February 07, 2019 at 11:19 PM EST
Sonja Flemming/CBS

With Kato out and the house down to a lucky seven guests, Tom is a man without an island. Having isolated himself from the rest of the house while in TomAto (I promise this’ll be the last time you’ll have to hear that portmanteau), he now realizes he’ll have to make some new bonds in the house if he wants to stick around. Kandi sees Tom’s new status as an opportunity to bring him into her group to break up the Natalie/Lolo/Ricky trio before it’s too late. Speaking of that alliance, Lolo and Ricky debate who to put up if one of them win HoH. As they debate whether to nominate Tom with Kandi or Dino, Ricky tells the diary room that the next HoH competition is truly a do-or-die battle of the two sides of the house. “We need to win to make sure that we stay in the house,” he says. Seeing Tom as the key to her staying in the house, Kandi pulls him into her plans for the HoH competition. While Tom believes his chances of winning HoH are slim, Kandi tells him that if “the athletes” win HoH, they essentially take over the house. While Tom is skeptical about what Kandi’s motives are, he seems to be open to working with her.

Guess who’s back to host the Vegas-themed Head of Household competition? None other than America’s wildcard Omarosa, decked out as the fanciest card counter around. The competition, “Celebrity Tumbling Dice,” sees the houseguests get inside a giant dice and try to tumble back to their platforms while matching the number Omarosa has spun for them. The last player left at the end of the game becomes the new HoH, and using his heat-magnet status as competitive fuel, Tom wins again. For the first time this season, “the athletes” are truly on the unlucky end of the house. In the bedroom post-comp, Natalie is convinced she’ll be one of Tom’s nominees because she believes she’s seen as the cause of “The Fun Five’s” destruction. Lolo, with her eye toward the finale, believes that Tom may want to be next to someone who has equally bloody hands. In her mind, Dina and Kandi are seen as “bloodless” and could easily cruise to victory with the jury. Tamar, seemingly the woman in the middle at the moment, says a prayer for her bunkmates as the game really goes into high gear.

Having seen firsthand how quickly fortunes change in the house, Tom is going for a more measured attitude this time around. In the game room, Dina shares with him that her plan, had she won HoH, was to put up Lolo and Natalie. Tom is amused that this is finally the moment Dina’s actually talking game, telling the diary room that she and Kandi may be the partners he needs to pull off his plan. Lolo and Natalie, however, again wonder if Dina and Kandi are playing Tom for their own benefit long-term and playing both sides of the house. Natalie comes to Tamar with their realization about Kandi, ripping her a new one for good measure. While Tamar downplays Kandi’s allegiances to her bedroom-mates, she tells the diary room that while Kandi’s moves are obvious to everyone, she still feels the need to protect her friend because “we’re kind of a good team.”

Outside of the house, Dina has a special man in her life. A man she’s known for five years and is certain she’ll marry. A man…she’s never actually met in person or even FaceTimed, for that matter. “My five-year-old FaceTimes,” Tamar tells the diary room as the shadiness of the situation sinks in. While Kandi and Tamar give her a reality check about her potential “catfish,” all Dina (and most of the viewing audience) can do is squirm as she insists the mystery man is real. “It’s real,” she says. “Some guys don’t just use iPhones.” Now that we have all that cringe out of the way, Tom decides to meet with his fellow houseguests one by one to figure out his nominations. Talking with Natalie, he tells her that she’ll likely be nominated if one of his planned nominees wins the veto but that she’s not his target. Natalie knows full well that he’s talking about a backdooring, but she plays it cool as the conversation continues. When the time comes to talk to Lolo, Tom’s a bit more frank with her and tells her that he’s nominating her as the pawn but that she’s not the target either. In exchange for keeping her around, Tom wants Lolo to keep him safe if she wins HoH next. Lolo is open but uneasy about his plan given their past history. As the time comes to meet with Ricky, Tom lets the diary room in on the fact that he’s his true target this week. But during the actual meeting, Tom gives Ricky the same pitch he gave Lolo: I’ll put you up this week, but you’re not my target. Ricky, sensing Tom’s move, gives him a proposal of his own: if you don’t nominate us, you have a better chance of staying in the game because we control the votes. “The three best competitors, to have them on your side pretty much ensures that you’ll be safe,” Ricky says to Tom. “If your plan backfires, you might be in trouble. My plan for you can’t backfire.”

After some wildlife footage of Tom Green: Hoodied Night Owl roaming through the house, Natalie again insists to Tamar that Kandi’s loyalties are more with Tom than to her. As Kandi slips into the room with them, Natalie awkwardly slips out as the friends fill each other in on what the rival sides of the house think of them. Though it starts out with slight disagreements, the two come to the realization that they need to continue working together to cruise to the final two, even if it means sending some of Tamar’s allies home. “At the end of the day, if one of them [Natalie/Lolo/Ricky] goes we have a better chance of making it to the end,” Kandi says. Ahead of the nomination ceremony, Tom meets with Kandi and fills her in on his plans to nominate Lolo and Ricky, with Ricky as the target. Kandi instead suggests putting up Lolo and Natalie together as Tom’s current plan doesn’t factor in the possibility of Natalie winning the veto and using it, ensuring she can’t be used as a replacement nominee. Tom acknowledges her plan is smarter, but wonders if pulling it off will screw him over post-HoH given Natalie’s competitive strengths.

When the nomination ceremony comes, Tom splits the difference between his and Kandi’s plans by nominating Ricky and Natalie for eviction. Neither is surprised by Tom’s moves and lies, but both vow to win the veto and make Tom’s master plan fall apart. Will they manage to do so or has their luck finally run out? We’ll find out tomorrow night as we have a 2-hour double eviction episode to look forward to, which will cut the house down to its final five.

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