Big Brother: Season 17 first nominations and Battle of the Block
Alliances are formed, a backdoor plan begins to take form, and Jace gives a soliloquy on the power of the bro.
The houseguests have been introduced, beds chosen, and Heads of Household solidified. With the two-part premiere out of the way, it’s time to start actually playing Big Brother. And our new crew dive right in, wasting no time forming alliances, sparking showmances, and veering close to breakdowns.
Let’s start with those alliances. After just a few days in the house, they’re already beginning to figure out who they connect with, who can help them in the game, and who should be kicked out week 1.
Some bonds are forced, however, as Da’Vonne and Vanessa discover what Phil Keoghan has in store for them after sitting out the HoH competitions. Applying more Amazing Race synergy, he brings over that game’s fast forward, allowing the two of them to bypass being nominated or evicted this week. The catch that actually forces them to play the game is that they each must choose another houseguest to receive the same saving grace.
Vanessa (who apparently can only use poker-related verbs like bet, call, and bluff in her Diary Room sessions; luckily for her, most of them can apply to the game) interviews the others, making an unlikely alliance and choosing Austin. Meanwhile, Da’Vonne, who was hoping the prize would be money because, again, so far it’s all about poker for this pair, saves Liz.
Austin has also bonded with Jace, who believes he’s bonded with everyone else in the house when, in truth, he’s simply putting them off with his bro-y, male chauvinism. But the two find common ground while using shells by the pool as cell phones, their grip on reality already slipping in the first week. They call themselves Shelltown, and Austin is happy with the alliance because 1) Jace is a fellow bro and 2) Jace is so bro-tastic that the other houseguests will want to evict him long before they even look at Austin. (Bro Code #172: If you’re bro-ing with a bro so people won’t notice how bro you bro, never let that other bro suspect you’re not his full bro.)
Jeff, who seems contractually obligated to mention The Amazing Race at least twice an episode–and that he and Jackie were partners on it at least five times more than that–is worried about the target on his back. He assumes he and Jackie are instantly threats for coming into the game having already had their 15 minutes on CBS. He wants to make sure he and Jackie avoid painting a bigger target on themselves.
So he tells her this… behind a closed door while lying in the same bed together. Great strategery there, Jeff.
Another two-person alliance forms as Shelli and Clay have a hammock huddle sesh. Shelli’s dreams are coming true, and she has to avert her eyes from the dazzling halo she sees dancing around Clay while they talk. But good news for Shelli, who announced her showmance crush from minute one — Clay is interested in her as well.
NEXT: Steve’s dreams come crashing down around him.
With everyone joining together, it’s clearly time for some bonds to be broken and targets identified. Jason and James are considering Jace, for fear of his competitive edge and likely because they want to walk through the kitchen without hearing about 12 new Bro Codes (#359: Always be sure to bring an additional bro for your bro in case you can’t bro with your bro when he wants to bro, bro.).
Audrey is down with the idea, as is Da’Vonne, and so they, along with James and Jason, go about plotting Jace’s backdoor demise. The two HoH’s scour the house, asking just about everyone either to be a pawn or for their vote. Most of the conversations go well, until they reach Steve. Poor, poor Steve. He loves the game and doesn’t want the experience taken away from him. And so the idea of being a pawn hits him as badly as if he discovered Darth Vader was his father and Jar Jar Binks was a surprise 17th houseguest.
He quickly panics about the mere idea of becoming a pawn, his logic spinning in circles. He worries that pawns are always evicted, but Jason tries to calm him by telling him that everyone likes him in the house too much to vote him out. “Won’t my inherent lovability make everyone fear me though,” he says with a slight cackle (*cackle may have been imagined), and Jason tries to reassure him no one would rob him of his lifelong dream a week into living it.
James plays the stern (“bad” would be a stretch) cop to Jason, telling Steve that brushing up against the first week’s HoH’s is no way to start the game. But Steve is already in a state of concern. Da’Vonne earlier told him he’s giving off an Ian Terry vibe.
His worrying in the face of nomination does him little good. In the end, he goes up on the chopping block alongside Jackie (who is TOTALLY not in an alliance with Jeff, Jeff would like to remind you for the 12th time today). James nominates the two of them, while Jason throws Becky and John’s names into the ring. Becky is shaken up, already plotting revenge behind Jason’s back while putting on a good face with him.
At least Becky outwardly deals with her feelings about being nominated. When Jackie and Steve meet to discuss their plans for the Battle of the Block, tension fills the room so quickly you’d think it’s leaking through the vents. Jackie attempts to be positive, telling Steve they’ll just do their best and win. But, hold on, there, Jackie. Your reserved determination sounds like such outright bolstering to Steve that she might as well have declared their victory to the entire house and suckerpunched their competitors for good measure.
So Jackie and Steve get off on bad footing before the competition starts, and sadly, the Battle of the Block this week is all about having the right footing.
NEXT: An HoH is dethroned and analyzing the opening credits.
The two teams must build a tower out of blocks to an exact blueprint while crossing raised beams, one of which is rotating, with the blocks. Jace compares it to a Super Mario level (C’mon Jace, Bro Code #498: When bro-ing out about video games, bros only admit to playing Call of Duty, FIFA, or Pokemon when they were younger.) Fall off, and, of course, you have to restart your run. And fall, fall, fall they do. Jackie talks up her background as a dancer, so naturally she’s the first to take a false step. John falls after moving around like a wacky wavy inflatable arm-flailing tube man, but eventually the teams find a proper game method.
Becky and John maneuver around each other, using the rotating beam to their advantage. Jackie and Steve just go for it, the method proving more problematic for Steve. He has the most trouble staying atop the beams until, using a fancy scientific description to say he crouched on the beams, he actually begins to make better progress.
Unfortunately, the worried pawn has more sweating to do, as Becky and John win the competition, Jason showered in (hopefully) fake cement as he is dethroned.
Will Steve’s worst fears come true? Will Jace be backdoored and go off to write The Bro Code 2: When a Bro’s Gotta Bro? We’ll find out later this week.
- And with the premiere over, we get our full opening credits. This year’s snapshots of the houseguests are all over the place, with props and varying states of dress spicing things up. Personal highlights include Da’Vonne performing a dealer’s hand movement and Vanessa actually holding playing cards; Clay being shirtless (because if that’s how he plays football, that’s how he poses for a credits sequence, dammit); John, in light of the previously mentioned houseguests, not holding a giant fake tooth in his hands; and Jace making a skateboard materialize out of thin air.
- Is Jace completely oblivious to how many people (even in one of his own alliances) think he isn’t long for this game?
- The houseguests are wary of how legitimate John’s whole “dentist” schtick is. Da’Vonne isn’t buying it, to which he offers to pull out his retainer (which is something a dentist’s patient would have… we’re on to you, John!). And Jason is suspicious of him as well, because obviously his hometown of “Scranton” only exists in the world of The Office and not the real world.
- Steve is shown to not be in a concerned panic for at least a few minutes during the episode, as he uses a bad pick-up line on Liz when the group trades their worst lines.
- Jeff is amazed by the fake city using in the BotB competition, suggesting he blacked out during his entire The Amazing Race run.