Big Brother recap: The Final 3 compete in the first leg of the last HOH
It's the final week over here in Big Brother recap land, and there's really only so much current game to talk about. A lot of the strategy is out the window at this point, the Final 2 deals are pretty much set, and it all comes down to the final, three-part HOH competition. One person moves on from each of the two rounds, and then those two players square off on finale night to determine the last HOH of the season, giving that person the power to choose who sits next to them in front of the jury to make their case for the $500,000 prize.
Because there's not much action to get to this week, this episode spends a lot of time recapping the season and having the players go in the Diary Room and break down their games. It's not always entertaining to watch a bunch of moments we've already seen, especially when the season has been so underwhelming, but it's nice to get into the heads of the players and see how they feel about the game they played. We start with Enzo, and his strategy was pretty clear coming into the house. He was going to play a social game first and foremost, making sure to get close with everybody in the house, be friendly and funny with them, and use his charm to carry him forward in the game.
Early on I wondered if it'd be enough because Enzo seemed to fade into the background for the first few weeks. But after his HOH week where Kaysar was voted out, his game started looking better. He wasn't in The Committee, but everyone in that main alliance liked him and most of them had some sort of deal with him. He was able to use them to get further in the game without technically being part of the controlling alliance that was voting everyone out and making enemies along the way. He avoided the block the entire game, and if he makes it to the Final 2, I think he has a good case to plead to the jury, one where his under-the-radar strategy worked really well.
Then we're on to Cody, who's definitely got a good mix of gameplay to present to the jury should he make it. He's won a ton of competitions and had to target people and put them on the block, but he's also managed to avoid being a target himself despite being the biggest threat in the house for weeks on end. His social game kept him off the block all season, and it allowed him to control a large part of the game while still assuaging people with his personality. He never really rubbed anyone the wrong way, won a bunch of powers all season long, and from where I'm sitting, he's clearly the frontrunner. If he wins the final HOH, his entire season is going to come down to one decision, and it's one that cost him in the past. In his previous season, he stayed loyal to his Final 2 and it cost him the money on finale night. This time, he can't choose loyalty. He needs to choose to sit next to whoever he thinks he can truly beat. Whether that's Enzo or Nicole is a tricky question, and he'll have a lot to think about.
Finally, Nicole, the former winner who once again has made it to the end, gets to lay out her case for why she's worthy of the win. I think Nicole has the trickiest game to analyze. She was laying low in The Committee, knowing that it'd be smart to make the other alliance members, like Dani and Memphis, look like bigger threats and then strike near the end. She won a huge HOH, swept the week with the veto, and then got Memphis out. Her relationship with Cody has helped her along the way too, but it's hard to tell if she rubbed too many people the wrong way or if she's made enough moves to impress the jury. She had a habit of being very fake and playing dumb, which drove a lot of players crazy, as they just wanted her to own the game she was playing. I feel like she could make a good case for her game if she's sitting next to Enzo — "I'm a former winner and I made it this far again and I controlled more of this game than Enzo" — but I think Cody would be tough to beat.
With the remaining players done analyzing their games, we get to check in with the first five people evicted from the game — Keesha, Nicole A, Janelle, Kaysar, and Bayleigh — and see what they think of the Final 3. Janelle mentions that Cody has played a strong game, but that maybe he had too many deals going on to win. Bayleigh thinks that Nicole hasn't made any relevant game moves and that she's been riding Cody's coattails the whole time. When it comes to purely talking about who played the best game overall and who deserves to win, everyone agrees it's Cody. They throw some compliments at Enzo for playing a smart game that could win over the jury and agree he has the best chance of beating Cody, but think Cody, a runner-up in his previous season, is still the obvious choice to take home the prize.
Finally, it's on to the first leg of the HOH. It's a simple endurance competition, where the players must hang on to a rope with a small disk for their feet. The last player standing advances to the third part of the competition on finale night. The ropes start spinning, the players are being slammed into different objects, and of course, they get sprayed with slime. It's an incredibly tough competition, and before long Enzo is the first one to drop. He believes that Cody will take him to the Final 2, so that's who he's rooting for here; considering his record in competitions, it's not a bad person to be cheering for. Nicole is looking good though while Cody is smacking into the objects hard. Whether that's because Cody is heavier and taller and the game doesn't adjust for that, or because Nicole figures out a strategy to avoid the hits, is up for debate, but either way, she rides that stability to a win. She snags the first part of the HOH competition and immediately moves to Part 3 on finale night, padding her résumé and leaving Cody and Enzo to battle it out for that last spot. We'll see how it all plays out on Wednesday when the 2-hour finale airs!