Blunders and compulsive lying are the name of this game.

By Aubry Bracco
August 27, 2017 at 11:05 PM EDT
Sonja Flemming/CBS

Big Brother

S19 E29
  • TV Show
  • CBS

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the most oblivious of them all? To be frank, it’s a toss-up at this point, and with eight people left in the house, this season is shaping up to be one heck of a mess down the homestretch.

Things are proceeding as they have the entire season. Paul is still star of the show. If we’re rolling with the Snow White analogies, he’s both Snow White and the Evil Queen. And I’m beginning to think those apples in the houseguests’ living room aren’t intended for the princess of this hellish fairy tale but for the seven sidekicks who are just B-actors to Paul in the story that is this BB19 house.

Have you ever passed a group of preschool students walking down a city street harnessed into a rope so their teacher can safely help them navigate their dangerous surroundings? That’s what’s happening to the seven people left in the game who aren’t the BB18 vet, except they’re blindfolded, and Paul is their teacher.

I’m still holding out hope a few will wise up and start peeping out from under those blindfolds, let go of that walking rope, and change the course of this game. But first, we’ve got some blind spots to contend with.

Chaos Without Control

We kick things off with an oddly appropriate HOH competition — welcome to the Wall of Wieners. Basically, the houseguests have to stay in a tilting bun as long as possible as condiments are squirted at them. While a wall of meatball subs may have been more appropriate for this crew, I’m not opposed to us calling them out for their weenie ways.

It’s clear where everyone stands going into the competition. All the couples: Jason and Alex (Jalex); Christmas and Josh; and Matt and Raven (Maven) want someone from their pair or Paul to win. Kevin, on the other hand, would be happy with a Paul, Alex, or Jason win. Ultimately, Jason wins, but not without some stupid moves first.

In a downright bizarre exchange, Jalex, who are in an obvious BB19 work-wife/work-husband relationship, play a cat-and-mouse game of Let’s Make a Deal before Alex finally falls out of a wiener bun, and Jason wins HOH.

Alex and Jason don’t seem to realize that everyone knows they’ve already committed to each other in the game. People know where they stand. Why complicate things by play fighting? Jason thinks that “fighting” physically for the win and verbally will make houseguests think he and Alex “aren’t as close as we say we are.” It’s a complete misread. While Jason thinks he’s portraying a convincing rift, it comes off more like a boy pulling a girl’s pigtails while flirting with her in grade school. By staying up in the buns as long as they do, Paul says Jason and Alex are only “showing how strong [they] are.”

The most exciting fallout of the dumb move, however, is Matt’s reaction. For a guy who’s been downing Cheerios all season while donning an orange shirt, his reaction to Jalex’s showdown is downright disconcerting. He calls Jason and Alex “shady” to their faces; is annoyed they’re prolonging things because Raven is upset; and says he just wants “to go inside and eat pizza.” At least we now know he has a pulse and is willing to try something else in the grain and dairy portions of the food pyramid.

What also has Matt grumpier than an old man who’s had his daily showing of Jeopardy preempted by a preseason football game is the unknown origin of the two rogue votes in his direction at Mark’s eviction.

Alex tells us she, Jason, and Paul decided to throw one vote at Matt to cause chaos and pin it on Kevin. The glitch? When she voted, Alex says, her “mind went blank,” and she voted for Matt too, even though only Jason was supposed to. All Jason and Alex need to do is keep their mouths shut and Kevin’s paranoia will make him the focus in the wake of the rogue votes. But since suave moves aren’t part of this season, Jason tells Kevin he and Alex threw the votes at Matt before telling America, “I’m not a really good liar. When I get cornered I get diarrhea of the mouth.” Well no kidding, buddy.

If this duo were a car, they certainly wouldn’t be a Ferrari; they’d be more of a dilapidated Jeep, bumping down the road hitting every pothole as they go. What Alex and Jason do is the Survivor equivalent of hiding the machete or pouring water on the fire. If you’re going to do it, you’d better be doing it to accomplish something, and you’d better be able to handle what happens next. Otherwise, you’re about to extinguish your game. Jalex’s love for chaos and lack of control is a blind spot that might bite them in the butt. If you can’t handle the heat you make, Jalex, get out of the kitchen, and get out fast. (Recap continues on page 2)

Complacency and Compulsive Lying

Despite the unnecessary flailing, it seems like Jason and Alex are going to pull off their plan of putting up Maven (which they do) with Kevin as an alternative since he could be a liability and a great decoy. All they have to do is tell Maven they’re hoping to put up Kevin, and all should be smooth sailing. Basically, it looks like we can expect a Matt or Raven eviction this week, unless Kevin completely spirals.

The absolutely bananas part is that it looks like it could work since Maven is that blind to reality.

In the most entertaining part of the episode, we get a peek into the delusional world of Maven. Paul tells them they’ll go up as pawns (which they do), and Kevin will get backdoored, and they buy it. “I don’t understand how they’re so calm at this point. Either I’m getting swindled…or they’re really this comfortable with me,” Paul tells us.

Then, we get a list of Raven’s stories from Paul, and it feels like a scene out of Tim Burton’s Big Fish, though I’m pretty sure Raven is no Albert Finney:

  • Raven and her mom are in Mensa
  • Her mom’s been struck by lightning
  • Raven has these ailments: an inverted spine, arthritis, and knee issues
  • She stopped growing at 13
  • Raven trained for the Olympics and her mom holds a running record in Arkansas

You just can’t make this stuff up.

In the context of the game, Maven’s delusion and inane complacency only makes it easier for Paul as he leads his class blindfolded down the street. Maven opts to bypass the temptation apple because they trust their leader implicitly. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen players as unaware as these two in all my years playing and watching competition reality.

Peeking from Under the Blindfold

In this house of blunders, however, there is hope. Intuition is stirring, slowly but surely, like a sprouting plant trying to come to the surface.

Christmas tells Josh she senses he’s “doubting Paul.” Josh says he trusts Paul, but he sees him getting close with Jason and Alex. Josh says he doesn’t like “the people [Paul] surrounds himself with,” and “the last thing I need is shadiness.” The pair agree to “buckle down,” keep watch, and make the best moves they can to get to the end of the game.

Before I end, I have a few things to say about my Boston bud in this house, Kevin. Sure, he’s wigging out, telling people he wasn’t the rogue vote and being a little heavy handed in the process. That said, I don’t blame Kevin for getting skittish. He’s smarter than he gets credit for and smarter than he gives himself credit for being. He knows he’s getting framed, but in this house of liars, ding-dongs, and all things petty, a good man is hard to find, and we’ve found him in the form of Kevin. The bad news is: He’s all alone.

I’d love nothing more than to see Kevin, Christmas, and Josh make some kind of magic happen, but I won’t hold my breath. After all, Paul is both the Snow White and Evil Queen of this house. Unless someone gets some control, potentially in the form of some poison temptation apples, Paul isn’t just both lead roles in this story; he’ll write it as both Brothers Grimm with the ending he sees fit.

Episode Recaps

Big Brother

Julie Chen hosts as the houseguests battle it out.

  • TV Show
  • 21
  • TV-14
  • CBS
stream service