Big Brother Season 18 Week 1: Welcome Back!

bbweek1We’ve made it! We’ve made it a whole year without BBUS, and now we’re back for a new season of excitement and drama and backstabbing and listening to the house guests talk incessantly about getting blood on their hands. Are you guys ready for this?

We more or less jump right into things and get right to meeting the new house guests. For the first time in a few years, all the house guests are going into the house together, on the same night, which is good, because meeting half on Wednesday and half on Thursday was a really lame idea. Right off the bat, a few people stick out to me:

–Paulie, of course, is Cody’s brother, and Tiffany is Vanessa’s sister. Based on looks and speaking styles alone, neither of these two would be able to hold onto their secrets for long.

–Bridgette is adorable, and I have the feeling I’m going to like her.

–Michelle looks like Nicole Jr (something other house guests also notice)

–Paul seems pretty badass (an opinion that will change very shortly).

–Jozea already reminds me of Frankie. This doesn’t bode well for him.

–Bronte is incredibly annoying. If you have to constantly start every sentence with “as a mathematician,” especially in that ridiculous chipmunk voice, you’re trying too hard, and you’re really not as smart as you think you are. Of course, I thought the same thing about Vanessa last year, and look how far she made it.

But that’s not all! Big Brother is throwing us three twists right off the bat. Twist number one is that we’ve got four returning house guests coming back into the house via the luggage sitting against one of the walls. Super excited to see James, Frank and Nicole. Da’Vonne, on the other hand, immediately gets on my nerves. It’s clear from the get go that she hasn’t learned from her mistakes last year. She’s still bitchy and refuses to cooperate with anyone else. When we find out that the house guests are going to be playing on teams (Twist #2), she’s pissed. She wants to work alone. Uh, Day, you realize this is a social game, right? You can’t do it alone. You need others in order to win the game.

She’s not the only one angry about how things are turning out. Three newbies, Paul, Jozea, and Zakiyah, are all determined to get rid of the returnees because “they’ve already had their chance” in the game. This makes me immediately dislike all three of them. The fact that Paul and Jozea are both ridiculously over-confident only makes them worse.

The teams are picked gym class-style, with the returnees each on a team and each one picking their next teammate. Then that person picks the next, and so on, until we’ve got four teams of four. Mama Day proves she’s a terrible judge of character and picks Paul “because he makes her feel safe.” And, of course, by the end, she’s on a team with all three returnee-hating newbies. I am now fully convinced that she just does not have what it takes to make it in this game. If she makes it past the first five evictions, I’ll be shocked and that’s being generous.

So the first challenge, called Ride the Rocket requires all four people on each team to climb on a big rocket and stay on the longest. The first full team to fall off will become Have-Nots. The second team will win some sort of mystery punishment. The third team will win money, and the winning team will be safe from eviction. The rockets are relatively large, so it’s clear from the get go that the women will have a tougher time with this challenge, and I’m right. Most of the girls fall off before the guys. Team Day ends up the losers, and Team Frank gets the mystery punishment. In the end, it’s Victor from Team James and and Corey from Team Nicole left on the rockets, and when Corey makes the wrong move when his rocket starts to shift, Team James wins safety!

Twist #3 is really lame, in my opinion. So now, the remaining teams have to compete in up to three more challenges. Team Frank (now named Category 4), Team Nicole (the Freakazoids) and Team Day (Big Sister) compete in another challenge which requires three people from each team to hold up the base of a sandcastle that’s tied to three ropes a few feet long. The fourth player will find a castle piece and place it on the base and then take the rope from another player, who will have to grab the next piece and add it to the castle, pyramid-style. The first team with all 15 pieces is safe from eviction. Team Nicole seems guaranteed to win, as they make it to fourteen pieces quickly. But trying to get the rope from Nicole to Glenn is apparently impossible, and they lose their lead when their castle falls over. This gives the Team Frank enough time to catch up and steal the challenge away from them.

Competition #3 involves Team Day and Team Nicole building a 3D sandcastle puzzle. There are decoy pieces as well as real ones though, so it’s tough. Immediately, Glenn can see that some of their pieces in the base are wrong, as they don’t fit properly, but Nicole, Tiffany, and Corey completely ignore him, and so he just goes along with them. Meanwhile, Day and Paul both try to take charge, and as a result, communication between their team members is non-existent. The animosity between these two people is palpable. But they work together well enough to (unfortunately) edge out Team Nicole.

Now one person from Team Nicole will have to be evicted based on one final challenge which will consist of each member standing on a round little island that sees a tree filled with coconuts. Their goal is to climb the tree, grab the coconuts, and place them in little slots in an SOS sign in order to be rescued from their island. The problem? The island pivots back and forth with their weight, so they’ve got to balance things so that their coconuts don’t fall into the “water”. Now, I think this challenge is ridiculous, as it’s clearly geared towards the women, since they’re smaller and less likely to make coconuts go flying. And the fact that the last person to finish will be evicted is even more ridiculous. That doesn’t make this a social game. That makes this a skill-based game, and that isn’t what Big Brother is about.

Predictably, the girls finish first, leaving Corey and Glenn fighting for that last spot. In a photo finish, Corey beats Glenn by a hair, and so the 50-year-old is the first one out. Now the other three have to decide which amongst them will be the first HoH of the summer. Paul, of course, wants Corey to assert himself and take the power, but Corey doesn’t want it, and neither does Tiffany. Nicole works a little magic, pretending she doesn’t want it either, and makes them promise to keep her safe if she takes first watch. They agree, so Nicole is the first HoH!

To say Paul is pissed is an understatement, and his cronies seem to be upset too, though no one else really seems to care. Corey throws Tiffany under the bus when Paul confronts him, but he seems to want to work with Nicole. Paulie does too. He feels a connection to the returnees because of Cody, and they want to work with him too after he tells everyone who he is. This makes me so happy! I’m rooting for the returnees and Paulie, so I’m excited that they’re all getting closer.

Now Nicole has to decide who to nominate. Half her decision is made easier when both Victor and Day tell her that Jozea is after her. I can’t stand Jozea. He’s so over-confident that he thinks it’s a good move to tell Day his pecking order for the returnees. I don’t get it. It’s been awhile since I’ve seen anyone this dumb and arrogant at the same time. So he’s one, and Nicole decides to put up Paulie next to him as a pawn. He’s not too happy about it, and I don’t blame him. Hopefully it won’t backfire on them, because as far as I know, everyone wants Paulie to stick around, hopefully anyway.

And Jozea? He’s not worried. He’s confident he’ll make it through this eviction because apparently, this is his game. Dude, I don’t know what game you’re playing, but this game definitely does not belong to you. Unless you win Veto, I think (and hope) you’ll be on your way out the door. I guess we’ll see on Sunday, when we find out what this new challenge will be about.

– This article and other Big Brother-related stuff by the estimable Rebecca Griffin

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