Big Brother All-Stars Recap (Week 6)

We are back after a few weeks absence. Quite frankly, I have struggled at times to stay invested in this season, especially as other life events keep pulling me away from the site. With that in mind, I am probably moving away from doing episodic recaps in favor of a weekly recap. If you are looking for more content, I recommend checking out the RHAP network. Rob and his team do a great job of covering the events of the episode, while Taran's daily live feed updates will provide you all the details of what is going in the house.

With that said, let's dig into this week's recap. It's hard to believe that it has only been six weeks since this set of All-Stars first graced our screens. Like much of 2020, the humble beginnings of this season seem like a lifetime ago. Unfortunately, my interest in this season has waned each week.

As I already stated, I have struggled to stay invested in this season. The strategy of Big Brother has evolved to emphasize big alliances that dominate the season. Admittedly, this strategy does work though it doesn't make for compelling storytelling.

The reason the first half of season 20 is so fun (other than following the dreadful season 19 of puppet master Paul) is that the house split into two factions, each capable of winning competitions. Following the dismantling of Foute, the season quickly devolved into an uninteresting mess. The point is this: more conflict equates better television.

And boy, did this week finally bring some conflict. The events of last week that resulted in Bayleigh leaving the house set into motion the first real dramatic week of the season. And it all started with a classic Big Brother competition.

Head of Household? I Don't Want It!

The HOH competition was the much-anticipated wall competition. The premise is simple: hang on this wall as long as you. Throughout, the houseguests are sprayed with water while the wall leans forward at irregular intervals.

Other than David, each of these houseguests have all competed and generally fared well in a wall competition before. It is refreshing entering an HOH without a clear cut favorite to win.

Da'Vonne is the first out in relatively short order. Da'Vonne's fall is part of her strategy to highlight her competition ineptitude. While none of the episodes detail it, the other houseguests see right through her plan. Over on the live feeds, several of the other houseguests (okay, namely Enzo and his band of merry men) questions Da'Vonne's abilities and how deserving she is staying in the house if she is only able to hang on in an HOH competition for just a few seconds.

Anyways, contestants start falling off one by one, leaving Dani, Tyler, Nicole, and Cody as the final four. None of the remaining houseguests want to win, outside of Tyler, whose rocky gameplay the week before left him in a vulnerable position. Fittingly, Tyler is the next houseguest to fall. Dani is ecstatic as her goal was to make sure Tyler didn't win. She plans to drop soon but waits to avoid suspicion.

This proves to be a terrible decision. Nicole drops in relatively short order, indicating she feels safe with both Cody and Dani. Cody also drops mere seconds after Nicole because he feels good with Dani and doesn't want to get blood on his hands. Dani is left standing as this week's new HOH.

Disruptor Power. Activate!

A reluctant HOH, Dani starts to consider her nominations, a task rendered difficult considering her alignment with the majority of the house. Likewise, potential powers lie dormant, waiting for activation at any moment. She had good reason to avoid the HOH room this week. Considering how the week inevitably went, she's have been better served "slipping" off her perch right after Tyler.

Outside of her main alliance, The Committee, Dani has close ties to Ian, Enzo, and Da'Vonne, leaving Kevin and David as the only possible nominations. What Dani doesn't know is that David has the disruptor power, which allows him to change one nomination, subsequently making the previously nominated houseguest safe for the week.

David has had a lackluster season, but he played the disruptor power correctly. He kept it quiet from the rest of the house and waited to play it when it was most opportune. The only criticism I can lodge against him was not trying to leverage this power with Dani. He could have potentially built a relationship with Dani by using the disruptor power to bargain for a few extra weeks in the house. Instead, he kept it quiet and lost his advantage that could have benefited his game next week.

Unexpectedly placed in front of the house without time to consider the replacement nominee, Dani put Tyler on the block. Dani was considering a potential backdoor exit for Tyler this week, but she had no time to gather support. Tyler's unexpected place on the chopping block further sewed distrust with the members of her alliance, making it a tall task to sway them to vote out Tyler in the end.

Small Veto, Big Power

Dani immediately tries to smooth things over with Tyler. Tyler comes off as understanding, claiming he felt like this was an appropriate response to how he acted the week prior. In a diary room confessional, though, Tyler indicates he doesn't know where he stands with Dani now. The two just agreed not to target each other until the final six, but he somehow finds himself on the block.

Similarly, the rest of the Committee doesn't understand what she is doing. There are other houseguests she could have put up, so why is a member of their alliance nominated? Her insistence on saving Da'Vonne came back to haunt her this week.

Speaking of Da'Vonne, let's talk about the veto. The competition this week featured houseguests using rather large tweezers to stack 15 small batteries on top of each other. The veto competitors are Kevin, Tyler, Dani, Ian, Enzo, and Da'Vonne.

My favorite part of this competition was the Honey I Shrunk The Kids inspired machine that "made" the competing houseguest disappear. Nicole was a perfect host for this competition as pre-season rumors had her making a few key All-Stars disappear from the roster of houseguests in favor of herself.

There is a steep learning curve for the competition. It takes a couple of rounds of stacking for the houseguests to start getting a method that works for them. Enzo seems to struggle the most. With a nickname like Meow Meow, you would think Enzo would have cat-like reflexes. Not so much.

As the competition comes to a close, Da'Vonne managed to win her very first competition in Big Brother history. It's a huge win for her, even if the veto is shrunk down for comedic effect this week. Dani, desperate to keep her hands clean the rest of the week, is thrilled neither Kevin nor Tyler won. All she has to do is convince Da'Vonne to keep the nominations the same.

As with everything else this week for Dani, that task proves to be easier said than done. Da'Vonne has few allies in the house, but Kevin is one of them. After her experience on the block with her best friend the week before, Da'Vonne could not risk losing another ally.

I also think Da'Vonne knows that Kevin would be the easy target sitting next to Tyler. By taking him down, Da'Vonne feels there is a better chance Tyler gets voted out. All in all, she makes the best play for her game by using the veto on Kevin.

Due to Da'Vonne, Dani finder herself in a pickle. She cannot put up another member of the Committee. The problem is that she has expressed no interest in putting up Enzo or Ian, both of whom she is working with in side-alliances. Ultimately, she decides that Ian has fewer connections throughout the house and is the only choice.

Had Dani been willing to put Da'Vonne at the beginning of the week instead of Tyler, Da'Vonne would have taken herself off the block instead of Kevin. Dani would still have the option of nominating Tyler as either a pawn or a backdoor option. Instead, she found herself nominating four individuals for eviction, two of which are in alliances with her.

The only way the week could have been worse for Dani is if she tried to nominate Christmas as a pawn. Christmas would inevitably use her power, resulting in Dani nominating a total of five people for eviction in one week!

Before we breakdown the aftermath of Ian's nomination, we have to ask if Dani would have been better off nominating someone else. She could have easily put up Enzo or Cody, ensuring Tyler went home. At this point, she had already made waves within the alliance, why not commit to getting Tyler out if you want him gone, especially with her power that allows her to play in the next HOH competition.

It was clear from the events of the week that Cody holds all the power in the alliance. He was adamant that he would not vote out Tyler. Instead of forcing Cody's hand, she, and Nicole, both gave in to Cody. Arguably, Dani's best move was to put up Enzo, so Cody votes Tyler out. Daniu could then move forward with an alliance of Nicole, Ian, Da'Vonne, Kevin, and David. Once again, the fear of going against her allies keeps a genuinely smart player from making the better move.

The Fall of Ian

Poor Ian. I will fully admit that I am a huge Ian fan, so I am sad to see him leave the game this early. He didn't do anything to deserve to get voted out. With that said, his strategy was flawed, which made him expendable. Ian thought laying low before turning it on at the end would get him to the end. The only problem is that no matter how low he laid, Ian was always going to be a threat as a past winner. In that vein, he had nothing to lose by playing hard. While I don't always agree with Nicole, she is playing a good game. Now, this week was a little more sloppy then she probably needed to be, but she is playing hard. And she is going to get far because of it.

Ian did go out with class, but the eviction episode didn't give him a lot of screen time. Instead, the show focused on Nicole's quest to save her ally. Nicole and Ian share a friendship outside of the house, leading to a secret final two deal early on. Unfortunately for Nicole, she lost an ally in Ian this week.

Nicole was upset that Ian was put on the block, especially during Dani's HOH, when there were other options. Nicole did spend a great deal of time this week trying to flip the house, but she couldn't sway her allies. With David, Da'Vonne, and Kevin all pledging to vote out Tyler, Nicole considered forcing a tie and having Dani cast the deciding vote.

This was a potentially game-changing move the two won't make. Of all the choices the duo made this week, this was by far the worst. Yes, they are guaranteeing safety for at least a few more votes by sticking with The Committee. But at what long term cost? This week clearly showed they are at the bottom of the alliance, with Cody having the dominating voice.

Cody is in an enviable position, with protection from Tyler, Enzo, Memphis, and Christmas. There are already seeds of distrust towards Dani for how she approached her HOH reign as well as with Nicole, who spent two days stumping for Ian. These actions likely solidified their places at the bottom of the alliance. Don't be surprised to see them targeted in the coming weeks.

I'd be remised if I didn't touch a little on Nicole's action on the live feeds the day leading up to the eviction. I have to give Nicole credit. She did try to save Ian. And she had the votes to at least cause a tie if she wanted. But Dani wouldn't vote Ian out, even though it would have been a better move her game.

Once Nicole got word that Ian was going home, she quickly shifted her demeanor from saving him to finding the best possible way to look on television while voting him out. There is even live feed footage making its way around Twitter of her walking through what she will say and asking for help to cry in front of the camera. Evidence of the ruse is clear as Nicole leaves the diary room after voting, checking herself in the mirror to wipe away the tears. Of course, there are no tears, because she wasn't really crying at all.

(Yes, I know Johnny Bananas isn't on the challenge, but this accurately represents what I felt Nicole was actually doing.)

Do I think Nicole wanted to vote Ian out? No, and I think her initial campaign was genuine. But don't be fooled by her crocodile tears. Her actions weren't a game move, even if she will try to pin her vote on David. It was a tactic to make herself look better in front of the camera. It reminded me all too much of the book Gone Girl, with Nicole framing herself as the ultimate victim to gain sympathy. It's a shame she was willing to use her "friendship" with Ian as a ploy to further her own professional life.

As the eviction episode closed this week, the houseguests were competing in a puzzle building HOH competition. We didn't find out the winner, but Tyler, Memphis, Cody, and David were all in the lead. Dani interestingly chose not to use her power that would allow her to compete in the HOH. I don't know if anyone caught it, but there was an extra puzzle stand set up that no one was using. I wonder if any houseguest put two and two together and realize Dani must have a power?

Well, that about does it. Julie dropped a small hint at a new twist coming next week, indicating a Big Brother legend will be moving in next door. Could it be a famous houseguest that declined to compete for the whole summer? Maybe it's Zingbot, who will huddle insults at the houseguests from his balcony all week. My favorite theory is that it is the jury house and that Ian will be moving back in along with whoever gets evicted next week. I don't know if there is a jury buyback this year, but maybe the jury will stay apart of the game without being in the game? It would certainly make sense in the time of COVID!

I guess we will have to wait till next week to find out, though. And we will be back next week with another recap of what happened in the Big Brother house.

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