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With power shifting and relationships cracking, which alliances will crumble and which will stay strong?

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July 30, 2017 at 11:09 PM EDT

Ladies and gentlemen, step right up! Welcome to another act of Big Brother 19, your favorite never-ending circus. This show is filled with drama, temptation, too many clowns (including one who specializes in rodeo), and a stampeding elephant named Josh. Let’s not forget our ringmaster, Paul. He’s been keeping this ragtag crew in line all the while fending off clumsy acrobats Cody and Jessica (Jody), who are determined to steal that spotlight someday and run the show.

We dive into Sunday night’s antics just after Jess crash-lands her HOH reign, resulting in a Ramses eviction; Paul wins HOH (again); and Jess drops an atomic bomb of a statement on the house.

When Jess tells houseguests she has the power to keep Jody safe for the next couple weeks, she unleashes a bold, yet hazy mushroom cloud over the house. Jessica relishes her mysterious power and lauds it as an opportunity to “strong-arm” HOH Paul. But we all know Paul is the ringmaster here, with the ability to read any one of the actors who steps into the ring. He finds Jessica’s assertion “fishy.” Nonetheless, the houseguests go into a frenzy trying to suss out the truth in the fallout from the Jessica Hex bomb.

To make things even more interesting in this disaster of a house, a flashback prior to the eviction lets us know Josh has decided this is the perfect time to share his musical abilities and further drive home his hatred for Mark. In an effort “to get in this meatball’s head,” Josh bangs pots and pans while belting a carnival-themed soundtrack at the top of his lungs. Because, hey, what’s a circus without a little music? While I wouldn’t want to live with Josh, there’s no denying he’s A+ television.

Mark manages to maintain his cool listening to Josh; he stands at the mirror looking like the Incredible Hulk ready to snap. It’s evident that things are roiling for Mark, and they’re itching to come to the surface.

A Couple on the Verge

While everyone else is navigating the poison of the news Jessica has unleashed on the house and most are laughing at the unhinged maniac that is Josh, Elena and Mark (Marlena) are still shell-shocked by Ramses’ eviction.

“I’m pissed,” Elena tells America. “I was absolutely excluded [from that vote]. People I was working with that I thought I could trust in this house literally lied to my face.” Similarly, Mark tells Cody, “I’ve become an outsider.” To make matters even worse for Marlena, Cody makes an objectively terrible move, telling Paul that his only connection in the game besides Jess is Mark.

With little knowledge of Jessica’s temptation and a wary eye on Mark and Cody (should we called them Mody?), Paul and team choose a Plan A that would put Jody on the block with Marlena as Plan B.

As we say in good old New England, light has finally dawned on Marblehead for Marlena, who realize they’re on the bottom of the majority alliance with a high likelihood of ending up on the block. Elena goes right to work talking to Paul. And while the BB18 vet offers her some comfort, saying he believes he and Elena are working “at the same level of operation,” he warns her that her connection to Mark has done damage to her game and will drag her down.

Elena tells Mark her association with Mark could tank her game. Mark tells Elena the only person he feels comfortable with in the game is Cody, and it’s clear that we’ve cut to the core of Marlena’s issues.

On one hand, Marlena’s exclusion from the Ramses eviction is a messy result of being a couple in a large alliance. When you opt to be part of a power alliance, two things inevitably happen: (1) You get too comfortable and the rug gets ripped out from under you. (2) If people think you could deviate and disrupt the carefully constructed tower that is a Big Brother alliance, you’ll be removed like a wonky Jenga piece to preserve the stability of the whole.

Do that in a pair, and you’re in double trouble. What makes Marlena’s situation even worse is that they couldn’t be more different in their styles of play. While it’s helpful to find a game partner who can see things from a different strategic perspective than your own or someone who can do the social work that you cannot, you need a partner who operates in the same reality and speaks the same language you do. This will most definitely never be the case for Mark, who’s got more emotions than an entire aisle of greeting cards at Hallmark, and Elena, who tells us “I did not leave my life to throw my entire BB game away for a guy I met 40 days ago.” (Recap continues on page 2)

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Julie Chen hosts as the houseguests battle it out.
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