WARNING: IT SHOULD BE INCREDIBLY OBVIOUS, BUT THIS POST WILL CONTAIN BIG BROTHER 20 FINALE SPOILERS. IF YOU HAVE NOT WATCHED THE FINALE BECAUSE YOU MISSED IT LIVE, PLEASE DO NOT SCROLL ANY FURTHER.
Big Brother’s fantastic 20th season has come to a close and what a season it has been. We’ve seen 14 houseguests get evicted (one of them get evicted twice), blindsides galore, and one of the greatest games we have ever seen played in the history of the game.
Let me preface everything I’m about to say regarding this season and the winner with this: I rooted for Kaycee from the very beginning of the game, and if you listen to episodes of “The Pressure Cooker” podcast we did with Krazilia and LS, you know that I called what Kaycee was going to do while we were in the pre-jury phase. I believe Kaycee is a pretty dope person that I would love to hang around, as noted in my really bad pre-show predictions post.
She had an impressive resume of 5 Veto wins, 2 HoH wins and 1 Hacker Competition win. She played an absolutely PERFECT social game, being on the good side of every single person in the house (with the exception of maybe Swaggy). Her resume was stunning. She just wasn’t as impressive as Tyler.
I’m sitting in a weird spot with this finale, the Final 2 was perfect, hell, if you ask me the Final 4 consisted of the four best players in the game this season. I’m thrilled for Kaycee the individual, I’m upset for Tyler the player.
Kaycee’s game was not a bad game by any means.
I constantly remind myself that the game takes place within a vacuum, the jurors do not know the information that we know. They do not recognize just HOW in control of the game Tyler was, they don’t recognize Tyler’s influence on ALL of their evictions with the exception of Angela, Rockstar (that was Kaycee’s doing) and Scottie part 1 (JC). They were exposed to the idea of the other alliance during the roundtable and the Final 2 of Tyler and Kaycee shortly after. They had no idea how lockstep the two were, let alone that Tyler was the one making the decisions. Again, I say, Kaycee’s game play was NOT BAD AT ALL, especially since within the vacuum that the game takes place it was far more impressive on paper. She formed personal relationships with everybody, she didn’t piss anybody off and let Tyler be the one to look like the bad guy, all of that happened. The jurors do not know whether or not this was intentional, the only two people that could have told them otherwise were Brett and Angela. Angela tried to do so, but the jury not caring for her meant it didn’t really resonate with them.
You can say “she never used the veto any of those five times” (Angela) but what benefit would it have been to her to do so (Hayleigh)? Even if she cut Tyler at Final 5 or Final 4, there’s no guarantee that those remaining in the game would’ve taken her to the end. Her best chance to win was against Tyler, because Tyler was the only way she was getting there. Even if she cut him at Final 3, the jury seemed to respect JC’s game the MOST, meaning that she could have cut Tyler and still lost. She did exactly what she said she would do from day 1: form social bonds and lay low until it was time to win. Without her crucial wins, L6 can’t carry out their plans in the back half of the game: Angela goes home the week of Hayleigh’s HoH if not for Kaycee, and her veto wins ensured their targets went home. It’s not a robust strategy, but it’s a strategy. It’s still hard to explain your strategy in this format, and that’s why…
The jury format must go back to the format of old.
In older seasons of Big Brother (up until Big Brother 10), Finale night consisted of a longer jury roundtable segment which showed the jurors questioning each member of the Final 2 in a pre-recorded segment. This gave the final 2 more time to respond to questions delivered to them and made the jury questions more personable. When you have that time, you can elaborate on your gameplay and what you did. In the old format, Tyler wins decisively because he has more time to break down the individual moves of his game. For example, in BB10 Dan informs the jury that he backdoored Michelle to intentionally fester hatred in the jury so that Memphis would be more likely to take him in the end. Tyler would have been able to explain his Kaitlyn flip, which led to Steve’s eviction, how he controlled the fallout of said eviction and how he was able to play FOUTTE by using Kaitlyn to take a shot at their side. Those two weeks drove the direction of the season, Tyler can’t explain that in 45 seconds.
Still, Tyler’s game wasn’t flawless.
Tyler’s game was FANTASTIC. He was the sole reason why we had so many blindsides early in the game. He saw the cracks in FOUTTE’s alliance and exploited them quickly, evicting their leader in the 2nd week of the game. He knew which of his own members to cut in his alliance when he didn’t have a choice of who went up. He made clear cut decisions and not one eviction in that house happened without him having a say.
Still, Tyler messed a few things up socially. Let’s talk about the votes he lost: Scottie, Bayleigh, Rockstar, Fessy and most important of all, Sam.
We can chalk Scottie’s vote up to bitterness, but you know what? He’s allowed to be bitter. We can hem and haw about Scottie needing to “respect gameplay”, but if in Scottie’s mind he saw Kaycee’s unswaying loyalty and one solid Final 2 with Tyler as a more impressive trait, then that’s on him. I don’t think he ever had a shot at Rockstar’s vote and Fessy seemed to respect the competition wins more than anything (I’m actually surprised by his vote the most).
Bayleigh and Sam is where Tyler really screwed up. Bayleigh is an ego driven player. Her decisions in the house were based on what Bayleigh wanted most and damn everyone else and they were going to KNOW that’s what her decisions were based on. His handling of the hacker situation really cost him her vote in the end. He had ample time to come clean to Bayleigh and “apologize” even if that meant stroking her ego. Sometimes you have to brown nose in the game, you have to pick and choose when to do it, he didn’t pick the right time there. All that can be forgiven, but there’s one person he REALLY overlooked and I can’t really excuse it. It’s Sam.
Everyone in that house knew after Sam’s HoH that she wasn’t there to play the game. She didn’t know, understand or even like the game. At that point, it should’ve become about appealing to her personality: Sam is a person of loyalty. The minute Tyler knew he was going to get her evicted, he should have done it at a point where someone else needed to do the dirty work. He had a few opportunities to let her go by the wayside and cry foul, but instead, he dragged her as far as he could and cut her in the worst way. You can tell Sam took it hard and took it a bit personal, it’s because of that she voted for someone whose personality she loved (Kaycee). It’s a nitpicky flaw, but it is a flaw. It’s not as an egregious of a misstep in jury management as Paul in BB19, but it is an aspect of it. On the flip side, Kaycee had amazing jury management and that won it for her more than anything.
What do I think of the season?
Big Brother 20 was so refreshing after having to endure the drag that was BB19. I had my doubts even after the fast start (last season got us hooked on that opening week), but as the events kept unfolding, I had a feeling we would be in for a special one. Sure, there was a bit of a lull in the action mid-jury that was sort of forced by the unnecessary Jury Battle Back….which was only created due to Kaitlyn failing the puzzle.
But if we’re being honest here, there’s almost always a mid-Jury dud week or two when the numbers have dwindled and it’s obvious who’s going home post-veto. Only BB15 and 17 really broke this rule in the modern era and 15 is unwatchable for a large part of the fanbase for obvious reasons (Cism). I wasn’t expecting BB20 to break that trend, but a forced battle back really messed that up.
I won’t complain too much about the Hacker Comps because it did create some good TV in its two weeks of existence between Bayleigh vs. Tyler and Rockstar blowing the OTEV comp. We’ve also gotten these random post-jury twists in the last few seasons: Tree of Temptation, Roundtrip Ticket + Jury Battle Back, Twin Twist revealed + Jury Battle Back and again a jury battle back. In my ideal world, we’ll stop the JBBs and reserve any and all battle or buybacks for the pre-jury phase.
I will complain about the finale. Everything felt rushed. I arrived home 30 minutes after everything started and we were just then getting to Part 3 of the HoH competition. Either put an episode between Sunday and Wednesday, or scrap half the recap episode for Parts 1 and 2 of the Final HoH. If BB is deadset on this ridiculous finale format, at least give us as much content as possible: we didn’t get to hear from Winston, Kaitlyn, Rachel or #SummerofSteve2018 at all, and didn’t hear from any of the pre-jurors about their thoughts on the game. We just got Swaggy’s proposal and even Julie reading the votes felt….rushed.
That being said, this season is up there for me, but I’m not 100% sure where I would rank it. My only fear is that even though Kaycee’s game is a solid, legitimate way to win the game (most of the “characters” usually show themselves and get outed pre-Jury). I’m going to save my ranking for later, and I’m thrilled to announce that I’m putting something together with BB Team North of the “Julie, Girl” Podcast in the near future.
In the meantime, what are your thoughts about the season? Where do you rank it? Are you ready for Celebrity Big Brother 2? Cause it’s time to form our wishlist!
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