TV Review: Big Brother 18 (Round #5 & #6)

Does a houseguest ever REALLY take advantage of a second chance? Besides winning the opportunity to play the game of Big Brother again in the same season, their return can sometimes be a hit or miss. With all the promise in the world, we’ve seen return twists become “revolving door” situations–returning one week and evicted the next–in the past (Kaysar! Brendan!) while others have propelled themselves farther into the game (Amy! James!). No one has truly made the most of this power and won their season–Gary from Big Brother Canada came the closest, if not for Topaz’s finale mistake. A return is a powerful gift for any player. But with Big Brother 18, it seems the houseguests are going to be given this gift TWICE.

Big Brother 18 Bridgette Frank Table

The last two rounds have introduced, and executed, two twists that offer the houseguests a chance at returning to the game. The first, being the more challenging of the two, is the BattleBack competition–a head-to-head style tournament featuring the first five evictees where only one will return. The second, newer twist is the Big Brother Roundtrip. Basically, it is a game of luck where anyone, at any time before August 18th, could return to the game if they’re evicted. A single choice could change their game! One twist has already been fulfilled while the other is still in play.

The BattleBack competition is a blast from the past for some of the evicted houseguests. Instead of all brand new challenges we’ve never seen before, the tournament included some past competitions from this season for evicted houseguests to compete in. I love seeing fan favourite challenges being played again–it’s great to see a new take on a familiar game. However, the competitions were exactly the same and Big Brother is known to reuse challenges many times in the past to save costs, so the nostalgia wore thin when the lineup was revealed.

Victor ended up pulling ahead and winning the opportunity to come back into the game, but it was somewhat to a lackluster response. Based on the previous five evictees, he IS the biggest challenge competitor. Glen and Bronte didn’t stand a chance while Jozea and Tiffany were at least a bit of competition. He easily defeated the four fallen houseguests. But Big Brother isn’t only about the competitions; he didn’t exactly wow the drama when he was in the house!

He came across as a bit of an annoyance. His position was in the minority alliance and he spilled everything to everyone–he couldn’t keep a secret! It would’ve been more of a dramatic moment if Jozea, Tiffany or Glenn returned to the game–Jozea as the egotistical guy with no clue, Tiffany out for revenge, and Glenn who didn’t get a real shot to play the game. Still, Victor is a threat and could prove to be competition against some of the stronger players, like Paulie or Paul.

Big Brother 18 Paul Table

In a sharp contrast to the BattleBack competition, the Roundtrip twist is based solely on luck. After a boneheaded move by Paul (he’s REALLY bad at lying!), everyone in the game is sitting pretty with one of the trip tickets. To recap the twist: Paul discovered a secret “Paris” room in the house that included tickets to travel. All of the tickets but one are one-way flights out of the game while only one is a roundtrip ticket back into the game. He blew his secret and everyone soon discovered the room to get a ticket.

The Big Brother evictions have now become a scene from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Someone has the golden ticket and will open their letter to return. Based on the events of Frank’s recent eviction, the scene proceeded as a “hot and cold” moment. The plan to get Frank out succeeded with a worthwhile eviction but nobody could enjoy it until he opened his card in front of Julie to confirm that he was 100% evicted. This is reminiscent of Survivor from a few seasons ago, when castaways weren’t really “eliminated” but in a state of limbo. As a reminder, they were sent to Exile where the eliminated players would compete against each other for a chance to return. (Sound familiar?!)

Hope destroys tension. Tension leads to drama. And without drama for a satisfying eviction, it’s a tad boring. This is a recipe for disaster and one that isn’t needed in a game like Big Brother. Luckily, this twist will only be for a few weeks.

Speaking of Frank, we can’t talk about the last two weeks without discussing the two recent evictees:

  • Tiffany had no chance to survive far into the season. Once people realized that she was Vanessa’s sister, the reputation her sister attained rubbed off on her. Whenever someone looked at her, all they could see was Vanessa. If Tiffany had come clean at the beginning or returned in a later season (her sister competed last year), things may have been different for her. Instead, the game became too much for her and people wanted her out ASAP.
  • Frank had all the makings of a winner. However, there are two types of Franks who’ve played Big Brother: The loveable underdog and the cocky leader. This season saw the latter as he enforced his power on the house. Without having trustworthy allies to keep him around or protect him, Frank’s target was too big to keep in the house any longer. He became the first of the veterans to be evicted from the game.Five people are officially out of the house and the season is on shaky ground. Alliances have gone back and forth; once powerful groups have now broken up and targeted each other for eviction, mostly for personal reasons. Many of these houseguests aren’t playing the game; they’re deciding to lay low, focus on their personal relationships and go with the flow. What once started as a strong season is heading into new territory. I’m hoping that after the first jury member is revealed, these players will realize that their actions have severe consequences later on and will really start playing.

Five people are officially out of the house and the season is on shaky ground. Alliances have gone back and forth; once powerful groups have now broken up and targeted each other for eviction, mostly for personal reasons. Many of these houseguests aren’t playing the game; they’re deciding to lay low, focus on their personal relationships and go with the flow. What once started as a strong season is heading into new territory. I’m hoping that after the first jury member is revealed, these players will realize that their actions have severe consequences later on and will really start playing.

ROUND #5

Nominations/Roadkill: 6/10
Power of Veto: 6/10
Eviction/Head of Household: 7/10
BattleBack: 8/10

ROUND #6

HOH/Nomination: 7/10
Power of Veto: 7/10
Eviction: 6/10

Justin is a fun-loving twenty-something living in downtown Toronto, Canada. He’s an avid TV buff, movie fan and gamer. In addition to writing for The Young Folks, he has contributed to EW's The Community, Virgin.com, ghostwritten for The Huffington Post and The Globe and Mail, and he runs his own blog, City Boy Geekiness. When he's not writing about his latest favorite guilty pleasure, he's working in the Comms and Social Media field. Follow him on Instagram & Twitter: @JustinMC16.