Michie, Holly, and Nicole battle it out for the $500,000 prize.
Big Brother
Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS
S21 E40

And it all comes down to this. After Nicole failed to see a few moves ahead and assert herself with Cliff, America’s favorite underdog is stuck in a Final Three with the showmance of Michie and Holly. On Sunday, Michie once again asserted his dominance by winning the first leg of the final H.O.H. competition, leaving Nicole and Holly to battle it out to make it to the finals. So, who will win the final competition? And if it’s Michie or Holly, will they stick to their word?

Before getting to the competition, Dr. Will is here to check in with the jury and discuss everyone’s gameplay so far. Cliff shows up to explain how he was voted out — pretty much everyone laughs at him for thinking that Michie would stick to his word — and then they talk about gameplay. Michie, rightly so, is the most controversial player. Nick is absolutely in love with his game, saying he deserves to win because he’s won so many comps. Jessica, Kat, and Christie immediately hit back against that point. They say he’s also played a dirty social game along the way, whereas both Nicole and Holly have done well in that area.

Their analysis is pretty accurate. Michie certainly deserves some respect, but his lying, his manipulation, and his temper all work against him. He didn’t make a lot of friends, and that could hurt him in the end. Interestingly, the jury seems pretty split along gender lines. Nick and Jack seem to think Michie did what he needed to do and should be the clear winner. Meanwhile, all the women say Nicole and Holly are not getting the respect they deserve because they’re not the loudest voices in the room. That feels right to me.

Anyways, off to the comps. The second leg of the H.O.H. is a memory game, matching dates to moments from the season. Nicole seems to do well, only missing one on her initial pass. Holly does well too, though she misses two on her first pass. But it all comes down to who fixed their errors in the shortest amount of time. Holly clocks in at 10 minutes and 38 seconds and Nicole clocks in at…14 minutes 48 seconds. For all intents and purposes, that’s it for her game. She makes the right pitch to Holly though, saying that if she wins the third leg of the comp, she should consider evicting Michie because that would give her a better shot at winning.

That whole pitch is for naught though. Michie dominates the third leg of the comp, answering every question right while Holly misses one, and Holly and Nicole’s fate is in his hands. There’s no mystery here. Holly maybe would have evicted Michie, but there’s no way Michie is taking Nicole; he has a much better chance of winning against Holly. So, he evicts Nicole, and we’re off to the jury grilling.

To be honest, it’s not much of a grilling. The questions are pretty basic, and they mostly allow Holly and Michie to stick to their rehearsed points. For Michie, that’s emphasizing that he played an incredibly strategic, dominant game and that any personal stuff should be put aside in a final vote. Holly argues that she was the one behind the scenes pulling strings, using Michie and “hiding her strengths” so that she could fly under the radar and then win when it mattered.

Much more interesting is the moment when everyone has to confront the members of the house that were voted out and didn’t make the jury. Thankfully, Big Brother uses this time to address some of the sexism, bullying, and racism that many people noticed both during tapings and on the live streams. Now, the format can’t accomplish much — you need behind the scenes changes from producers and executives to really address the longterm problems — but it’s a start. Ovi and Nicole are given space to address the bullying, and Kemi and David get to educate some of the houseguests, namely Michie and Jack, on their biases and potential racism. It’s ridiculous that Julie puts Kemi on the spot and asks her if she accepts their apologies, which she swiftly turns down, but otherwise, it’s a segment that gets the ball rolling on a conversation that this show needs to be having loudly and in public.

That’s about it for the fireworks, though. This season goes out as it came in, with a predictable win. Michie gets the majority of the votes and he’s crowned the winner. In the one beautiful grace note, Nicole is voted America’s Favorite Player. The underdog story wasn’t meant to be this time, but in a season that included a lot of nastiness, Nicole was a beacon of humility and goodwill. At least we can take that with us.

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Big Brother
Big Brother

Julie Chen hosts as the houseguests battle it out.

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