Big Brother was supposed to be the relief we needed during a global pandemic. The show pushed through and managed to complete a season during the worst times, something other productions were not able to do. However, this perseverance was met with lackluster content, leaving the viewers with a fulfilled yet undesirable conclusion. The finale episode proved that while reality itself is unpredictable, a game that replicates reality can expect the expected.
This episode begins with Part 2 of the final HOH competition, where Enzo and Cody must take pictures with postcards of eliminated houseguests while having pigs flung at them. Enzo immediately does terrible and seems to have a complete meltdown during his attempt. After beginning the season with a few competition wins, Enzo seems to have fallen back on old tricks, desperately attempting to compete with those who always have the upper hand over him. Cody wins the comp by more than 30 minutes, leaving Enzo in a state of despair. Enzo tells both Nicole and Cody that they should take each other to the Final 2, essentially giving up.
I think it is bizarre that Enzo is throwing in the towel this late in the season. He blames himself for wanting to go to the end with “the young ones” again, but he had plenty of opportunities to take them out. Back during the Triple Eviction episode, he chose to vote out David instead of Nicole, which would have left him in a much better position heading into the end-game. Now, he must rely on either Cody or Nicole to take him to the end, and all signs point to Enzo being eliminated for third place… or so we thought.
Before that decision, we check in with the Jury to see how they’re feeling. Da’Vonne and Ian don’t appreciate Nicole’s style of game, as she never owns up to her decisions. Others like Christmas and David disagree, saying that it’s impressive for a previous winner to make it that far in the season. Tyler commends Enzo’s game, despite Enzo not giving enough credit to do that himself. These points are redundant, as they all know that if Cody is sitting in the Final 2, he will win hands down as he played the best strategy up until that point.
It’s time for Part 3 of the final HOH comp. Straying away from the classic final comp, Cody and Nicole watch videos of the jurors and figure out which statements are true or false. Nicole gets every question right except for the first, which would end up being the reason she lost. Cody gets a perfect score and wins the final HOH, becoming the first houseguest to never be nominated at any point in a Big Brother season. It is a crowning moment, as he knows he can sit next to either Enzo and Nicole and have a great case as to why he should win.
All the signs are pointing to Cody choosing to evict Enzo. In their final speeches, Nicole desperately tells Cody that she wouldn’t have cut him if she was in his position, and Enzo tells him how they’ve played this game together the entire time. In the most (only?) shocking moment of the season, Cody evicts Nicole, knowing he probably has a better shot against Enzo in the Final 2. Stunned, Nicole walks out of the house teary-eyed, realizing that all the work she put in was for nothing and that Cody was going to evict her regardless of what she said.
The Jury, very impressed with Cody’s decision, must now ask Cody and Enzo questions about why they should win. It’s clear throughout the questioning that Enzo is too flustered to answer coherently. I think it was a brilliant decision by Cody to surprise Enzo by bringing him to the Final 2 since Enzo never prepared a speech or Jury answers. Cody’s game is well laid out for the Jury, revealing how he had Tyler and Dani going after each other, targeting Ian at the right moment, and showed that he had a pulse on every decision made the house.
On the flip-side, Enzo focuses on being the likable, fun player who used Cody as a shield throughout the game. The Jury laughs as Enzo barely articulates a strategy, yet they are laughing with him, not at him. As the Jury of nine cast their votes, the decision will come down to strategy vs. likeability.
Before the votes are read, host Julie Chen-Moonves brings back the pre-jury houseguests to discuss the season. Kaysar and Janelle explain the importance of going after players like Cody and Enzo, yet there was no right moment to swing as they couldn’t win the competitions. Bayleigh talks about how she couldn’t trust Dani or Tyler, leading to their counter-alliance never gaining power, and Keesha outs Cody for not knowing her name.
I was projecting the final vote to be closer than expected since Enzo is so likable. However, the Jury votes for who played the best game, rewarding Cody in a unanimous vote. It’s a well-deserved yet unsurprising end to a season dominated by Cody, who utilized his pre-game connections to bulldoze a cast unmotivated to change the status quo.
The other prize awarded is “America’s Favorite Player,” which viewers at home voted for. Da’Vonne Rogers, capping off her three-season arc on the show, wins with over a million votes cast for her, becoming the first African-American houseguest to win the prize. It’s a bright spot in what will be forever known as a dreary and dull season of Big Brother.
This season had way more downs than ups, but ultimately that is just how Big Brother works. Every season provides a chance for the houseguests to play hard, be entertaining, and allow the viewer to escape for a moment. Players like Da’Vonne, Janelle, and Kaysar personify this, while others miss this opportunity. With Julie’s announcement of Big Brother’s renewal next summer, many more houseguests will get the same chance to wow us, and hopefully, next time, they actually will.