“Big Brother” recap (17.33-17.35): Week 11

“I couldn’t have scripted it any better myself,” says Vanessa as the week kicks off. James is gone—which eliminates her biggest target, and ensures she’s safe from his wrath after she took out his “queen,” Meg. It’s three-on-three in the Big Brother house now. Vanessa’s secured a “final two deal” with both Steve and Johnny Mac, her former nemesis. Austin is beginning to question how on earth these ride or die twins are going carry him further than the final three. Rightfully so, Liz and Julia can sense a big target growing on their backs, but where is the heat coming from? As for the Scamper Squad, that alliance is toast and everyone’s game faces are way on.

SUNDAY: HOH & Nominations

When Vanessa and Austin talk game in the kitchen, Austin asks what Johnny Mac or Steve will do if they win HOH. “Twins?” “Probably,” says Vanessa. She asks if that’s a concern for him, and he says, “Not really. I’m looking out for my own game at this point.” “Throw?” Vanessa asks. Austin asks what he should do if it’s down to him and Johnny Mac, and again, Vanessa says “throw it.” Knowing now that Austin is considering this option, it’s hard to understand why Austin wouldn’t want it this week. He may not want blood on his hands, but, like, it’s time to get dirty. Vanessa takes this info to Steve—that Austin is thinking of throwing the HOH competition. “Oh my god, Austin is an idiot,” Steve says. He says Vanessa, Johnny Mac and himself are in a solid spot. “Twins, I am putting your ass up,” Steve says in the diary roome—but first he has to win HOH.

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At the HOH competition, houseguests must watch baseball trading cards with each houseguest’s face on it in a rapid succession and figure out the houseguest missing from the pack. As it dwindles down, Steve wins the competition and is crowned the newest HOH. Before, when he was HOH during double eviction, his hands were tied and he didn’t want the title, but now, the title means everything and we can see it in Steve’s eyes. He wanted this. Steve goes to Vanessa afterwards and says: “You have to win next week, because I won’t be able to.” It’s also time Steve and Austin regroup, now that Austin knows he might go up on the block with Steve at the helm. Steve tells him, point blank: “I’m at the bottom of your totem pole.”

Austin agrees that the twins are creating a big detour in his mind now, recognizing how crucial these next days are in the house and how he can up his advantages. “I’ll try my best to make it so that the twin that stays doesn’t go after you,” Austin promises Steve. If the twins knew this conversation or this deal was being crafted, they might be wearier of their third tip in the trio, Austin. Essentially, he’s covering his ass this week, which is fair because he came here to win, too—but the romantic precision that has him connected to Liz now puts her emotions at the forefront, and anything he does to betray that will be seen as simply that, betrayal.

People have knocked Vanessa for playing an intimidating game, for playing up her emotions and crying a whole lot when the moment calls for it, for having a hand in every eviction, which equals lots of blood, but in Big Brother, at this stage in the game, if you’ve made it this far—by showmance, manipulation, broken deals or cozy alliances, you have earned your stripes. Steve’s look of determination says it all—it’s time to play for keeps. He knows that in order to get to the finals, he has to reconsider the twin situation. Vanessa relays the same sentiment: “It’s a bad idea.” Why? Everyone plays in the POV competition this week, so if either Austin or Liz wins it, they take themselves off the block, and Steve has to put up Julia. Instead, if they leave the weakest player (Julia) off the block, they ensure themselves a stronger chance at beating her in final four. Otherwise: They’re up against either Liz or Austin, far stronger competitors.

Meanwhile, the twins talk about Austin’s bad kissing and muddle over the idea that if he has any side deals worked out with Steve, they have no problem cutting him. Oops—wonder how they’ll feel about that when they see this footage. Johnny Mac and Steve are also on the Austin hating train as of late because they had an epiphany in terms of Austin and Vanessa’s relationship. If they cut Austin now, they cut any potential for Austin and Vanessa to remain nipped in the bud like a couple of bosom buddies. If Steve squashes that, he protects himself. “I need to make sure I am Vanessa’s number one loyalty,” says Steve. This is a telling point: It says that Vanessa is MVP in the house if someone’s goal is, not only to make it to the end, but to be squared away as someone’s top gun. Vanessa’s happy to have Steve back in her sling holder. Didn’t we all say early on: Steve is ammo. And he’s about to make take a big shot.

Steve warns Austin about nominations. Austin seems to think Liz will understand what he has to do—which is fight to win POV to take himself off the block no matter what, right? But the three discuss throwing the competition to Julia. Their idea is that if Julia wins POV, she will take Liz off the block. But what’s in this for Austin, other than being the eternal twin protector? Julia’s not the one up on the block, and she won’t take him down. In the end, Steve thanks Austin for his maturity and back at home his mom is having a proud Steve’s Mom moment. At the nominations ceremony, Steve nominates Austin and Liz.

Shocked, Liz gets up mid-ceremony and hides in her bed crying. When Austin and Julia come in to console her, she bashes Steve, saying he’s a “socially awkward nerd” that she and Julia “took in” and were nice to all summer, despite his ways. It’s kinda fucked up. Sure, everyone reacts in an unkind way after being nominated. A game like this plays tricks with your head: You live with these people, how could they do such a thing to you? But, to belittle Steve and make it sound like he’s a charity case is such a played out ‘80s teen movie plot. So Steve is not society’s definition of macho. He displays emotion and expresses outward love toward the woman who gave him life. Steve is this season’s male feminist, so don’t come after Steve when he sheds tears, makes a bold move, or proves you wrong. He may have a weak stomach, but Steve’s game is hella strong.

WEDNESDAY: POV

Liz is upset one second, then snaps out of it, gets upset again, and then decides once and for all that she can’t cry one more tear. How will she act now? “Peachy fucking keen,” says Liz. (She’s totally referencing Rose McGowan’s character in Jawbreaker.) Austin and Liz discuss throwing the competition to Julia again. Now it’s time to go to the backyard to see who wins POV. This might be the most edge-of-your-seat one yet. Since everyone is playing, Julia can pick from anyone to play against her, but at the last minute, she chooses to play against Austin.

Just seconds before, Vanessa told her to pick him. Shocked, Austin emerges from the dugout and joins Julia up front. It’s another classic BB comp that involves spinning yourself into a dizzy and then running down a lane where you have to toss your balls up a ramp and knock out cardboard pins before your time runs out. Austin is pissed—he voices that he doesn’t know what to think. Is this a twin conspiracy? Is this a plan hatched be the entire house? Wait, is he acting? Austin says he’s determined to win the whole thing now. We see him basically turn into a baboon, pummeling down the lane on all fours, knocking those pins back like nothing. He wins the whole thing. “Austin is gonee—all of you, be afraid,” Judas says. Liz looks bothered by his egoistic win, and is even more confused with Julia.

17BigBrother13.2Judas is about to go Black Swan on these rainbow tutus.

But why is everyone pissed at Julia? Sure, maybe she made a stupid move picking Austin, when she’s supposed to win this whole thing, but wasn’t he supposed to throw it? Maybe after fiddling with throwing HOH, Austin realized he couldn’t keep throwing things. He doesn’t admit the reasons in the diary room, but it’s clear he won POV because he got real scared and his instincts took over. Julia is confronted in the bathroom. Liz and Austin are furious with her. Julia explains that she made a mistake and listened to Vanessa. “She played you,” says Austin. The twins go to Vanessa to find out what happened. Vanessa begins to cry.

“I swear on Mel’s life,” she chokes out, that she was only looking out for Julia, “I’m not a fucking evil person,” Vanessa adds. Julia says she feels played. Seeing how hesitant the twins are, Vanessa wants to unload. “I have so much information,” she says. Thinking back to her conversations with Steve about knowing Austin was thinking of throwing HOH, or her talks with him about him playing his own game—it’s a bit obvious that maybe—just maybe, Austin talked himself out of throwing the competition but doesn’t want to break Liz’s heart. Vanessa suggests to the twins that Austin would never have thrown it, even if he said he was going to. The twins look baffled until they piece it together. “If he was going to throw it to you, why didn’t he throw it to you?” Vanessa asks Julia. Realizing how flawed the plan became, Liz retreats to her room and refuses to talk to Austin. It might be easy to point blame straight at Vanessa in this moment though—she loves to stir the pot, and she’s holding info and dangling it in their face. Creating suspicion is a smart move, though—the attention is all on Austin.