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'Big Brother' weekend recap: Cody Nickson wins "Battle Back," new HoH Jessica Graf picks eviction nominees


By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 07/24/2017 

Big Brother allowed the "Battle Back" winner Cody Nickson to re-enter the house, after which his girlfriend Jessica Graf won the Head of Household competition and nominated two players for eviction during Friday and Sunday night's episodes on CBS.

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Big Brother's special Friday night episode featured the "Battle Back Showdown" twist in which all of the evicted houseguests so far competed against one another for one spot back in the Season 19 game.

After Cody and Cameron Heard defeated Jillian Parker and Dominique Cooper in the first phase of the competition, which was a "Maze Race" utilizing a rope and pulley system, Cody defeated Cameron in Round 2 of the showdown.

In the second round, the two guys had to each use a slingshot to catapult balls at a billboard in attempt to knock down 10 paddles in a game called "Billboard Bashers."

Although Cody defeated all three of the other evictees, he could not return to the house unless he beat a "house challenger" in a third and final round of the showdown.

It was a mystery to Cody whom he'd battle in Round 3, but he was able to choose whether he wanted to participate in a competition similar to the maze or the billboard one. Cody opted for the maze since the billboard round appeared exhausting and difficult strategy-wise.

Big Brother host Julie Chen then asked all the houseguests to vote for one person whom they'd like to see compete against the battle-back candidate.

Julie said if the players wanted the candidate to return, it would be best to choose someone weak in challenges. If the house did not want a certain individual to return, Julie said a strong, physical player should be chosen.

The houseguests did not know Cody was the opponent, but in a 11-1 vote -- in which Paul could not vote for himself -- everyone decided veteran player Paul Abrahamian should be the challenger. Paul voted for Alex.

The Cody and Paul match-up was ironic considering Cody thought they were the only "alphas" in the game this season and they were also archenemies when still in the game together. Cody wasn't surprised at all that Paul was chosen to take him on.

Round 3 of the showdown took place in the backyard of the Big Brother house. Since Cody already competed in "Maze Race," he had an advantage on Paul, who needed more time to figure out the best method for moving the ball around on the table.

During the competition, the houseguests talked about what it would mean to have Cody back in the house. Mark Jansen didn't want to deal with someone whom he had turned his back on in this game. Alex Ow was buds with Cody during the game, but she worried his return might screw up her long-term plans with Paul.

Josh didn't think there was a shot to be friends with Cody again, and Paul was annoyed because he had worked hard to take Cody out the first time. Jessica, on the other hand, was thrilled about the idea of having her boyfriend back in the house -- not only to kiss and snuggle with, but also to strategize with since they were allies with an unbreakable bond.

On the Sunday episode, which kicked off on Day 30, Jessica filled Cody in on everything he had missed. Jessica revealed that Jason Dent had treated her well, while Kevin Schlehuber also had her back at times.

Jessica told Cody that he absolutely needed to win Head of Household because there was no doubt the whole house would be gunning for him again. Since Cody's social game was lacking before his eviction, he decided it would be best to listen to everything Jessica told him to do.

Jessica then informed Cody about how America had voted for her to have the temptation of "The Halting Hex," which will halt one of several upcoming evictions based on whether Jessica would want to save herself or someone she needed to protect.

Jessica talked to Cody about how their next targets needed to be Alex, Josh, Paul and Christmas Abbott.

It then became time for the season's next Head of Household competition. Each player -- minus Alex, who as the outgoing HoH was deemed ineligible to compete -- needed to push a plastic tube against a red disc inside a fake traffic light to keep it in place for as long as possible.

Every time a houseguest got eliminated, he or she could inflict a punishment or distraction on one player in the competition.

It's no surprise that the majority of players chose to "distract" Cody, while a few houseguests chose to punish Jessica. Punishments included having foul-smelling trash dumped on them or an angry man with "road rage" screaming in Cody's face as he was trying to concentrate.

The order in which people dropped out of the HoH competition was as follows: Kevin, Mark, Paul, Jason, Elena Davies, Matt Cline, Raven Walton and Josh. After one hour and 24 minutes, Cody dropped. It didn't help that Josh was yelling annoying things at him to break his focus.

After one hour and 49 minutes, Ramses Soto was then eliminated from the competition. The results left Christmas and Jessica going head to head for the title.

Jessica told Christmas that she'd absolutely keep her safe if she was crowned the next HoH, but Christmas wouldn't promise the same in return. The girls battled it out, and after two hours and 22 minutes, Christmas finally dropped out of the competition.

In the end, Jessica won Head of Household, and Cody admitted to the cameras her victory was much more exciting than any of his own. Christmas cried in the Diary Room about falling short of the title and letting her alliance members down.

Due to the result of the competition, Josh figured he was going up on the chopping block; however, he hoped a bigger target would be nominated for eviction alongside him. Paul knew he had a lot of work to do to protect himself.

Meanwhile, Jessica intended to honor her word by keeping Christmas safe. She also told Matt and Raven that they were not her target this week.

Jessica was working to establish trust with her fellow houseguests and prove that her previous attempts to repair relationships were genuine and not out of weakness after Cody's departure. Jessica wanted to gain support from her fellow houseguests so she would be in a better position in the weeks ahead. People like Raven and Matt, however, still didn't trust Jessica.

Everyone was playing nice with Jessica and Cody, but it was clear the players were back on good terms only because of Jessica's HoH reign.

Cody, for instance, would never trust Mark again and even considered having Jessica nominate him this week with Elena. Cody also pretended that he wanted to work with Paul, but neither guy had plans to honor such an alliance. Jessica thought about nominating Paul but figured she didn't have the numbers to take him out.

Before the Nomination Ceremony, Josh wanted to talk to Jessica in the HoH room, but she asked Cody to shoo him away.

It then became time for Jessica to announce her nominations. Jessica nominated Ramses as her pawn, saying she had no intention of taking him out this week and he shouldn't take his placement on the block personally.

Jessica also nominated Josh for eviction, announcing that he's playing a "dirty and disgusting game" and doesn't even deserve to be in the house.

Jessica thought Ramses made for a perfect pawn because he wasn't a threat to anyone in the house and so it wouldn't make sense for anyone to vote him out instead of Josh.

Josh later cried to cameras about how he definitely deserved to be on Big Brother and wasn't going to go down without a fight, and Paul noted that he avoided an explosion but wasn't out of the water yet. 


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