September 13, 2017 at 09:26 PM EDT

Big Brother

TV Show
Reality TV
Julie Chen
Current Status
In Season

LOL, Julie Chen.

Do we have a moment for Julie? Of course we have a moment for Julie. What else are we doing this season other than remembering how blessed we are to have Julie? In interviews, Julie blesses us with a bit of insight and perspective, all while rocking high-waisted pants and a mesh top. Jeff Probst could never. And after years of hosting, you can’t help but argue that Julie is maybe Big Brother herself: the key to winning this game. So of course, she cold-opens the show by calling the nominees into the living room to announce: It’s time, BBs. Someone is going home tonight.

#ButFirst, we catch up with the houseguests, and this final five actually feels a lot like the final five back in season 15, except at least Paul has a backbone. GinaMarie, Judd, Spencer, and Andy came up with a flimsy makeshift alliance to remove the only other semi-threat in the game, McCrae. Of course, McCrae wasn’t much of a threat, but it was this strange hodgepodge of a final four alliance, which is what we have here: Christmas, Kevin, Josh, and Paul making moves to remove Alex. The thing is, Alex is no Rachel Reilly, but she is playing the game. So she goes in on Josh and plays the emotional card, begging him to save her. But she doesn’t want to jeopardize Paul’s game, which is hilarious because Paul wants her out.

Meanwhile, Christmas literally threatens Josh’s life if he falls for Alex’s ploy. When Josh asks Christmas if they’re good for the final two, Christmas admits that she hasn’t decided between Paul and him. Can you even imagine? I mean, Christmas isn’t a genius, but she’s should be smart enough to know that without Josh, she truly stands no chance. The veto for this past week ended up being the superhero competition, featuring Dominique the Dominator, The Meatball (Josh), and The Hex Symbol (Jessica). But when Paul narrowly beats Alex for the veto, she is stoked because that means Paul can pull her off the block and keep himself safe. Final two, guys! FINAL TWO GU — I’m sorry, what? Is that the sou — that’s the sound of dreams shattering and Alex walking out the door without hugging anyone? Cool.

Paul, trying his hand at amateur kindness, decides to take Alex aside and tell her he’s not using the veto. Alex calls it straight and says that it’s bull, and you know what? This could actually be the downfall of Paul’s game. Paul made deals with so, so many people, and it’s going to require those people to really rise above and see that that’s his play. The bigger flaw in Paul’s game is his Diary Room moment when he admits that he can’t save everyone. He can’t help everyone.

This is where Survivor and Big Brother divide. The self-importance and emotion of Big Brother clouds judgment. It’s why you run into so many bitter juries in the Los Angeles summer and so many fewer on a South Pacific island. Paul’s strategy is good because he’s played before. He led most of the sheep to slaughter, but he did so by holding them close and telling them how soft and pretty they were as he jammed a knife in their throat. That doesn’t fly in the Big Brother house. It’s not what earns you respect at the end, and it’s not what earns you respect in America’s eyes.

So, Christmas and Paul cast the deciding votes tonight, with Josh (oh Lord) making a decision in the terrible situation that Paul and Christmas don’t vote the same way. And that’s exactly what happens. The vote goes 1-1, and everyone is pretty stunned. Alex still looks pretty devastated by the situation, but when Josh gets up, he maintains that Alex is the strongest competitor and sends her out the door. And it was a good and wonderful fight. Alex keeps her composure, grabs her stuff, and walks out without hugs. She goes to Julie and is mortified that she has wet hands from holding her Coke that she decided to take with her out the door (God love that woman), then reveals that she has nothing positive to say about Paul’s shady game. And thus the rest of the season has practically written itself. Can Paul recover from this amount of betrayal?

The HOH competition tonight is the classic “What the Bleep?” It’s the one where former houseguests record videos, but part is bleeped out. Julie fills in the blank, and the houseguests have to say whether it’s true or false. Paul takes an early lead, and he only extends it from there. Christmas is ecstatic, Josh picks Paul up, and Kevin is just excited that he got to wear a vest tonight.

When Julie asks Paul how he feels, he stammers out through tears that he “can’t believe he did this two years in a row,” and Julie deadpans, “Well, you did.” God bless her. So, with the finale just around the corner, where’s your head at? Does onetime villain, possible hero, but probably still villain Josh have any chance? What did you think of Christmas’ threat to Josh? And what kind of vest or silk shirt do you think Kevin will wear when he’s evicted? So many questions, so little time.

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