The last two weeks of Big Brother Canada 8 have been the most tumultuous weeks that the series has faced to date. While one week seemed like a standard round of backdoors and strategies, it served as a precursor to the hell that came raining down on the house. One shocking decision after another rocked the foundation that the game stood on, so much so that a complete reset for the season had to be done. There hasn’t been a reset done to a series since Big Brother 14, but that was a different issue entirely. Here, Big Brother Canada 8 faced the changing landscape of the world and felt the consequences from the fans.
Let’s start with Week 2 and review what led to the “Evictors” being torn apart. Firstly, the big alliances seized control of the season. Even within the larger groups, there were smaller factions that housed the real pairings. Emerging from the chaos, the groupings to watch included Vanessa/Kyle/Sheldon/Brooke (but the first two are the main two), Brooke and Hira, Brooke and Sheldon, Minh-Ly and Jamar, John Luke/Michael/Rianne/Madeline, and then the smattering of different formations with the remaining players. A lot of this stemmed from voting blocs and trust clusters – the houseguests used most of Week 2 to band together to break up an alliance. Enter Chris.
Chris’ move as Head of Household should have placed someone from the Evictors on the block as a pawn. Sure, his plan was to get Michael out and have his alliance blindsided, but as Minh-Ly pointed out, if someone from that four won the Power of Veto, Hira and Brooke would’ve stayed on the block. Guaranteeing the back-up plan of forcing Maddy or Rianne off the block would have helped to ensure Michael would be nominated. He’s lucky that Hira won the POV since it guaranteed that the plan would go into effect. Playing with two pawn nominees is a dangerous strategy now, especially when the HOH can’t compete in the POV anymore on Big Brother Canada.
Minh-Ly is a strong but complex Big Brother player. When she’s on, she is on! But, there is the majority of other times when her conversations or actions throw huge wrenches into her plan. During Week 2, her strategic prowess curried favor with Chris and Susanne; she easily formed a diversion tactic to throw the Evictors off that was so beautiful. However, her emotional gameplay during Week 3 set off too many alarm signals that placed her in the line of fire. Had the week not been reset, Minh-Ly would’ve been voted off during Week 3. She has to use this second chance as a wake-up call or else she will be the next one evicted.
Michael’s chances to stay in the house were pretty slim, but he did have a slight bit of hope in Vanessa. Vanessa’s erratic and messy gameplay had put the targets on her allies’ backs, and she considered for a long while to keep Michael instead of Brooke. This is shocking because, of course, Vanessa is in a tight alliance with Brooke, even though Vanessa keeps complaining against Brooke! Vanessa’s own worst enemy is herself because she could’ve destroyed her alliance had she changed to keeping Michael instead. Plus, Minh-Ly also considered keeping Michael, so if Vanessa had known the votes were out there, Michael would’ve stayed. Michael should’ve kept hounding it into Vanessa’s and Minh-Ly’s minds that he was better for their games. It’s an uphill battle, but it wasn’t impossible.
During Week 3, this is a case of the spotlight being focused on a different target due to scheming and personality clashes. The Evictors were still the main easy focus, but with no one coming after John Luke, did anyone expect Sheldon to waste his vote on getting out Rianne or Maddy? If he needed to, they were easy choices, but he was going after a female houseguest regardless – his attention was looking elsewhere to secure a bigger threat. As previously mentioned, Minh-Ly did plenty of things wrong during Week 3 that placed the target squarely on her back. And with Sheldon’s alliances holding all the power, he had the votes needed to get Minh-Ly out.
Week 3 could’ve been Sheldon’s week to place himself into a powerful position. However, he’s now emerged as one of the biggest physical and strategic threats in the game. He’s won an HOH, he nominated three people that didn’t go home, he blindsided an ally, and he’s lost two people who helped him at various points. Sheldon played so well in the background before this that he could’ve easily slipped to the jury, but now he’s out in the open and people have spotted his capabilities.
A few other strong players that have emerged include John Luke and Maddy. John Luke avoided the blowback of the Evictors being betrayed; no one wants him out, even though he’s a strong threat. That level of betrayal, as well as blatantly trashing his room, could’ve spelled disaster for him, but he’s still chugging and floating along. Maddy, on the other hand, has seamlessly developed deep friendships with the other houseguests. The best thing that has happened to her was Michael getting evicted. Maddy emerged as a strong social threat in her own right. She’s fostered a tight pair with Rianne, parlayed that into a safety group with Sheldon/Brooke, a working alliance with Minh-Ly, a flirtmance with Chris, and a lovable relationship with the others. Maddy could be a strong possibility to make it far.
The scene revealing the news of the COVID-19/Coronavirus update to the houseguests was a powerful moment. You could feel the emotions, fear, and concern from the houseguests about the outside world and their families. At the end of the day, Big Brother is a social experiment that focuses on different people living together from all walks of life, as well as their views on the world. This moment united them as a family and took them out of game mode to focus on real issues. This is one of the few times where they needed to hear from the outside world and get updates; no one could be at rest knowing that a pandemic was going on. Big Brother Canada made the right call by providing them letters from their families and giving the update.
Now, let’s get into the biggest development from Week 3 that set news channels and social media (mostly Twitter, Facebook, and Reddit) on fire. Both Jamar and Kyle getting ejected stemmed from a series of events that spanned across the entire Big Brother Canada 8 season. Sure, Minh-Ly starting the house meeting to confront Sheldon/Kyle/Vanessa about their betrayals is what ignited the downward spiral, but the situation is so much more than that.
Here is a rundown of some events from both the episodes and the 24/7 live feeds (not all is captured here; there is so much more that can be found online):
- Kyle made demeaning comments toward the women.
- Kyle kept pushing Sheldon and Jamar to say the “N” word because he thought it would be funny to hear them say it.
- Jamar had to face many microaggressions throughout the season; many dealing with his skin colour/ethnicity, the way he spoke, and the area he grew up in.
- Carol made a racist joke about Jamar and the police. Jamar brought it up with Carol after discussing it with Angie and Hira.
- Kyle kept antagonizing and baiting Jamar in their argument during the house meeting.
- Jamar used finger guns, alluded to popping off, and that it’s different in the real world/people can get hurt on the outside.
- Kyle and Vanessa telling production/the house that they “felt uncomfortable” with Jamar after his outburst.
- Kyle then took back his assertion the next day by publicly stating that he never felt uncomfortable with Jamar in the house and that he missed him.
- After Jamar left, Kyle shifted his bullying to Hira and Minh-Ly.
- After Jamar left, Kyle stated that he would snap Jamar into many pieces if he saw him.
There’s more to the story that isn’t captured, but much of that information wasn’t shown on the live feeds, so we won’t know the complete truth without proof. Big Brother Canada took a different approach by having host Arisa Cox summarize the updates from the house instead of showing what happened; only the events of the beginning meeting, post-Jamar removal, and post-Kyle removal were shown. I think the events of the meeting and why Jamar was removed should’ve been shown. Also, what led to Kyle getting the boot the next day.
Without context, it sets a bad precedent for future seasons, as well as the integrity of the game. Past and current Big Brother players (in Canada and internationally) have said and done much worse things than the few bits shown about Jamar. Let’s not forget about all the racism, misogyny, homophobia, bullying, and blatant threats to hurt/kill people said in anger on Big Brother that was only punished with a warning, if even. The show has even made fun of things like finger guns and hitting pots with sound effects or ignoring these serious topics altogether. From what we saw, Jamar’s actions should’ve only gotten a warning – production may have overreacted here with their decision. If there’s more to this story, we should see why.
Kyle getting the boot as well has more justification since his issues were visibly shown to live-feeders throughout the season. And since he antagonized Jamar to then make a threat too AND take back his earlier accusation, him getting ejected as well is only fair. If Big Brother has a rule, they need to stick to it and give the same allowances/punishments equally.
Week 2 and Week 3 of Big Brother Canada 8 was a roller coaster ride. The first blindside of the season served as the only eviction so far; everyone else has either quit or got removed. Now that there is a reset to the game, let’s hope these players keep their heads in the game and never forget what happened. Many of them got a second chance to change things; they know the threats, they know alliances, and they know the trustworthiness of the others. Things need to change, so let’s see if it starts now.