‘Big Brother’ episode 26 recap: House is shaken up after [SPOILER] wins Head of Household

A new Head of Household took control of the game on Sunday’s episode of “Big Brother,” nominating two players for eviction. With the entire house against him, Mark Jansen would have to pull off a win to secure his own safety. But a dominant alliance, led by Paul Abrahamian, fought to hold onto power in hopes to evict him on Thursday. So, who won the all-important HOH competition? Who was nominated for eviction? And what new tempting twist came to life? Find out in our Season 19, Episode 26 recap below. Hurry — make your “Big Brother” 19 predictions for a chance to win a $100 Amazon gift certificate. It’s fun and easy, so start predicting right now.

Season 16 champ, Derrick Levasseur, was back to host the competition that would determine which houseguest took the reins from outgoing HOH, Jason Dent. “Tales from the Decrypt” was played tournament style, with a series of head-to-head matches. In each match, two players stepped up and watched while encrypted clues were slowly revealed. The first person to decrypt the clue and name the corresponding evicted houseguest won the match. Christmas Abbott and Paul faced off in the final round, but Paul felt confident Christmas wouldn’t nominate him. So Paul decided to throw the competition her way so he could play in next week’s HOH contest.

As the new HOH, Christmas pledged to make a big move this week, which no doubt means doing as Paul says and evicting Mark. But with four wins under his belt this season, Mark remained confident he could pull out a veto win if he needs to. Alex Ow stated in the diary room that if Mark happens to stay safe this week, the backup plan should be to evict Kevin Schlehuber. Alex let Christmas in on the fact that she doesn’t trust Kevin, including a conspiracy theory she has that Kevin is actually an undercover cop. Alex then threw the hammer down on Jason, telling him that he needs to blacklist the stay-at-home dad and cut ties.

Up in the HOH room, Josh Martinez told Christmas that he believed Alex and Jason were plotting to flip the house on Paul. Josh is protective of Paul, probably because he knows Paul will take him to the end of the game. Josh is a worthless player, so gunning for the $50k second-place prize probably isn’t the stupidest move he could make. In more uplifting news, Jason received a letter from home from which he learned his wife is pregnant with their second child. For just a moment, the house came together to share in his joy.

Christmas and Josh have been forming a strong bond, and Josh seems to give Christmas the support she is craving. Josh said he hopes to go to the final three with her and Paul, and hopefully the final two with Christmas. In the night’s most laughable moment, Josh confessed in the diary room that he deserves to win the game. His delusion is grand considering the first two players (and the likely third) in the jury house absolutely despise him and he has made no important moves to date.

Meanwhile, Paul continued his dominance in the game by convincing Matt Clines and Raven Walton that they were his top allies. Like a pathetic puppy, Matt nodded in agreement and said nobody would ever guess they were working so closely. What he doesn’t know is that Paul has been able to attach himself to every power couple remaining in the house. It’s debatable whether Paul is one of the best to ever play this game, or if his competition is simply the worst in “Big Brother” history. But regardless, Paul has done a fantastic job of manipulating the house to suit his needs.

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Just as the houseguests were getting comfortable, a “Tree of Temptation” sprung to life in their kitchen. This new tempting twist will be in play for three weeks. Five apples hang from the tree, and each one contains either a power or a punishment. When the tree turns red, the first houseguest to go to the diary room and say they want to select an apple is allowed to do so. Once you select an apple, you no longer have the ability to choose another one. The houseguests will then all gather in the living room, where the person who picked the apple will read their power or punishment aloud to the entire house.

When the tree turned red for the first time, only Mark appeared interested in claiming an apple. He moseyed into the diary room and won his right to claim one. After opening it, it was revealed that Mark won the ability to “Save a Friend.” Unfortunately for Mark, he doesn’t have any friends, but he may be able to use that power to his advantage moving forward.

Mark made one last-ditch effort to save himself by talking with Josh and Christmas in the HOH room. He told them he would not target them and he was willing to use his “save a friend” power in any way Christmas wanted. The plea seemed to resonate with Christmas, but I’m sure Paul will set her straight soon. When it came time for the nomination ceremony, Mark gave safety to Paul. Shocking! Christmas then put two pawns on the block: Jason and Matt. What Jason doesn’t know, is that if Mark happens to win the veto, he is Christmas’ next target. But unless there is a major shakeup this week, expect Mark to be the one walking out the door on Thursday.

Be sure to make your predictions so that the contestants can see how they’re faring in our racetrack odds. You can keep changing your predictions until just before the live shows air every Thursday on CBS. You’ll compete to win a spot on our leaderboard and a $100 Amazon gift certificate. See our contest rules and sound off with other fans in our reality TV forum. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.

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