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The RealiTea is that in this players that look a week or two ahead and lay bricks that create multiple paths have the greatest advantage. Love him or hate him the work Paul put in the last two weeks leaves him with an ability to choose escape routes when the unpredictable happens. Alex wins the HOH and although I personally think this was the wrong time to do so this is where she landed. The plus side is we have an HOH, who like Paul, has an excellent read on the RealiTea of what's actually happening and who is responsible for what. When the feeds return we learn she doesn't like the fact that someone chose to go against the grain by voting against Ramses. We see a lot of small and large convos about the hinky vote. Paul was right about the paranoia Kevin voting for Ramses would create. Alex and Elena agree that Xmas was one of the 3 votes. In RealiTea Alex said just before the wall comp thah Xmas told her she was going to do it. Like Paul, Alex planted that seed and with Xmas absent she is at a disadvantage when these inferences occur just as they did without Cody stirring the pot just before leaving and as a side effect of Dom's talk show. While I don't think Xmas being allowed to be gone from the house so often should be permitted we are seeing the disadvantages of being allowed to stay in the game and not being present. For the fans that want to see players take risks and make moves you should be watching Paul. That's just a fact. Paul and Alex could be a dynamic duo for the long term game and if they officially make it an alliance we would have an exciting opportunity. Alex is in with the 'outsiders' while Paul is in with the 'showmance' side of things. Share info, don't spend too much time together, and work cooperatively to create intersecting paths that take them both to the end. Two recurring topics being whispered about all night are: Xmas betraying the voting powers and the hinky vote. Well played Paul. Despite not liking the Alex win, I love Alex as a player. She reads 98% of what is happening and that's very good game play on her part. Some is shared intel with Paul and Kevin but just as much is passively observing everyone all the time. Alex tells us that she plans to make a big move this week. She admits she knows putting Jessica up will appease the larger voting block and she has plenty of reasons not to trust her. The only information I heard Alex convey that was incorrect all night was that she still believes Ramses took the 25k. Beyond that she suspects Kevin was a hinky vote. Doesn't trust Jessica. Believes whoever is part of the voting pact that decides to go rogue needs to be revealed to stir up dust and gain voting support. She's positive Xmas was one of the votes. She wanted to stay above board with Cody in case he does return. Alex was one of my preseason picks and she is certainly earning her place in the board. Jason is investing way too much time and energy aggressively trying to convince Alex that Jess should be pulled in and they should trust her. Alex's focus this week is shrinking the target on Jason's back this week. She is banking on using this HOH to appear cooperative and set herself and Jason up as well as possible for week 4. Elena and Alex have some validating chats. It looks like Alex will keep her deal worn her although...Elena having a list of 5 players including herself to keep safe is a bit much. I will say her argument for protecting Matt, Raven, Mark, Elena, and Paul did water down the bad taste it left in my mouth. Based on last night it appears the same is true for Alex. Elena proposes her safety picks by suggesting these are people we want to make it to jury. Saving them for jury is good for both of us. Remember when I said the whole talk show incident hurt Dom more than anyone? Well her name was mentioned as a candidate for the rogue vote as well. As of last night Dominique and Jessica were the agreed nominees. One player from each side. Jessica being the most obvious target but sometimes the obvious isn't always the actual. Alex seems amenable to a BD plan and with all that's happened in the last 48 hours Xmas may return to a game where her revived presence isn't enough to help her find some cover. There is no DOT this week. The current voting doesn't close until next Wednesday. Julie teased fans that the HG will have a say in whether a Battle Back actually happens. In the previous vote Alex was the second in line so if things follow suit it's reasonable to predict she is a strong contender for the Hexing temptation. My guess is if the winner of the popular vote excepts the temptation then the curse will be unleashing the battle back. Now do any of us doubt that anyone in the game would pass on this temptation? What I am not certain of is whether the temptation will be offered before the live eviction (keeping it out of play week 3) or after? Usually voting ends Thursday, the temptation happens Friday. Next week there is a Friday episode (presumably airing buyback) so it's reasonable based on the adjustments made this week that it will be offered Thursday, maybe even during the live show. The RealiTea is this temptation, a potential evictee returning, and scenarios as a result of Xmas' return or not to the game are worthy of their own pot of tea. For now, nominations are scheduled to happen today and at 10:30 am this morning Alex, Matt, and Raven are the only HG awake. Like Alex I am wondering why every one isn't at least present interacting with others on the morning of nominations.