The cracks were starting to form between the secret alliances on Big Brother 23. During Week #4, groups like The Royal Flush, The Cookout, and Jackpot (to name a few) looked toward the future and planned their moves accordingly. The houseguests have started thinking beyond the team’s twist and what they’ll do once they get to the jury phase. Players like Tiffany are balancing a big-yet-shaky house of cards, while others like Britini are struggling to foster numbers. Week #4 may have ended with an obvious eviction, but the gameplay to get to that point exposed many messy cracks that could tear it all apart in the coming weeks.
As mentioned in last week’s review, it’s obvious at this point that all six members of The Cookout will survive to the jury. Azah, Derek F., Xavier, Kyland, Tiffany, and Hannah played it perfectly by keeping their distance and sticking to their arrangement of protecting one another. No one has fully pinpointed them to be in an alliance together, so if they can keep this up, the winner of Big Brother 23 might be from The Cookout. And if Azah stops trying to kick Hannah out of the group, their alliance will eventually have the majority. (Seriously, her exclusion of Hannah might be the most baffling move this season.)
The issue with this alliance, on the other hand, is the conflicting benefits for each member of the alliance. Players like Azah and Derek F. benefit from having the alliance carry them since it gives them numbers and safety. However, for players like Tiffany and Kyland, it forces them to make decisions that go against what’s best for them. Kyland would rather have Sarah Beth around, Tiffany’s best ally is Claire, Hannah is in a duo with Derek X., Xavier has both Whitney and Christian under his wing, and even Azah is with Britini.
Tiffany’s plan to build, nominate, and evict duos will hide the members of The Cookout, but it decreases their power base when it’s finally time to turn on each other. The Cookout members should plan their options outside of the alliance to cover their bases. At some point, they need to put their needs of winning Brother 23 first—this can’t be another case of The Committee from Big Brother 22 or The Bomb Squad from Big Brother 16.
The Royal Flush’s survival rate won’t last the closer the group gets to the jury. This alliance, just like The Slaughterhouse before them, was formed as a way to work with the team twist and protect their numbers. With Travis, Frenchie, Brent, and now Whitney evicted, the plan worked out in their favor. However, this was a perfect case of the conflicting motives working against the members. Sarah Beth wanting Hannah out was much better for her game; Hannah was working against her and keeping around Whitney would’ve improved her power base. Xavier, on the other hand, benefitted from keeping Hannah since she’s in The Cookout, but he lost a flirtatious ally with Whitney leaving. The players are making compromises to appease the larger (and sometimes secret) groups, but if they don’t balance what they’ll keep and what they’ll lose, they could lose it all.
Christian’s HOH run was a success in the short term, but it could work against him in the later phases. Getting out Whitney removed a vocal player who wanted someone from the Kings evicted, which in turn was good for him/Alyssa/Sarah Beth/Xavier; making this move also cemented connections for him and Alyssa, like with The Royal Flush and a Final 4 with Tiffany and Claire. On the other hand, Christian and Alyssa were too focused on eliminating an easy target that they didn’t set their sights on a bigger foe, like Derek X. They could’ve pulled Whitney in as a number and evicted someone who could beat them in challenges—this was a conclusion they realized too late in the week. We’ll have to see if this comes back to bite them; Christian has proven himself to be a competitive threat, so a backdoor plot is never out of the question.
As mentioned above, Sarah Beth hindered her chances in the game too. She pushed too hard to get out Hannah, even after the majority of her allies were set on voting Whitney out. There’s a fine balance to campaigning and pushing to get your target out—Sarah Beth’s naturally light and peppy demeanor didn’t work with the forceful strategy of pushing Hannah. Once she realized the votes weren’t there, Sarah Beth should’ve backed off and started formulating other options. It won’t be surprising if she’s one of the next evictees; players like Tiffany are already gunning for her because of her campaigning style.
One of the highlights of the week was Claire winning the Wildcard competition and making the right choice. Big Brother rarely has opportunities to be won fairly that provide safety to its houseguests, so for her to win safety AND get the power to survive to the jury, that was something she shouldn’t pass up. No one would’ve held it against her by taking that power. Plus, both Tiffany and Kyland were locked in for the week since they were in an alliance with Christian. Claire is the first jury member, so she should use the next week to build further alliances and set herself up for success. She can’t keep relying on Tiffany or the Queens to loop her into plans anymore.
Whitney’s eviction was another case of the houseguests pre-planning who they wanted to evict. The sights were already set on her before the house determined the next Head of Household. Her target stemmed from needing someone outside of the alliance to be evicted AND the fact that the Kings alliance were safe for another week. If Christian/Alyssa/Sarah Beth hadn’t done well in the challenge, one of them (or Xavier) would’ve gotten the boot. Whitney had a case of bad luck, but her lackluster gameplay and minimal alliances didn’t help either. The Slaughterhouse was the only established alliance she was in, so when that ended, she floated until her eviction. Sometimes the game doesn’t work out for houseguests and Whitney wasn’t successful in building the bonds/doing the work to keep her safe.
Week #4 set the stage for another round of the gameplayers bidding their time. An easy target was sent out the front door, but the cracks grew larger as the players started looking toward the future. Could the houseguests turn on each other next week? Or, will it be into the jury phase once the chaos begins? Week #4 served up all the strategy and mess in what could’ve been another filler round.
Big Brother 23 airs on CBS on Sundays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays at 8/7c.