We’re a month out from the final episode of Big Brother 17, where a single houseguest will walk away $500,000 richer. That means the strategic part of the game is finally getting really exciting. I’ve decided to start posting a blog following every Thursday night Eviction episode that looks at every houseguests current standing and tries to lay out the best moves they could make this week.
Day 71 saw Johnny Mac get evicted 5-0 against Steve; however, not hours later, J-Mac won the juror’s competition to get himself right back into the game. Unfortunately, the person he was gunning for the past few weeks, Vanessa, was in power as the Head of Household. Also, for the purpose of this post, I’m pretending like I don’t know this week will be a double eviction because the houseguests don’t know it and couldn’t possibly pre-plan for it. The rest of this post will assume you’ve been following the show, so I don’t have to spell every relationship and situation out. So, if you don’t know what a POV or an HOH are, you might want to stop reading, otherwise, let’s get to it.
Austin has two jobs this week. The first, and potentially most crucial is to step away from Liz for like five minutes (or, you know, most of the week) and try to squash anyone talking about how pissed he was at Vanessa last week/how close she came to going on the block. Vanessa plays a very emotional game, but she’s smart and will probably figure this out on her own, which means keeping as much from her as Austin possibly can the main focus of the week.
Austin also needs to convince Vanessa that she would be the person he would take to the final three over Julia. It doesn’t matter if this is true, he just has to convince her that it is. If he can do that, then he might be able to keep Vanessa on his side long enough to attempt to get her out next week. Austin has slowly been realizing how dangerous Vanessa is to his game and I fully expect him to target her before we hit the final six if he’s able to. For now though, it’s key that he kiss up as much as possible to make Vanessa feel as safe as he with his side of the house. If he can push Vanessa to either put up the safe option of Steve and John (doubtful) or Meg and James (it would hurt his personal game, but would obviously be preferable to himself or the twins going on the block), then he’s done a better job then he has a real chance to make it past final four.
James is in a really bad position at this point in the game. His only real ally is probably the worst player in the game and he doesn’t have much leverage with the current HoH. If Vanessa is as smart as she claims, she’ll be putting James and Meg up on the block and there’s not much (outside of the Veto, of course) that James can do about it. Really, his best option would be to go to either side of the house (Austwins or Vanessa/J-Mac/Steve) and say that he’ll be a “soldier” for them if they keep him in the house and help them take out the other faction. He should be able to sway the votes because, unlike Meg, he’s actually a competition threat and both sides will want to gear up and find a way to fire a shot at the other side. That said, the fact that Meg can’t do anything could lead to her staying around as an easy target late in the game.
In truth, whoever survives the week between Meg and James would seemingly be in a very good place. Both sides will want to bring them in, so James main goal this week has to be convincing people that he’s a better option to keep than Meg. That said, if Vanessa decides to put up the Austwins then I think James needs to do everything in his power to keep Austin around and send Liz home. He and Meg can manipulate that position and get Austin and maybe Julia to join their side, giving them the numbers to hit Vanessa hard next week.
After being evicted a few days ago, Johnny Mac is setting in a pretty sweet position this week. There is no way that Vanessa puts him up on the block unless she has some type of breakdown in the next few days and decides that J-Mac didn’t hug her five weeks ago so he has to go (this isn’t completely out of the realm of possibility, people). So John’s biggest goal this week is lockdown an absolutely ironclad final two deal with Steve and then, if Vanessa goes with James and Meg, go to James and try to lock him up with Steve and himself for a final three to give his alliance the numbers to take on the Austwins. Also, J-Mac should continue to be a loveable goofball to win himself America’s favorite and the nice check that comes with it.
Julia is in a very interesting position this week. Even if Vanessa elects to go after the Austwins, Julia isn’t going home. Liz is the prime target because she’s the glue that holds the group together and Austin is a much bigger comp threat. So, if Julia finds her alliance on the block, she should do everything she can to secure her somewhat secret alliance with Meg and James. If Liz goes home, Austin and Julia would be smart to stick with Brass Tacks to give them more numbers at a HoH win against Vanessa/Steve/John.
If James and Meg go on the block, Julia has a big decision to help make. Does she try and keep James or Meg? It would seem that the best move for Julia is to keep Meg. James would work with her, but I think he’s more likely to either team up with Steve and John or try to get her out at final four by allying with Austin. Meg is the safer option for Julia’s game because she’s more controllable. It could be hard to convince Austin to send home James, but that’s Julia’s task for the week.
If Vanessa decides to go after the Austwins (she won’t) Liz has to be the main target. As mentioned above, she’s the glue holding Austin and Julia together and with her gone, they both begin playing solo games, making them much more controllable for both sides of the house. Her only real option in that scenario is to win the Veto or hope that whichever Austiwin isn’t on the block with her wins it and takes her off. Otherwise, she’s going home.
Of course, the chances of Vanessa going after the Austwins seem pretty minimal. Therefore, Liz’s main goal this week needs to be to secure votes for Meg. It’s boring to write the same thing I just wrote about Julia, but her strategy should be the exact same. Meg is much more controllable and gives the Austwins another number going forward. James is a threat for multiple reasons, making him simply too dangerous to keep around for another week.
Meg just might be in the worst spot in the house (though it’s close between her and James). She offers nothing to any alliance outside of a vote and, even if she stays, has shown no ability to win any kind of competition, giving her zero leverage in the house. She’s been riding on good vibes and James’ coattails since Jackie left and the only scenario where she makes it past final five is if someone decides to pull a pawn to the end of the game (not a bad potential move for someone like Vanessa who most people dislike).
Outside of that, Meg’s days seem to be numbered. However, that doesn’t mean she’s going home this week. She should be able to successfully convince people that James is the bigger competition threat and the person they should be sending home. She needs to own her terrible competition record and use that as a reason to keep her around. It certainly won’t be a flattering gameplay move, but it’s the only one she has left.
Steve comfortably sits in three decent enough alliances. He seems to have something going with Vanessa that could prove fruitful in the coming weeks if he wants to go after the Austwins. However, he also has made deals with that side of the house and would likely be willing to play ball with either Julia or Liz (not as much Austin, it would seem). But his strongest alliance is undoubtedly John, meaning that Steve’s main goal this week needs to be solidifying a third or fourth (depending on where Vanessa really is) person to join up with him and take down the Austwins.
Steve has to hit Meg and James hard this week. He and John must secure one of them as an ally late in this game. If one of those two goes home, the other person will be floundering and Steve and John are likeable enough to bring that person over to their side. From a numbers perspective, I’m sure they would prefer James, but Meg makes a nice consolation prize.
Because of Vanessa weird insistence to get the least amount of “blood on her hands” as possible, I find it hard to believe she would put up the Austwins this week. She wants their votes in the end and doesn’t think she’ll get them if she isn’t loyal to them. This is probably a mistake because, unless she wins every comp she can from here on out, I don’t think any Austwin takes her to the final two (or even three) with them. She has a much better shot with Steve and John or even Meg and James, but her emotional side seems to be clouding that.
Vanessa’s best move this week would be to get out Liz, but I highly doubt she does that. Instead, I suspect she’ll target either James or Meg and have Austin there as a backdoor option. From there, I think Vanessa should stoutly ally herself with Steve and John and move away from the Austwins. At this point, she needs to own her game and not try to play so “honestly”. She needs to be cold-hearted and attack the power trio before they drop her.