Big Brother Season Finale Recap

After two weeks of quarantine and 85 days in the house, Big Brother All-Stars finally came to an end this week.

Entering the finale, Nicole had already cemented her place in round three of the final HOH competition. So, who would join her in the third round to compete for the last HOH of the season? And who ended up winning Big Brother? Let's dig in

And the winner is?

The jury ultimately awarded Cody the title of Big Brother All-Stars champion. He secured his spot in the final two after outlasting Enzo in round two of the HOH competition before beating Nicole in the third round. Subsequently, he chose to vote Nicole out over Enzo, making her the ninth and final member of the jury while Enzo joined Cody in the coveted finale seats.

The vote to evict Nicole proved to be one of the more emotional moments of the season. Cody and Nicole were both crying while Cody was giving his eviction speech. Nicole was blindsided and hurt by the eviction. She truly believed Cody would take her to the end.

What this moment illustrates are the many ways that Cody's game evolved for All-Stars. During his initial season, Cody only relied on his social game to get him to the end, letting Derrick take the strategic reins for the duo. He also made the mistake of taking Derrick to the end, a move that cost him the win on Big Brother 16. Cody played a much more complete game during All-Stars, infusing his competition prowess, social engagement, and adept strategy to play a more holistic game. Ultimately, it was this adaptability that won the game for Cody.

Cody was the odds on favorite entering the final three, playing one of the more dominating games in the history of the show. After winning the seasons first HOH, he went on to form several key alliances that helped him maneuver throughout the game, including final two deals with Memphis, Enzo, and Nicole. His best move early on, though, was forming the Committee with Memphis, Tyler, Nicole, Dani, and Christmas. The Committee dominated week after week, picking off anyone who could oppose them. Once Kaysar and Janelle were voted out, the Committee had firm control of the house.

Cody played a vital role in the Committee, dictating much of the strategic direction for the group. The best evidence of this was the Da'Vonne and Ian votes. In both instances, neither was the target heading into the week, but Cody was able to sway his allies to target them.

The Ian vote, in particular, was the point that seemingly propelled Cody to the finals. By keeping Tyler, he was able to position himself as the middle man in the Committee. In short, he was shielded on all sides by those in his alliance. When it came time to turn on each other, Tyler made a move against Dani. Though Dani was upset with Cody, this move, by and large, kept the blood off his hands. Cody was also able to use this as a reason to target Tyler the following week before going after Memphis. By this point, the only person targeting Cody was Christmas, who had no real chance of advancing any further due to the strong bonds between Cody, Enzo, and Nicole.

Cody displayed a strong end game strategy, a fact we can't overlook. His best move may have come in the final three. Cody had deals with both Nicole and Enzo to go to the end. What he did so smartly was not reveal which houseguest he would take to the end if he won the last HOH. It is a subtle move, but one that probably prevents Enzo or Nicole from sharing that information with the other, which could have been disastrous for his game.

More importantly, he took the right person to the end by choosing Enzo. There is no debating this move, as Cody swept the jury vote, providing only the second unanimous vote in Big Brother history.

Why Nicole Lost

Nicole played an under the radar game, a strategy she employed en route to a victory during Big Brother 18. She smartly aligned with larger targets, shielding herself with the Committee and an alliance with Ian. Due to this, she never had to win competitions or step outside of the shadows of her allies. Other than the triple eviction, Nicole didn't face much adversity throughout her journey to the final three.

Due to this, however, Nicole's game lacked a truly defining moment. She wasn't responsible for any big moves, and alliance members, such as Cody, Tyler, and Memphis, won more competitions. She wasn't the architect of any of her alliances, nor did she dictate the vote from week to week. I think Nicole misjudged the level of her gameplay, evident by a talking head from the Monday recap episode that she was able to get out her targets while keeping her hands clean. But in reality, Cody ran the house from the very first week.

The best example is the week of Ian's eviction. Nicole desperately wanted to keep Ian, but her closest ally, Dani, put Ian on the block because Cody was pushing it. And when Nicole and Dani had the opportunity to save Ian by voting Tyler out, Cody was able to convince both of them to vote against Ian, a move that would hurt their standing while giving Cody control of the game.

Nicole's best move was putting Memphis up, but she didn't dictate that vote. If Cody and Enzo wanted to vote out Christmas, they would have. Memphis's aggressive gameplay made Cody leery of him, leading to his eviction. Yes, Nicole should get credit for putting Memphis on the block, but it was Cody and Enzo who ultimately decided who would go home that week.

The move she never made but should have was to evict Cody. According to her eviction interview with Julie, Nicole was never going to vote him out. But this would have been a game-winning move. While I do think she would have fared better than Enzo in the final vote, I don't know if she could have beaten Cody. And I think the jury would have looked at the choice to pick Cody over Enzo in a negative light as she would have most likely won if she voted Cody out.

Overall, Nicole should be proud of her game. She was able to lay low and keep the target off her back. Nicole played a role in many of the Committee moves and managed to get to the final three as a previous winner. Had Nicole made it to the end, she would have given Cody a run for his money. Unfortunately, she wasn't aggressive enough when she needed to be, often passing on the big move to remain loyal to Cody, who ultimately played a better game.

Why Enzo Lost

Enzo entered the Big Brother house after a third-place finish in season 12. During his original run on the show, Enzo formed a dominant alliance that carried him to the end, but he wasn't able to win the final three HOH. His likable personality made him a threat, resulting in Hayden voting to evict Enzo before the final vote. If that sounds familiar, it's because Enzo's Big Brother All-Star game followed a surprisingly similar path. Unlike Cody, Enzo didn't change up his strategy from his first season, and he ultimately pays for it in the end.

By day two, he had formed a final two deal with Cody, known as the Root. While excluded from The Committee alliance, Enzo built strong relationships with a large part of the house, namely Memphis, Christmas, and Tyler, that carried him throughout the game. Because of his adept social skills, Enzo never saw the block, even as The Committee wilted down their numbers.

Much like Nicole, Enzo's game lacked a truly defining move the jury could get behind. Despite running the house as part of the Root, Enzo's strategy didn't carry the same weight as Cody's in the eyes of the jury.

Enzo won a few competitions early but did not perform well as the season went on. He formed strong, genuine relationships with the rest of the house, but the majority alliance didn't include him. This fact paved the way for Enzo's biggest mistake, an over-reliance on Cody to further his game.

Enzo had several opportunities to make big moves but didn't because he wanted to continue reinforcing his relationship with Cody. Enzo was interested in targeting Tyler the week Ian went home, but Cody didn't want to, so Enzo dropped the matter. When the opportunity arose to vote out Nicole over David in the triple eviction, Enzo didn't want to blindside Cody by voting out one of his allies. With Christmas and Nicole on the block, Enzo couldn't sway Cody to vote out Nicole.

For the record, saving Nicole was the right move for Enzo's game. But he gave into Cody's wishes far too often and never made the big moves he needed to build his resume. It probably didn't leave a good taste in the mouth of the jury, either, when he continued to march around the house, clamoring for a big move only to pass on them every time one presented itself.

The final nail in the coffin for Enzo was his performance during the question segment with the jury. His frenetic energy had him pacing the living room and talking in circles. In contrast, Cody was succinct and calm in presenting his answers. For the jury, this painted a clear picture of Cody's game and the reasoning behind his moves. Meanwhile, Enzo rambled on about using Cody and wanting no one to go home, leaving a lot to be desire from his jury performance. In the end, he didn't do enough to show the impact of his game.

Enzo leaves Big Brother All-Stars with a legacy as one of the strongest social players in the history of the show. He creates such genuine relationships and bonds with his fellow houseguests. It is truly amazing to think that in two seasons, he only received three total nominations, two of which came in the final three after losing the HOH competition.

However, Enzo is a bit of a one-trick pony. He may have a great social game but doesn't fare well in competitions, and he sits back a little too much strategically to position himself to win the game. His strategy to make everyone like him isn't bad, but it would just be nice to see him take a more aggressive stance strategically. If he ever returns, maybe he can make these adjustments and finally get that coveted win. He does seem to improve by one sport each season, so there is only one place left for him to go!

Big Brother All-Stars 2 Legacy

With Big Brother All-Star wrapping up, it's fair to wonder what the season's ultimate legacy will be. It will inevitably take some time and distance to determine where the show places in its history.

Cody's played a dominating game, but I feel like this season, and Cody's dominance, highlights the fundamental flaws of Big Brother the show should address. This season continued the trend of large alliances, consisting of physical threats, forming early to dominate the game. It's a smart strategy, but one that doesn't allow for any intrigue. Players are unwilling to risk their games by making big moves, so we get the same people winning week after week. Maybe the show can find some way to disincentivize these alliances. Then again, players tend to adopt the styles of players that came right before them, so maybe next summer will feature a bunch playing like Cody, who implemented a more aggressive strategy.

Of course, we would be remised not to talk about Big Brother's willingness to show conversations about race and equity. Hopefully, this is what fans remember about this season in the future. The conversations between Da'Vonne, Kaysar, Kevin, and David, among others, was a leap forward for a show who, just last summer, was heavily criticized for its handling of racial conversations in the house. These various conversations deserved a platform, especially considering the state of our country in regards to people of color. These are important conversations about important topics. I am just glad Big Brother didn't shy away from them.

And with that, our coverage for this season of Big Brother is over. It has been a season of ups and downs, but it ended fittingly with the right winner. With season 23 already confirmed, we will be back sooner than we realize!

Until then, always remember, treat others as you would want to be treated.

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