Big Brother U.S. All-Stars – “I’m Not Gonna Take Her Shots”

With the biggest targets out of the house, the search was on for the next power duo that would be broken up. But despite Christmas claiming power, the week was anything but jolly.

An incorrect answer put Christmas in power this week as she was named Head of Household, once again keeping safety in the hands of the Committee alliance. But with a new twist, new powers, and new targets in mind, Week 5 was a make or break event for everyone.

WEEK 5 RECAP

New HOH Christmas assumes power and as far as candidates for the eviction go, Da’Vonne, Bayleigh, Ian and Dani are at the forefront of conversation. But now heads are also turning at Nicole and Cody after Kaysar’s fiery eviction speech which left the house aware of their tight nit alliance. Not that it matters too much, since they are the core of every alliance anyway.

Before Christmas even makes her nominations, the houseguests are granted an opportunity to win one of three game changing powers in the BB Basement, a competition played completely in the dark. The first three to find a power, win said power. David claims the first – the ‘Disruptor’ power, which allows him to anonymously save one initial nominee for the next three weeks. Dani claims the second – the ‘Replay’ power, where she can play it to allow the current HOH to play in back-to-back Head of Household competitions over the next three weeks. Christmas also wins the third – the ‘Blocker’ power, allowing her to shield one player from being named the replacement nominee if the veto were to be used over the next three weeks.

Christmas, as HOH, announces the new BB Basement twist to the house.
IMAGE: CBS

While Bayleigh and Dani fight over allegiances, and Tyler continues to play the middle of the house, Christmas’ nominations come as no surprise when she throws up the Black Girl Magic alliance of Da’Vonne and Bayleigh on the block for their perceived untouchable final two loyalty. Just as Kaysar tried to warn the girls before he was evicted, but ultimately, they didn’t see coming.

With Bayleigh ready to go home after feeling betrayed, she confronts Christmas about the nominations. But as an emotional Christmas giving some bogus reason why, Bayleigh sees right through it and is annoyed Christmas is trying to play victim. Tyler gets thrown into the mix when the house catches on he is playing all sides of the house, with Dani, Nicole and Da’Vonne quickly putting Tyler on their hit list. It eventually gets back to Christmas, but she’s sceptical about making a move against Tyler because he is her closest ally.

Eventually, we get to the POV competition where everybody participating receives a prize. It’s not all too important, although Nicole gives up $5,000 for Da’Vonne trading to wear a costume for one week. That’s nice. But I still don’t like her. In the end, Christmas takes the trifecta of a comp week and claims the Power of Veto. This gives her full control over who the final nominees will be and likely who will be evicted.

It seems clear cut for either Bayleigh or Da’Vonne to be evicted at the end of the week. But, in a sudden turn of events, Tyler, who’s looking quite gloom and doom, offers himself as a replacement nominee and to be evicted, for he misses being at home with his partner, Angela. He apologises to the two women for partly blowing up their game, and acknowledges they’re position in the game is for a much greater cause – the Black Lives Matter movement. It’s a genuine gesture, even if it’s a pretty rookie move for an All-Stars season. But nevertheless, I appreciate Tyler’s act of kindness.

The kicker for Tyler however is convincing Christmas to actually go through with it, because she’s completely anti-evicting-one-of-her-own. Convincing him it would be a waste of opportunity, they come to the agreement he will stay in the game as Christmas doesn’t use the Power of Veto, meaning either Bayleigh or Da’Vonne will be evicted this week.

Da’Vonne and Bayleigh face the eviction, putting an end to their Black Girl Magic alliance and ‘untouchable’ bond.
IMAGE: CBS

The nominees feel manipulated by Tyler and Christmas, after building false hope for a move that never came into fruition. As Da’Vonne and Christmas have a frank conversation about this, a big blowup occurs with heated exchanges taking place between them and Bayleigh. There is clearly an unconcious racial bias being thrown out by Christmas, as much of her wording all week has raised some eyebrows. But Bayleigh and Da’Vonne recognise their arguments may lead to their eventual eviction/target, whereas Christmas will likely get off scott free. Christmas fails to recognise the two are upset, and doesn’t allow them to personally take the news one of them is leaving in.

On top of all of this, Cody learns his grandfather had passed away during the week and the house unites in solidarity over his death. A reminder that the real world still unfolds when time seems to stop in the Big Brother house.

We end up at the eviction where Da’Vonne uses her speech as an opportunity to speak about the Black Lives Matter movement and how it can’t be forgotten, for the lives of black people killed under police custody are an issue that has long passed its due date for change. The house, as it seems to be the run of the mill for the season, votes in unity: 9-0 vote against Bayleigh, the final pre-juror of the season as the remaining 11 hosueguests reach the jury stage.

They begin the HOH competition, where their endurance skills of hanging onto a wall are put to the test. Who’s the tip to win this one? Nicole, Cody and Dani have all won this competition in it’s previous runs – but so much has changed since many of these people have played, there’s no telling who will win it.

REVIEW

Just when you thought things could get interesting, the house only turned up by the slightest of notches when Christmas came into power and nominated Bayleigh and Da’Vonne. Are we surprised two black women are targeted as a duo (when there are clearly so many more running around)? That’s a common theme of Big Brother for several seasons running now.

I wanna talk about the BB Basement, I like the twist and the chance to give players powers. It CAN shake up the game and that’s always good when you’ve got a massive six-person + alliance. The twists themselves though… Dani’s ‘Replay’ power is bogus. It gives her little no power at all and is more just a cool occasion where the HOH can play in back to back weeks. I’m not a fan of it. I do like Christmas’ ‘Blocker’ power, I think it’s interesting and demands the HOH to immediately name a nominee that they otherwise didn’t intend to go up. It’s an in-the-moment decision, and the only thing that sucks about it is watching Christmas be the one to grab it and probably use it. I also like David’s ‘Disruptor’ power, it’s anonymous and takes away a lot of the certainty that is the initial nomination ceremony. Usually, when making nominations, you know one of the nominees will face eviction at the end of the week. But with this power, the initial nominee is safe and already a replacement is needed, on top of the potential replacement from whoever wins the POV competition. So we get two ticks for the powers, and one not so much.

I think Bayleigh and Da’Vonne took HUGE hits this week for their untouchable alliance. I don’t think they’re completely innocent. Christmas isn’t working with them fully, although she should have because they were predominantly loyal to her. Even if other duos are present, the mentality of this house has been to stay loyal to the alliance. Which I think is costly for someone like Christmas who isn’t high enough on the totem pole to lose these stragglers in her alliance. Bayleigh and Da’Vonne are all right about the perception of black women in the game. Christmas handled her HOH all wrong, made racially biased comments like getting “shot” for nominating the two women, and failed to recognise they both needed time to breathe and accept their failure when they were lied to about the potential replacement of Tyler. I sympathise with the women, especially Da’Vonne who was only thrown up because Bayleigh had told Christmas she was aligned with her until the end. Bayleigh made the mistakes this week, and Da’Vonne took a lot of the fall. Luckily, she’s still in the game. But I’m sad to see Bayleigh go because her and Da’ were a fun duo to watch on the live feeds and in the episodes. But the girls didn’t see this alliance coming through and should have worked more closely with Janelle and Kaysar to take it out. There’s a lot of blame to put on them for not being at the top of the house and seeing who was aligned with who. But given how Christmas handled her HOH, quite disgustingly in my opinion, I don’t wanna hear nothing about it. Christmas has really disappointed me this week.

After being evicted in a unanimous vote, Bayleigh talks with host, Julie Chen, about what unfolded during her time in the house.
IMAGE: CBS

Despite some cracks in the majority alliance, there is clearly this look of loyalty and unification that are paramount to everyone in the house. Nobody wants to turn on The Committee alliance first, but it makes for a boring season with no one willing to make a move. Dani has opened up about wanting to target players such as Tyler for their two-sided and deceptive gameplay. But it only hurts her because EVERYONE else has the mentality to stick with the alliance – meaning they don’t trust Dani. No matter how you slice and dice it, you can’t win. Someone disappoints this season by not being willing to make a move. The strongest houseguest we have is Cody, because he’s at the centre of it all, and even when he’s called out for it by Kaysar, no one bats an eyelid. Everyone trusts him, and he’s good at comps so it’ll probably be Cody’s season to win at this point. I’m not a huge fan of Cody, but I’m a big fan of total dominant gameplay (even when it isn’t entertaining). Watching someone grab a hold over EVERY person in the game, it’s impressive. So props to Cody for that. The only person who nears Cody in being the one to beat is Enzo, because his social game has been near flawless. Enzo has everyone aligned with him and he’s got the social bonds with enough people to see him survive for several more weeks. And when it comes down to it, it’s likely that someone will sniff out Cody’s strategic gameplay over Enzo’s social game first. So if it’s not Cody who’s favourite to win – it’s gotta be Enzo.

Further from the top, Tyler is doing well although people realise it. They’ve already caught on, but that doesn’t mean they are going to make a move against him. The mentality of still wanting to stick with the alliance is saving Tyler big time, and Cody and Christmas are his closer allies, so he’s still got a small army batting for him at this stage. I don’t appreciate his decision to say sweet nothings about going up as the replacement and home for Bayleigh and Da’, especially when he cites the BLM movement as a reason for them to stay. I only partially blame him though, the producers would have fought tooth and nail to keep Tyler anyway so it’s clear their influence is what made Tyler stay – not some big strategic plan to make the girls feel comfortable for like a day. Nicole is one to watch in the game, much like Cody, she hasn’t really been called out for being a central player when she is. Nicole isn’t making decisions though, she’s not having a heavy hand in what happens so I don’t think Nicole even has the game at this point to make it to the end. Being a winner, the alliance will turn on her probably first or second so she can’t win again. But even if her game was somewhat regarded as good, she’s so annoying and constantly playing the victim every damn day she makes it impossible for anyone to root for her. I am still in shock I used to like her, she’s anything but appealing as a houseguest.

It’s funny that Memphis is in a pretty good spot, because he’s not doing much to warrant it except for being a white guy in an alliance. I mean that is the alliance, all white people. The only white person not in the main core of the house is Ian. Which is a disappointment because Ian is a great player, he just hasn’t really had the chance to do anything because nobody wants to align with him. People are threatened, there are concerns over what he will do towards the end. So Ian’s in a bit of hot water moving forward for his perceived threat level, which is really nothing at all when THERE’S A BIG SEVEN PERSON ALLIANCE RUNNING THE GAME! Jeez. How many times does it really need to be said?

Finally, David and Kevin. Kevin’s slowly starting to wisen up on how people are playing and where loyalties lie, but it’s pointless when he’s got no power to even do anything about it. I’m not a big fan of Kevin, but a good couple weeks of some awareness and avoiding being the consistent pawn might make me love him again. He just needs to get the power. As for David. I don’t know. He got the power which is great considering he was eliminated in his first season during the total darkness competition. So what a redemption storyline. Given his power is the best too, it’ll be interesting to see how David plays it if at all. Knowing him, he’ll probably mess it up. But hey, maybe not. Fingers crossed, maybe not.

Da’Vonne is about the only hope to save the season right now, with her trusty ally Kevin only far from possessing the ability to shake up the game.
IMAGE: CBS

Who will win the endurance HOH competition and will the powers come into play to shake up the week? And will the majority alliance EVER turn on their own? We’ll find out soon enough.

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