If yesterday was the part of summer camp when you introduce yourself to everyone and try to pretend your real life back home is a little more popular and a little less “does the P.A. announcements,” today marks the day after — when the pleasantries vanish and it’s time to start slowly fashioning shivs using splinters from your bunk beds.
It’s nomination day in the Big Brother house, and all summer long, I’ll be taking the recapping reins on Thursdays — a day of dark reckoning on which I will be writing about the fate of 16 strangers I have never met in real life. (I thought I saw Victor once at a Target, but it turned out to be a sales display of protein powder and a CVS.)
Things tend to escalate rather quickly on the Big Brother estate, and this year is no different. A brief refresher on the three big twists of the premiere: Twist no. 1 is that some random people are back and, according to the editors, we’re only supposed to care about their fates right now. Twist no. 2 is that everyone must play on teams, although no twist can be blamed for the sheer stupidity of this year’s alliance monikers (with the exception of Category 4, which is like, acceptably clever). And twist no. 3 was not much of a twist at all — there would be an elimination during premiere week. All caught up? Great.
CUE THE INTRO CREDITS! There’s Victor, doing some dancing! And Jozea, also doing some dancing! And whoa, could it be, is that Paulie, dancing? My! Bronte also waves and Tiffany wields a ruler because she’s a teacher (and nothing says contemporary modern educator like a wooden yardstick).
At the top of the show, we find ourselves embedded with The Freakazoids, who lost the rocket-ship challenge and must now compete against one another for safety and HOH — the loser will be sent home, and the remaining three team members will pick an HOH from their ranks.
Nicole, as a veteran, is upset because she assumes she’s the easy target, and she’s not wrong: The whole house is essentially gunning for the old-timers to make like the boring kid at a sleepover and go home first. The only way the veterans are going to shake off the targets on their backs is by adding newbies to their ranks, and it’s a slow but fast-moving process thanks to some quick work from Da’Vonne and Nicole.
The vets manage to easily pull in the newbies like they’re Pokemon on route 1: Da’Vonne scoops up Tiffanessa, who cries about her horrible burden of being Vanessa’s sister and suddenly has approximately one-fourteenth less weight on her back; Nicole pulls in Corey, exercising some genuinely impressive Inception-like skills by making her teammate not only indirectly agree to keep her (there had been some talk about him throwing the competition to get her out), but also believe it was his idea for her to be HOH (which she secretly wants, for obvious reasons); lastly, James and Nicole pull in Paulie, asserting their trust in him because of their appreciation for Cody and his baby blues. (It should be noted that Nicole briefly mentions she’s hesitant to trust Paulie because Cody voted her out, which is one of those inanely dismissible arguments that shouldn’t really be a reason to not do something — like if you want Chipotle for dinner even though you already ate it the six nights before.)
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As the veterans grow their ranks, there’s one very loud voice dominating the crusade to get the returners out: Paul, the hipster clothing designer whose beard can get out tough stains and greasy grime from even the most stubborn casserole dish. More than anyone, we see Paul try to advise Corey and company to oust Nicole; we see Paul leading the cheer against Nicole in the Hit the Road competition; we see Paul rallying the troops to ensure the game doesn’t really begin until the returning four are gone. But as Corey adroitly puts it, “I guess the returners aren’t a part of Paul’s strategy, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be a part of mine.”
I have decided I already like Corey and want to commend him, but I’m still not entirely sure he thought of it and there isn’t a little Nicole DiCaprio running around a beach in his head right now drawing pictures of Marion Cotillard on an Etch A Sketch.
NEXT: Hit the road, Glenn, and don’t you come back, no Glenn, no Glenn, no Glenn, no Glenn