch Kid,” which definitely ranks in Big Brother history as one of the top 750 most incendiary insults).
It’s Bronte who ultimately goes, and she is a bright ray of sunshine in her exit interview. Someone warned her 20 minutes before her eviction that she’d be leaving (Natalie, perhaps?), and she wisely figures it’s because the target for next week changed.
And then Frank’s in the bathroom and it’s super awkward, and Paulie wins HOH, essentially negating this week’s entire plan now that Category Four (Michelle, Frank, and Bridgette) are safe for another week.
Who’ll go on the block instead? I assume Paulie will put up Paul and Natalie, but the Roadkill — this summer’s most delightful-but-awful-but-delightful game-changer — will really determine who gets block-blocked.