I used to be pretty heavily into Survivor growing up. I watched the first season from the ‘snake’ or whatever comment the trucker lady used on Richard to weird themes like OneWorld, etc. I mention this not to talk about the show, but to bring up a person from the show – Boston Rob. He was one of the first group of people who came back when CBS decided they loved returning players on Survivor and BB. Of course, there had been All-Stars along the way, but I believe Redemption Island was one of (if not the first?) to feature newbies with vets – Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong. That show was a long time ago.
Rob was originally on the fourth season which he was voted out midway through the game. He was invited back for All-Stars where he finished second to his future wife (Ambahh) and was one of the original ‘showmances’, then came back for another All-Star season where he was kicked out fairly early. He was invited back for a then record fourth time (!!) but this time to square off against another Survivor great – Russell Hantz. They were given their own team of newbies and used all their experience as basically a gift from CBS to give one of the two a million dollars. Russell’s rep didn’t go over as well as Rob’s and he was voted out fairly early, but Rob used his previous 3x on the show and gave a clinic on how to win the game.
What he did during that season was pretty impressive and still goes down as one of the greatest performances on reality show history of a veteran controlling newbies. He used his fame to find the newbies who were star struck and he took them under his wing. Those who weren’t ended up being the targets and sniped by Rob and his group of girls (and crazy Phillip). Once he got out the early threats to his game, he then started pegging off the other potential alpha-males who may have threatened him down the road. The biggest thing Rob learned and carried into the game was how easily influenced people could be, so he made sure those people were on his side and heavily monitored & controlled. From what I remember, after the merge he prevented his allies from even really being friendly with the people from the other tribe because he knew where that could lead. He had that numbers and it really didn’t matter who won individual immunity because there was always the next target up for him to choose from.
Now, why am I talking about Rob on a Big Brother blog? Because I see so many similarities between Rob’s game and Paul’s game so far this season. Being the only vet (similar to Rob on his original tribe), he has been playing up his knowledge and experience of the game to win people over. With the gift given to him by CBS which was the ‘friendship bracelet’, he was even able to basically interview all the newbies to find out who would be the most loyal to him moving forward. He quickly pegged Cody as someone who wasn’t going to play his game, and worked hard to exploit any angle possible to split him up from his alliance of showmances. When Cody tried to nominate him, Paul played the victim card and quickly gained sympathy from Cody’s alliance because why would big bad Cody want to evict such a non-threat like Paul? (sarcasm)
Keep in mind that Paul accepted the temptation that gave him safety and potentially screwed over a random newbie and when exposed, he turned it around to say he had to do that to filter out those he could trust versus those he couldn’t (Cody). The entire negative aspect of the Temptation Twist (the curse) was downplayed and eventually written off as something people should accept when they’re given their care package … err, temptation. It was quite brilliant and impressive to watch no matter how many former cast members cry on twitter about the unfair advantages he’s been given so far.
Fast forward to yesterday when Paul’s game could have potentially blown up in his face after trying to overplay his hand this week. He nominated two pawns (Josh and Alex) so he can eventually pull one down and replace them with Cody. Doing so greatly decreased the chances of Cody playing in the PoV, but exposed the risk of a Josh/Alex nomination week come Thursday night. He was given a gift when Christmas – the girl he saved last week – approached him and said she got the temptation this week and could remove someone who wasn’t nominated from playing in veto. This gave Paul even more flexibility to nominate his pawns and then just have Christmas use her twist had Cody been selected by random draw.
The one kink in his plan came from the curse that kept him safe for the first three weeks. That was Ramses was forced to nominate himself as the 3rd nominee and he chose to do it this week because of the big target on Cody’s back. The problem with that came if Ramses won the veto because he would either not use it which kept the noms the same, or used it to pull himself off which didn’t allow for Paul to pick a replacement nom. Ramses winning was potential to destroy Paul’s week, and he knew it because not only did he hound Ramses to throw the competition, but he had everyone in his alliance do the same.
During the veto competition, it was one of the few types of comps that would have allowed Ramses to win without realizing it as each player went out on their own to compete against the clock. From what I gather during the comp, it was fairly difficult and everyone sucked pretty bad. When the feeds returned, Paul was celebrating his PoV victory but immediately went into the HoH room to rally his troops against Ramses. Despite claiming he was throwing it, Ramses eventually finished with a time better than I think everyone but Paul. This included Elena who admitted she wasn’t trying to throw it. With Elena admitting that, Paul had more fuel for his anti-Ramses campaign and told his group to go in full cold-shoulder mode this week toward the guy. To Paul, throwing a competition is not a thrown competition unless it was a complete failure.
Now to be fair, I am not sure if Ramses really did try to throw it or not, but that’s irrelevant. What is relevant is he appeared to not throw it and that was all Paul needed to pick his next target once Cody and probably Jessica were out of the house.
The treatment of Ramses these past few days is what made me think of the control Boston Rob had over his alliance during his winning season and the way Paul is playing it is almost like he studied that season before coming into the house. Does that mean Paul is guaranteed to win this season? No, nothing is guaranteed. What it does mean is that as of right now, a large majority of the house is playing Paul’s game and are there just as pieces on Paul’s chessboard. Unless something major happens with the newbies realizing they’re going to be picked off one by one, we may be looking at a long summer of Paul controlling the entire game. Is that a good thing? If you’re Paul or a huge Paul fan – yes. However, if you really just want to see a bunch of zombies walking around mindlessly, I’d suggest watching Fear the Walking Dead. It’s actually pretty decent this season.
So what do you think? Is Paul going to cruise to victory this week, or is this just a temporary run of good luck before the newbies wake up and start playing their own game?
(Sorry for the long essay. I told you that I ramble!)
Live update thread coming soon!