Big Brother 21 Finale Recap: Controversy Clouds The Night

Perhaps it’s fitting that this season of Big Brother ended the way it started: With controversy. Even Nicole (America’s Favorite Player y’all!) had asked for things to come full-circle during tonight’s Finale Episode at one point, and boy did they ever. But a terribly mismanaged Finale ended up sucking all the wind out of what is normally a celebratory and fun finish to everybody’s favorite Summertime guilty pleasure.

Remember that this recap assumes that you are caught up on all of the aired episodes of Big Brother 21. If you are not and don’t want to be spoiled, please come back later! It’s important to add that while we WILL hit on all of the important developments since the last recap, so if you need to go further back please click on the “Big Brother” Topic on this page to access past recaps…also, this is not a linear “blow-by-blow” recap, but is more of a discussion and reaction of what we just witnessed together.


Big Brother 21 Finale Recap: Controversy Clouds The Night

Taking a cue from the famous line, let’s try to separate game from personal for a moment. On a game level, Jackson Michie deserves every congratulation, becoming the winner of Big Brother 21 and etching his face onto the side of the Big Brother Mount Rushmore…it will be hard to name a more dominant player in all phases of the game, and I think he makes a case for “GOAT” (greatest of all-time). His 11 competition wins in a single season is a record,  and he was considered by most of his fellow house guests as being an honorable guy (just ask Cliff) and he told lies – big and small – when he needed to in order to save his game. But there have been a lot of “great” players, or even great, dominant season-performances in the past (Paul Abrahamian, Vanessa Rousso, or even Tyler Crispen last season) that weren’t able to finish the deal with a win. Michie is now a Big Brother winner, a title that many knew he would claim over the past several months if he could somehow make it to the end, and he did just that.

Big Brother 21 Finale Recap: Controversy Clouds The Night

Now, on a personal level, there are some big questions and concerns that make this one of the least satisfying endings in Big Brother history. That being said, the way that Julie Chen-Moonves and Big Brother chose to run the Finale and confront Michie on some racist statements three months earlier – moments before announcing the BB21 winner – was just classless. So what you will about Michie, issues like racism are too big to discuss in 30-seconds, and to ambush someone on live television and accuse them of racist behavior, then try to shift gears and cut to commercial, I just don’t believe was a fair way to handle it. Being clear: NOTHING excuses the behavior that took place early-on this season. This is not a defense in any way, shape or form of Michie or any of the other house guests. Michie should have to answer for any questionable actions he had in the house over the course of the show. But that wasn’t the right way, or the right format to address it, specifically with Michie. And bluntly, if Julie is going to confront Michie for being racist or showing racist tendencies, she should have asked him and Jack about their use of the “n-word” earlier in the season (definitely racist) and not Michie’s choices as Camp Director. But in any scenario, 30-seconds is not a fair amount of time to address the magnitude or the seriousness of the issue, and it not only left the audience feeling awkward during the exchange, it did nothing except give CBS a “hey look, we addressed it on the show!” moment that frankly, didn’t address anything at all of substance.

Big Brother 21 Finale Recap: Controversy Clouds The Night

Switching back to “game” mode for a minute, I was surprised to find out on tonight’s show that Holly actually earned three winning votes (to Michie‘s six). Jess, Kat and Nicole all voted for Holly to win, which was way more than I thought she was going to get. I think Holly had a pretty good showing in front of the jury and was able to articulate her game fairly well (even if she kept running over the time limit given to her). Even so, I don’t think Holly had a real chance of winning the game, even up against Nicole, had Nicole completed her underdog campaign and would have voted out Michie.

Big Brother 21 Finale Recap: Controversy Clouds The Night

The other awkward moment (and there were plenty to choose from) came from when we got to hear Nick explain his rationale for embarrassing Bella on national TV. He was in a hot-and-heavy relationship with Bella inside the house, only to get in a serious showmance once in the jury house with Kat (and also having a bit of time to snuggle and kiss up on Sis in-between). Good for Bella for calling it like it is, and for pointing out that no one deserves to be shamed like that. These things do happen though, when you “fall in love” on a Reality TV show.

Big Brother 21 Finale Recap: Controversy Clouds The Night

Quick Recap of the (past) Week

HOH Part 1 Winner: Michie

HOH Part 2 Winner: Holly

HOH Part 3 Winner: Michie

Evicted: Michie chooses to evict Nicole

Final Vote: Michie wins Big Brother 21 in a vote of 6-3 over Holly (Kat, Jess and Nicole all vote for Holly)

Big Brother 21 Finale Recap: Controversy Clouds The Night

Final Words: On the whole, this season actually ended up being pretty great down the stretch, and the climax of the season was when Cliff and Nicole were persuaded by Michie to vote out Tommy instead of Holly. The “camp” theme all-in-all was pretty consistently fun, and in Nicole and Cliff, the show did give us a few players to root for, and in Michie, Jack and Christie, a few to root against. But none of this will hold up over the course of time, as Big Brother 21 will ultimately go down as yet another season clouded by ignorance, racism and misogyny…it’s happening too often, and the onus to change things is on Big Brother and CBS. Here’s a hot idea: Try not to cast people that might be racist? Then maybe next time we can enjoy the show and the Finale, or at the very least, have healthy and spirited debates based on game, and not personal.

I do appreciate everyone who watched and who followed this column this season! I enjoy Big Brother and it was lots of fun to bare my thoughts each week throughout the season. It’s time now to shift gears back into Survivor-mode, as the Season 39 (!!!) premiere of that show debuted tonight before the Big Brother Finale. As I have the past several seasons, I’ll be recapping Survivor as well on this site, so I do hope that you check out my Survivor recaps starting this week!

One last note, if you want a bit more of my thoughts on the Big Brother Finale AND the Survivor Season 39 Premiere, I urge you to subscribe to my FilmSurvivor Podcast, which you can do at Podbean and/or iTunes, or by clicking the link. This week’s edition will have my in-depth thoughts on both shows, and I do hope you check it out!

That’s all for this season of Big Brother! See you over on the Survivor page!


[Photo Credits: Monty Brinton/CBS ©2019 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved]