The Pendulum’s Swing

It has been said time and time again – Big Brother is chiefly about social interactions and how we survive the loss of control. How we deal with others is as important – if not moreso – than winning competitions. Indeed, 17 seasons of Big Brother have given us countless examples of players who have either survived a loss of power due to an excellent social game, or seen their game collapse once they lost control. From Jace of BB5 to Ronnie of BB10,  the show is littered with the corpses of gameplay that failed the social game. When the pendulum swings, one has to be prepared to face the consequences if one has not played a good social game.

Once again, the pendulum has swung – and once more, we see examples of gameplay that led to survival as well as departure.

From the beginning, the couple of Shelli and Clay had made it clear – they were a couple, first and foremost. By painting themselves as a couple rather than two key components of a larger alliance, they made it easy to be targeted once their alliance lost power. This is remarkable, given who else was in this alliance – a backstabber, a woman who had dominated HoH competitions, and a set of twins.

Consider that – a set of twin siblings were seen as LESS OF A THREAT than Shelli and Clay. Moreover, Shelli and Clay had demonstrated a disloyal streak to their own alliance. Once nominations had been made, it should have been no surprise at all that they would be targeted for eviction.

Compare this to Vanessa, a player who was seen as less of a threat despite 2 HoH wins and a Veto win under her belt. Vanessa was seen as less of a power player than Shelli, a fact that distorted the truth of the power alliance between the two women. Vanessa, however, encouraged this view to the others – thus, when the pendulum swung she was prepared and seen as less of a threat.

There is also the example of Julia and Liz, the twin sisters who were allowed to play together this week. Rather than being seen as a threat, the two have been seen as an advantage to whomever can try to get them to join an alliance. This tactic is misguided, more than any – naturally, the two would have a stronger loyalty to each other than anyone else, even as they have demonstrated a strong loyalty to their larger alliance. This is being ignored by most, given their ties to Austin – a player seen as someone to take out before the two sisters.

This season, we are seeing both good and questionable gameplay – while no one remaining in the house has been horrible at the game, only a few have demonstrated a truly impressive understanding of how Big Brother works. It remains to be seen if these stronger players will make it to the endgame.
Week Six Results

Week Six Head of Household: James, BotB Retired.

The season’s first Endurance Competition did not disappoint, lasting over two hours and providing drama up until the end. James’ win also provided the first major pendulum swing of the season, with the power swinging away from Vanessa and Shelli – or rather, being given away by Shelli. James took this opportunity to target his biggest enemies, a move that did its job – somewhat.

Week Six Veto Winner: James, Nominations Stood.

In an entertaining competition that rewarded people with prizes (and some humiliations), James ultimately came away with the Veto and the ability to keep his nominations the same. This ultimately led to the breakup of the strongest alliance in the House.

Week Six Evictee: Clay

Clay was evicted this week for many reasons, most of them tied to his showmance partner.  However, it was Clay’s sketchy play over the past two weeks that made him an easy person to vote out. Lying to Meg and the others about his role in Jason’s eviction was the big mistake that led to his nomination, and eventual eviction.

Week Six Player of the Week: Vanessa

This week, the best player was one that managed to turn the tide of votes against the clear bigger threat in the game. Vanessa’s machinations turned the tide this week, no doubt. Clay sealed the deal with last-second fights, but the move was a solidification of Vanessa’s work to keep her ally in the game. Had Clay remained in the game, this would have been James in a sweep of the strong play this week. Alas, he went against the strongest player in the game and lost.

Week Six Goat of the Week: James

Arguably, James made the best moves he could this week – and still came out a loser. He nominated the power couple in the house, ensured one of them would go home… and promptly lost the war by not getting the more dangerous of the two out. Clay by himself in the House would have been weak, and would have likely been out quickly. By way of Shelli staying in the House, James’ main enemy remains and does so empowered by her alliance with Vanessa, an alliance that is strengthened by the lack of distraction of a showman.

Game Move of the Week: Vanessa Agrees to Campaign for Shelli.

Vanessa’s move to keep Shelli in the game was one that, by all counts, should have failed. Logically, getting Shelli out was the big move. Instead, Vanessa subtly (and no so subtly, in some cases) paved the way for a unanimous vote to evict Clay, the less dangerous player. This was a major game move, one that will have repercussions.

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