After a beautiful blindside, a new twist shifts the dynamic of the game.
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This is the kind of eviction night you love to see on Big Brother, where both players assume they're safe on the block, which means we're guaranteed to get a blindside. The fact that we're getting one so early in the season is even better! Let's dive into this special 2-hour episode. 

The first half hour or so of this episode is dedicated to the game before the live eviction. Pooch is feeling very stable in his alliances and in how he's seen by the other players in the house, but some of his closest allies aren't sure he's safe. Joseph has been in his ear all week about the girls in the house working to vote him out, but when Pooch isn't hearing it Joseph goes elsewhere. He talks to Monte about how he's getting a bad vibe from the house this week, and since Monte is susceptible to whatever information was just whispered in his ear, he starts to panic.

At one point he goes to his alliance members Nicole and Ameerah and tries to sway them to keep Pooch in the house, suggesting that Taylor is more dangerous next week, and that doesn't go over well. In fact, Monte's inability to put himself in their shoes could be bad for his game. He alienates Nicole immediately, and now she wants to work with the girls more than ever. I get that Monte is thinking about his own game and has a close ally in Pooch within the all-boys Oasis alliance, but surely he has to manage his other alliances as well, and it might have been better to just lay low for the week.

The editing does its best to try and deflect from what's going to happen, but it becomes clear that there's a consensus in the house. Everyone eventually sees that the majority of the house wants to take this chance to get Pooch out, and even his closest allies don't want to rock the boat right now. So, in a vote of 12-0, Pooch becomes the first player actually evicted from the house. Needless to say, he's in complete shock, and the fact that he's so surprised is exactly the problem with his game. He got way too comfortable early in the game, and it cost him.

With Pooch gone, it's time to get to the competition to determine next week's HOH. But before that happens, Julie gets the house together to explain a new twist, and it's a big one. She tells them that after the upcoming HOH competition, this game will now be played in pairs. Every single player will be paired up with a "Festie Bestie," and those two players will do everything together. If one of them wins HOH they are both safe. When it's time for nominations for eviction, the HOH must nominate a bestie duo, not individual players. If the veto is used, both besties come off the block and another duo must be put up. This will certainly cause a lot of chaos as alliances can easily shift based on who gets paired up as besties.

So, the way the besties are actually determined is through the HOH competition. As each player is eliminated during what's essentially a big game of musical chairs, that eliminated player has a choice to either sit alongside someone already eliminated and become their bestie, or go to a solo table and await someone to choose them. At the very end of the competition the HOH winner will be paired up with whoever is left without a partner. This introduces some potentially interesting strategies to the HOH competition. Do you gun for HOH and the protection it gives you, or do you drop out at a strategic time to secure a bestie who's good for your game?

Sure enough, there's some strategizing going on during the competition. After a few people get eliminated and choose to take empty seats rather than pair with outgoing HOH Jasmine, things start to get interesting. Michael throws the competition so that he can be bestie with Brittany, who he's friendly with but also isn't in his Po's Pack alliance. When Monte is eliminated he decides to sit next to Joseph for the same reason; they're on good terms, but not aligned in the Po's Pack. 

Before long, we're down to Ameerah and Turner as the final two. Turner is desperate to win because he thinks his buddy Pooch getting voted out is bad news for his game, and sure enough he secures the win. That leaves Ameerah with the choice to join Jasmine or Terrance as besties. She chooses Terrance since they're not alliance members, and she hopes Jasmine can sway HOH Turner to not put up two girls this week. So, our final bestie pairings: Michael and Brittany, Monte and Joseph, Nicole and Taylor, Kyle and Daniel, Indy and Alyssa, Ameerah and Terrance, and finally Turner and Jasmine.

So now that everyone is paired up, Turner has a difficult choice to make when it comes to nominations. Almost every pair has someone he likes and someone he would want out, and his closest allies, like Kyle and Joseph, agree that it's a tough choice. In the end though, it comes down to two pairs. There's Brittany and Michael, and Taylor and Nicole. Turner thinks that targeting Taylor again makes sense, but he's worried that she's survived two weeks in a row and will do so again. When it comes to Brittany and Michael, he sees an easy vote. Should they not win veto and stay on the block it wouldn't be hard to get the house to vote Brittany out.

That brings us to the nomination ceremony. In the end, Turner chooses the duo of Michael and Brittany, with Nicole and Taylor as the backup plan should Michael pull out yet another veto win. I can't say I totally love this twist in terms of gameplay, but I do kind of love it in this specific season, where everyone feels very complacent early in the game. I'm genuinely curious to see how this week plays out and how it impacts the game going forward. 

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