The farmer thinks he’s two steps ahead of all the other Houseguests when it comes to perception and strategy, but we think he might be two steps behind himself!
We give Frenchie credit having the nerve to walk right up to people and be honest about why he’s making the decisions he’s making. But when those decisions are stupid and his reasons terrible, it makes for awful “Big Brother” gameplay — and great TV!
This first week might just go down as one of the most epic Head of Household reigns in “BB” history, and for all the wrong reasons. Frenchie walks around the house like he owns the place, as if he’s forgetting that he’s only HOH for one week.
He also thinks he’s on top of every bit of gameplay and strategy going on, while misunderstanding almost everyone and everything that’s going on in the house. Probably the funniest line of the night is when he declared, “This HOH has been a total success.”
Let’s break it down. First, he promised safety to basically every single person in the house except for Christian … so, of course Christian won the season’s first Wildcard Competition, and secured his own safety.
Then, on Day 3, he decided that Christian and Alyssa were in a showmance (there is precedent there, but no reason to think it’s happening here), so he decided to target her since he was unavailable. And he said as much in an aggressively ridiculous fishing speech.
The problem is that she was one of the people he’d directly promised safety to, along with telling all of the women that no woman would see the block. So he totally went back on his word in this case.
And yet, this week he lamented to Brent that he didn’t want to considering targeting Travis because he’d promised Travis (along with Xavier and Derek F) safety on that first night. So, he was concerned about breaking a promise to Travis, but not Alyssa?
When Alyssa confronted him about her nomination, he quickly decided that he totally believed her that there was no showmance and maybe he’d made a mistake. Kind of how he decided he’d misread Brent after actually talking to him.
On the one hand, this proves that Frenchie is actually a terrible read of people and situations, but it also proves that he tends to like everyone if he talks to them. That’s fine, but when you then turn around and promise them safety, you find yourself with no targets.
Now that Frenchie has decided his initial nominations are a complete and total disaster because he overthought everything, he settled on two new targets: Derek X and Travis. Now all he needed to happen was for neither to get picked to play in the Veto.
It’s pretty wild that out of the 13 people eligible for three spots, nominee Kyland nabbed the Houseguest’s Choice and chose Travis, followed by Alyssa inexplicably pulling Derek X’s chip. Talk about a worst case scenario.
At the same time, only one of them could win. We pause now to give huge props to Derek X for reading the room and seeing that all five of the other players were working their puzzle from the top to the bottom.
As such, he spent his time figuring out the bottom, because with five working on the top, someone was bound to figure it out and he could just copy their work. The strategy worked, though just barely, and he pulled out a pretty close victory of Alyssa.
That took one target off the block for Frenchie, so he simply decided to go back on his Day 1 word and target Travis instead. Here’s the deal. This kind of strategy can work. Paul Abrahamian played “friendship” to back-to-back Top 2 finishes (though he never won). But he also let everyone else do the dirty work so he could keep his promises.
Frenchie convinced Derek X to use the Power of Veto (he saved Kyland) and put Travis up instead. He may have finally gotten the guy he (now) wants on the Block, but he basically lied to everyone in the house to do it. Now, this is Week 1 and the dude is clearly not the huge strategic threat everyone thought he was, so he can still survive this … except–
Except that Frenchie also has a pretty big mouth. Not just that he speaks his mind directly to everyone, but he also seems to speak everyone else’s mind to everyone else. He doesn’t have a keen sense of the power of silence in this game, making him a potential liability.
The farmer may yet come out of this debacle with his hide intact, but he’s going to have a hard time convincing anyone to trust him for a long time. His best bet is to try and disappear after this week.
Real Talk, Real Issues, Real Big Alliance
We are happy again to see “Big Brother” and CBS standing by their pledge to lift up and give air to minority voices. Not only is this the most diverse cast in “BB” history, but we got a meaningful conversation from Sarah Beth about coming out as bisexual.
She talked about how she struggles with her own sexuality as a result of how she was raised, and how challenging it is for her family. It would be easier for her to just date a boy and make everyone happy, but it wouldn’t be her authentic self.
Elsewhere, the Black contestants in the house not only celebrated having other Black players to bond with, they actually repped their culture by creating an on-the-downlow alliance called The Cookout (we’re excited to see how far it goes).
They openly acknowledged the importance of them representing for Black people on the show in this year following “Black Lives Matter,” while also knowing that it could spell disaster if it were known they were trying to work together.
Nevertheless, The Cookout is the season’s first big alliance, including Azah, Derek F, Kyland, Tiffany and Xavier, and we are here for it. We love their strategy of being a non-alliance and intentionally working with other people in the house. Let’s see if it works.
Tiffany Mitchell (40) made her big move this week, while still keeping things very chill. We still think she’s the sharpest eye in the house (sorry, Frenchie). Her key role in the formation of The Cookout and understanding how it needs to work just proves what a great background play she’s building. Grade: A
Derek Frazier (29) gets to stay right where he is, staying strong with his alliance with Frenchie, being a charter member of The Cookout, having the Jokers in his pocket and clearly being one of the most beloved people in the house. He’s sitting pretty. Grade: A
Azah Awasum (30), Kyland Young (29) and Xavier Prather (27) joined up with The Cookout. Now that Kyland is off the Block, none of them are really being targeted actively by anyone in the house. With their new network of allies, this whole group is in a great spot for the early going. Grade: A-
Brent Champagne (28) is in Frenchie’s ear right now, and listening carefully, before taking it back to Derek X. He then proves pretty adept in his own social game by deftly convincing Frenchie that Travis is a bigger threat than Derek X, keeping his teammate safe. If that’s a hint of his capabilities, we might have a good manipulator on our hands. Grade: A-
Sarah Beth Steagall (27) continues to build on her lovable persona in the house, this time opening up about her experiences in the LGBTQIA+ community. Everyone rallied around her in support with genuine affection, which should keep her safe for a while yet as personal connections mean so much right now. Grade: B+
Britini D’Angelo (23), Claire Renfuss (25), Hannah Chaddha (21), and Whitney Williams (30) faded into the background this week, but that’s actually a good thing this early in the game. Let the bigger, brasher players take each other out first. Grade: B
Derek Xiao (24) messed up by exposing a working relationship with Travis, but he came through with a big Veto win when he needed it. He also showed great strategy in how he tackled that game. He’s well-liked in the game and a clever strategist, so he just needs to work on that social savvy a bit. Grade: B-
Christian Birkenberger (23) managed to clear things up with Frenchie about his not-mance with Alyssa, but not before suggesting that they look like a great couple. That’s still a pretty meathead thing to say. He’s still a huge physical threat, and doesn’t appear to be much of a strategic one, so it’ll be interesting to see what happens with him. Grade: C
Alyssa Lopez (24) is in a better position than she was, though we’re not sure the house would have wanted her out, anyway. She’s still vulnerable of getting taken out just because she’s on the block, but Travis is the bigger threat. And the house does need to make sure the big, physical players don’t align or we’ll see a repeat of the last few seasons. Grade: C-
Brandon “Frenchie” French (34) is an absolutely disaster, and keeps earing some of the lowest grades we’ve ever given a reigning HOH. He does have a legitimate target up there now, but he’s lied to and betrayed virtually everyone in the house to get there. He’s burned so many bridges, it’ll be interesting to see if he can climb out of this hole he dug for himself. Grade: D
Travis Long (22) is the bigger physical threat on the Block next to Alyssa, and they may think him a bigger mental threat as well now that he’s opened up about his tech startup past. That may actually cost him the game in the early going. He’s the right choice, but will they make it? Grade: D-
- “Because I’m close with you and you’re a good competitor, why is that on me?” –Alyssa (to Christian after Frenchie nominated her)
- “I feel like he was putting too many promises to too many people too soon.” –Alyssa (about Frenchie)
- “Oh he promised everyone something.” –Christian
- “This is your safe spot. Stay strong. Black people don’t break.” –Derek F (comforting Kyland)
- “Why is it me? Can I ask that?” –Alyssa
- “Let me start with this. I know you and Christian are super close and showmancing it up.” –Frenchie
- “What?!” –Alyssa
- “Frenchie, do you really think I’m smacking lips with someone on Day 3? I don’t even know how to flirt in real life, I’m not flirting in this house.” –Alyssa (in confessional)
- “I might have made a mistake with these nominations.” –Frenchie
- “Are you talking about me and Trav?” (after Frenchie accuses him of having an alliance
- “Yeah, I knew that. That was one of them.” –Frenchie (he didn’t know that — his one good move this week)
- “Throwing my name around is dangerous when I’m HOH.” –Frenchie (to Derek X)
- “It’s not just about the game.” –Tiffany (to Derek F and Azah)
- “Exactly. ThinkT about the year we just had. The whole ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement. It’s important for us to be here.” –Derek F
- “And stick together.” –Tiffany
- “With The Cookout, we’re going to have our hands in different pots, making sure everyone is doing what they need to be doing while we come back together and use that information to help us advance.” –Derek F (talking about alliance with Azah, Kyland, Tiffany, and Xavier)
- “Do we agree it’s gonna be called The Cookout? I like that. That’s for the culture.” –Xavier
- “You can just call me the Grillmaster.” –Tiffany (planning to outlast The Cookout)
- “Travis, what are you doing? Look, I did not recruit Travis on my team, he was the last one picked. He is not doing the Queens proud, let me tell you that.” –Claire (during POV Comp)
- “I’m not crying.” –Alyssa (after losing POV)
- “Your face is just leaking.” –Xavier
- “They said if we don’t get Travis this week, we’re going for Derek [X] next week.” –Frenchie (lying to Derek X)
- “I can keep you safe week after week and I do have the numbers.” –Frenchie (trying really hard)
- “This HOH has been a total success.” –Frenchie (no it hasn’t)
- “Frenchie’s HOH is the craziest first week I have ever seen on ‘Big Brother.'” –Azah