Where do we even begin with Week #2 of Big Brother: All-Stars? The season has started descending into the levels of Big Brother 19 territory: a large majority alliance ruling the house, multiple factions forming with members from that alliance, the people in the middle doing nothing to stop it, and the majority mocking/isolating two strong players. Actions haven’t led to the same extremes from that season, but there’s a clear power that has made the house either toxic or boring. While Week #2 of Big Brother: All-Stars wasn’t predictable at all (there were many moments that caught us by surprise), the frustration stemming from the players’ inability to play and only trash talk returned for another exhausting week.
First, let’s start with the glowing positive: Memphis’ Head of Household reign was an unpredictable and baffling series of events. When he won HOH, there was concern he would follow his alliance’s orders to take out Kaysar and Janelle to make this is a boring week. However, Memphis followed his own direction to target David and Nicole A. (i.e. two houseguests playing in the middle who didn’t help his game). The truth of the matter is that “Jaysar” benefited Memphis’ game more by sticking around – they believed he’s on their side, so they share information with him and won’t target him. Plus, they’re huge target shields in front of him! Why would he get out someone who would never target him? He made a smart move avoiding losing two alliances.
Though, we can’t ignore the repercussions that have affected his game. His entire alliance pushed HARD to get him to nominate/backdoor Janelle or Kaysar; his refusing and dismissing of his alliance members planted the seeds of ill will. It’s a miracle that he ended the week with barely any targets – no one is talking about getting Memphis out next, which is surprising because he talked down to so many people. His name is out there as a future possibility, but he’ll need to do a lot of relationship-building to get back on their good graces. With both an HOH and Power of Veto win and a bumpy HOH week, he’s no longer in the number two spot with people like Cody anymore.
Another surprising move that came during Week #2 was Christmas saving Ian after the Safety Suite. Where did that come from?! The Big Brother: All-Stars Sunday episode framed it as Christmas saving Ian to build her relationship with him and to choose someone from the middle. However, there seems more to this story. Memphis as HOH was initially gunning for Ian to be evicted, and his alliance knew this fact, which they disagreed since they wanted Janelle or Kaysar. Christmas is close to Nicole F. and Nicole F. has proclaimed that she has Ian in her back pocket; some of that influence had to have played a factor. Ian should thank his stars that Christmas made that move because he would’ve been the next to go. Though, Christmas shouldn’t have played in the Safety Suite; she only made herself a bigger target by winning the challenge faster than anyone else.
Speaking of Nicole F., she is emerging as a dangerous threat in control of the house. No one (with exception to Janelle) has their eyes on her as a target; she’s tight within several alliances and people listen to her. But, what makes her extremely dangerous is that she’s using emotional manipulation as a weapon. Nicole F. is sensitive, but she’s consistently whining, talking trash, speaking her fears, and crying in the house. Nicole F. plays the victim… and it’s a successful strategy. Whenever she talks about Janelle, she’s either crying or acting sad. If anyone says anything remotely negative about her, she cries. She talks about people, but she acts like she doesn’t know why people are coming after her or talking about her. Nicole’s consistent narrative has painted a believable picture, even though she herself is just as or even more at the fault of the drama. Nicole F. could easily find her to the late rounds of Big Brother: All-Stars and could potentially make the finals.
Part of her strategy is benefitting off her feud with Janelle. The “Janellousy” is strong during Big Brother: All-Stars! The topic of talking about Janelle is uniting the house… and Nicole F. has talked about Janelle every single day since the premiere. Nicole F. is fueling that fire to make Janelle and Kaysar even bigger targets, and when everyone is already talking badly about the two, hearing fearful or disparaging comments from Nicole F. only confirms their notions. It’s a sneaky strategy that is working in her favor because she’s part of the big alliance and everyone wants to target a big threat like Janelle. But when Janelle gets evicted, mark my words: the focus of her victim strategy will shift to players like Kaysar, Da’Vonne or Bayleigh, and every little thing they do will become huge grievances. Nicole F. is a master manipulator and we have to give her some credit.
The Janellousy has led to MANY bad reads and moves during Week 2. (Seriously, Janelle is living rent-free in all their minds.) The players are constantly talking about Janelle, and even to baffling odds, everything is being blamed on her. Dani and Nicole F. have pushed this narrative that Janelle can’t be trusted and everything she says is a lie; that she and Kaysar are the ones running the house, even though everyone is talking bad about them. Kevin has spouted MANY bad reads on the house, leading Nicole A. down wrong paths. And Da’Vonne is so dead-set on Janelle/Kaysar being untrustworthy that she is turning down opportunities for alliances that she doesn’t know she needs. Bayleigh and Ian are also being pushed in other directions, and Memphis turned down a side alliance with Janelle/Kaysar that he should keep in his back pocket. Why is everyone playing so messy and fearful?
Don’t get me wrong, Da’Vonne’s stance about needing security and a strong foundation before splitting the house is a good idea. You can’t jump into anything major unless you know the benefits are there. However, it’s clear that she’s low on the totem pole after her sloppy gameplay with Dani and Tyler; she needs these alliances that she’s throwing away. Kaysar’s reads about building an alliance are right, especially if the main six are firmly sticking together. However, the “outsiders” can’t seem to make it work due to wanting to appease the majority and not trusting Janelle/Kaysar. It wouldn’t be surprising if the main alliance (Tyler/Cody/Christmas/Nicole F./Dani/Memphis) steamroll through the season. Unfortunately, the New School type of gameplay has negatively affected Big Brother – this predicament is the prime example of this.
When it came to messy gameplay, both David and Nicole A. (nominees) actively made moves that hurt their game. Week #2 of Big Brother: All-Stars was a race to see who could tank their game. In David’s case, why not be open with Da’Vonne that you have some side connections in the house? David didn’t have an official guy’s alliance, so he could’ve said he’s in with the men but he doesn’t have an alliance. And, he knows Da’Vonne wasn’t going to vote him out; there was no reason to act shady! David’s communication skills will be his detriment unless he’s able to be more open with people. He can’t keep acting like a wild card all season – that will only get him targeted soon.
Nicole A., on the other hand, was guilty by association due to her earlier friendship with Janelle and Kaysar. However, Nicole’s reads on the house were so wrong that she ruined any goodwill she built from the previous year. Janelle and Kaysar spent hours trying to get Memphis to not evict Nicole/remove her from the block; they spent days campaigning in the house to get the votes to save her. So, why was she positive that Jaysar schemed and planned her eviction?! Nicole A. listened to the wrong people, believed their lies, and wanted to believe Jaysar were against her. And, to make matters worse, she acted like a brat and dragged their names through the mud.
Firstly, Nicole should’ve played in the Safety Suite. Memphis warned her to play in the game and her not participating was one of the reasons why she got nominated. Secondly, she didn’t make many lasting connections outside of her small outsider numbers; she needed to play cutthroat and make deals with more people (like Tyler, Cody, or Daniele). And finally, she built her campaign from a negative place to go after former allies without offering real value to the others in the house. Nicole A. played a very messy Week #2 that ruined her game and it ultimately ruined her Big Brother legacy.
Week #2 of Big Brother: All-Stars was a messy ride of bad reads and bad moves. The round kept us on our toes with many surprising decisions; some that nearly destroyed chances to win the game. Ultimately, the majority stayed in power and the outsiders were too comfortable to play the middle and let the power alliance win yet again. If this becomes a trend, Big Brother: All-Stars might be in trouble.