Big Brother Blowout: Xavier's Convoluted HOH Strategy Is Insane — But Is It Too Much?

Apparently the shortest distance between two points this week is a Gordian knot.

Frenchie’s HOH reign was a total disaster, Kyland’s was smooth sailing last week and now it looks like Xavier wants to go for the most complex HOH yet on “Big Brother.”

He’s not alone in it, either, as his allies came up with their own convoluted plot in this week’s Wild Card competition without even knowing what they Wild Card question might be.

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As it turns out, they may have made matters worse for themselves for their efforts. Certainly things got even more complicated.

At the same time, as much as we trashed Frenchie for promising safety to everyone in the house, only to find his possible targets whittled down to basically zero by the time it came down to it, Xavier is in a similar situation.

The Slaughterhouse may be well and dead — and it certainly appears to be, despite what Brent thinks — but Xavier is still all wrapped up in the five-person Cookout and the freshly minted Royal Flush.

Last episode saw the Kings and Queens agreeing to work together, with Derek X as the Ace up their sleeve. This week, we saw that this massive alliance was made official and dubbed the Royal Flush.

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Despite producers’ best efforts to avoid mega-alliances dominating the season, this is the second time in as many weeks that eight people have come together to form an alliance. And now, there are only 14 people in the house.

If this continues, and based on the overlap that Xavier and Derek F share between The Cookout and the Royal Flush, it’s bad news for Brent, Britini, Hannah and Whitney. Somehow, though, Xavier only sees Brent, Britini and Whitney as candidates this week.

Is this because Derek X is close with fellow Ace Hannah, who actually intentionally threw the HOH competition so their team wouldn’t be safe? Or maybe it’s just as a thank you for that that he’s not seeing her as a target, despite not being aligned with her.

That explains the inexplicable joy they both showed at their wrong answer during the live HOH competition. We thought they misunderstood what was happening, but they knew exactly what we were doing … and it fits right into the complexity of this week’s strategies.

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Wild Wildcard Competition

Usually in “Big Brother,” if you overthink, overstrategize overplan, it will overbite you in the butt. That didn’t stop Derek X and Tiffany from concocting an elaborate plan to keep Britini available as one of Xavier’s few options.

Once they saw that she had volunteered to represent the Jokers in the competition, Derek X’s original plan developed a new wrinkle. Originally, all he knew he wanted to do was throw the competition so that his teammates Brent and Whitney would be available to go.

Brent, in particular, was the house target as he proved his ego is the size of a Mack truck with some hilariously dense conversations with basically everyone in the house (you can enjoy some highlights in the “House” Chatter below).

Now, with Britini in the mix, Derek X’s new plan was to not let Britini win but also make sure he didn’t win, just in case the Wildcard opportunity gave someone else on his team safety (i.e., Brent).

Surprisingly, but not subtly, he got Tiffany on board with the plan and they effectively got Britini out … with an assist from Britini herself. She clearly gets emotionally overwrought easily, and as she realized they were targeting her, she apparently forgot how to math.

Britini was standing in front of Derek X’s stand with an opportunity to knock him out of the game by switching cards so his four added up to 13, but in her distraught state, she couldn’t see the solution. That mistake would cost her the competition.

Once she was out, Derek X continued to make it obvious he was throwing it by tossing a card from Tiffany’s board when she only had two of four in there at all. Nevertheless, the plan worked flawlessly and Tiffany picked up the win.

Unfortunately, the Wildcard offer was for her to accept safety, she’d have to gamble that one random person from the Jokers and Aces would also get safety. It would have been better for Derek X to win. And so, not subtle again, she declined safety.

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Needless Complexity?

Tiffany’s plan this week was to play a straightforward game. Brent is the target, so put him up next to his fellow Ace, Whitney. It would be a mirror of last week when Frenchie was put up against his most loyal ally, Britini.

But Xavier wanted to believe he could trick Brent into thinking he was safe this week, so his plan instead was to put Britini up against him and convince Brent that she was the target. What he didn’t account for was Brent’s Mack truck.

Brent could not even conceive of a world where he wasn’t an absolute threat and target in the house physically, mentally, socially, in every way. After all, not only is he god’s gift to women but he’s god’s gift to this house.

In this case, we do have to admit that he’s right. He would totally be the target. He may be god’s gift to the world, but he didn’t get the gift of self-awareness.

Azah, who is in The Cookout with Xavier, has a lot of compassion for her emotional teammate, and flat-out told Xavier that she could not endure another week of Britini on the Block. Despite The Cookout agreeing to never nomination one another, she offered herself up.

But that didn’t matter, because Xavier proved that above all, he intended to honor that commitment to The Cookout (making it seem that’s his first alliance). She would have been an easy pawn opposite Brent, but he’d have known he was the target.

Tiffany rightly suspected he’d see right through Xavier’s overly-complex plan to use Britini as a pawn and know that he was the target. Xavier’s plan was clever, but did not take into account Brent’s ego. He might think himself the target next to anyone in the house.

Nevertheless, Xavier carried through with his plan, reducing Britini to tears by putting her on the Block against Brent. If Brent doesn’t go, Xavier has definitely made an enemy there. Of course, everyone is so annoyed with Brent, we’re not sure that would mean much.

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Houseguest Report Cards

Tiffany Mitchell (40), we should have never doubted you. She rises right to the top by having the ear of this HOH just as much as she did the last one, gently urging him to do almost exactly what she wanted. He may have gone rogue with the Britini pick, but her target is his target and she continues to orchestrate things behind the scenes beautifully. Grade: A+

Derek Xiao (24) really impressed us this week with another stellar competition performance, and his own savvy strategizing to ensure that Britini remained available as a target. Britini did almost eliminate him, but his plan worked and results count for a lot. More importantly, he really proved his own cleverness in reading this game and makin sure it’s moving his way. Grade: A+

Xavier Prather (27) might be making things a little harder on himself than he needed to. Brent was going to think himself the target anyway, so he’d have been better just tossing Whitney up there with him. As it is, he now has to deal with Britini on the Block for the second week in a row, and it wasn’t a picnic the first time around. He’s having a great HOH so far, but he’s also perhaps overthinking things. Sometimes simple is fine, too. Grade: A

Kyland Young (30) stayed quiet this week, laying low after his own successful HOH. It’s a smart move, and really he doesn’t have to do much because he’s safe twice over with Xavier and alliances. Grade: A-

Derek Frazier (29) appears to be fine after that stray vote last week, at least as far as Xavier is concerned. The Cookout remains strong enough for now to keep him safe, but that doesn’t mean he and Xavier are exactly strategizing together .He needs to get his game together and figure out his Plan B sooner rather than later. Grade: B+

Azah Awasum (30) is safer than she even wants to be with Xavier honoring The Cookout vow to never nominate one another. But she needs to be careful that she doesn’t come on too strong against his plans, despite her best intentions. If that alliance frays, she could find herself vulnerable like Derek F. Grade: B+

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Claire Renfuss (25) and Sarah Beth Steagall (27) are aligned with the HOH through the Royal Flush. Claire was part of strategizing before the Wildcard competition, but for the most part they’re just laying low and staying out of it. Grade: B

Christian Birkenberger (23) and Alyssa Lopez (25) are starting to get noticed as a couple again, and this time they really are. Both in Royal Flush, it’s not a huge problem just yet. We’ve seen duos win and duos get targeted. It remains to be seen what this house’s tolerance level will be. Grade: B-

Hannah Chaddha (21) is the odd man out of everything right now. She’s not targeted but not aligned with any of the power alliances. Her burgeoning friendship (relationship?) with Derek X is her saving grace right now, but with such huge alliances, she’ll be targeted sooner than later if she doesn’t do something to change things. Grade: C+

Whitney Williams (30) is currently a backup plan if either nominee comes off the Block, which isn’t a great place to be. She’s not the target, but if the house decides it doesn’t want to send the third guy in a row, that could change in a hurry with a backdoor. Grade C

Britini D’Angelo (24) is a pawn, but her own behavior this week could determine her fate. If the house decides it wants to target a woman, she could be in trouble. If she drives everyone crazy this week, she could become the target. Sometimes pawns go home. Grade: C-

Brent Champagne (28) is the target, but not for the reasons he thinks. He’s annoying and arrogant and has some funny ideas about platonic friendships between men and women. The house is pretty much over his everything. Grade: C-

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House Chatter

  • “Hopefully I don’t have an HOH reign like Frenchie. Man, that was rough.” –Xavier
  • “I am safe, I am safe!” –Britini (confident she’ll not be nominated based on nothing)
  • “Xavier keeps his cards so close to his chest I’m not sure he can see them himself.” –Azah
  • “So Alyssa goes, will you be my best friend? I go, Absolutely not. She’s like, why? I was like, I just don’t believe you can be friends with people you find attractive. I don’t think men can.” –Brent
  • “What do you mean?” –Hannah
  • “Alright, so hear me out. Women definitely can. Men, we will always take an opportunity to make a pass at someone we find attractive. It’s the truth. It just is what it is.” –Brent
  • “Everything that comes out of Brent’s mouth, it just makes me sick. He’s just so egotistical and annoying.” –Hannah
  • “I want you to know that I’m working with you because I trust you and not because I want to date you.” –Brent
  • “Okay?’ –Alyssa
  • “You’re just so in love with yourself, you can’t see beyond your own ego.” –Whitney (about Brent)
  • “Even though he thinks he’s all that and a bag of chips, he’s barely a cracker, so get it together.” –Hannah (about Brent)
  • “I am aligned with almost too many damned people, The Cookout and the Royal Flush. Basically my options are Brent, Whitney and Britini. Very slim pickings and the Wild Card might make it even more difficult.” –Xavier
  • “Derek, will you ask me to prom?” –Hannah
  • “We could do it Sadie Hawkins style, girl asks the guy.” –Derek X
  • “Will you go to prom with me?” –Hannah
  • “I’m good.” –Derek X
  • “As of right now, Christian and I are just friends … that find each other attractive.” –Alyssa


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