After three months of tight control, someone from The Committee has won Big Brother: All-Stars. The forewarning that was leveled since the premiere week has come to pass, as the obvious frontrunner won the game. Cody, the second-place finisher from Big Brother 16, swept the finale with a unanimous vote against Enzo, the third-place finisher from Big Brother 12. Nicole Franzel, the only returning winner left (Big Brother 18), ended up blindsided in third place. While Cody’s win was expected if he were to make the final two, this outcome was the only one that felt … “satisfying.”
Cody had done plenty of work to snatch the victory, and any other result would’ve paled in comparison to the story that was being written. Cody’s win was boring… but he was the best player. Right into the finale, he proved himself as the best gameplayer by easily decimating the second part of the final Head of Household competition; even if Enzo hadn’t messed up the one question, Cody still managed to finish in under five minutes. And, Cody breezed through the third HOH challenge to get a perfect score. The others would’ve had to been flawless and force a tie if they wanted a shot to win. The season’s narrative supported a Cody win – him dominating the final HOH sealed the result.
The jury roundtable also supported this outcome. From the discussions, the jury had issue with Cody’s ego, but they respected his ability to control the game. In a newbie season, his ego would’ve worked against him and lost a few jury votes, but since they played an All-Stars season, he benefited from the houseguests wanting to reward the best player. Both Enzo and Nicole suffered the same issue as not playing hard enough (both physically and strategically) to justify a win. Nicole had the better odds since she was a returning winner, but that outcome was too up in the air to confirm if she truly would’ve won. Plus, there were strong reactions against both in the jury that wouldn’t help them (i.e. Enzo playing for “second/third” and Nicole making “personal, weaker moves”).
Side-note: The jury didn’t need a special guest anymore to lead the jury roundtable. The group did a great job monitoring their own conversations and speaking freely about their thoughts in the game. Da’Vonne was the “unofficial leader” of the roundtable; her management steered the group in a great direction. If someone has to return, Da’Vonne would be a great choice.
Enzo and Nicole’s losses stemmed from their own inability to make big moves. Both fell prey to the idea of following the big group and playing it safe. It’s the same problem that has faulted Big Brother “New School” gameplay for years: go with the flow to slide into the end instead of making big moves and playing the game. Enzo and Nicole actively made moves that worked against their better interests; for example, Enzo wasting his HOH week on Kaysar, and Nicole giving up her Final 2 with Ian during Daniele’s HOH week. Their gameplay benefitted Cody overall than fostering power for themselves; the results speak for itself due to the weak gameplay.
And after all was said, did Nicole honestly think Cody would throw away his game to bring her to the Final 2? Nicole had the best chance to steal jury votes away from him, and she even admitted to contemplating voting him out if she won the final HOH. It’s a miracle that Nicole didn’t vote bitterly during the final vote; her disdain and emotions were on full display post-eviction. (For those who didn’t watch the 24/7 live feeds, this is the Nicole F. who actively played throughout Big Brother: All-Stars.)
Enzo’s final plea to the jury is a case of polarizing results. While his heart was in it and he threw everything out there, his reasoning was unstructured and he spoke about why Cody did an amazing job. Enzo recalled several key points that could’ve convinced “bitter jurors” to get their votes, but as mentioned above, this was an All-Stars season and the jurors wanted hard results as to how Enzo played the better game. In actuality, Enzo made moves that played it safe, and when it came time to make a case, he had nothing that worked in his favor over Cody. (If he had nominated Cody during the Final 4 HOH, he would’ve had a case of being the only person to not be nominated this season, but he once again handed Cody that benefit.)
The only bright spot of the two-hour finale was Da’Vonne winning America’s Favorite Player. Let’s face it: she was the narrator this season and her confessionals added the entertainment we needed during the episodes. Da’Vonne came into the game with a purpose and her legacy improved from her previous seasons. Da’Vonne was the best optional of winning AFP.
The structure of the finale, on the other hand, needs improvement. This style of finale has been going on for a decade and it’s felt … stale. The jury questioning isn’t hard-hitting enough, the “reunion” portion is way too short, and the competition portion in the first-half is too bloated. This season, the final was two hours (the longest it’s ever been), and yet it felt too short.
Big Brother should consider reworking it’s finale episode to make it only the third part of the final HOH, the jury roundtable, real questions from the jury (not the pre-determined ones from production), and extra time to have a real reunion with the entire cast. Big Brother: All-Stars was in serious need of drama! The finale would’ve benefited from the houseguests airing out their grievances with each other and the pre-jury spilling all the tea of what they had seen.
The finale of Big Brother: All-Stars ended a summer of expecting the expected. The dominant alliance cleaned house, and the obvious frontrunner stayed on a victory path from the first week. The finale was no different. A well-deserving-yet-boring winner claimed the title in the least uneventful season the series has ever had. Now that Big Brother: All-Stars is out of the way, CBS and production need to take a hard look at the game. Big Brother is broken… and it has to be fixed.