S23 E28

It's a chaotic night of Big Brother, as we've finally arrived at this season's double eviction. On paper, everything should be fairly straightforward. The Cookout is in control, Claire should go home first, and, barring Alyssa winning the live HOH, she'll be the next to go home. Of course, anything can happen when you're playing HOH and Veto all in the same night, so let's get to the rundown of what happened.

Before the first live eviction, we get a little insight into what Alyssa is thinking, and to the Cookout's credit, she still doesn't have a good read on the house. She actually believes that if Claire goes home, it's her and Xavier blindsiding Tiffany and shifting the dynamic of the house. Then, she has this wonderful moment of realizing that if Claire goes home, the Final 7 will all be minorities. She tells this to Big D and Azah and Hannah, and the three of them do everything they can to keep from cracking up since this has been their plan since the beginning. Alyssa even jokes that she's half-white so she might go home next. She's so close to figuring it out, yet so far!

That brings us to the first eviction of the night. During Claire's final speech she makes sure to put a target on Xavier's back, noting that if he manages to survive this week, he's a very strong player and should be on everyone's list to go home next. Of course, that doesn't change a thing. Claire gets sent to the jury, and it's on to the next HOH competition.

Essentially, if Alyssa doesn't win here she's going home. She has absolutely no clue that everyone in the house is working against her. And I don't mean "she's kind of suspicious but not sure," I mean she isn't even close to thinking that everyone else is in an alliance together. Not a single clue. So, she needs this win, but obviously, the odds are not in her favor. The HOH competition is a memory game, where players are shown an image containing various comic-book-style words like "zap" and "boom" and then must answer a question about that image. It's a tight race for a while, and Alyssa is right there at the top. Then she gets a few wrong answers in a row, and Hannah starts to pull away. Sure enough, Hannah wins HOH, and Alyssa's fate is all but sealed.

What really intrigues me here, outside of the upcoming vote, is Xavier's play. He clearly throws this competition because he needs to go on the block next to Alyssa to keep the Cookout a secret for a bit longer, and he's thrown other competitions in the past. I wonder if this strategy will actually come back to haunt the other members of the Cookout. I think there's a good chance that Xavier becomes a challenge beast in the final few challenges, and he'd have a great story to tell about how he played his part all season before taking over the game should he end up sitting in the Final Two.

Just in case you need some proof, Xavier goes out there and absolutely destroys the veto competition. This guy is set to run the table to the end, I'm telling you. Anyways, what that means is that Hannah needs a new nominee, and she tells Alyssa and Xavier it'll be Kyland because Alyssa already has Kyland in mind as a target. At this point, it's all about scrambling to the vote and saying what needs to be said to get Alyssa out.

So, Xavier uses the veto on himself, and Hannah puts Kyland on the block. Alyssa is obviously worried, but she still largely thinks she's safe. But we all know the truth, and we watch as history unfolds. The Cookout sticks together and sends Alyssa to the jury, creating an all-black Final Six in a game that's had a very problematic history when it comes to its POC players.

What I really love about the Cookout, and what sets them apart from other controlling alliances in past seasons, is how equitable and under the radar they've managed to be. In previous seasons, the controlling alliance was always somewhat known, and there was always one clear leader who was a target, though the houseguests would fail to get them out of the house. That didn't happen this season. While Tiffany, Kyland, and Xavier were obviously bigger personalities and played a more ambitious, strategic game than, say, Azah and Big D, everyone in the alliance played a part, and that allowed all of them, as individual players, to avoid being targeted.

It was truly masterful to watch play out. But now, the real game begins.

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Big Brother

Big Brother

Julie Chen hosts as the houseguests battle it out.

  • TV Show
  • 23
  • TV-14
  • CBS
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