Previously on Big Brother:  Man, it’s too late to catch up now.  I mean, it’s a whole season. We don’t have time to explain Camp Comeback and the Nightmare Power and try to remember who Isabella was.  It’s the finale. Cliff Hogg III got evicted, and there was much rejoicing, all due respect to the Hogg family.

So, we’re going to split up this finale – at the halfway point, I’ll turn it over to Myndi and you’ll suddenly notice fewer references to short-lived DC Comics series from the Nineties.  Also, since Sunday’s episode was pretty fillertastic, I’m just going to cover the pertinent parts here and not recap the final three remembering things that happened this summer.

Michie seems worried about jury management, but it’s a transparent attempt to convince Nicole that he would lose at Final Two.  And she even DRs exactly that. She’s more interesting than the first half of the season would lead you to believe – one of the perils of airing and editing the show as it’s happening.  Nicole was getting the “She’ll be gone soon” edit and I wish we’d seen more of what she was doing in the early days. I like the way she can clown around with Michie while knowing exactly what’s going on.  She nearly makes him crazy by just telling him “You’re good” and not elaborating.

There are a lot of flashbacks detailing how the final three got there, which is not the most interesting footage in the world.  We know what’s up. At least they’re not doing the awkward transitions where the houseguests cue up old footage with lines fed by the producers.  But on the other hand, we’re not even seeing new scenes this year. You’d be forgiven for punching out and watching The Righteous Gemstones for a bit.  Julie talked to last year’s final three (Tyler, Kaycee, and JC), and it turns out I’m still kind of tired of them.  Last season was really interesting in terms of gameplay and the way the power moved around, but it’s a lot of people I don’t really need to see again.  Then there’s a segment on weird DR statements that I like because Nicole apologizes for swearing. She’s weird and delightful.

We finally get to a competition!  It’s a combination puzzle / obstacle course thing where they all have to cross these hanging platforms to get to a puzzle.  If they solve it, their treasure chest opens and they have to bring 25 gold coins, one at a time, back across the platforms.  It’s very video-gamey, so I like it. Surprisingly, Michie finishes the puzzle first and Holly is second. And you know Nicole’s only going to lose ground to those two in the physical part of the challenge.  She also says “dosh gone it” and I can’t tell if that was intentional or a Spoonerism. In the end, Michie wins, so he’s going straight to the final round of the three-part competition. We’ll see how that goes when we get to the finale in the next paragraph.

And now we’ve reached the finale!  Julie is in a nice dress, the audience is pumped, and we’ve got three hamsters left.  The announcer gives us a long clip package and I feel like we’ll be watching the clip of Jessica falling off the haunted house for years to come.  

We all hope Holly never thinks about Michie again once this season ends, right?

Dr. Will heads to the Jury House to chat with the voters.  I take some comfort in the fact that Will has gone more gray than I have in the many, many years since Season Two.  Oh, also Cliff hasn’t joined them yet. Christie hasn’t felt anybody’s energy yet, which is her way of covering for not actually being an all-seeing mystic.  Cliff shows up and people think it’s hilarious that he really thought Michie would eliminate Holly over him. Yeah, the only person who didn’t think that was funny was one Cliff Hogg III.  

The Jury discuss the merits of Michie – Kathryn says he’s loyal, but Sis disputes this.  I think he actually really is (for the most part), but he wasn’t loyal to all the people who thought he would be loyal to them.  Cliff calls him a “Jekyll and Hyde” but come on, he was all Hyde. Tommy doesn’t like that he speaks aggressively, and I can tell Tommy is the guy who will check your Twitter follows and tell you all the ones that he thinks you should drop.  At length.

Next they talk Nicole and Kathryn is impressed with her social game.  I’m kind of focusing on what Kathryn says because I miss her so much. Sis feels like she needs an explanation of Nicole’s game and everybody else is all “She played a good game and now she’s in the final three”.  Jack doesn’t like that she was under the radar, but she did way better than he did.

Now it’s Holly, and it bums me out that most of them ascribe her success to Michie, because I don’t think that’s true at all.  You know who gets it right? Kathryn. She says she got Michie to the end, which I think is mostly true. She also says that Holly took out big targets and Michie went after the bottom feeders and gets a death glare from Sis, which has already made the episode for me.  I get the feeling this Jury House has not been all smiles and hugs.

And now we get the second part of the final HoH competition.  It’s Holly v. Nicole in a memory challenge. Basically, there are a bunch of pictures from the season and they have to place a flag with the correct day number.  This also involved a rock climbing wall, so there’s a lot going on. I always wonder how this works, because people seem to have a pretty accurate day count and how the heck does anybody remember that they met Otev on Day 53?  Is there a journal?

Anyway, Nicole only get one wrong (the day the clowns appeared in the windows), but then she picks the wrong one to fix.  She recovers pretty quickly, it seems.

Holly talks about how she’s never gone rock climbing but she’s part of a “huge climbing community”.  She also gets the clowns wrong and struggles maybe more than Nicole did. But we’re going to find out now as Michie delivers the results.  Holly’s time was 10:38, which seems fast. Nicole ended up with 14:38, so Holly wins and that basically means Nicole’s done for. Neither of them are bringing her to Final Two.  Nicole is devastated, and I really feel bad for her. Nicole winning this thing would have been such a satisfying end to this season.

Later, she tries to convince Holly that people in the Jury will think she rode Michie’s coattails, and we’ve seen she’s right about that.  Honestly, Holly played a good game – she had the benefit of a big alliance, but she’s the one who navigated all the drama of the collapse. We really saw some good gameplay this season.

And now it’s the final round as we return to the live feed.  It is a variation of the same competition they almost always do at this point.  Julie shows them a video of a jury member making three statements, two truths and a lie.  Guess the lie and get a point. Cool? Cool.

Oh, and these are factual statements.  Like Kat is first and her lie is “The last competition I played was ‘Time Me a River’.”  I like it better where they play the first part of a statement and then they guess which of two possibilities to end the statement is correct.  Those are more fun and sometimes funny. Cliff Hogg III is very bad at pretending he’s writing, by the way. Speaking of, remember that episode in Season Two of GLOW where Sam signs Ruth’s cast and it looks like Marc Maron has never held a pen before?  I think about that a lot. Anyway, Holly and Michie are doing well but they’re doing the same amount of well until Michie takes a lead on the fifth question.  After the eighth and final question, they end up with Michie winning 8-7. So they both did really well, but if Nicole wasn’t dead in the water before, this is definitely it.  

There are a lot of things not to like about Michie and some of them are probably due to the fact that he’s like 24 and doesn’t know how to be a person yet.  But regardless, he is very good at competitions. It’s impressive.

And now it’s time for Michie to evict somebody.  There could not be less suspense to this. Holly’s hair has looked really good all season. Props for that.  Nicole knows she’s not getting this, but she still does her best. Michie claims it’s a tough choice but he evicts Nicole and surprises nobody.  She’s clearly had some time to prepare because she takes it really well. And you know what? No shame in third place. She made it to the end and she played smart and, other than her reactions to birds, she’s going home with nothing to be embarrassed about.  Good job, Nicole! I hope you turn up on Amazing Race with an unlikely partner!

The audience loses their minds when Nicole comes out of the house and it’s a nice moment for her.  And then it’s the ChenMoonvesterview. Nicole assures us that she’s OK and she didn’t get hurt because it’s a game.  She’s doing fine until she sees her family in the audience and then she tears up, but she gets it together and talks about how she learned how to be herself and that’s awesome.  Man, I genuinely like Nicole. She seems like a good person and I want the best for her.

And that’s the halfway point, so I’m kicking it over to Myndi!

Hi kids, and thanks EJ!  Back from commercial break, the show decided to save some time by having the jurors all seated for their introductions in studio rather than entering like the rock stars they are not. Cliff, it’s not polite to wear your cowboy hat inside.  Nicole joins the group to no one’s surprise. 

Time for some questions! Jackson and Holly are sooooo happy to see everyone.  Cliff asks Jackson how crucial jury management was in his gameplay. In a very well rehearsed response, Jackson says that on Day 44, his alliance blew up and he was forced to play for himself. He says he was honest when he didn’t want to be, loyal when he didn’t have to be and only lied when he needed to. He said all his actions were “always game, thought out and strategic”. Holly is asked how her strategy evolved.  She says her best bet was to fly under the radar. She didn’t show her mental comp strength. She says she “said less”, won when she needed to, didn’t show her cards and adapted. Next up, Tommy tells Jackson that some of the women felt he was degrading and condescending and he’s not sure we should award that behavior. Jackson is a little surprised by this, but rolls with it, saying he’s very intense, but he respects women because his mama raised him right.  He says he knows he gets “worked up”, but that at no point did he make jokes or slanderous remarks. What was missing from that whole thing was an apology. Sis’ “question” is more of a statement: Holly played Jackson’s game. Holly disagrees, saying they had different games. Holly says she went for bigger fish (i.e. Nick and Sam) because they scared her. Holly argues that rather than riding Jackson’s coattails, she was dragging them so he didn’t get in trouble; she says she managed him.  Jackson is asked why he deserves to win over Holly. He says he wanted to leave targets in the house, and get rid of people around them. He says strategy and logic laid the tracks of whatever he did. Holly is then asked why she should win over Jackson. Holly says she chose the hardest route (really?) and that she wanted to play with honesty. She was a straight shooter and wasn’t really targeted in the game. She says she managed relationships, well, genuinely and authentically. She was calculated and careful. You’ll note that Holly was cut off a few times by Julie, while Jackson was not cut off once.

When it’s time for Final Words, naturally Jackson goes first. He feels he played the best version of Big Brother. He threw rogue votes, was a have not, was on the block, Of the 13 comp wins between them, he won 11, and has done it all while in a showmance. He asks that people vote based on game and not on personal emotion. Holly feels she was underestimated and capitalized on it in the house.  Again, she says she didn’t show her cards, relied on her social game and was the last person to see the block. She also won the hardest physical comp of season. She asks if they want to vote for a sniper (her) or a front line soldier (him).  

Once the votes are in–with minimal chatter– the pre jury players are allowed to return: David, Ovi, Kemi, Bella and Sam.  Julie wants to stir the pot, I mean, address the controversies: On night 24, we watched Nicole be shut out on the HOH room by the Grateful alliance.  Ovi says that the actions taken that night didn’t align with the oath that they took to have greater moral character. (Was there a bible involved in this oath?) Nicole says there were a lot of bystanders, and she plans to forgive and move forward.  It should also be noted that no one apologizes. Kemi is up next, and she confronts Jack, Jackson, Christie and Nick by saying “I’m not sure what your obsession is with me, but there were things said that were inexcusable and unforgivable.” Jack says he won’t be able to apologize enough. He says it was not fair to her, and that she’s a beautiful person.  Christie says she’s not sure what was said, then proceeds to blame hormones. She concludes that once she watches the show, and sees exactly what happened, Kemi will get a call apologizing. Jackson has no idea what he said, but he’s sorry if he offended her. He goes on to say that “adapting is no excuse”, and he likes her as a person. When Julie comes back to Kemi and asks how that went, Kemi says she can’t accept the apologies until they know what your apologizing for. That’s kind of a copout.  If you’re going to confront these people like this, you need to be open to considering an apology. Now we turn to Jackson’s choices for banishment appearing to be racist and ageist, since they were David, Kemi, Jessica and Cliff. Jackson is blindsided but recovers quickly. He immediately says he’s not racist, and his choices were based strictly on first impressions. He says he felt threatened by their strengths, not their identities. David mentions implied biases and while I suppose that could be a thing here, based on Jackson’s answer of exactly why he did select people, I don’t think it is. Finally, we move on to Nick & Kat’s “jurymance”. Nick says he takes responsibility for his actions, but he doesn’t take anything back. He discovered he had feelings for Kat, nothing against Bella. How he didn’t think anyone would want to put that on TV is beyond me.  I wonder how this might affect the clients of this children’s therapist! I know I’d be looking for someone new. Bella tells him that he made a commitment to her, to not make her look stupid, and he did. She says no one deserves to feel that way. Sam is mercifully forced to remain mute. 

Well, that was a whirlwind where nothing got resolved, so whee, fun!  OK, how did the votes fall?Basically, guys went for Jackson and girls went for Holly, with the exception of Sis, because she refused to see how Jackson treated the other female contestants.  So, Jackson won 6-3.

Also, it was no shock that America’s favorite went to Nicole, who beat out Tommy and Cliff and gets $25K.

Back with a gobsmacked and stone faced Jackson, Julie asks quickly about his future with Holly. After Jackson says it’s one day at a time, Holly says they have “adventures planned”.

Jackson is preoccupied, clearly worried he’s come off as a major asshole on TV, which he totally did to me and EJ, but I’m sure not to all other viewers. That said, I did end up feeling a little bit bad for the guy, so thanks a lot CBS!

Should we do this again next summer?  Only if CBS can get some less annoying people.  That seems to be a requisite for this show. Well, at least Nicole emerged as a butterfly, right?  Yeah, she’s good people. See you next year kids! 

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