A new power rises in the house

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August 29, 2016 at 02:23 AM EDT

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?

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Julie Chen hosts as the houseguests battle it out.
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