The houseguests are too late to stop The Cookout from winning Big Brother 23. With both Derek X. and Sarah Beth walking out the door, it’s a 6 vs. 2 advantage now for the powerful majority alliance to clean house. As I mentioned during the previous review, the alliance is steamrolling through the game, which is impressive on their front since they’ve kept their alliance a secret and no one has turned on each other. The collective goal has won out; part of it is due to the strong bonds and group consensus of The Cookout to achieve their goal, while the other part is due to the bad moves made by the other houseguests. How could they not see that a powerful majority alliance has been controlling the game?! It’s obvious based on all the recent moves.
Kyland deserves credit for manipulating Sarah Beth into imploding her game during Week 7. Granted, Derek X. was a strong threat and one of the best competitors in the house; however, she had other more pressing targets who would’ve benefited her game by being evicted instead. Kyland manipulated her into focusing every single nomination she had toward a person that benefited HIS game; he essentially carried over his Head of Household (HOH) into a second round. If Sarah Beth had taken a step back and realized what was being said, she could’ve seen that her closest ally was only focused on his game and what would help him. Kyland has a great talent for using his charismatic charm to win people over–it worked for Derek X., Sarah Beth, and a select few. Though, when it doesn’t work … it really fails.
Alyssa was very lucky to win the Nomination Roulette power because she was so close to being nominated too. She’s become a surprising underdog and competition beast; if she gets the opportunity to compete in a challenge, her chances of winning are pretty high. Xavier getting nominated as a result of the twist was a sad moment for Alyssa and her game, but it was perfect for the storyline (and us viewers at home!). Her closest ally being nominated because of a roulette spin that she spun? Priceless. You couldn’t even write the odds of that happening. Somewhere all the pieces lined up to deliver that shocking moment and give the house a jolt of drama they desperately needed.
During Week #7, Hannah pushing for Derek X. to go on the block will be a move that she’ll come to regret. The flaw in The Cookout’s plan is that they’re orchestrating when their parachute alliances get evicted; for Hannah, losing Derek X. was a big blow to her game since he’s her closest ally. Tiffany, Azah, and Claire are close allies for Hannah, but Derek X. would’ve done anything for her. She had many opportunities to flip the vote to keep Derek X., but pushing hard on Kyland and Xavier to get rid of Derek X., she ensured that her power was reduced immensely. The Cookout members aren’t playing past Final 6, and while the jury members might be won over due to the overall alliance strategy, it won’t guarantee she’ll win or get her to the Final 2 seat.
Derek X. had a few chances to save himself from potentially ending up on the block. The biggest one was him deciding not to play Nomination Roulette; he had the BB Bucks and chose not to play. That move alone will haunt him because he could’ve defeated Alyssa in the game and guaranteed his safety. Plus, he received plenty of hints from the Diary Room and the continued funds from America that he needed the money to stick around. Derek X. also should’ve pushed the other players harder to recognize that he would be targeting the bigger targets; Claire barely won many challenges, so he could’ve helped Azah, Hannah, and Tiffany to target their foes. Future Big Brother players should lookout for any signs if they need to make a big move—Derek X. didn’t know what to do since he was a new fan.
The following week sealed Claire’s fate that she won’t be winning Big Brother 23 either. Why didn’t she use her secret HOH power to make a big move? Claire is a superfan of Big Brother and she’s been open about feeling that something shady is happening behind the scenes that she’s not a part of. Plus, her conversations with Derek X. before he left were spelling out the potential alliances controlling the game. Simply keeping Tiffany’s nominations on the block didn’t help her long game; she wasted any chance to make a big move or set herself up in a power structure. Claire’s inability to strike was a perfect example of a houseguest not finding the courage in themselves to do what’s best for her game. You always need to strike when the iron is out and play selfishly. Playing Tiffany’s game during her HOH week will come back to haunt her. Claire needed to win the Coin of Destiny, but she needed to use the power to her advantage more.
Week #8 served as the week where the cracks in The Cookout formed the largest openings. It should be obvious to everyone in the alliance that they’re better off to strike first instead of waiting until the Final 6. Kyland/Xavier/Derek F. have reached their limits with Tiffany/Hannah/Azah; if given the chance, they’ll turn against their allies to spite them. The women in The Cookout also know that the men want them gone, and for any of them to make it to the end, they need to break up the men’s alliance. Just from the arguments between Tiffany and Kyland alone, there’s way too much tension forming as they’re getting closer to the money.
As mentioned above, Kyland’s charisma works well when the other houseguests are open to his charm. However, beyond a select few, the rest of the house hasn’t fallen for his words or gameplay. Kyland didn’t need to push hard on Hannah or his allies to be taken off the nomination block; if he trusted his allies, he’d know that they would keep him around. He only dug himself a deeper hole by campaigning at length to be saved. Kyland should’ve recognized it was his time to lose his parachute alliance and play along, as he had instructed others to do so before, like with Britini’s eviction.
Sarah Beth being evicted was a long time coming–it’s a surprise she survived this long after all the drama with players like Tiffany. Week #8 was a bad week for Sarah as she couldn’t win the necessary challenges to save herself and she didn’t have the BB Bucks to play in the Coin of Destiny. If Sarah Beth had used her previous HOH more effectively, she could’ve set herself up for success and avoided the block. Instead, she continued a chain reaction that led to her eviction. Houseguests need to review the whole house environment before making a “big move” like evicting Derek X; she didn’t make the right call and it sent her out the door.
Big Brother 23 airs on CBS on Sundays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays at 8/7c.