Vanessa's meddling (and tears) land her in trouble, and a wild Steve appears!
Credit: CBS
S17 E21

The houseguests this year cannot keep their mouths shut. Even when they make others promises to keep secrets that absolutely no one can hear, that person then goes and blabs about the secret they hoped everyone else would take to the grave.

Sunday’s episode proved that, in the correctly trusted hands, this open behavior can be an asset, ensuring everyone’s on the same page. And in the wrong hands… it will probably make Vanessa cry. It just so happens that all of those tears could send her out the door.

Before even crowning a new Head of Household, Big Brother flashes back to hours before the eviction, when James and Clay almost came to blows over the worst played game of Telephone I’ve seen since, well, last week in the house. Johnny Mac and Clay are chatting it up, the former telling the latter that he’s noticed Vanessa always seems to be involved whenever a major blow-up occurs in the house.

Clay turns this conversation around and informs Vanessa of Johnny Mac’s concerns, implying that it’s James who has incepted this idea into Johnny Mac’s head. Vanessa is shocked to hear her name being thrown under the bus, so she then confronts James, who is just trying to enjoy his last hours as HoH, dawg gon’ it.

He has no recollection of telling Johnny Mac to be concerned about Vanessa (because he didn’t), and she, believing the target next week will fall squarely on her back, sets into motion a massive, unnecessary fight. James tells Clay to keep James’ name out of his mouth while Vanessa asks Johnny why he sees her as a threat.

Eventually the two fights coalesce into one where Johnny Mac reveals that he never implicated James, and Clay admits he must have simple made an assumption and thrown James’ name into it. But Vanessa refuses to believe it. How could Johnny Mac have his OWN thoughts and suspect Vanessa? There just must be someone else involved. Sadly that is not the case, but it drives Vanessa to the point of tears.

James is also worried about his place in the house after the fight, so he hopes he can pull it out in the HoH competition. They’re duking it out in one of the more familiar challenges, in which the competitors must carry tiny cups of liquid across a slippery lane and fill a massive empty sphere to pluck out a little ball. They really should bring a chiropractor into the house after these competitions, as nearly everyone is falling flat on their backs and butts every few seconds.

There’s plenty of power up for grabs now that the dynamic in the house is teetering. Shelli wants revenge on James. James wants Becky, Jackie, or Meg to pull out the win and keep him safe. Johnny Mac wants to win himself. Austin hopes Liz will fall in love with him as hard as she’s falling during this competition (and I just felt a little queasy writing that sentence out). And Steve? Yes, Steve is still in the game, seeming to appear about as often as a rare Pokemon. He just hopes, hopes, hopes that Becky, under no circumstances, wins. They’re apparently mortal enemies in this game, and he believes her gaining power would be his downfall.

(ASIDE: Other than putting him up a few weeks ago, just what have Steve and Becky’s interactions been like in the house that he feels such anger toward her? I feel like we need an entire episode devoted to what Steve’s been up to these last few weeks just to clue us into what’s created this paranoia. We got a small montage of that tonight, but if the segment is any indication, most of Steve’s time in the house has been spent alone, which makes his fervent anger toward Becky all the more odd. Steve has just been talking to himself, the cameras, eating food alone in the pantry, and generally disassociating his mind from his body—his own words. Is a weekly “Steve’s Corner” segment too much to ask for? END OF ASIDE)

NEXT: A backdoor plan begins and the showmance-that-never-was continues to be teased…

Unfortunately for Steve, Becky comes out of the competition with the HoH key around her neck, along with a pass to avoid being a Have-Not for the rest of the game and $5,000 in cash. Everything’s coming up Becky, but as a floater who’s played both sides of the house, what exactly does that mean for everyone else?

Well, she’s now come down as a member of the James-Jackie-Meg side of the house, and she’s willing to stick to the plan Vanessa established last week and evict the other half of the house’s main showmance, Shelli. But… that’s what she’ll be doing on the surface. In actuality, she wants Vanessa out of the house, and the rest of her chosen alliance is in agreement, even after Becky makes them all swear to not utter the “V” word so that Vanessa doesn’t becomes suspicious at all.

They all go along with it (especially James, who I think was still too distracted by Becky’s HoH photos to really pay attention to the plan. Seriously, has there been a week where he’s not ogled the HoH or their friends and family members in the new pictures?), except for Becky. She breaks her own cardinal rule and tells Shelli so that she isn’t blindsided by the nomination.

Shelli appreciates it, especially as she’s been in mourning for the several hours she’s had to live without Clay in her life. She promises she’s not the type of girl to cry over a guy, she tells us in between sobs and longing looks at Clay’s face on the memory wall.

At the very least, Becky keeps her mouth shut when it comes to actually talking to Vanessa. Now, Vanessa is worried. She’s so concerned with where Becky’s allegiance lies that earlier in the episode she accidentally used disinfectant as hair spray. And even when Becky tells her that the plan is to have Shelli and Steve go up with Johnny Mac as the replacement, Vanessa is still unsure of her place in the house.

Those fears are solidified when she tries to make a deal with Becky for safety. Becky tells Vanessa she’s done with deals and alliances, which, to a knowing player like Vanessa, means you might as well not even be on Big Brother. She’s at a loss for words, but when Becky won’t hear her out about any type of deal, it seems to confirm her suspicions she’s not really safe this week.

Becky breaks her golden rule of secrecy once more with Johnny Mac. The two continue to apparently be close friends, again making me envious of the alternate reality where we were treated to weeks of a hilarious Johnny Mac and Becky showmance and not whatever Clay and Shelli were up to (with Meg drunkenly on the side). And it’s not an imagined showmance—even Steve wants Johnny Mac to try to strike something up with Becky, but only if the two make it to the jury house together. (At that point, I would 100 percent be on board for an episode each week being devoted to the jurors.)

And when nominations come around, they go exactly as planned. Steve is thrust back into the spotlight, forced to compete by his nemesis Becky while Shelli is on the block, assuming she’ll be safe if the backdoor goes to plan. And while backdoors have certainly had a good track record this season, the only guarantees will probably be that Shelli starts writing sonnets for Clay, Steve continues to try to make the houseguests and the audience forget he’s there, and Vanessa cries… again.

Episode Recaps

Big Brother
Big Brother

Julie Chen hosts as the houseguests battle it out.

  • TV Show
  • 23
  • TV-14
  • CBS
stream service