We’re in the single digits now as the revival season of Big Brother Australia sees out it’s final few weeks with shocking and major departures. This was a week not to be missed.
With nine housemates remaining, two majority alliances, and an all powerful couple rising to the top, each and every housemate began to plan their path to the end, and while six made it out alive, three big player did not.
WEEK 5 RECAP
After 28 days in the game, the housemates are faced with some shocking news from the outside world. A crew member has been in contact with someone who has tested positive to the global pandemic, COVID-19. The game is thus suspended until Big Brother gets the results from the crew member’s test. The housemates are still filmed, and each get a chance to phone someone from home. After two days of suspension, the game resumes when the results come back negative for the testing crew member.
With the game back on, Big Brother sets a task for the final nine, to search for a hidden Big Brother eye which holds an advantage to the first person who finds it. Sarah finds the advantage, and is able to save herself or one of her fellow housemates from the next eviction. Sarah only shares this information with Sophie and Chad, as they are loyal members of her alliance. Meanwhile, the Alpha boys begin plotting with Kieran to evict the showmance of Sophie and Chad as soon as possible.
For the Nominations Challenge, housemates must play a game of musical chairs as they run and claim a chair scattered around the house. As the last two standing, Daniel makes a deal with Chad not to nominate him or Mat (interestingly, neglecting their third alpha, Xavier) in exchange for granting Chad his first win. He follows through, and Chad wins the challenge, immediately nominating target Xavier, secondary target Casey, and Sarah, who can save herself and keep the nominations to Xavier and Casey.
Sarah saves herself as expected, and Casey and Xavier remain as the two nominees for eviction. The two friends find it diffuclt to campaign against one another, but ultimately in a landslide vote, Xavier is evicted 6-0.
Celebrating their one-month anniversary, big Brother tasks Chad to invite Sophie on a surprise date by only telling her to get dressed and ready immediately. Successful, the two enjoy a picnic breakfast in their backyard, with the other housemates watching from the inside.
This doesn’t sit right with Casey, who is determined to get the power couple (Chad and Sophie) out of the house, after being responsible for Xavier’s eviction the night before. Although Mat insists on targeting Kieran for not pulling his weight around the house and beginning to annoy others, but Casey asserts the couple must go home.
For the episode’s task, Big Brother has the ability to control each housemate in the house using the phrases: ‘fast forward’, ‘rewind’ and ‘pause’. If they all oblige to Big Brother’s satisfaction, they will enjoy a burger lunch. Unsurprisingly, they succeed, and the housemates enjoy their delicious feast.
Lying between the two alliances in the house, Marissa tries to regain trust with Chad, Sophie and Sarah. She reveals Casey’s plan to evict Sophie and Chad. Although this effort is tarnished when Chad walks in on Casey and Dan discussing the plan to evict him and Sophie, only for Casey to throw Marissa under the bus and argue it is hers. Marissa denies this, staying true to her word it was Casey lying, but Chad doesn’t believe her.
At the Nominations Challenge, housemates must hold onto two blue discs with their hands and have their feet rest on two of the six numbered discs placed in different positions. If they accidentally took their hands off the blue discs or their feet off the corresponding discs Big Brother told them to stand on, they are eliminated. After making a promise with Chad she won’t nominate him or Sophie, Casey wins the challenge.
Despite campaigning for the couple to go, Casey instead nominates Marissa and Kieran for eviction. Marissa attempts to ensure her safety by holding one on one conversations with every voting housemate in the house. Even though she reveals key information about Casey to Sophie that may makes Sophie want to target her, Marissa is eventually evicted from the house in a 5-0 vote.
Despite choosing to target Marissa at the previous eviction, Casey begins to have doubts over her decision, wishing she had instead stayed true to her plan and nominated Chad and Sophie while she had the chance. Hoping to not make the mistake again, Casey sees Sarah as a potential swing vote in her favour. Sarah is torn, expressing former loyalty to Chad and Sophie, but understanding she’s at the bottom of their trio going further.
For the shopping task, housemates are put to work by Big Brother, needing to clock in and clock out in duos (or solely for Sophie). If they succeed their chores to Big Brother’s standards, they will win extra money for their budget. EXCEPT that’s not the task. Instead, Mat and Kieran share a secret mission to indulge in luxury, and if they can remain undetected, $400 will be added to their budget. Despite some worries from Kieran on whether he can lie under pressure, the two pass and the house celebrates earning the extra cash.
At the Nominations Challenge, housemates must stay positioned in a gradually tilting frame until there is one person left standing. Casey, Daniel and Mat make a pact to beat Chad and Sophie, but despite this, they all drop and quickly Chad and Sophie are the last two remaining. Chad soon drops, and Sophie wins her second challenge of the season. With power in hand, Sophie decides to shoot for Casey before she shoots first, and nominates her and Kieran for eviction.
Knowing Mat and Daniel will save Casey and evict Kieran, and Chad will stay loyal to Sophie and evict Casey, the power is in Sarah’s hands to make it a tied vote, in which Sophie would break the tie and evict either Kieran or Casey (except it will be Casey). This makes Casey’s attempt to flip Sarah over even more important, as her life is on the line. As both sides try to pull Sarah each way, she ultimately sticks with her original alliance and evicts Casey, forcing a 2-2 split. As expected, Sophie makes the final vote and Casey is headed home, as Kieran survives, for the sixth time.
THE (WORRYING) GAMEPLAY
We’ve been waiting for a big move, and really it’s only Sarah who manages to deliver. I’m changing up how we dissect each housemate this week, as I want to talk about the three Nominations Challenge winners first, and the mistakes each of them made while in power.
Firstly, Chad. While he was successful in evicting his target Xavier, alongside a pawn but if they had gone home it wouldn’t really matter in Casey, Chad made a potentially resume building mistake by nominating Sarah. Sarah possessed a very powerful advantage, to save a nominee. If used correctly, she could (along with Chad and Sophie on her alliance) have gained a secure number to their side, by saving someone who would feel undoubtedly loyal to the trio. I really think Chad should have nominated Marissa, or less as much, Kieran, so Sarah could play the advantage, making that player feel completely loyal to Sarah and therefore a fourth number to their side. Yes, this advantage is more in Sarah’s favour than Chad’s, but had he have nominated Marissa, it would have been a chance for the three of them to sit her down and discuss it as a sign of loyalty to her. Marissa, given how she had played thus far, would likely have felt indebted to the three and respectfully worked with them for at least one more eviction round or two. But, instead, Chad just nominates Sarah, the advantage is wasted, and it kind of just flailed completely as what could have been an exciting and game changing moment. It’s a minor mistake given how the rest of the week had gone, but I still think it could have secured Chad and Sophie’s safety a lot more than them needing to win a challenge to survive.
Moving on to Casey, who made a much bigger mistake than Chad by not nominating him and Sophie while she had the chance. Casey had talked all episode about gunning for the pair, she had seen them enjoy a breakfast date, seen how powerful they can be, yet let it all slide to take out who? Marissa? The only credit I give Casey is staying true to the deal she made with Chad. There’s two ways she could have played it better, a) simply not make a deal with Chad and beat him by your own skill and stamina, or b) break the deal and just ensure one goes home anyway. One is easier to beat than two, and it’s a game, go big or go home. This fear of who would come after her clearly backfired when both targeted her anyway. With so little numbers, there was no room to hide, and both Marissa and Kieran were expendable enough that it wasn’t worth targeting them over the couple. Play to win, don’t play to make it a few days longer. Clearly, it was a mistake, as Casey alluded to and found out in the following episode.
But while I think Casey made a big mistake with her reign as Nominator, Sophie made a pretty big one too. Nominating her target, Casey, fine, exactly what she needed. But choosing Kieran, a middle party member to sit next to her? WTF? Unless we, the audience, aren’t privy to a deal between Mat/Daniel and Sophie/Chad (perhaps that one from two episodes prior is still in effect), then Sophie clearly should have nominated Mat or Daniel, much like Chad had done with Casey and Xavier when he was in power. I lean towards Mat, because I think he would forgive Sophie a lot quicker than Daniel would, but they are interchangeable. By nominating Mat/Daniel, it guarantees the person not nominated votes for Casey, that’s one for Casey. With Chad on Sophie’s side, she’s got two LOCKED IN votes for Casey (unlike the wishy washy two votes for Casey from Chad and Sarah). EVEN IF Sarah and Kieran wanted to do something crazy and vote out Mat/Daniel instead of Casey, they simply would not have the numbers – unless they convinced the loyal Mat/Daniel to betray their ally. Which I doubt highly. Nevertheless, if they wanted to do something, Sophie would still break the tie 2-2 and evict Casey. And given how strategic Sarah (and even Kieran) are, they would know this is exactly what Sophie would do, and to avoid making waves in the house, would probably go along with Chad and Mat/Daniel to evict Casey, sending her home 4-0. Is this more exciting gameplay? No. But it’s clearly the better strategy and handling of the vote that Sophie should have worked for.
But speaking about exciting gameplay, it’s not like the editing or production aspect has really helped viewers feel on the edge of their seat. I’ve long said the way Sonia announces the votes is just boring and makes us (the audience) completely aware of who goes home a mere few seconds before it’s announced. This is a big production mistake to the person who told Sonia to do it this way. But in that last episode, Sophie went to the diary room to cast her vote. WHAT? It was so obvious to everyone, housemates included, that she would vote out Casey. Much like in the American version of Big Brother, Sophie should have had to stand, face the nominees and her housemates, and reveal her vote on the spot. It would have put the pressure on, it would probably result in Sophie crying (which, I’m sorry Soph, is good TV – both emotionally and guilty pleasure-ry), and just would have been much more fun to watch. Then instead of the normally 3-5 seconds of us knowing who was going home we didn’t get the 30 seconds of it like we did in this case. If there’s any criticism of the revival of BB this season, it’s these what seems like obvious production and editing flaws that really dampen the nature of the show. But I’ll also add the episode shopping budget and daily tasks are beginning to bore me. Only because they win and succeed every time. I wanna see these guys go hungry, really go through some mental torture by losing. Instead, morale is always up, they’re eating fantastically. Remember how good those first couple of episodes were when they were on rations? Well where’s that again? Come on Big Brother, get tougher on the housemates and really test their skills and ability to win these tasks.
We’ve already covered Casey, so let’s talk the others. For Xavier, yeah, it was clear he was the brains behind the Alpha operation. I think he deserved more credit in the edit for how good he was playing, because he did play really well throughout this season, we just didn’t really see it. He wasn’t just the surfer boy, he had brains and balls, but what strikes me as odd is why Daniel didn’t make the deal with Chad to cover Xavier. Was he just making it 2 for 2 (him and Mat to be safe for Chad and Sophie)? Or was Xavier indeed on the outs of the boys and they didn’t care for him all too much anyway. Was this a fault in Xavier’s gameplay, for not staying closer to the boys? Or something else? We’ll probably never know because we just didn’t see Xavier’s game, and I think it was probably one of the more exciting ones this season. What a shame. For Marissa, I think what hurt her was more the housemates not having trust with her. And that could be because Marissa didn’t do all too well trying to grant the others her trust anyway. She was abrasive, aggressive, and it was probably what undid her in the long run. When nominated, Marissa would fight hard and really say anything, although it may be true and help others, it was too much for some. Chad probably used past experience to not trust Marissa, because even though Casey had been on opposing sides to him all season long, at least Casey came across as genuine. Marissa, although genuine 9 out of 10 times, was just too aggressive for people to really trust her. In terms of her being nominated, well that’s Casey mistake as we’ve discussed. But her eviction could have been handled better had she not built this ongoing reputation in the house that, even against the slimey Kieran, was just asking for her elimination.
THE FINAL SIX
We’ve talked about Chad and Sophie, and I hate lumping them into the same paragraph but they’re practically the same people. I think Sophie is playing a better strategic game overall, although her Nominations weren’t so much, and I think Chad is playing a better social/audience game. Chad is probably the more likeable one of the two in Australia’s eyes (although don’t quote me on this, I’m not sure), so if they happen to go to the end together, as they plan, I think Chad might be our winner. Something for Sophie to consider, no doubt. I’ll lump Mat and Daniel together too because why the hell not? They’re also a dominant pair BUT they do happen to pull out some strategic miracles when they need to. Overall, they aren’t too great at the game, but managing to dodge evictions, make deals, they’re just as strong as the showmance is but they managed to escape nominations unscathed. I credit the boys for playing well when it really came down to it, but they don’t win the strategic points in my book entirely. Even their likeability is somewhat subpar, there’s nothing that really makes me love them, they’re just there having a good time. Which I appreciate, but don’t love. How Kieran actually made the final six is anyone’s guess but by surviving nominations for so long, I don’t think it’s a quality he should be proud of. Kieran is a goat at the end, he can’t win competitions and everyone knows there’s bigger fish to fry than him. That’s why he survives six evictions, not because he’s a better player than Laura, Angela, Allan, Ian, Marissa or Casey, he’s just the perfect guy to sit next to because he won’t go home. His gameplay has been messy and average at best. What works for Kieran is winning the sympathy vote, depending on who he sits next to at the final three, Kieran has a chance to win the whole thing. That DOES make him a threat to win, especially for a house that has no idea how Australia will perceive them. Audience reaction now – Kieran isn’t so loved. But inside the house four months ago, I can see Kieran possibly being a big threat to win at the end. So IF Kieran happens to go home, it’s not a dumb move. The other five have a right to be suspicious of Kieran being the most loved housemate this season. They’d be wrong, but it’s not a bad way of thinking. So if Kieran survives this week, it’ll be interesting to see why and who went home instead. Finally, the only player in the game who is really making some strategic sense, Sarah. Evicting Casey was hands down the better move for her, by voting out Kieran, there’s two things Sarah doesn’t accomplish, a) she votes out someone who isn’t in the alliance she would be betraying, as Chad and Sophie would remain in the house and Sarah doesn’t necessarily make a dint to their game, but also b) Sarah sits in fourth place with Casey, Daniel and Mat. She’d be number four, and there’s not four finalists, only three, if the housemates are aware three housemates will stand at the end, it makes perfect sense for Sarah to see logic in siding with Sophie and Chad (at least for the Casey eviction), because while she would be number three, she’s still in the audience vote for the winner. Sarah could easily beat the couple and win the whole season, so evicting Casey was a great move for her. The only real fear for Sarah is that she’s emerging as a threat to win. If Daniel and Mat are peeved Casey went home and want revenge, what’s stopping them from forming an alliance with Kieran and/or Sophie and Chad to vote her out? Her decision would have been costly either way, thankfully, now is the time to make those big moves because it makes her stand out as a great strategic player and possibly reward her with $250k. But it’ll be an uphill battle this week, if she manages to survive, hats off to her!
The White Room is back, there’s only six remaining, so how will Week 6 go down? It all begins tonight on Channel Seven! Don’t miss it!
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Big Brother Australia continues tonight (Monday) at 7:30pm, and runs through to Wednesday at the same time on Channel Seven!
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