Did friendship win, or was it meatball's revenge?

By Justin Kirkland
September 20, 2017 at 10:22 PM EDT

Here we are, family.

Autumn is near. OTEV is asleep for the winter (JK, maybe he’ll be back for Celebrity Big Brother!). Julie is wearing a muted tone pantsuit, and Raven is exhausted from all this puppeteering! It’s time to pack it up for the summer and crown us a winner. #ButFirst! We have to be gifted a final HOH and send one more of these meatballs home before this (bitter, bitter) jury votes on a winner.

When we last left our houseguests, they were holding on to a rope attached to the butt of a unicorn. I kid you not. While they balance on a platform that leans back and forth, the unicorn periodically…how do we say this? Well, the unicorn farts color powder and glitter all over the houseguests. Christmas is almost immediately in pain because she’s competing on a broken foot, which is against at least eight different doctor’s orders. But surprisingly, it’s Josh who tumbles out of his unicorn’s butt first. Is “tumble out” the right phrase? I mean, no, but how else do we describe the climax of this season other than tumbling out of a unicorn’s butt? Anyway, Christmas crashes next, and I audibly gasp because foot breaks are so serious, guys. Paul is ecstatic, and I hear you…I hear your heavy sigh from this couch, and I embrace you.

That takes Josh and Christmas into round two of this HOH competition, which is a like…a budget Medieval Times. Essentially, while dressed as Game of Thrones rejects, Christmas and Josh get clues about certain houseguests. Once they have those clues, they have to eliminate the ones not described via catapult and slingshot. Of course, this all has to be done in the shortest amount of time. And if you knock down the wrong houseguest, you have to set it back up yourself because it’s the end of the season, and budgets, man.

Christmas struggles quite a bit, and the hustle up and down the stairs doesn’t do her any favors. It looks like a real good situation for Josh, but Josh has a bit of a stumble as well. At the end of the day, Josh beats Christmas by seven minutes, which isn’t a lot of time considering it took both of them over AN HOUR AND A HALF. Post-round two, Paul retreats to the lounge room to chat with America about his anxiety going into the final two again. Christmas hits the hammock and just calls herself stupid a whole bunch, which is what athletes do!

But for a minute, let’s leave the house and head to the jury house. Dr. Will has popped a squat with the houseguests before Kevin joins the group. They speculate who isn’t going to make the final three, and Raven insists that she thinks it’s going to be Christmas, so when Kevin walks in, she says, “I knew it was going to be you.” And that prompts Mark to call her out, further prompting Matt to STAND BY HIS WOMAN. It devolves pretty quickly, so the conversation turns to the final three.

When they jump into the details, the big takeaway is that Josh was extremely disliked, but he made moves. Christmas played up the fact that she had a broken foot, and Paul? Well, Paul was essentially a giant snake. And the response to that varies across the board…Elena and Mark? Not huge fans. Raven? Well, as a puppet master, game respects game, ya feel?

As the conversation continues, Dr. Will gives the team the Ms. Norbury Test for Determining Fault: Did you or did you not hurt and lie to each other? And everyone answers in the affirmative. That’s when they all kind of admit that the problem with voting for Paul is Bitter Jury Syndrome™ and you know what? Maybe if Paul had played it better, that wouldn’t have been such an issue.

Back in the house, Josh and Paul take to the final competition of the season…the classic scales of knowledge challenge. It feels risky because Paul’s game has been based on working and understanding houseguests, but then again, GinaMarie almost won her season’s comp, so who even knows. To be honest with you, I blacked out after hearing that Cody’s best moment was winning the battle back and not meeting Jessica, so I can’t tell you much about what happened after that. But I can tell you that Josh took the lead after four questions, and going into the final questions, Josh had the edge on Paul by one. And that is what you get when you assume, boys and girls. Josh reigns supreme, and he has quite a decision to make.

With the final speeches, Paul explains that he’s kept Josh safe when he needed to, and he hopes Josh will do the same. And then Christmas? It almost seems like she’s giving a goodbye speech, which makes sense because she was. Josh says that he thinks he has the best chance winning against Paul, so he pulls a Cody Calafiore…NAY, if you’re a Survivor fan, he may have just pulled a Woo Hwang. But the thing is…this isn’t Survivor. This is Big Brother, and a bitter jury goes a hell of a lot further in Big Brother than it does in Survivor.

But that’s choices. Choices make and break your games, and if you’re in my camp and thought that Josh’s decision to take Paul was a mistake, then hoo boy, sit down because I have some jury questions to recap for you. Paul gets a fire question from the get-go, asking him how he contributed to bully culture, and he kind of wavers. But every time Josh gets a question, he either uses it to leverage his own game or he admits to something he’s done in the game that made him shady. It’s a genius response because if you look at respected players of the past, it’s the people who admitted, “Hey, maybe I was kind of a trash person, but I played the game like a champion,” who reign most supreme. And post-questioning, Paul is visibly angry. (Recap continues on page 2)

So with all of that, the final two have an opportunity to give a final speech. In that moment, Paul decides to lean into Josh’s gameplay and launches into what might be the most aggressive finalist speech in my memory. He details his entire game, explaining how he controlled the whole game, but Paul’s approach is exactly what is flawed about his game. It’s all personal at this point. It’s way too complicated and aggressive and sensitive, and that’s what makes an otherwise strong game broken. But when Josh takes to the floor to give his finale speech, he stumbles as well, flustered by his emotions and nerves. Heading into the final vote, it’s a toss-up as to who will win.

We share a moment with the first five people eliminated, which is typically a pretty dull moment that simply cushions the minutes before the vote real, right? Lord, girl, buckle up because this time, it’s a drag session. Julie calls on Jessica to make the big reveal, and she lays into the jury and explains that Paul had all of them fooled, and if they were willing to lose to Paul they should have never shown up to begin with. And then Julie. QUEEN JULIE. Our girl Julie drags the hell out of this cast for bending over backwards for Paul, and it’s pretty incredible. We may have all been frustrated this was such a Paul-heavy season, but it’s nice to see that addressed in the finale.

But much like the rest of 2017, the truth is irrelevant. It’s the votes that matter, unless Paul wins the electorate, in which case, Paul wins. So let’s just talk about votes.

Christmas: Paul
Kevin: Paul
Alex: Josh
Raven: Paul
Jason: Josh
Matt: Paul
Mark: Josh
Elena: Josh
Cody: JOSH

Y’all. Cody decided the season, and it went to Josh, the most unlikely hero, and you know what? In a vote of 5-4, Cody is the hero we deserve. Josh is the secondary hero we deserve. In a season as strange as this one, Josh is the most successful finish we could ever ask for because — let me be a little arrogant and spout some Big Brother philosophy. A bitter jury is part of the Big Brother game. And if you’re not accounting for it, then what game are you playing?

We have a few moments left as Paul contemplates exactly what model of vehicle he’s going to run in front of after this taping is over (that’s the only way he’s going to win $500,000). And if losing weren’t enough, Paul has to watch Cody take America’s Favorite Player, which is absolutely hysterical. So that’s it. God bless this cast for simply managing to stay alive and not sacrifice themselves mortally for Paul. God bless all of us for staying tuned in every week until the end, but as I’ve said before…over and over…God bless Julie Chen for putting up with all of us. Let’s eavesdrop on the houseguests one last time as the season comes to an end.

Episode Recaps

Big Brother

Julie Chen hosts as the houseguests battle it out.

  • TV Show
  • 21
  • TV-14
  • CBS
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