'Big Brother' recap: Alyssa Lopez wins Power of Veto, HoH Tiffany Mitchell reluctantly puts Claire Rehfuss on the block
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 09/09/2021
Big Brother featured Alyssa Lopez winning the Power of Veto, which forced the Head of Household, Tiffany Mitchell, to make a heartbreaking decision in naming Claire Rehfuss the replacement nominee during Wednesday night's Season 23 episode on CBS.
Once Alyssa, a 24-year-old swimwear designer from Sarasota, FL, removed herself from the chopping block at the Veto Meeting, Tiffany, a 40-year-old phlebotomist from Detroit, MI, felt she had no other option but to nominate Claire, a 25-year-old artificial intelligence engineer from Chagrin Falls, OH who currently resides in New York, NY, for eviction.
Claire and Xavier Prather, a 27-year-old attorney from Kalamazoo, MI, are therefore on the chopping block heading into Thursday night's live eviction.
The Big Brother broadcast began on Day 59 at the Nomination Ceremony when Tiffany had nominated Alyssa and Xavier for eviction, with Alyssa being her target.
Tiffany was well aware, however, "The Cookout" alliance wanted to target her best friend and closest ally in the house, Claire.
"Claire was The Cookout's intended target for this week, but Tiffany took it upon herself to win HoH, so her selfish motivation has resulted in me seeing the block for the third time in a row when I wasn't supposed to see the block this week," Xavier complained in the Diary Room.
"It's a little frustrating," he added.
"The Cookout" is comprised of Xavier; Tiffany; Hannah Chaddha, a 21-year-old graduate student from Chicago, IL; Kyland Young, a 29-year-old account executive from San Bernardino County, CA who currently resides in Venice Beach, CA; Azah Awasum, a 30-year-old director of sales operations from Baltimore, MD; and Derek Frazier, a 29-year-old safety officer from Philadelphia, PA.
The only houseguests left in the game who aren't members of the majority alliance are Claire and Alyssa.
Alyssa said she really needed to focus and gun for the Power of Veto as hard as she could, but Claire looked forward to splitting up another "duo" or power couple in the house.
Xavier allowed Tiffany to believe he was the house's target to conceal "The Cookout," but he definitely wasn't happy with Tiffany for changing the plan given he had made sacrifices and even thrown competitions to advance his team.
If Alyssa managed to win the Power of Veto, Tiffany acknowledged she'd be in a very tough position because she'd be forced to choose between Claire, her "Plus One," or a member of her "The Cookout" alliance as her replacement nominee.
Tiffany therefore said it was important to keep the power this week and have the Veto winner keep nominations the same.
But Xavier was pissed and considered a plan of his own: to win the Power of Veto and take Alyssa off the chopping block to keep her safe.
Xavier explained to Derek F. that he felt his kindness was being taken advantage of.
Xavier reasoned that if he saved Alyssa, Tiffany would then be forced to put up Claire, which would make everyone in "The Cookout" happy and ruin her game -- because Claire would run back to jury telling everyone she went home because Tiffany put her up -- or she'd nominate a member of "The Cookout" and upset the entire alliance.
"The self-interest play that I'm seeing makes me want to just f-ck people's game over," Xavier admitted.
"If people are going to prioritize their own self-interest over The Cookout, why shouldn't I be doing the same? And if I'm going to do the same, I'm going to do it in glorious fashion."
Xavier therefore planned to compete hard for the PoV, but Derek F. advised him to stay smart and keep his cool.
It then became time to pick players for the Power of Veto competition.
In addition to the HoH, Tiffany, and the two nominees, Xavier and Alyssa, the following houseguests were selected at random to play: Hannah, Derek F. and Azah.
Hannah was Tiffany's "Houseguest Choice," and Derek F. revealed he wanted to keep nominations the same.
For the Zingbot-themed Power of Veto competition, which commenced after the houseguests received some hilarious zingers, the participating players were required to stack 21 tiny cocktails into a tiny pyramid on a gold table.
But the houseguests were huge and they were dealing with micrococktails they must lift and place down using giant silver tweezers. The first player to successfully stack his or her cocktails would win the golden Power of Veto.
Houseguests experienced spilled glasses over and over again, especially when being in the lead.
In the end, Alyssa won the Power of Veto when she needed it most!
The results of the competition left Tiffany in "the worst predicament," and Xavier was thrilled he was going to get what he wanted without getting his hands dirty.
Xavier said if Tiffany put a member of "The Cookout" on the block, she'd automatically lose four votes, but she didn't want to betray Claire this way.
"If Claire has to go, Claire has to go. I just have to tell Claire," Tiffany told Hannah.
Tiffany knew her chances of winning the game would be "shot" if she breaks up "The Cookout" prematurely.
Hannah advised Tiffany not to tell Claire about "The Cookout" and say she had made a deal with members of the house -- Xavier, Derek F., Kyland, Azah and Hannah -- to not send them home this week.
Hannah told Xavier it would be better for Tiffany's game to tell Claire the truth before sending her out the door, but Xavier didn't want to expose "The Cookout" when Alyssa is still in the house and she could win Head of Household and angrily target him as revenge.
Tiffany decided to be as honest as possible with Claire, without exposing "The Cookout." Tiffany still wanted Claire to respect her.
Tiffany therefore sat down with Claire and told her that her original target had been Alyssa.
"For my own personal preference, I don't want to be the person to send out Azah, Chaddha, X, Kyland or Big D. I don't want them to sit next to each other and be the one who has to be the first person to send one of them out," Tiffany explained.
"As much as I want to ride this game out with you, I don't have anybody else to put up."
Claire appeared shocked by the news, and Tiffany confirmed, "I have to put you up."
Claire nearly cried and told Tiffany that the house would vote her out in that case.
"I love you to death. I have been so torn yesterday and today," Tiffany cried.
"I never wanted to be the one to put you in this situation to go on the block. You have been with me since the very beginning. Game aside, I knew when I came into this house that I didn't want to be responsible for sending any of them home. But if I put any of them next to [Xavier], I have sealed somebody's fate."
Tiffany said she needs to be able to look at herself in the mirror once Big Brother ends and be confident in and comfortable with the way she played the game.
Tiffany assured Claire that she cared about her, probably more than anyone else in the house, and she needed to be as honest with her as possible.
Claire asked Tiffany if she's in an alliance with those people, and Tiffany replied, "No. I have my own personal feelings about how I'm going to play this game."
Claire broke down into tears and Tiffany could do nothing but hug her.
Claire said she understood where Tiffany was coming from and so she couldn't fight her on this and couldn't even be mad. Claire handled the news as graciously and maturely as possible, despite getting emotional.