This season, there have been a lot of ups and downs on the surprising scale. Some episodes are so up in the air; we have absolutely no idea what’s going to happen until it happens. Some episodes are so predictable; you don’t even necessarily need to watch the show in order to guess what’s going to happen. This episode had elements of both: the first part of the show was super exciting to watch. The HoH/Juror Re-entry competition was anyone’s game. Once the HoH was crowned, however, I think it’s pretty safe to say that we all knew what was going to happen.
When we left off on Thursday, the house guests were in an epic endurance challenge, along with the four jurors. Before the show had even ended, Julia, Steve, and Meg had all fallen off their little platforms, leaving all four jurors and three house guests left in the competition. Everyone’s got a stake in this game. If the wrong person comes back into the game, things could change dramatically for the people in the house. The Austwins are terrified that John will come back into the game, since they’d just screwed him over and voted him out. And without a week or two to cool off, they’re afraid that he’ll go after them if he gains power this week. Steve doesn’t want Jackie back in the game since he’d voted her out all those weeks ago. I think he’s giving himself a little too much credit. Yes, he orchestrated her eviction, but Jackie knows that he’s small fish compared to Vanessa.
Shelli says that if she gets back into the game, she’ll target James, since he was the one who broke her and Clay up. I can’t help but roll my eyes. This woman has a potential to get back into the game for half a million, and she wants to go after James because he got rid of her man? Really? Nice long-term strategy there, Shelli. At this point, I’m wishing for anyone but her to get back into the game.
Becky, on the other hand, wants to target Vanessa. Okay, a better strategy in my opinion, since Vanessa is a big target and most likely unbeatable in a final two, unless we have a really bitter jury. But still, no one except John seems to even consider getting rid of the Austwins. I don’t get it. I really don’t.
Anyway, house guests begin to fall off their platforms left and right until we’re down to Vanessa and the four jurors. And then the jurors start to fall. Jackie, Becky, then Shelli (thankfully). This means that JOHN IS BACK IN THE HOUSE! Yay for John! Now all he has to do is beat Vanessa, and then he’ll be HoH, and he can begin a reign of terror on the Austwins.
Not so fast though. Vanessa tries to make a deal with John. She really wants a letter from her girlfriend. John reminds her that he’s never gotten a letter from home, as he’s never been HoH before, but that doesn’t seem to register with Vanessa at all. It’s as if he hadn’t even spoken. She just keeps whining about wanting a letter from her girlfriend. I’m still unclear if John actually throws the challenge (because he doesn’t want people to know that he and Van are working together) or if he legitimately falls, but either way, Vanessa is ultimately the winner here.
Sigh. Great. Now is where we get into the predictable part of the episode. She talks a big game about flipping the house on its head, but after last week, it’s clear that she’s not going to go against the Austwins. She and John have decided to work together, and apparently, she and Steve have made up. So that just leaves… James and Meg. She knows that she’s fourth on the totem pole with the Austwins, but that doesn’t seem to concern her just yet. She’s decided that she’s going to have a little side alliance with Steve and John, and that’ll carry her through the next couple of weeks. She believes that she, John, and Steve are better at competitions than the other three, so they’ll be safe. I call shenanigans on that. Yes, John and Steve are decent at veto competitions, but John has yet to win and HoH, and Steve only accidentally won his only HoH-dom. Liz and Austin have each won HoH comps twice. Vanessa may be in trouble if she’s relying on competition wins to get her through to the end, especially since she can’t compete next week.
Of course, if the Austwins had their way, she’d get rid of Johnny Mac immediately, but Vanessa tells them that she feels safer with John and Steve than she does with James and Meg. Then she tells them some story about James not being trustworthy, and of course, they eat it right up. Now, this season has been the season of no secrets. Every time someone tells a story about someone else, they confront the target and ferret out the truth, except when Vanessa tells the Austwins stories. They’ve been given proof multiple times about her lies – and they’ve even considered voting her out because of it – and yet they still buy her stories every single time she spins one. I don’t get it. You’d think by now, they’d go to the source to find out the truth. But I guess this week they figure, as long as they’re not the targets, they don’t care.
In a (in my opinion) puke-worthy and awkward change of scenery, Austin and Liz have a little date up in the HoH room. Things have been shaky between them since Zingbot visited, so Austin wants to set things right. He asks her to be his official girlfriend. You can practically see the wheels turning in Liz’s head as she searches for a response. To me, it seems obvious that she really wants to say no, but breaking his heart on national television is no way to keep Austin’s trust and win the money for herself or or sister, so she says yes. They are now officially dating. Now he just has to break up with his other girlfriend.
James is the king of pranks this year, but Julia wants in on the title too. Since she knows that she needs practice to be able to prank James, she decides to start with an easier target: Austin. With help from Liz and Steve, she climbs into the closet and waits for Liz to draw him into bed. Julia waits for a few moments while Liz and Austin cuddle in bed, and for a second I’m worried that they’re going to end up doing a lot more than cuddling before Julia can make her move (you never know; maybe Liz’s memory is REALLY short), but thankfully, she jumps out at them before they can get too far. Success! One prank down, now she’s ready for you, James.
Getting back into game talk, Meg and James go up to talk to Vanessa. She’s willing to change her targets to the Austwins if they can give her some information on them, something she can use against the threesome as a reason for nominating them. Unfortunately, maybe for both sides, James and Meg have learned not to say anything to Vanessa for fear that it’ll backfire, and she’ll use the information against them. So they don’t tell her anything. Vanessa pretends that she’s going to put John up and asks them if one of them will be a pawn, and the two of them both try to sacrifice themselves to save the other. I don’t think I’ve ever seen two people fight to BE the pawn. And again, this works against them. Now Vanessa is doubly ready to send one of them out the door, since it’s clear that they’ll never vote against each other. They need to be split up.
Now, why she thinks it’s imperative that James and Meg be split up but not the Austwins is beyond me. The fewer people in the house, the harder it’ll be to split up the threesome. If things keep going the way they are, James will go out this week, Meg will go out right after him, and then there will be two sets of three. By that point, it’ll be all but impossible to break the Austwins apart. Then which side wins out will depend on who wins HoH. That leaves a hell of a lot up to chance. As someone who is as smart as Vanessa is, someone who thinks ten steps ahead, I can’t understand why she doesn’t see this. I can’t understand why she would leave anything up to chance.
But that seems to be what she’s doing. Her plan is still to vote out James, even though he could be an ally in splitting the threesome up. And James is stupid for not suggesting the same thing. He and Meg are now apparently on board to get rid of one of the three, yet they don’t talk about the possibility of working with Vanessa to make it happen. And on top of that, James now remembers having a conversation with Vanessa when he was HoH. She’d promised him that if he didn’t put her up, then when she became HoH before the final 7, she wouldn’t nominate him or another person of his choosing. But do he and Meg go up and remind Vanessa of this? No, because they don’t want to become real targets by bringing it up. DUDE! This is your last chance to call her out on the deal, and she never gave you any confirmation that you were safe. What have you got to lose?!
Everything, as it turns out, because Vanessa nominates the two of them. Meg feels played by Vanessa, hurt that Vanessa would put them up, and again, I say DUDE! You never had an alliance with her! You never made any agreements! You just took her at her word that John would be her target. She’s not beholden to you for anything. And thus, I no longer feel sorry for James and Meg. They were stupid for not at least trying to make Vanessa stick to her deal. All it would’ve taken was for them to go back up there and try to sell going after the Austwins (since James was convinced Van wasn’t close to them anyway) and then casually remind her that they had that deal. Simple. But they didn’t, and now they’re on the block.
Unless James can win the veto this week, he’ll be out the door on Thursday. And if he does win, I have no idea who Vanessa will put up in his place. Will she go after her own side alliance, or will she put up one of the Austwins? My gut tells me, she’ll put Steve up if James wins the veto, as putting John up will automatically send him out the door, since the Austwins hate him. We’ll have to see though. And then we’ll have that whole double eviction business to attend to. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to find out what happens.