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Big Brother
S23 E16
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For my money, this has been the best week of this season of Big Brother (I was on vacation for most of it, so apologies for the lack of recaps). It's the kind of week I've been begging for the last two seasons, one where the HOH isn't afraid to shake up the game early and go after a big threat. Too often lately the big threats have been coasting through the game on their way to an easy win (see: Michie and Cody). Along the way the other players keep saying they need to make a big move soon, but they get too scared to pull the trigger. I still haven't forgiven Holly for not ditching her showmance Michie in the final three to secure her an easy win. This week has been a nice contrast to the last few dull seasons.

Derek X has played this beautifully. While he's certainly not going to come out of this unscathed, especially if Christian doesn't go home, he's shown the courage to make a big move early, and I applaud him for that. He wanted to target the "comp beast" Christian (just last week I asked when people would start to worry about all the competitions he was winning and begin going after him), but knew that putting him on the block immediately would give him a chance at veto. So he put up Britini and Sarah Beth with no intention of voting them out, then crossed his fingers and hoped Christian wouldn't play in/win the veto competition. His plan worked. Britini won the veto, pulled herself off the block, and left a spot for Derek X to backdoor Christian. Sure, Alyssa and some of the other members of the Royal Flush were mad when they figured out his plan, but, hey, you have to make some waves to get anywhere in this game. I love it.

We begin at that veto meeting. Derek X has heard from Alyssa and Xavier about why putting Christian up would ruin his game, but he's not buying it. He feels certain that getting rid of such a big threat before the jury is the right move and proceeds to nominate Christian. Christian is understandably angry, and it immediately causes some rifts in the house among former alliance members.

Christian starts campaigning. He knows Alyssa and Xavier will vote for Sarah Beth, which means he needs at least three more votes to stay in the house. Britini and Derek F. (a.k.a. Big D) apparently tell him they won't vote him out, and so he goes to Tiffany and asks for her vote, saying she's the swing vote here, along with Claire. Tiffany and Christian actually have a very cute bond, and she's heartbroken to even consider voting for him, but she's ready to vote with the house this week.

Big Brother
'Big Brother' season 23
| Credit: CBS

But she's also angry she's in this position. She knows Britini and Big D haven't made up their minds about the vote (especially Britini, who seems very conflicted) and that they flip-flop all the time, so the idea that Christian thinks she's the swing vote is infuriating to her. So she warns Britini and Big D that the next time Christian asks, she's going to tell him the truth, and that's exactly what she does.

That bit of truth starts to split the Cookout. Big D is truly going off on Tiffany, about how she's bossy and trying to play puppet master and that he's sick of it. It's a little unhinged, and in my opinion a big overreaction to Tiffany's mostly reasonable argument. Things get even more interesting from there as Tiffany starts to wonder if keeping Christian around as a shield is maybe best for her game. She pitches Claire on the idea, and she agrees that keeping Christian as a target is a good idea. They need Britini as the fifth vote (alongside Xavier and Alyssa), but when Tiffany asks to talk to her in the HOH room, Azah and Big D follow her into the room and Big D throws another fit. He starts saying that everyone should be able to talk openly, that there's no need for Tiffany to have any private conversations. It's absolutely wild to see the Cookout, who are in a great position, blowing up like this, and mostly because Big D can't seem to handle the fact that Tiffany is playing the game (while he's done pretty much nothing this whole time). 

Before we get to the vote, just a side note: I despise Tiffany and Claire's line of thinking here. The whole "keep the biggest threat around as a target for future weeks" has been proven not to work again and again. We're just coming off seasons where Cody and Michie (who also had a strong showmance just like Christian!) coasted to the final prize by simply getting to jury and then winning a bunch of competitions. The history of Big Brother tells us that keeping big challenge threats around only gets more dangerous as the game goes on. Derek X understands this, which is why he's targeting Christian this week.

Anyways, it's time for the vote. Obviously Xavier and Alyssa vote to evict Sarah Beth, but that's it. All the previous hullabaloo is for nothing, and the rest of the house sticks together to vote Christian out of the house. I have to reiterate, I love this move from Derek X. It may have some consequences, but when you get a chance to take a shot at a clear game favorite, you do it. On his way out, Christian says he respects the move because he would have gunned for Derek X too (which is why everyone saying Derek X is making a bad move is full of it!). 

As an added bonus, Julie lets everyone know that the Jury starts now, which means Derek X got Christian out at just the right time. She also adds in a game twist, the new High Roller's Room. Every week America votes for its favorite players, and they earn a certain amount of "BB Bucks" to use on casino games in the room. Those games contain special powers related to pulling people off the block, extra vetos, and that kind of thing. After such a thrilling week, I'm excited to see how these other powers play into a game that's changing very quickly.

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Julie Chen hosts as the houseguests battle it out.

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