S23 E37

It's finale time, and the Cookout has at long last completed its goal of guaranteeing Big Brother's first-ever African American winner. Now, it's down to Big D, Azah, and Xavier, battling it out for the final prize. During the last episode, Xavier won the first leg of the three-part HOH challenge, moving him ahead to the third leg, where he awaits either Big D or Azah to join him to see who becomes the final HOH.

We pick right up with the second part of the final HOH competition, as Azah and Big D square off, answering questions about all the houseguests from this season. The player to answer the three questions the fastest goes on to face Xavier. It's more difficult than it sounds because answering the questions involves spinning these large slot machine wheels to line up pictures of the evicted houseguests' faces. Azah ends up winning handily, ensuring that Big D won't win a challenge all season, which Azah could use as a criticism of his game should she make it to the end with Big D.

With Big D's fate now in the hands of either Azah or Xavier, you'd think he'd be doing his best to ingratiate himself to both, but no, he's losing his mind. He's having arguments; he's talking down to Azah, accusing her of going back on their deal to take him to the Final 2 even though he openly admits that he would have taken Xavier to the end should he have won the final HOH. All this man had to do was tell Azah, "Look, neither of us can beat Xavier, so we should go to the end together and have a chance." But no, he's telling her he carried her through this game, and now she's seriously considering sitting next to Xavier at the end.

All right, that brings us to the final part of the very last HOH competition of the season, where the winner gets to decide who they'll be sitting next to in the Final 2. Xavier and Azah must look at three "facts" about their evicted jury members and decide which one is false. There's a total of eight questions, and Azah gets the first one wrong. Then they both get the rest right, meaning that Xavier becomes the final HOH after getting a perfect score in the third part of the HOH competition.

'Big Brother'
| Credit: CBS

Now, it's decision time. Does he honor his deal with Big D? Does he make the switch to Azah? I'm honestly not sure it matters. Part of me thinks there are some members of this jury house that might vote for Azah to win, but if we can be real for a second, nobody here played a better game than Xavier. He did everything you could want out of a Big Brother winner, playing a social game, winning competitions when he needed to, and enacting a great short and long-term strategy. Just an unreal performance.

Tensions are high, and both Big D and Azah look very nervous, both in the chairs and when they give their final speeches to sway Xavier's decision. Ultimately though, Xavier stays true to his "ride or die" and votes to evict Azah. In her exit interview, she's very gracious and honest, as she has been all season, detailing how she would have taken Xavier to the Final 2 if she'd won because she respects his game and doesn't believe that Big D even deserves to be in the Final 3. Cold as ice.

With Azah joining the jury, it's time for Xavier and Big D to field questions from everyone they evicted. It doesn't take long to understand that Xavier is the very clear frontrunner here. Big D is trying very hard to lay out his game, but the truth is he doesn't have that much to talk about. I do think he did a good job acting a certain way with people in order to deflect from the Cookout, but it's not like he was out there making moves. On top of that, he was combative with some people, whereas Xavier never really made anyone other than Kyland upset.

Next, Xavier and Big D get to plead their cases to the jury. It's much of what they've already said, with Big D repeating that he worked hard to get the Cookout to the end and Xavier laying out his robust strategy. Then, the nine jury members vote. While Kyland is still very mad about Xavier turning on him, the vote isn't close, and even Kyland votes for him to win, making it a unanimous decision. Xavier runs away with it and makes history as the first African American winner of Big Brother.

I know some viewers have found this final stretch of the season unexciting, and I get that it was a little more rote down the line, but I also think that this was a pretty satisfying conclusion to a very enjoyable season. Xavier played a brilliant, sturdy game and was more than worthy of being crowned this season's winner. What a wonderful moment for Xavier, Big Brother, and those of us watching at home.

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Big Brother

Big Brother

Julie Chen hosts as the houseguests battle it out.

  • TV Show
  • 23
  • TV-14
  • CBS
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