If you’ve been keeping up with the live feeds at all, you know it’s been a tumultuous, tension-filled few days in the Big Brother house. Things were already a little heated when Christmas nominated Bayleigh and Da’Vonne to go home — Bayleigh in particular felt betrayed because she thought they had a good relationship, but there’s also the tension that comes with more POC players being targeted and picked off by a big group, which has happened in multiple seasons. But tensions started boiling over after the POV competition, when a number of things happened to create a combustible situation. I’ll be talking plenty about the live feeds, most of which will probably be in tomorrow’s recap because that’s when most of the controversial stuff goes down, but for now let’s dig into what we see in the episode, including the POV competition, and how that leads to a rather uncomfortable house.
After the nomination ceremony, Bayleigh is pretty upset. She tells Da’Vonne she’s ready to go home. It seems like she and Christmas connected on a game and personal level, so she feels betrayed. She’s sick of it all, and especially sick of battling against the main group for a shred of power. So, Bayleigh goes to talk to Christmas about why she was put up, and Christmas is in tears, super-emotional about the whole thing. Things get very complicated later, in terms of emotions and motivations and optics, but this is the beginning. Christmas playing victim rubs Bayleigh the wrong way; she’s frustrated that she thought she had an ally and now she has to comfort her when she’s the one on the block and possibly going home.
This is where Tyler gets tossed into the mix, and he’ll be important to a lot of the drama later. He’s very clearly been playing with everyone in the house, much like he did on his previous season, and now it’s starting to cost him. He’s stretched thin trying to keep everyone happy, and people are starting to catch on that he has some sort of deal with everyone. So Da’Vonne tells Dani and Nicole about Tyler throwing Dani under the bus and saying she wanted to target Bayleigh and Da’Vonne, which sends Dani to Christmas to suggest that Tyler is trying to make sure the girls all hate each other and don’t form an alliance against the guys controlling the game. As always, there’s a ton of half-truths and faux loyalty here. All this talk will eventually lead to something happening because the Committee members will have to turn on each other at some point, but for now they’re in control and it doesn’t look like much is changing.
That brings us to the veto competition. Christmas, Bayleigh, Da’Vonne, Dani, and Nicole all line up to start, while Ian, who was chosen to play, has to sit out for medical reasons. The players are gathered at a makeshift track. They must get into a runner’s starting position and hold down two buttons with their hands while looking at a screen flashing different math equations. When they see an equation where the answer is 13, they must sprint to the other end of the track and hit a button. The last person to do so is eliminated, and the challenge continues until there’s a POV winner.
Everything is on the line for Da’Vonne and Bayleigh… which makes it all the more heartbreaking when they both false-start and become the first two players eliminated from the challenge. Dani is the next one eliminated, leaving just Christmas and Nicole, both members of the Committee, fighting for POV. It’s not even close. Christmas beats her in the final round. There’s a nice moment where Nicole gives Da’Vonne her $5,000 reward from the competition (which makes sense when you consider how integral Da’Vonne was to Nicole’s win in her season) and takes on her punishment of wearing a truly atrocious “Slop” unitard.
After the competition, things start going off the rails, setting the stage for a rough week in the house. Everyone is noticing that Tyler is off, and he even admits it. He’s missing his partner, Angela, he’s not having fun playing the game, and he feels responsible for Da’Vonne and Bayleigh being on the block; it’s at least partly his fault, because he’s been spilling information about them left, right, and center. So, he wants to sit down and chat with Bayleigh and Da’Vonne to clear his conscience. He apologizes for all the lying and manipulation, and how it was all very self-serving. But then he really takes a swing: He tells them that they’re standing for something bigger than him (meaning representation on the show, and being in a position to continue having important conversations about racism in the country and the Black Lives Matter movement), and that he’s going to ask Christmas to use the veto, pull one of them off the block, and offer to go home instead.
It’s a bold move, and for what it’s worth, I think Tyler is mostly being genuine. Sure, there has to be some part of him that wants to save face for the cameras and not be the “manipulative” guy of the season (Bayleigh even mentions to Da’Vonne that he could simply be doing personal image damage control), but I do believe that he mostly genuinely wanted to do right by Da’Vonne and Bayleigh, and the fact that he just wasn’t into the game this time around made that decision easier. Here’s where things get messy in terms of editing, though. We see Tyler go to Christmas and tell her all about his plan, and we see Christmas saying that he had nothing to do with her decision, and that she’s not eager to vote out the other half of her Final 2 just because he feels guilty.
Then Da’Vonne mentions to Christmas that Bayeligh is still mad at Tyler, which allows Christmas to tell him that nothing is forgiven and that sacrificing himself is a waste of time. All that makes it look like Christmas was the only one who wanted to keep the nominations the same, which is exactly what she does because it’s “good for her game.” But here’s what’s missing: It’s very clear on the live feeds that the producers stepped in and told Tyler he couldn’t make a case for his own eviction, and that he had to stay. He even says as much, on the live feeds, to a few other players. But the damage is already done; it makes Tyler look like he went back on his word, it gives Bayleigh and Da’Vonne a real reason to be upset, and it throws Christmas into a mess that she can’t really control. In other words, production causes the massive problems that are coming tomorrow, where all the central players in this drama explode. It’s a messy bit of business, and I’ll see you here tomorrow to talk about it.