Updated: Nov 30, 2020
Welcome back for another week of Big Brother! With the introduction of the safety suite competition this season, there has been a lot of strategy conversations happening on the Sunday night episode despite not a ton of action on the screen. Then again, this is an all-around captivating cast, so it isn't surprising to see them navigating the strategic waters early on.
Before we dig into the actual events of Sunday's episode, we have to dig into the safety suite competition for a second. Big Brother has employed numerous Sunday evening competitions over the years, from food comps in the early days to the whacktivity competition last year. Most of these have been flops, introducing lackluster twists into the game. Far too often, Sunday night comps lead to advantages that either go unused or offer far too great of power for a singular player.
The safety suite, though, has been a refreshing change of pace for the show. Instead of releasing a new power into the house, the winner is just granted safety and allowed to bring a plus one. Overall, the winning player doesn't get too much poser, and the twist doesn't negatively affect gameplay.
The safety suite has managed to create an additional layer of strategy previously missing from Sunday evening competitions. For houseguests, they have to figure out the right to play. More importantly, the choice of plus one introduces another important decision as houseguests have to balance protecting alliances with keeping them hidden. For the HOH, the results of the competition could force them to pivot with nominations if one of their potential targets manages to win their safety. All in all, this has actually been a well-devised twist that has helped drive gameplay without negatively impacting it.
As the episode opens up, new HOH Memphis calls the house to the living room to reveal a new Have Nots twist. This season, the week's previous Have Nots will select someone to take their place. Have Nots haven't been a major focal point in the last few years, but this is another interesting twist on an old concept. Once again, this provides an added layer of strategy to Have Nots. Do you give it to an alliance member to hide your partnership? Do you volunteer to help build a rapport with another houseguest? Do you give it to someone you want to target? There are a lot of avenues a player can go with this twist without actually negatively impacting the gameplay of the house.
While this week's ceremony doesn't have too many fireworks, Memphis clearly sends a message with his smug declaration for David to "have fun buddy" as his choice to replace him. Memphis sees David as a rookie in the game and acts insulted that David is part of an all-star cast. When chatting with Cody later, Memphis confirms he is considering nominating David and Nicole A. as the easy nominations. He names Janell and Kaysar as potential targets for this week as well.
Before he can nominate anyone, though, the house has to play in the safety suite. I hypothesized in my last recap that a good strategy for Memphis would be pushing players to compete in the safety suite competition to better his odds at winning in week 3 when he cannot compete in the HOH competition. Sure enough, Memphis immediately begins pushing others to compete, but he executes it poorly.
Under the guise of covering up their alliance, Memphis encourages everyone to participate in the competition. Christmas and Cody may compete, but everyone sees right through his plot, with Dani, Nicole F., and Tyler decided to save their passes to compete next week in case a non-alliance member wins HOH.
For the rest of the houseguests, Memphis's "everyone should take their own game into their hands because everyone is an option" strategy didn't seem to please many of his houseguests. Nicole A., in particular, didn't like the conversation. Unfortunately for Memphis, I think he rubbed some houseguests the wrong way.
As the safety suite opens, the field is starting to take shape. David is the first to swipe, with about 30 minutes left on the clock. Next is Kevin, who would have competed even if his mother was HOH after spending last week on the block. Finally, Cody, Ian, Christmas, Bayleigh, and Da'Vonne all swipe in to compete. Nicole A. spent the hour debating whether or not she should compete, but the conversation with Memphis left a bad taste in her mouth. Her gut told her not to compete, so she stood pat.
For the competition, the houseguests got to live the waiter's life. This week, houseguests carried a tray of wooden blocks in the shape of drinks to two tables before attempting to balance them on a wobbly table. Each block was a different weight and size, so houseguests would have to organize the faux drinks strategically to strike the right balance. The safety suite presented a steep learning curve, as houseguests find themselves struggling to find the formation that balances the tables. What follows is a montage of hysteria as the woodblocks topple over one after another, accompanied by comments of appreciation for all service workers.
It doesn't take long for contestants to get into a groove, and pretty much everyone does well overall. Well, except for Da'Vonne, who thought she did well enough to win. Her declarative affirmation of victory sealed her fate, as she came in dead last, six minutes behind the rest of the pack. Don't worry, though, Da'Vonne, none of these other houseguests could last a minute in The Challenge house, other than Bayleigh, who famously lasted several minutes in The Challenge house.
When the dust settled, it was Christmas whose faux bartending skills surpassed the rest. And as the show edit foretold, Christmas picked Ian as her plus one. For Christmas, this is a pretty smart strategy. It protects the alliance and builds trust with Ian.
Unfortunately for her, though, Memphis and Cody immediately began to question what she was up to by picking Ian. Memphis has a vendetta against Ian because he beat Dan Gheesling in season 14. For those who don't remember, Memphis and Dan made up the Renegades alliance in season 10. You know, the one where Dan smoked Memphis in the final vote 7-0. After the season, Dan and Memphis stayed close friends, and Memphis has taken it upon himself to exact revenge for Dan.
That all has to wait now as Ian is safe from eviction. In a fun moment, Christmas joined Memphis in the HOH room after the safety suite and appeared to try and hug Memphis, who gave her the cold shoulder. While this was most likely a reaction to Christmas saving Ian, I think something bigger is at play here. I personally think Memphis, a former mixologist, is upset someone in the house can lay claim to the title of best bartender now!
Okay, Memphis is probably more upset he has to scramble to figure out nominations with his primary target off the block. He has six main options: Janell, Kaysar, Nicole A., David, Bayleigh, and Da'Vonne. Memphis doesn't want to put up Janelle and Kaysar because he can use them later on as allies if needed. One of his main alliances, Cody, has a side alliance with Bayleigh and Da'Vonne, so Cody does work this week to keep them off the block. That leaves him with what the house would consider the easy route: Nicole A. and David.
It is sad to see both these two on the block together. While David hasn't been super impressive so far in the game, he displayed an ability to read the house last year. Nicole A. is a fan favorite, but her gameplay this season has been lacking. She has all the skills needed to make a deep run in this game, but she hasn't been able to put it all together yet. Worst of all, she is probably kicking herself for at least not competing in the safety competition.
Luckily for both of them, they still have the veto to try and save themselves. For David, this will be his first-ever veto, an astounding statement to make about an all-star cast member. Will he or Nicole be able to save themselves? Will Memphis be swayed by his alliance to backdoor a bigger target, like Janelle? What will Ian's punishment for being a plus one be? Is anyone shaving Enzo's back, a storyline he started in his intro package, but the show strangely has yet to deliver on.
Find out all of that and more during our next recap on Wednesday.