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S19 E10
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July 19, 2017 at 09:45 PM EDT

Well, here it is. There’s always one week in Big Brother when it seems like nothing and everything is happening all at once, and this is that week. In all honesty, it doesn’t matter that Dominique or Jessica will go home, because I’m going to make a pretty lofty bet and say that neither of them will win. But in a week like this, when animosity is running at its peak with absolutely nothing at stake — well, this is the kind of week that decides the rest of the game. This is your Tiffany week, your Clay week, your Brittany week: the week that is seemingly pointless while also shaping how the rest of the season will play out. And that’s why it’s so interesting. So sit back, pay attention, and watch how the house implodes.

When we last left the house, Alex had won HOH, which is seemingly wonderful, right? She’s a firecracker and a maverick, and… what? She’s doing everything Paul wants? Well, that’s a little annoying. That’s the issue with bringing a veteran into the game, even with a player who seems to love Big Brother (whoa, 1984). But she’s essentially nominated Jessica (who has been against Paul for a minute) and Dominique (who is newly against him). Dominique pulls a full-Jocasta, as one does, and goes to a secluded part of the house to pray in tongues, and it seems that she hears Paul’s name THREE TIMES. It’s like some New Testament Judas-level kind of betrayal — except no one’s life is as stake here, so maybe it’s time to backpedal a little bit from the Jesus/Judas/Dom/Paul comparison. Anyway, Dominique is on to Paul’s game, and she’s not one to sit around and wait, despite how she’s played this entire game so far.

For the veto competition, Alex, Dominique, and Jessica are joined by Jason, Kevin, and Christmas. Of course, with her severely broken foot, Christmas is definitely not able to participate in what appears to be a full-on Legends of the Hidden Temple-type competition. The competition is pretty simple — make 50 trips across a balance beam over a “lava pit,” and you win veto. Of course, because it’s the SUMMER OF TEMPTATION™, there is a temptation to remove a golden chalice and lock in a cash prize, but that also eliminates you from the competition. Dominique leans into this comp because, three weeks in, she’s decided that she’s very ready to play the game.

And then there’s Kevin, who has apparently lost all semblance of balance. He decides, in standard Kevin form, to take the chalice of temptation and ends up with $27.00. That’s no typo, y’all. Everyone laughs, but no one realizes that he locked in $25K on the first night, so he’ll take that $27.00, go buy some very overpriced New England clam chowder, and celebrate his first-night fortune. But at the end of the comp, Jason wins the veto, which should keep things pretty safe. Jason is a sure bet, right? No? Jesus, can you hear me and Dominique? Apparently not.

The episode’s only 30 minutes in, and that’s never a good sign. There’s drama to come, y’all. Paul decides to push Alex in the direction of nominating Mark, which doesn’t make a ton of sense except for fulfilling Paul’s agenda, but he’s determined to make them think it’s their plan.

Paul comes back and only agrees to follow through with Alex’s plan if they tell Mark ahead of time, so they pull Mark upstairs to explain that he might have to go up against Dominique as a pawn, but he’ll be fine. It’s kind of confusing because (and maybe I missed the part where they’ve been best friends the whole time?), but Mark describes himself as Dominique’s best friend. It almost seems like this best friendship, like this convoluted plan, just appeared out of thin air (besides the one tidbit that Cody planted that Dom and Mark were the faux-defectors from the original alliance).

With so many strange narratives in the air (Dom/Mark friendship, Paul’s big scheme, Dominique playing the game), Dominique decides to grab Jason from the HOH room to chat. Adorned in a bright orange sweatshirt (GO VOLS), she quite smartly tells Jason to pay attention to the snake who is getting close to him, and you know what? She’s not wrong. Paul shows up to an HOH whenever he needs to, so Dominique continues her campaign to save herself and pulls Alex aside to discuss this snake metaphor even more. It’s pretty Biblical, but she’s making a ton of sense, if anyone is willing to listen. Alex retreats to the HOH room and tells Paul that he’s the snake Dominique alludes to, and Paul calls his own house meeting.

Walking into Dom’s room, he asks if she’d rather he slither in, or if she’d prefer they talk. It’s a classic Paul/Big Brother diversion: When you’re in hot water, paint someone else as the crazy one. When he calls her up, Paul lays into her, but Dominique insists that she has no reservations about calling Paul a snake because he is a snake. Paul doubles down and says she can rely on the Bible all she wants, but it’s no use. Dominique doesn’t back down either. Guys, it’s week three and girl is so ready to play.

So we’re left at that, and Jason is left with the decision on whether to use the veto or not. The issue is that Dominique quadrupled down at the veto ceremony. I love a good power play. I love a strong player rising from the loser ashes and jumping in to join the BB ranks, but Dominique stumbled by practically throwing her entire alliance under the bus. It seemed like she might be onto something, but the Biblical references, the martyrdom, the aggressive-too-late gameplay… it did our girl in. Once again, a smart player (potentially) falls victim to her own excitement.

What do you think? Does Dominique stand a chance in the face of her own tenacity? Will Jessica suffer the consequences of a last minute flip? And then there’s Thursday, when someone inevitably comes back. We have a lot to discuss by the time tomorrow’s episode comes. And the exhausting part? This season is just getting started.

Julie Chen hosts as the houseguests battle it out.
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