I've really been looking forward to Xavier's HOH week. The first two weeks of Big Brother season 23 have largely been dominated by Frenchie. He's been the focus of almost every episode, and while it was entertaining, it definitely left most of us wondering how the rest of the house plays the game. Now, with Frenchie sent home, we finally have a chance to get to know the other players and how the house's alliances are shaping up.

Xavier certainly has an interesting week ahead of him. The thing is, he's aligned with just about everybody in the house. He's included in both the Cookout alliance and the Royal Flush alliance. That covers everyone in the house except Brent, Whitney, and Britini. With Britini just coming off the block, Xavier is hesitant to nominate her again. He wants Brent as his target, and even though he likes Whitney, he feels he has no other choice but to put her up. That's his thought process immediately following his win, but there's still a Wild Card Competition to come, and that could change things.

As for everyone else in the house, some people feel safe, but others see that Xavier is someone who keeps his cards close to his chest, so they're not quite sure where his head is at. Even a few of his alliance members think he could do just about anything when it comes to the nominations. But as we learn early in the episode, everyone in the house would be happy to see Brent on the block. He's completely full of himself, makes a lot of people uncomfortable, and is generally disliked. He particularly makes a lot of weird comments towards the women in the house. He tells Alyssa that he's working with her because he trusts her and not because he wants to date her, and he tells Hannah that men can't be friends with women they find attractive because they can't help but flirt and make a pass at them. So, yeah, everyone is pretty over living with Brent right now.

Still, there are no easy targets with the Wild Card in play. This time around, Tiffany, Derek X, and Britini are the competitors, and there's some strategy going on here. Derek X wants to throw the competition because if he wins and gets to keep one of his teammates safe as a reward, he may have no choice but to keep Brent safe. Also, Derek X and Tiffany don't want Britini to win because she's a potential eviction nominee should one of the other targets win the veto. So, in essence, Derek X decides to throw the competition, and it's up to Tiffany to get the win and make sure Xavier's plan doesn't go off the rails.

The Wild Card Competition is really tricky. The three contestants all try to eliminate each other by taking giant cards off a deck and then walking across a very wobbly balance beam to place them in four slots connected to each contestant's name. When those cards add up to 13, the player is eliminated. It's a competition that involves balance, luck, and math, and to make things even more interesting, Britini realizes that Derek X and Tiffany are working against her. Last week, she was very upset about being on the block, thinking it was "unfair" because she "didn't do anything wrong," so obviously she's not happy about seemingly being a target again. Of course, she's not really a target, but Xavier wants to keep his options open.

Well, the plan ends up working. Tiffany and Derek manage to get Britini out first, and then Derek X subtly throws the competition so that Tiffany wins. But there's a twist. This time around, the Wild Card reward decision is this: if Tiffany wants safety, one random person from both the Jokers and Kings alliance will end up safe too. That means that if she keeps her safety, she's also possibly allowing Xavier's targets to gain safety through a game of chance.

Bottom line, though, Tiffany doesn't need safety, and she's not ready to risk Brent getting his own safety. So, she declines the offer, gives up her own safety, and Xavier's plan starts to take real shape. There are still a few wrinkles, though. He knows he wants Brent on the block, but he's unsure about Whitney. He's worried that Brent will know he's the target if he's up there with Whitney, his teammate, so he'd rather put Britini on the block as a pawn. But, as we know, Britini absolutely lost it last week after being on the block, and she's already upset about being targeted in the Wild Card, so if she lands on the block, it could be an explosive situation. As Xavier says, "if everyone wasn't so emotional, this week would be easy-peasy." He's not wrong.

Britini's would-be reaction is so obvious that when Xavier mentions putting her on the block to Azah, Azah offers to go up in her place. She says she doesn't want Britini to go on the block again, so she'd rather be the pawn. But Xavier doesn't even want to risk putting an alliance member in danger. So, he starts to think differently. He approaches Brent about being a pawn on the block so that Britini can go home, trying to control the narrative. Then, when he does actually nominate Brent and Britini for eviction, his speech mentions that he thinks Brent is trustworthy and loyal and that this will allow his "true target" to go home. He then tells Britini that he nominated her because he thinks she'd target him if the roles were reversed. All of it is a lie.

I get what Xavier is doing. He's trying to keep Brent calm and then sneakily vote him out. But is he overcomplicating things? Is creating this elaborate situation involving fake pawns and lying to Britini really going to help him out in this game? I'm not so sure. We've still got a veto to play, so a lot could happen this week to make Xavier's HOH week even messier than it already is. We'll see how it goes! Either way, I'm glad we're seeing more gameplay and getting to know the other players better.

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