A new power rises in the house

By Dylan Kickham
August 29, 2016 at 02:23 AM EDT
CBS
S18 E32
Show DetailsAbout Big Brother
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James’ penchant for making deals caused a major power shift in the Big Brother house this week, one that doesn’t sound like it’s going to work out in his favor. Plus, Corey gets a power he has no clue how to use, and Victor rises from the dead…again. Let’s get into it.

We pick up in the middle of the HOH comp, which doubles as a Jury Buyback comp. Whichever of the five jury members can hold onto a tilting wall while being sprayed by water the longest gets to re-enter the game. Sadly, Da’Vonne and Zakiyah quickly realize this is not the comp for them and hold hands as they leap back into the jury house together. A determined Bridgette follows shortly afterwards, and then Paulie’s absurdly short shorts hit the water as well, meaning Victor is the first contestant in Big Brother history to have been evicted and then return to the game twice. But unfortunately for Vic, he can’t keep his impressive winning streak going and falls off before taking HOH.

This leaves us with Paul, Nicole, and James still competing. A little flashback to some drama that erupted before Victor’s eviction sheds some light on each player’s motivation to win HOH. In the kitchen, an irate Paul blew up at Meech, calling her a bully and even using the c-word (so much for America’s Favorite). The heated confrontation gets to James, who lets slip the piece of information that could be the dagger in his and Natalie’s coffin. James tells Paul that Natalie was begging him to vote out Corey and save Victor. Mind you, this is said while Corey is in the room and Nicole is within earshot. Lying in bed together afterwards, Nicole says she doesn’t trust Natalie anymore because of that, and Corey dopily nods along like the loyal puppy he is.

Back to the HOH comp, which is now down to just James and Nicole. James reminds Nicole he has previously participated in three similar endurance-wall comps and won all of them, and it seems pretty obvious he’s going to make that four tonight. This leads Nicole to make a deal, promising that if James drops out she’ll keep him and Natalie off the block. And, surprisingly, it actually works! Much to literally everybody’s shock, James voluntarily gives Nicole HOH after she tells him “I’m a woman of my word.” Mind you, this is also the woman whom multiple players have been referring to as a snake all season…

NEXT: Will Nicole actually keep her word?

Following her first win, Nicole already knows her target is the woman who most vocally made that serpentine comparison: Big Meech. Of course, Michelle also resigns herself to being one of the nominations, well aware she and Nicole have been after each other for the better part of the season. But this leave Nicole with the sticky task of choosing her second nom. Does she break her promise and nominate Natalie, of whom she’s wary, or does she risk alienating herself from Paul and Victor by putting one of them up on the block? Stuck between two final-four options, it’s time for Nicorey to show their loyalties.

In terms of campaigning, both sides take completely different routes. James tells Natalie to give Nicole space and trust she’ll honor her promise, whereas Paul and Victor spend hours in the HOH room, promising Nicole the care package if they get it and talking about a final four.

Speaking of that care package, you probably assume it’s going to Paul or Victor, right? Wrong. In an inexplicable turn of events that could only be explained by some sort of computer malfunction at CBS, Corey gets the advantage of a BB Bribe, meaning he can offer another player $5,000 to do something that will help his game. Of course, how to best use that dough is completely wasted on Corey, whose first thought is to pay other contestants to do “stupid stuff.” Regardless, this gives all the power for this week to Nicorey.

As it turns out, Paul and Vic’s campaigning strategy won out, as they form a four-person alliance Paul brilliantly dubs “The Final 4.” But Nicole still doesn’t want to upset James or Natalie by nominating one of them, so she actually keeps her promise (didn’t see that coming!) and tells Paul she’s putting him up as a pawn, a position Paul is very familiar with.

The reactions to the noms are very chill. Meech already knew she was going up, so she manages to walk away without even crying; Paul actually smiles and winks, confident he’s safe as a pawn. The real test for Nicole will come after the Power of Veto comp — if Michelle is pulled off the block, will she continue to stay true to Paul and Vic — the pair that has the best chance to actually win this game in the end — or will she make up with James and Natalie?

Julie Chen hosts as the houseguests battle it out.
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