If I was Fessy right now, I would be locking all of my social media, disabling my comments, and maybe even deactivating my accounts for fear of being virtually assaulted with snake emojis as in The Great Desecration of Taylor Swift’s Instagram in 2016. Yes, Fessy’s actions on this week’s episode are as earth-shattering as Taylor Swift’s infamous, um, embellishing. I can’t wait for his Reputation era. Let’s get into it!
This episode begins, like all of them, with everyone returning from the Crater. Tori reiterates to Fessy and Aneesa in a hot tub that she doesn’t want to work with him. We learn that Aneesa views Tori as her “rock” and that Fessy feels a connection with Tori despite her being engaged. It sort of feels like we’re about to see a threesome, except that Cory is standing outside the hot tub watching them suspiciously. Inside, Theresa tells Jay she thinks people are going to start to target him, putting her in danger. Her instincts are right. Jay is still “the new guy,” without a real clique. And Theresa’s been gone from the show for so long that she can’t really cash in on her veteran status like she used to.
Next, we have an emotional moment with Big T, who I’m still not convinced is that interesting. She’s telling Devin, Amber M., and Kyle about losing her brother and both her parents. Devin does that annoying thing men do where they decide a woman is worthy of respect based on how much awful shit she has been through. But he also genuinely connects with her as someone who lost his father recently. Of course, he can’t let this feeling of compassion and empathy just hang in the air, so he starts to question Amber M. and her intentions, which are really none of his business because they aren’t working together. Too many people on this show share this weird misconception that whoever isn’t working for them is a wickedly deceptive person? Devin tells Amber to leave, and she rightfully refuses. Also, no one is standing up for her, including Big T, who claims to be the nicest person in the world. Devin leaves instead, and all of this feels pointless and stupid!
The next morning, Amber relays the Devin situation to Nelson, her partner, and Cory. I don’t know what it is with the men on this show falsely accusing women of crying, but Nelson goes to Devin and tells him multiple times that Amber was “crying on [his] shoulder” about their argument when she clearly was not. In fact, every time Nelson says the word cry, we see a shot of Amber looking incredibly chill. Devin ignores Nelson, which is oddly the right response because Nelson doesn’t actually care about being nice to women, as we saw all last season.
At the weekly mission, TJ informs Mechie that Liv didn’t receive medical clearance regarding her arm injury to compete. In previous seasons, Liv would show up to the challenge, have TJ relay her fate, and get some kind of emotional send-off. But the producers found Liv so uninteresting that she’s already gone! Mechie’s just happy he gets to stay and is now a rogue agent.
This week, everybody’s playing Drone Control, which takes place underground in mesmerizing lava tunnels. The teams have to work together to fly a drone (one person controlling the drone, the other person wearing VR goggles connected to the drone and guiding them) to a screen with a code at the end of a tunnel, memorize the code, and then solve a puzzle with it. This is one of those challenges where most everyone is terrible, and the producers really amp up the comedic effect. This looks genuinely difficult because flying through an actual tunnel looks exactly the same on a drone camera as flying through a bunch of stalactites and into a wall. Every team besides Tori and Devin’s ends up violently crashing their drone to the sound effect of a blaring trumpet. (There’s generic Bond music playing over this montage.) Tori and Devin seem to be the only team who really know how to communicate, which makes me even more suspicious of this whole “we can’t stand each other” bit. They totally want to have sex, right?? After Tori lands the drone, Devin enters the code into the puzzle so fast that I don’t even understand how it works, and they take home an automatic W. Better luck next time, everyone!
Back at the house, everyone’s paranoid that the next elimination will be for the men instead of the women because two female players already got sent home for injuries. Tori tells Aneesa that, if it’s a girls’ day, she wants to go against Amber M. because she’s small and Tori knows she can beat her. Whew. This is why I can’t stand Tori. Listen. I’m definitely not against the strategy of going against people you think you can beat. BUT the way Tori presents herself as this badass while only having the confidence to go against people she considers weak (remember last season when she wanted to go against Jenna after she had been emotionally beaten up by Zach?) is embarrassing. Also, calling Amber “weak” because she’s small is straight-up rude? Ugh. Meanwhile, Devin assures CT that he’s not on his target list.
Next, we have our club scene where everyone is grinding on each other and trying to twerk. Cory and Nelson are dancing like Kid n’ Play in House Party but, like, kind of sensually? Tori and Devin are discussing who they want to put up for elimination, and Tori says she’s dead-set on volunteering whether Devin likes it or not. Meanwhile, Fessy is flirting with the only other Caucasian blonde in the house who isn’t engaged: Gabby. Amber M. says in a confessional that Gabby is smart and sees right through Fessy. She ends their flirty interaction by saying that she “won’t be sleeping in [his] bed … tonight.”
Back at the house, Tori tells Josh that Devin wants to vote for him, and Josh starts behaving the way Josh behaves when he feels any sort of slight. He goes outside to Kaycee, who’s talking to Jay and starts accusing Jay of being cool with Devin. Jay swears he’s #TeamBigBrother, but Josh isn’t buying it. The two argue, and Josh is still so upset in the morning that he walks out of a room because Jay is there.
At the house deliberation, no one can decide whether they should vote with male or female competitors in mind. Newly noble Nelson tells everyone that they shouldn’t underestimate Amber M. just because she’s small. I guess this is a nice thing to do, but it only puts more of a spotlight on her and reinforces the fact that she is, in fact, small. He’s also not forwardly telling people not to throw her in, which is hilarious. It’s no surprise when Tori and Devin find out in the chamber that Nelson and Amber are the compromised agents. Devin is still set on voting in Josh. In another scene, Cory tells Nelson that picking Amber as a teammate was a mistake. I love that all of Cory’s comments about Nelson for the past two seasons have been polite acknowledgements of his stupidity because that’s what true friends do! In the hot tub, Josh tells Fessy that he actually wants to be Devin and Tori’s vote so he can get his gold skull. Fessy is being very quiet.
Finally, we’re at the Crater, where two tall glass panels in the middle of the sand create a thin aisle. We all know what this means. I feel like the old setups for Hall Brawls, which were made of wood and wire, looked a lot more scary, like some real violence was about to happen or like you might get tetanus. The Plexiglas does not look intimidating at all! Anyway, TJ calls Nelson and Amber M. down to the sand and asks Tori and Devin if they want to volunteer. Tori says she needs to know whether it’s a guys’ or girls’ elimination first. Of course, TJ would never give out this information and delivers one of his little prepared statements about taking risks that make him sound like an oracle. Devin convinces Tori not to go down. And it brings me so much joy to watch Tori lose the opportunity to easily beat a 90-pound woman and act like she’s Wonder Woman afterward. Tori and Devin send in Fessy and Aneesa, which shocks everyone but makes immediate sense when you remember that Fessy has been waiting for a hall brawl and Aneesa can probably step over Amber M. However, I can’t tell if this is a surprise to Aneesa, who tells Nam that the decision was “okay” but claims she was blindsided in her confessional. If Tori is only making deals with Fessy, YIKES. Josh is pissed because he told Fessy he wanted to get his red skull this week. He keeps saying “Woowwwww,” to the point that Nany has to tell him to shut up.
We find out that it’s a guys’ elimination, but it’s definitely not as easy as Fessy thought it would be. It actually turns out to be quite embarrassing and bad for his image. In the first round, he basically has to lay on top of Nelson to prevent him from going anywhere, and he starts slamming him into the ground. No one can look, and Cory calls out Fessy for being 40 pounds bigger than Nelson and still having to play dirty. Nelson is nevertheless able to make it his buzzer at nearly the same time as Fessy, but Fessy makes it first. The next round, TJ warns Fessy to play fair. This time, he simply crashes into Nelson as hard as he can, and I’m not sure how Nelson’s head is still attached to his body. Fessy wins.
Man. You really know people hate you when everyone claps for the person you just beat in a competition. But Fessy chooses even more violence than he has already inflicted by swapping out Aneesa for Kaycee. Aneesa looks offended. Kaycee looks horrified because now they’re an obvious target. Why would Fessy do this? Leroy picks Aneesa as his new partner, and Amber M. goes to Mechie. I believe I saw them making out in the season trailer, so more on that later, I guess.
The preview for next week’s episode just shows Fessy being yelled at, which is to be expected. Also, we may have a Tori-Fessy story line coming up, considering that Tori is now not engaged. See you next week!