“Big Brother” recap (17.27-17.29): Week Nine

Literally every single player in the Big Brother house is gunning to get Vanessa out. It isn’t surprising—she’s slaying the game. Whoever wins Head of Household gets a free shot at getting Vanessa out of the house, and like Johnny Mac famously said, if they succeed they would be considered godly. So, who will play God this week?

SUNDAY: HOH, NOMINATIONS

In the HOH competition, each player must position their body in the running position, as if starting a race, their hands and feet covering three buttons. You take your body off these buttons, you’re outta the game. When the word “GO” appears on the screen, which could elicit a false-start by confusing it with another word like “YO,” the players must race toward a final button at the end of a track to win. Julia and Vanessa go out pretty quickly. Austin debates over whether or not to throw it, later explaining in the diary room that if he wins HOH this week, it’ll be a huge risk for him and the twins, considering the house wants Vanessa out, but she’s still a number on his side since she thinks she’s cool with Austwins. In the end, Austin wins and becomes HOH. Now, Austin has to make the tough decision. Well, first, Liz can give him a victory kiss.

Austin points out that he and the twins have aligned themselves with everyone in the house, so the trouble lay in deciding which bonds to break. That’s the gamble they made to get themselves here. He hashes some stuff out with James and Meg, who, combined with Austin and the twins form their new alliance, Brass Tacks. Up in the HOH room, Brass Tacks gets down to some brass tacks by discussing the Vanessa Situation. Everything about getting Vanessa out has been 100 percent covert. Meg vocalizes to Austin how she feels about Vanessa’s shady-seeming game play, but there’s a small, noticeable flicker in Austin that’s blinking: Vanessa is numbers. So, how does Austin stay in power by having the least blood on his hands by the end of the week? Vanessa runs by him in the bathroom and says she has a great idea how. Austin says later in the diary room: “Of course she does, she always does…”

17BigBrother11.1 “They could spy upon you night and day, but if you kept your head you could still outwit them.” -1984

What Vanessa tells him is that he should put up Johnny Mac and Steve. She tells Austin that Shelli spilled some beans on the two guys a few weeks ago: that Johnny Mac confided in her that he and Steve have a “final two” deal. Austin acts mind blown over this new piece of info, but some time later in the diary room he fesses he’s totally skeptical of Vanessa more than ever now. She conveniently held onto that info for weeks, and that seems deceptive. Agreed, it does. But, is she the fire starter or just the messenger? Beyond Brass Tacks, Austwins also have their hand in the Scamper Squad: Austin, Liz, Julia, Vanessa and Steve. So, Vanessa’s idea to put up Steve on the block needs to ironed out with him, if he’ll accept his role as a pawn. Austin brings it up, seesawing Vanessa and Steve into the scenario up against Johnny Mac. Steve begins to shut down as Vanessa lays into him. Austin can see that Steve is become visibly defeated, so he cuts the conversation and asks to speak to Steve alone.

“She’s good,” he says to Steve when they finally get a moment. Austin admits that she came to him and told him about his alleged “final two” deal with Johnny Mac. Bluntly, Steve tells Austin (and later in the diary room) that this rumor is false. Austin frets and paces over what to do. The group scampers back in, and Vanessa gets back on Steve’s case about being a team player—Austin mutters, “I need a drink.” Steve tells her that he will absolutely not go up on the block with Johnny Mac. “And, I never had a final two deal with Johnny Mac,” Steve blows his lid to Vanessa. She’s shocked by what she’s hearing. She can’t fault Austin for checking with Steve, so she simply says: “Okay,” as if the rumor didn’t start with her. But now Austin is totally pissed and eggs Vanessa on, asking her if Liz’s suspicions about James throwing her POV competition a few weeks ago was accurate.

Vanessa says she doesn’t know if James ended up throwing the competition or not. What Austin should ask is: Did you hire James to throw it in the first place? Vanessa says Austin pretty much deserved to be up on the block for lying to her, so whatever beef he has with Vanessa shouldn’t be house gossip turned into house sabotage. Clearly it’s not yet calm water under the bridge. Later on, Austin says he’s livid in the diary room and welcomes Vanessa to the “Imaginarium.” Say what? The next day before nominations, Vanessa goes and meets with Austin once more. He says he won’t break his deal with James and Meg—they are insurance, they are safety, and not putting them up means they won’t come after him or the twins. But, the Vanessa Situation persists. He asks her: Did you know about a plan to have James throw the competition or not? She says she did and explains that she felt betrayed by him and thought he was working against her by going to Jason. He mutters, “I know, I know…” Vanessa tells him that he knows just as well as she does that the day they hashed it out and she admitted she was thinking of backdooring him, that they both saw in each other’s eyes the truth—that he did have her back, and she did have his. So, they still should. The house can spin you around. After 60 plus days, it’s no wonder the houseguests start to break open their alliances and believe everything they hear. Austin breaks down—there are mere hours until nominations.

At the ceremony, Austin nominates Johnny Mac and Steve. Everyone is legitimately floored and Steve commends Vanessa for her extremely advantageous genius. He says she’s playing one of the best games he’s seen on Big Brother and doesn’t know what she said or did to keep herself off the block, but the ‘Mad Hatter’ is mad killing it.

WEDNESDAY: POV

Steve can’t stop raving over Vanessa: “I gotta give it to Vanessa. I don’t know how she’s working this magic, but as a super fan, I really have to appreciate her game play. She is good.” What he’s referring to: Vanessa went upstairs to talk to Austin an hour, maybe minutes before nominations, and somehow, Austin decided to keep Vanessa close to his pocket. Steve could surely be furious, but instead, he’s made the smart decision to smooth out the rough edges with Vanessa going forward. He says he really does like her and wants them to be on good terms again, like they were in the beginning. What’s sad is that Vanessa cried out to Steve last week, saying how lonely she felt and he was plotting to get her out of the house behind her back. The twins were trying to act concerned but were bullying her and calling her a bitch behind her back. So, why the change of heart? Did Steve realize that everyone was hating on Vanessa because she’s so good, and this is a game worth $500,000 plus fandom bucket list triumph? Yes.

Austin tells Steve in front of the Liz, Julia and Vanessa that, publicly, Steve will be safe this week no matter what. After Vanessa leaves the room, Steve says to Austin: “So, you have no desire to send her home.” And Austin’s like, “Dude, this is tough.” You know what’s not tough? Johnny Mac’s macho attitude when he explains he hopes he’ll pick Meg or Julia to play in the POV competition because they’re “weak” and “don’t have a lot going on upstairs.” Careful with your karma, Johnny.