Fireworks explode when Paulie faces off with the women he sent to the jury house

By Marc Snetiker
Updated August 26, 2016 at 02:29 AM EDT
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CBS
S18 E31
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  • CBS
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With only seven dwarves remaining in this cursed fairy-tale cottage, it’s a make-or-break week for Big Brother 18.

James and Natalie, sitting pretty as the heirs apparent to the dual thrones of this enchanted Chendom, need only decide which way to lean: in favor of friendly wizard Paul (by way of keeping his expansively nippled sidekick, Victor) or local strongman Corey (who comes as a package deal with bespectacled handmaid, Nicole). Michelle is also around.

Ultimately, it’s not even James and Natalie who make the choice — it’s James alone, and he opts to stick with the couples alliance that, lest we forget, was formed by someone literally saying, “I feel like we should.”

That’s bad news for Victor and even worse news for Paul. I have to admire Paul for combating the paranoia of this week with a pretty ingenious plan that, for a time, I was thoroughly convinced might actually work: He would buddy up to Nicole and Corey, spending an inordinate amount time with them, hushing their conversations to make them sound more dramatic than they are, all the while making his new friendship as visible as possible for James, Natalie, and Meech. “The more uneasy I make them, the easier I make it for Victor to close this deal and possibly stay in the house,” he says, and it sort of works.

The rest hinges on Victor, who pulls his weight and, with Paul’s blessing, heads into the HOH room to throw Paul under the bus. Surprisingly, the plan seems to actually click into motion: James, Natalie, and Michelle have all noticed Paul becoming buddy-buddy with Corey and Nicole, and they seriously consider using Vic as a weapon for another week. Credit to Paul for the genius plan and resulting episode sequence; it’s actually thrilling without anything happening, almost like Argo or the part in The Help where they don’t let Jessica Chastain into the bridge game.

Still, there was one fatal flaw in Paul’s plan: How could he bounce back next week after being dragged for Victor’s benefit? Fortunately, we don’t have to think about that, as the vote itself is broken by James and falls in favor of Corey staying put.

With that, Victor leaves. But not for long. Enter: The jury house, where this week’s real drama lies. Who could have guessed there would be so many fireworks when a mansplaining gym-rat faced down three women he disrespected?!

It’s pure cringe-worthy TV when Paulie arrives at the jury house and must reconcile with Da’Vonne, Bridgette, and Zakiyah (who, up until now, have been having a pretty dynamite time). Paulie walks in, and it’s only a matter of seconds before he’s calling them catty and petty and they’re pointing out to him, yet again, his faults in treating women. It’s almost painful to watch Paulie try to hold it together, as he’s obviously lashing out from a place of defense, but he loses sympathy with every childish quip he sends back to Day and Bridgette. And then there’s Zakiyah, who clearly emerged on the right side of the wall from this Humpty-Dumpty. “We’re out of the house and you’re still a bitch,” she says, and hell if that doesn’t just sum it all up.

At recap time, there’s no HOH — or jury returnee — to report, but my hope is Da’Vonne or Zakiyah earn a spot back inside and Paul takes the HOH by the horns. I think he’s bound to work with whomever makes it back in, and could be the last best chance for a Paul victory.

I’d also point out I’d be fine with James or Natalie winning at this point, too. Truly, anyone but Nicole, Corey, and Meech would be fine. Hell, even give me an Otev win and I’d be happy. Hi-ho, hi-ho, it’s back in a live-feed hole I go.

Episode Recaps

Big Brother

Julie Chen hosts as the houseguests battle it out.

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  • 21
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  • CBS
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