September 27, 2018 at 12:28 AM EDT
Sonja Flemming/CBS
S20 E40
  • TV Show

We made it! It’s finale night of Big Brother 20 and after 99 days, a winner will finally emerge from the house with 100 cameras in its walls. Will Tyler use the momentum he’s built since day one to grab a hold of the half-million prize, or will his Level Six-mate Kaycee (who has emerged with perfect timing as a competition beast) use her flawless sense of jury management to steal the win for herself? Or could JC beat almost all the odds and become the ultimate underdog winner?

We begin this finale as Sunday’s glorified clip show ended, in the midst of the first part of the final HoH competition. As the three finalists hold onto their jetpacks for dear life, Tyler contemplates in the diary room if his initial promise to throw the first competition to Kaycee is indeed the right move. Despite all the spinning, tilting, and blue “jet fuel” getting in their way, the finalists make it a good while before JC ultimately falls after almost an hour. With their biggest obstacle out of the way, this should be the moment Tyler falls in line with his promise and gives Kaycee the win. Nope! Tyler holds on as Kaycee’s stamina fades, causing her to fall off and giving him the win for part one. “This is the #1 biggest dream of my entire life,” Tyler tells the diary room as he explains why he went back on his word. He ultimately hopes Kaycee won’t take it personally and that she’ll still take him to final 2 if she wins the whole shebang. Kaycee, as anyone would expect, is annoyed but says she’s going to stay focused on winning part two and beating JC.

In part two of the competition, “Mount Evictus,” JC and Kaycee are given clues that will help them create monuments with the faces of their past fellow houseguests. Once they figure out the clues, they’ll grab nameplates and a climb a wall to place their answers. If they’re correct, a “laser” will carve the correct monument. The person who gets the three monuments correct in the fastest time wins this second installment. Both struggle with the clues given, but it’s ultimately Kaycee who locks her spot next to Tyler in the final part of the HoH competition. JC’s road to the final 2 has officially gotten harder, but he still holds hope that whoever wins part three will take him along.

Johnny Vy/CBS

It’s now time for what is always the best part of every Big Brother finale: the hella shady jury roundtable with Dr. Will! When Angela is revealed as the latest jury member, things quickly get interesting as she spills all the tea about Tyler and Kaycee’s final two deal (which seems to crush Sam’s spirit for about the 77th time this season) and Level Six itself.  Angela is also pretty dismissive of Kaycee’s strategy, saying she rode Tyler’s coattails and did nothing with all the major competitions and vetoes she won. “Are you saying this because you’re secretly in a showmance with Tyler?” Bayleigh asks with a deserving side-eye. Angela responds by saying she respects players who made big moves (Tyler) more than people who just followed the status quo (Kaycee). Of course, Angela herself was part of that status quo in Level Six. Standing by your man is one thing, but this is straight up revisionist history. Bayleigh makes another killer point by saying that Kaycee’s big move may have been keeping Angela to catch all the heat, then getting her out when it came close to the end.

Making some points for a JC win, Rockstar says he was running the house by putting ideas in people’s heads and standing back as things went on. Scottie helps Rockstar’s case some more by reminding the jury that it was JC who put the idea in Faysal’s head to put him up, which essentially was The Hive/Foute’s fatal blow. Angela and Bayleigh aren’t falling for it, saying JC was a nonentity in competitions and that the winner of Big Brother should be someone who succeeded at being an all-around player. “Tyler made many mistakes in the game and he still prevailed,” Bayleigh says, adding that Foute took shot after shot at him and came up short. Brett, Scottie, and Haleigh bring up Tyler’s ability to make big moves under the radar while charming everyone into believing he was on their side. While his strategy left many in the jury rueing the day they ever trusted him, Rockstar puts it best when she says “game recognizes game.” Dr. Will closes the segment by asking the jury if it’s still anyone’s game to win. They all reply, “Yes.” Oh, and Celebrity Big Brother’s coming back this winter. Yay?

The final part of the HoH competition, “Jury Oddcasts” (I’ll miss you the least of all, online puns), has Tyler and Kaycee watching videos in which each member of the jury gives some true and untrue facts about the season. After each video, they’ll have to answer whether they think the fact in the video is “totally right” or “not quite;” the person with the most correct answers is our final HoH and officially in the final two. It’s a dead heat between the two the entire competition and things go to a tie-break, which is won by Kaycee, the Julia Louis-Dreyfus of winning competitions. She can now choose who will join her in the final two.

When the time comes for her big choice, Kaycee picks her day one ride-or-die Tyler and sends JC to the jury. In his lightning brief interview with Julie Chen-Moonves, JC calls his game loyal and classy, which if you’ve watched the feeds, you’ll know is dead wrong. The now-complete jury assembles on stage for the most important barrier to the grand prize: the jury questions. Both finalists own their strategies for the most part when hammered by the jury. Asked by Haleigh what his most strategic moves of the season were, Tyler says it was creating a web of people (Level Six, JC, and Sam) to protect him from any possible obstacles from the first week on. When Brett quizzes Kaycee about her strategy outside of competition wins, she cites her strong social game as her top priority and what’s gotten her this far. Julie hurries the segment along for a time, which doesn’t really give much of an opportunity for substantive questions or answers beyond Kaycee playing up her genuine concern for the people outside of her alliance, and Tyler making a case for himself as the true puppetmaster in the house.

Johnny Vy/CBS

Before the final vote, Tyler and Kaycee each make the final statements that’ll seal their fate. Kaycee tells the jury she never made a promise she couldn’t keep and that she’s been herself from day one. “This little peanut would love your vote to win Big Brother 20 because I’m totally nuts about this game, baby!” she says, closing her speech with one last “let’s go!” Tyler plays up his superfan status and surprisingly makes his pitch about loyalty, admitting he won his secret “cloud” app on day 17 and never used it because he knew it meant one of his allies would be on the block (which was also why he used Scottie as a shield from Bayleigh by saying he was his closest ally). Also, he outs his showmance with Angela to the jury…which everyone had already figured out. With that, the jury one by one cast their votes for the winner of Big Brother 20.

But before we can find out who won, our five pre-jury evictees (Steve, Swaggy C, Winston, Rachel, and Kaitlyn) join the rest of the houseguests for a bit of a showmance status report. With Tyler and Angela, and Faysal and Haleigh still going strong, Swaggy C and Bayleigh’s relationship is still the big question mark. That is until Swaggy asks Bayleigh for her hand in marriage. Despite only being in the house together for 23 days, Bayleigh quickly says yes. The houseguests are giddy with surprise, but that’s all noise to Julie who shoos the lovebirds off just as quickly to announce the votes. The 11 o’clock news waits for no one!

In an eerie callback to last season’s finale, the votes start with an easy lead for Tyler but quickly turn Kaycee’s way into a 4-4 tie with Bayleigh as the swing vote. As the gasps among the audience and houseguests grow, Julie reveals that Bayleigh’s vote was for Kaycee, making her the 22nd winner of Big Brother. Turns out the motto isn’t “expect the unexpected” but rather “you’ll catch more Gs with honey than vinegar.”  As the two walk out to the usual hugs and confetti, I’m starting to wonder if all these recent BB outcomes, where the masterminds are taken down by bad jury management and worse egos, will change how future houseguests will play the game. Some of BB’s best winners, like Dan and Derrick, managed to play as hard as anyone, but also kept bonds with almost everyone in the house. Tyler played hard from day one but also made early enemies, while Kaycee maintained friendships outside her core alliance, combined with a well-timed surge competition-wise. But don’t cry too much for Tyler because he’s America’s Favorite Houseguest and that means something, right? *crickets*

And with all that, Big Brother 20 is in the history books. When Julie tells the houseguests this was “the best season ever,” that may be with some hyperbole (Big Brother 10 for life!), but this season definitely delivered from the beginning and never slowed down. The Level Six dominance may not have been everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s another example of the power alliances can bring when everything falls perfectly into place. We had great underdogs in Haleigh and Scottie, and some dishy villains like Brett and JC. Kaitlyn was the true wild card gone too soon, while Sam went from America’s Sweetheart to one of America’s Most Feared in the span of three months. This was my first season recapping Big Brother for this site, and I want to thank all the wonderful BB fans I’ve had the opportunity to talk to on Facebook and Twitter who reassured me that I wasn’t just speaking into a void. Your feedback has meant the world to me and this recap goes out to all of y’all! Until next time, everybody!

Episode Recaps

Julie Chen hosts as the houseguests battle it out.
  • TV Show
  • 21
  • TV-14
  • 07/05/00
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