Big Brother Jedis harness the force of chaos

By Aubry Bracco
July 16, 2017 at 11:31 PM EDT
Monty Brinton/CBS
S19 E9
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If you’re as sick of the corny puns as I am, I have good news — Christmas is no longer the gift that keeps on giving. It’s Cody! Last week, the Big Brother house had a nasty case of the warts. At first glance, it looked like those nasties hopped out the door with V-Toad Cody, but it turns out Cody spread a virus when he told Paul that Mark and Dominique knew about Cody’s plan to backdoor the vet. The name of that virus is paranoia, my friends, and on Big Brother it spreads faster than whooping cough at a boarding school. More on paranoia and chaos later. 3, 2, 1, blast off!

The houseguests launch into an HoH competition that’s intergalactic mayhem as space cadets cling to a wall while they’re aggressively pelted by gak reminiscent of Nickelodeon’s ’90s favorite, Double Dare. The whimsy of slime aside, this whole business of winning the competition gets heavy real quickly. Jessica invokes the memory of Cody like he’s a dead relative who’s an angel on her shoulder to help her overcome the pain, and Alex says more prayers than I’ve heard at most Catholic funerals. Now I’m curious — does God watch the live feeds?

Apparently he does, because Alex wins, edging out Elena, but not before making a deal that she won’t come after Elena’s people (Mark, Paul, Raven, Matt, and Dominique). Alex snags her HoH key as the houseguests return from the backyard and compares Big Brother to the Hunger Games. She isn’t wrong. Chaos is about to ensue. “May the odds be ever in your favor.”

Harnessing the Force of Chaos

Alex’s HoH win comes at the perfect time. The cat-eared sassafras immediately goes to work setting the tone for the rest of her game, aiming to use her new power without “stepping on toes and making sure I get people to stay loyal to me.” Alex knows it’s time to assert herself as more than an ambassador from the outsiders. She can show her leadership style at a time when sands are shifting in the house and are as unclear as the emotions running through dearly departed Cody’s head.

Thanks to her patience and flexibility, paying her dues on the block as a pawn, Alex has forged working relationships with the showmances and impressed Paul. The two strategic powerhouses are thinking ahead. Alex has to elevate her army of floaters, and Paul knows he’s about to lose the protection he gained in the Den of Temptation. Sensing similar agendas and a kindred knack for strategy and chaos management, the two gravitate toward one another and decide to form a “super low-key” alliance.

When you find a strategic partner in a vote-out game (or in this case, eviction), it’s a thing of magic. Watching Paul and Alex felt the same way it did when I met fellow contestant Cydney in my first season of Survivor. We were Survivor soulmates who sensed the same baloney and communicated the same way. When you’ve got chemistry like that, you can do some damage. Enough of my sap. On to the insanity.

Cody’s information to Paul raised his shady detector. Paul finds Dominique and Mark sketchy and suitable targets for his agenda — and for Alex’s, too. Paul has already told us he’s a master of chaos (he informs us he was the one who told Kevin to throw Ramses a rogue vote at the eviction to stir stuff up), but he also shows us. The BB18 vet promptly takes advantage of his own pot-stirring and the information Cody had generated with the Dom and Mark bombshell. Paul informs Dom and Mark that Cody told him they knew about the backdoor plan to target Paul, and generalized paranoia paralyzes the house. When paranoia brings a house or a Survivor island to a standstill, only the Kings and Queens of Chaos will survive. Paul knows what he’s capable of, he knows the skills he has in Alex, and he creates conditions in which the other players will “blow up their own games.”

At the same time, Alex goes to work as the head of the ragtag Goonies-like crew, including Ramses, Kevin and Jason, the last of whom pulls in Jessica as a number. While Jason doesn’t want to put Jessica on the block, Alex knows starting trouble has to be done in moderation. She tells Jason that Jessica must go up and assures the rodeo clown that “we’ll move into their collective, and then we’ll annihilate them.”

If Big Brother is Star Wars and Alex is Luke Skywalker, Paul emerges as her Yoda, chaos is their Force, and I am here for it. A+ to Alex. A+ to Paul. A+ to Darth Vader Cody for starting the storm that’s making this Jedi magic happen.

Emotional Roller Coasters

As if the strategic chaos weren’t enough, emotions take over the house, too. Raven shares her struggles, telling houseguests she has a potentially fatal disease that prevents her from digesting food. Then Christmas returns on crutches after her foot surgery. She seriously looks like Shadow from Homeward Bound as he comes limping over the hill to reunite with his family at the end of the movie.

Maybe you call it heartwarming, but I call this blubbering a grand slam for Alex and Paul, who thrive on distraction. At this point, these other people are a bunch of paranoid, crying sitting ducks who are about to get slaughtered. Oh, and there’s that one guy who finally talked for the first time this week. Is his name Matt? Is he even playing the game?

Right before nominations, Dominique talks with Alex and throws Elena under the bus, which makes as much sense as the vote Christmas threw at Ramses during the Cody eviction. Since Elena was trying to save Dominique with her deal, this is a red flag for Alex. She puts Dominique on the block next to Jessica. It’s good to shift the tide, but Alex knows that if you rock the boat too much it will tip over.

Speaking of emotions, here’s a confession I’m not afraid to make to close out the week: I’ve made a 180 on dear Cody. As much as I’m here for the power-duo that is Paul and Alex (Palex?), I’m ready for Mr. Personality himself to haunt the houseguests. Secretly, I’m hoping they backdoor Christmas so we can call her the Ghost of Christmas Past. Okay, okay, that was the last Christmas pun. You better hold me to it.

Julie Chen hosts as the houseguests battle it out.
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