This week’s eviction episode, the first of the season, doesn’t take long to get to the twists. This isn’t a simple thing where the Gr8ful alliance makes an easy first vote. Far from it. Instead, Julie Chen lets the audience know, but not the houseguests, that whoever gets evicted will leave the game but will still be living in the house. As if that’s not enough, it doesn’t take long for Ovi to throw his own wrench into the game.
Ovi, shaken by his sudden nomination after the veto ceremony, is campaigning real hard. Apparently hard is the only way Ovi knows how to play. He receives assurance from Christie that he’s just a pawn to get Kat out, but she also tells Kat the same thing. Ovi knows this in some sense, and he sets about convincing people that he should stay. He even tells Jack and Michie about his Nightmare power, offering to save them in the future if they get behind him in this vote. Jackson, in particular, thinks it could be a good move to have Ovi on their side.
The editing of the episode makes the vote seem closer than it is. Despite Kat being one of the original targets of Gr8ful, Ovi is voted out unanimously. It looks like the entire house decided that Ovi was the one to go, and I can’t help but wonder if his heavy-pressure gameplay ruined him. Sure, the Gr8ful alliance have their sway, but Ovi has also been strategizing since the first day, and he’s put a target on his back. The whole process doesn’t totally square with everything we saw in previous episodes, namely Christie just randomly putting Ovi’s name up for eviction, but in the end, it looks like everyone agrees that Kat can stay for now.
And that brings us to the twists, as the houseguests find out that Ovi, despite being evicted, will remain in the house. Camp Comeback is open, and that’s where evicted players will live. They won’t compete in challenges, and their living quarters aren’t as nice, but they can continue to play the social game because one person out of the first four evicted will be able to re-enter the game at some point. Ovi isn’t alone though. David, who was “sent home” after losing that initial “dark forest” challenge in the two-part premiere, joins him at Camp Comeback. It’s a huge shakeup to the game and one that certainly forces everyone to think a little further ahead with their plans.
With the eviction ceremony done, it’s on to crowning a new H.o.H. The houseguests all head outside into narrow booths, where they’re shown various iterations of fireworks displays. Then, they have to answer questions posed by Julie Chen about those displays. It’s a memorization game that gets harder as it goes, the kind of game where half the contestants drop out all of a sudden.
Eventually, it comes down to Jack and Jessica in the final round, and it’s Jack that snags the win. That’s huge for a number of reasons. It not only gives one of the game’s biggest competitors some early control, but it also gives the Gr8ful alliance power after the shocking reveal of Camp Comeback. We’ll have to wait and see how Ovi and David factor into the gameplay in the coming days, but Jack securing H.o.H. for his alliance keeps game control in the hands of Gr8ful. David makes it known that he’s eager to talk to Jackson about leaving the house, and that could be interesting in terms of alliances, but we’re a ways off from understanding how these relationships might change. For now, the game is still in Gr8ful’s control, as they’ve executed a unanimous eviction and won the next H.o.H. That’s as “in control” as you can be at this point.