Big Brother All-Stars

Episode 35 Recap – D.O.A

Who won Part 1 of the Final HOH?

Photo: CBS

Day 83 has arrived. It feels more like Day 830. The recap reminded us that “Christmas’ game was Feliz Navi-done,” which I never thought I would be sad to hear, but there you go. We were also told that the pre-jurors would return to debate the Final 3, which seems entirely pointless, but honestly, I’m thrilled with anything that gets Nicole, Cody, and Enzo off my screen for a little while.

A significant portion of the episode consisted of recaps of the Final 3’s games, as introduced by Julie Chen and narrated by the houseguests themselves. We’ll do some brief coverage of their opinions of themselves, and we’ll also discuss our forecasts for their ultimate placements. The episode presented the recaps before Part 1 of the Final HOH competition, but in the interest of discussing their recaps and our forecasts for their placement—which is affected by the winner of Part 1— we’re going to shift things up a little bit and cover Part 1 first.

Part 1 of the final HOH was zombie-themed, kind of. The houseguests were all wearing zombie makeup and had to zombie-walk from graves to their podiums. That wasn’t part of the competition; it was just part of the setup. The comp was the “hold onto a rope and spin around and crash into stuff while things get thrown and sprayed at you” one—an endurance comp. We still needed Cody to re-explain it, though. “This competition is pretty simple,” he explained, “hang onto your rope for as long as you possibly can, and if at any point you fall off the rope, you are eliminated from the competition.” Thanks, Cody.

As a reminder, this comp started with 12 minutes left in the episode. And there is almost nothing interesting happening during the course of the comp except for the houseguests crashing into things and repeating that they’re crashing into things more and more quickly. We kind of feel like it would have been wiser to have the comp happening in the quote-unquote background while doing the recaps, but at this point, who cares?

“I didn’t come back to Big Brother to get third place,” Enzo confidently declared in the Diary Room before falling off his rope and coming in third place for this comp. With that, it was between Cody and Nicole.

Photo: CBS

They sprayed more stuff on the houseguests. Green slime, rain, what have you. They also sped up their spinning. Crashing into a large foam moon looked particularly uncomfortable. “I need to beat Cody because I have to be the one to take myself to the end of this game,” Nicole said in the DR, recalling her being brought to the end by (and subsequently beating) Paul in BB18. The houseguests looked absolutely miserable, which is appropriate because that’s how they’ve made us feel for the past ~90 days.

Eventually, Cody slipped off the rope, leaving Nicole victorious in Part 1 of the Final HOH competition. “Wow! Holy crap!” she said as triumphant music played, before flopping to the ground and making a snow angel in the excess slime. Slime angel? Yeah, sure. Nicole will advance straight to Part 3, where she will face off against whoever wins Part 2 for the title of Final HOH.

Going back a while in the episode: the recaps started with Enzo. “Ten years ago, Enzo came in third. Did he do enough this season to take home the win?” Our guess… no. Enzo’s “flawless social game” (his words, not ours) involved making a ton of alliances, including the Slick Six and both Wise Guys alliances. Unfortunately, this means we had to watch Cody react to the “Wise Guys” alliance again. At this point in the game, he seems most proud of bonding with Nicole by keeping her in the triple (he shouldn’t have) and worried that not cutting Nicole in the triple might come back to bite him in the butt.

At this point, there’s almost no possibility of Enzo winning the game. Nicole and Cody have had a final 2 since almost day one, and though the editors are saying that Enzo and Cody have had a similarly strong final 2, we doubt very much that’s the case. Cody will want to sit next to Nicole, as he’ll expect to have a better chance of winning against a former winner than against Enzo. And Nicole will likely want to take Cody, based on their relationship thus far in the game. Perhaps it would be wiser for Nicole to take Enzo—Cody has played a better game—but based on her playstyle, we suspect she’d stick with Cody. With Nicole winning Part 1, Enzo’s only viable path to the end would be winning Parts 2 and 3, which, while not impossible, would be a very tall order.

Cody was up next. “Cody… was criticized for staying loyal by choosing his friend and ally Derrick over the half-million-dollar grand prize. Did that affect his gameplay this season?” (No, he just played Derrick’s game with an alliance that Derrick may or may not have set up for him). Cody reminisced over winning the first HOH and commented about how much power that gave him right out of the gate. “I had three Final Twos by day two!” he boasted—referring to Nicole, Enzo, and Memphis—before reviewing the existence of the Committee, his and Memphis’ six-person alliance. 

Photo: CBS

He also was not shy about covering his many, many, Veto and HOH wins (seven in total). He also bragged about how good his social game was, which, okay sure. He expressed his concerns about repeating his error from BB16—taking someone else to the end and losing to them—but assured the viewers that if he won Final HOH, he would choose victory over loyalty. Also, he claimed to be loyal to both Nicole and Enzo, so he gets to be loyal no matter what if he wins Final HOH.

In our eyes, Cody’s got this game in the bag, and he more or less has since he won that first HOH. The Committee ran the entire game, and Cody more or less ran the Committee. We’ve hoped that he might have his harsh words and double-crosses come back to bite him, but honestly, he deserves to win over everyone else in the house, and most likely, both Nicole and Enzo would take him to the end.

Finally, Nicole made her case for why she should become the first two-time winner. Julie reminded us that Nicole was the first-ever woman to beat a man in the finals of Big Brother, which is really depressing that that didn’t happen until BB18 and also not surprising considering that Nicole generally targets all the other women in the game. She recapped her social game—her Final Twos with Cody and Ian—her being a part of the Committee alliance, and how she “let [her] allies take [her] shots for [her].” AKA, she didn’t play the game and stuck to her standard strategy of lying in bed until Week 10 and then winning something. 

They made it look like Janelle’s elimination was some masterstroke of Nicole’s? Which it wasn’t? The show also reiterated the lie about her being sad about voting out Ian. She described her game as, “I strategically laid low and fooled people into thinking I was a weak player.” Okay. “I know that I am one of the best Big Brother players of all time.” Okay.

Much of Nicole’s storyline this season has been proving her worth following her oft-maligned win in BB18. I’m not sure that, even if she won this season, her reputation would change much. She’s played the exact same she played (or tried to) in both BB16 and BB18. Nicole has a chance at winning if the jury is bitter, or maybe if she wins Part 3 and cuts Cody. I don’t think she’s gonna do that, though. More likely, she loses to Cody at the end of the game. Cody’s game has been much, much more dominant than hers. She didn’t win a single thing until week 10, and by and large laid back and let Cody make all the calls throughout the entire game. There is very little argument Nicole can make to a jury. She might even lose to Enzo if the jury bears no respect for her game, which is possible.

The pre-jurors came back and shared their thoughts in a prerecorded video call. This had absolutely no effect on the game, and it just made me sad that they were gone. In summary: they think Cody will win. If Cody gets cut, they think whoever cuts Cody will win. At the end of the episode, with the HOH competition finished, Nicole pondered who she might take to the end if she wins Part 3. We think it’ll be Cody… if she wins it. Which is up in the air, anyway.

There’s one episode left: the two-hour finale on Wednesday. “From outside the Big Brother House, I’m Julie Chen-Moonves,” Julie Chen-Moonves said, “be still… and exercise peace. Goodnight.” Nice message. Absolutely no bearing on the game. Much like the season as a whole, this recap can be summed up as TL;DR—Cody’s probably going to win.

Written by

Alexandra Shields

Alexandra “Ali” Shields is a sketch writer and playwright from Chicago and a graduate from Northwestern University. Alexandra has published humor articles with The Second City Network and Alexandra’s play, Twelve, won first place in the Jackie White National Memorial Playwriting Contest in 2018. Ali writes Inside Survivor’s weekly Hot or Not feature with her fiancé Gus.

Gus Schlanbusch

Gus is a Chicago-based theater artist and Survivor fan. He and his fiancée Ali also co-run a small theater company and produce a podcast about The Wheel of Time called “Wheel Takes.” When he’s not busy with all of that, he’s probably playing board games. Gus writes Inside Survivor’s weekly Hot or Not feature with Ali.

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