Kyle is in the hot seat for comments made earlier to Michael and Brittany, while they're questioned why they waited two weeks to say anything -- strategy?
The fallout of Michael and Brittany deciding to share Kyle's voiced concerns that people of color might work together with the whole House blew back on all of them in a tense and emotional "Big Brother."
An eviction episode, we didn't even know who the final nominees were going to be going into Thursday's installment because the bombshell revelations rocked the House like nothing else this summer.
There's no denying that Kyle was using unconscious bias and racial fear, at best, in his thought processes two weeks ago when he suggested to Michael and Brittany that most of the remaining people of color might be working together similar to The Cookout alliance from Season 23.
The biggest problem was that there was absolutely no evidence to support this. In fact, there was tremendous evidence debunking that anything like that was happening this season. From the beginning, race seemed hardly to be a factor in any alliances or decisions.
The one that triggered Kyle the most was when Taylor was adamant and open about not wanting to send another Black woman home, thus sparing Jasmine from the Block during her reign. It was a personal decision for Taylor that was, yes, based on race, but it wasn't bigger than that. She was happy to see her go as Jasmine had been gunning for her since Day One.
Kyle took that kernel and ran with it as all the evidence he needed, despite knowing that he was in a good working relationship with Monte and Joseph. Terrance, ever on the outside, even sided with Kyle over Joseph at Dyre Fest, sending one of the game's most strategic players home.
What Kyle did was very real, but it wasn't lost on Monte and Terrance and Turner, at least, that there's also something to be said about the timing of when Brittany and Michael decided to share this information and blow up Kyle's game -- and subsequently everyone's strategy and the whole game moving forward.
Michael found himself in a tough spot after Turner nominated Taylor and Brittany on the Block. On Wednesday, we saw him and Brittany consider using this information to try and see if they could not only save both Brittany and Taylor, but send a number from the Dyre Fest packing.
They opted to wait until after the Veto, which Michael won. At this point, he was going to save Brittany, but his ally Taylor was still vulnerable, so they decided to weaponize something so much bigger than the game to make Turner feel obligated to nominate Kyle and the House obligated to vote him out.
The pair even acknowledged privately and in the Diary Room that this move was good for their game moving forward. Publicly, they started saying the opposite. In other words, this was less a moral conviction -- they'd been working with Kyle prior to this, so kept this secret to themselves -- and more a game move.
That makes it hard to stomach from any of them. Kyle has a lot to learn about unconscious bias and all the different ways racism can manifest, from overt attacks to microaggressions or race-based assumptions. Michael and Brittany need to realize that playing with people's lives and real emotions for strategic gameplay is kind of gross.
Holding onto something you say is so abhorrent -- and Brittany was pretty condescending and s---y to Kyle when talking to him about it -- until it's beneficial to you doesn't put you on that much higher of a moral high ground.
Rather than play a game of telephone all week, it was decided by Monte, Terrance and Turner that it might be better to just have a House meeting so that all of the above facets of this week's revelations could be discussed openly and candidly.
For some, they basically set aside the game to have a real conversation about race. That certainly appeared to include Kyle, who owned up entirely to his behavior, after first denying it with Brittany earlier (he may not have even seen it).
We say for some, because Brittany and Michael were still a little on the offensive, making sure to keep the target firmly placed on Kyle and sidestepping the timing of their move.
That's why we kind of loved it when Terrance basically called them out on it. Neither had a really good reason why they waited until now to make this move. Michael suggested that he'd hoped Kyle would get evicted out in Dyre Fest and this wouldn't be an issue.
As Terrance was Head of Household out there, had he known this information, Kyle would have been evicted and Joseph would still be in the game. Their decision to hold back the intel until it benefited them cost Joseph his game and saw Terrance save Kyle, so he's feeling all kinds of ways about this.
Taylor never seemed to even really see Michael and Brittany. Her focus was on Kyle, and while she was filled with compassion and grace for his ignorance, she said in no uncertain terms that she wanted the consequences for his actions to be him getting evicted this week.
All of the remaining people of color in the House were extremely compassionate to Kyle in this conversation, which was actually quite beautiful and productive. Everyone was fully engaged, Kyle didn't put up any posturing at all and on one attacked him.
They all seemed to agree that they don't believe he is racist. But their was racism in his thoughts. Yes, it is not unreasonable to be wary of a second Cookout forming, but assuming it's there in the face of evidence that it is not is problematic.
It wasn't even an angry consensus, but there was nevertheless a consensus that it felt Kyle should pay consequences for his actions, and those consequences began with him being put up as the replacement nominee for Brittany.
Up against Taylor during this particular week, there was no way Kyle would not go home -- which Michael and Brittany knew full well when they orchestrated this revelation.
With the structure of "Big Brother," while we see Veto and eviction play out a day apart, it's actually closer to three days in the "Big Brother" House. That means, Kyle had several days post-nomination still in the House.
After the Veto Ceremony, he asked his fellow Houseguests if they would be willing to have those hard conversations with him, to help him see and learn and understand better.
In a very meaningful and emotional conversation we did see, Monte broke down quite eloquently why it was so heartbreaking to hear that Kyle was assuming an alliance between him, Taylor and Joseph based solely on them being people of color. (Kyle had also assumed they might work with Indy and Jasmine for the same reason, suggesting a counter-alliance of the white players, without overtly saying that).
Monte shared that he'd gone to a predominantly white high school, and that his experience there was challenging because of racially-based assumptions and the fact that all of his relationships wound up impacted in some way by race.
Because of that, he'd never been able to just genuinely have a real, meaningful, emotional white friendship. That's why it was so heartbreaking to learn that the relationship he'd been forging with Kyle was again sullied because Kyle started thinking about Monte's race, making baseless assumptions about it.
It doesn't have to be overt or violent to be racism. Sometimes it's as simple as thinking a little differently about someone, or speculating something about someone because of their race rather than their character or the actual bonds you've been building with that person.
That's where Kyle hurt people. He was never awful, and no one thinks he's a racist or a bad person. They do agree that he's incredibly sheltered and naïve, but he's also not alone in being like that in America. There is a privilege in naivete that people of color are not afforded the luxury to experience.
And that very naivete, as innocent as it is, can still be harmful and sometimes even dangerous to people of color out in the real world. The biggest consequences for Kyle in the "Big Brother" House was the end of his game.
While it wasn't shown on television, Julie Chen did hint that Terrance had attempted to mount a campaign to save Kyle in the House to prove that forgiveness could exist alongside continued growth. The problem for Terrance is that too many people are aligned with Taylor.
It is still a game after all, as Michael and Brittany never lost sight of.
During the live vote and eviction, Kyle received all of the votes for eviction, including from his late showmance Alyssa. She broke up with him before he was booted from the House, though they stayed intimately close through his remaining time in the House.
She told him that she'd spent too many years trying to fix grown men and she was done (amen, sister!). She also said that she felt he'd choose himself over her every time and that's not the kind of man she could see herself with.
Alyssa never could separate personal from game, to her detriment, while Kyle was perhaps too capable of it, to his detriment. For a long time, he definitely would have cut her to save his own game, but by the end, he was blowing up the whole House just to save her.
Kyle received the most tepid audience applause of the season so far, as people still don't seem to be sure how to process his behavior this season -- there was controversy and chatter online when he first made the comments.
He wasn't booed, but he also wasn't afforded as much grace outside the House as he had been inside this past week. Or perhaps the audience was overthinking the public response if they did cheer for him as they've done for everyone else, including super-bullies Nicole and Daniel.
Now, Kyle is off to a Jury House filled with people of color where he's going to have to continue having tough conversations with Indy, Jasmine and Joseph. But he also has a month there to process and grow and learn.
During his "Save-Me" speech, where he didn't ask to be saved," Kyle said that he saw this not as an ending but as a new beginning for him. Here's hoping he continues with that positive attitude, openness and willingness to learn and grow.
Monte Taylor (27) once again sits atop the House, with a fuller understanding of everything that just happened this week than everyone else. But we suspect that after this week, it's game fully back on and he'll take advantage of that understanding to leverage himself further in the game. Like Michael, he's good at redirecting focus away from himself, and Michael has given him fuel to point the target right at him. Grade: B+
Matt "Turner" Turner (23) has the good will of the House for helping execute their will this week, which should buy him a grace period. Remarkably, despite some pretty bold game moves, he's on no one's radar as a target still. He also has that more complete read on the House, and would be smart to shift his alliance more firmly with Monte, knowing they'll need to work together to try and take out Michael and Brittany. Grade: B
Michael Bruner (28) is a huge target right now, with some questioning his motives in exposing Kyle. But we'd be fools if we didn't acknowledge that he's also a huge threat to win HOH or POV or both. Thus, he'll always rank high here because of the sheer power in the game that he's playing. Even the move this week, which feels kind of icky, succeeded and strengthened his position (though it could hurt him in Jury votes if he can make it to the end). Grade: C-
Taylor Hale (27) is back in the middle of the House in a swing position. Depending on who rises to power, she has the option to shift her allegiances slightly this week to avoid the Block and be a number wherever she's needed. She might have to make a firm choice eventually, but right now she's got options galore. Grade: C
Brittany Hoopes (32) is the somewhat easier shot to take to try and weaken Michael's game, though he could always just save her like he did this week. She's as strategic and cut-throat as he is in this game, and thus a huge threat, but she's vulnerable without his protection, so if this is the only way to hurt him, the whole House would probably rally around taking her out. Grade: C-
Alyssa Snider (24) may have broken up with Kyle, but the revelations and his eviction destroyed The After Party, and she's right back on the bottom of the House. Unless there's a miracle in the works or a surprise win for her or Terrance, the leftovers of The Leftovers will probably unite to finish their meal of the rest of the House. Grade: D+
Terrance Higgins (47) is more than likely right back where he started. Perhaps the good will and connection shared this week through everything that went down with Kyle could make him some tighter relationships, but there's been no evidence that it changed anyone's alliances. Terrance has been on the outs and he remains that way. Sending out Kyle was terrible for his game (was that a factor in him pushing for grace for Kyle?). Grade: D+
Kyle Caapener (29) gave up the fight and was willing to take the fall for his behavior. We have mixed feelings about that, but it was the will of most of the House and he was as graceful as he could be in accepting it. Hopefully, he genuinely uses this opportunity to grow, just as viewers can hopefully use his experience to open their own eyes a little bit. Grade: D
This is a longer segment this time, but we pulled some of those full conversations that Kyle had in the House this week because there is some important insight in them that everyone could benefit from really hearing, reading and processing.
"So I'm just curious what all you've told everyone about possibly me saying racist comments or trying to form an all-white alliance or things like that." --Kyle (to Brittany)
"A lot stemmed from our initial conversation out by the hammock. I believe you had conversations with Michael prior to that that he filled me in on. You brought up, you said, yeah, but The Cookout, you gotta be--" --Brittany
"I didn't say that." --Kyle
"Yes, you did. Yes, you did." --Brittany
"If I did, that was not my intention. And the fact that now I have to play catch-up and say no, I'm not racist, like, I'm not that guy. You guys haven't talked to me about it and are telling everyone this." --Kyle
"Kyle, this is just, like, literally the hardest thing in the world. I don't think you realize how much I've agonized over this." --Brittany
"Well, I would've loved to have this conversation before." --Kyle
"I feel like I did go to you separately." --Brittany
DAY 43: "I'll just tell you right now, if that is the sides, I can't. I can't do that." --Brittany
DAY 43: "I know. It's just such a fine line after last season, because it was a dominating force that was brought together because of some outside factors." --Kyle
DAY 43: "We just can't assume that that would be the case." --Brittany
"Because this transcends game, I would not have said this if I hadn't confirmed in my mind that that was the stance you were presenting to me. Now, whether you recognize that or not is on you. And I don't know what's going on in your mind, but that's how it appeared to us and we had to pick sides. And I wasn't going to pick your side. It was based on biases that don't exist." --Brittany
"Do you think I'm a racist?" --Kyle
"No, I don't. And that's what really kills me, because I don't think you're a bad person. I think it's very complex. I think you probably said some things that you didn't realize how they came across. I know I'm not the only one who saw it this way." --Brittany
"I'm sorry." --Kyle
"I just want to lay out my thought process. I started to recognize, I mean you and Joseph were obviously very close, from my perspective. I recognized that Joseph and Taylor started to get very close, from my perspective. And to be honest, I lumped you three in as a possible break in the alliance. In my mind, when I think about that group, I started to piece together everyone's why, and I thought Taylor, a strong African-American woman, Joseph, with the Middle Eastern exposure, that's a very strong why. Terrance, South Side Chicago, I just thought that group could unify, we all have a core purpose in being here. In talking about why, I pieced it back to The Cookout because they had such a strong why and inadvertently I realize how bad that looks now. I'm sorry." --Kyle (to Monte and Terrance)
"We had the most transparent conversations about game. Your thought process around me and Taylor having the same exact relationship, it is a little disappointing. I'm just looking back on everything and I'm trying to figure out, like, how do you deduce that me and her would be working together at that point, and I think the thought process is solely based on race, and that's the part that's tough. The whys and why people were working together just sounds like bulls--- to me, bro, I can't. Actions speak louder than words." --Monte
"Imma speak frankly, 'cause I just can't hold my tongue. I feel like I just been played, you know what I'm saying? I was told Monte, Joseph and Taylor are running The Leftovers, they are running The Leftovers. Everything in that back yard sent Joseph in a spiral that he couldn't understand why he was spiraling. You made me pull a trigger in this game the whole time telling me half of the f---ing truth. It should've been you who left, not Joseph." --Terrance
"I hope you use this as an opportunity to learn more about life and having relationships and the cultural divides that happen." --Terrance
"I obviously made a huge mistake and I need to look at the core reason why that was even a thought or a concept in my mind." --Kyle
"My thing with Michael and Brittany, I still don't think I can wrap my head around why they did it today, this morning, as opposed to when it happened two weeks ago. Like, as much as we put the blame on Kyle--" --Monte (to Turner and Terrance)
"Turner and I had a Final Two." --Kyle (telling everything in family meeting)
"Just so we're clear, I had no idea about any of this." --Turner
"I got a burning question that I just gotta go ahead and get off my chest. I think that you guys are very smart people. It feels like you guys knew this prior. Why wouldn't you all come to us and tell us about that situation, knowing that it has a hundred percent to do with race and game play. It just looks very strategic. Was what he did f---ed up? Definitely. But it's an onus that you guys have to take, too." --Terrance (to Michael and Brittany)
"If Kyle was saying these things two weeks ago, it feels a little bit hurtful to know it wasn't shared then. That part doesn't sit well with me." --Monte
"I wish I could go back and say something. We went right into Dyre Fest, we were split up. There's a chance Kyle doesn't come back, if Kyle's out of the game, I didn't think it was part of the game." --Michael
"One thing I will say is that as a Black woman in this world, I don't get the chance or opportunity, privilege if you will, to be sat down and walked through these things. I want you to understand that I can love you and accept you as a person, but we can also hold you accountable for unconscious things that have happened." --Taylor
"The point of this group discussion, for me, is it's a moment of love. The hard conversations happen, the ugliness comes out, but what happens afterwards is what matters. An dI love and and I trust that you are committed to expanding. The only consequence I want you to feel from this, personally, would be eviction from the House. But, if that's the worst consequence in your life, then that's that." --Taylor
"I don't know how to go about these conversations that are going to be difficult to have, but isolating myself is going to be no help to anyone. So I want to use this opportunity, like, you guys have set the example of being open and forgiving and loving when I don't deserve that, and so I want to be an example as well, learn, progress, and get better. So hopefully you guys are open to those types of conversations throughout the rest of the week." --Kyle
"I literally spent my entire life trying to fix grown men and I just can't do it anymore. And not to make your life harder than it already is-- yeah, I don't think we should leave this game in a relationship." --Alyssa (breaking up with Kyle)
"I hope there's a chance outside of the game that we can explore something without the game." --Kyle
"I feel like you'd never fall for me at the end of the day, like, you would have picked yourself over me for sure and that's just not somebody that I want to have babies with and imagine my life with. I just feel like I deserve better than that." --Alyssa
"It's different with you because we've played the same game. I'll never forget the look that you and Terrance gave in the Have-Not Room of pure disgust. And your friendship, should it continue, means a lot to me. From Day One, you've done nothing wrong against me at any point and the fact that I would assume things or place judgment was entirely my fault. You can punch me in the face, like, that would make me feel a lot better right now if you could." --Kyle
"The reason this is tough for me, man, high school, I went to a very prestigious white school. That first year was rough. The biggest part of it was socially it was tough because people just assumed I was there to play sports. I navigated through it, I figured out ways to learn more about them, their culture, but never felt like my culture was appreciated or anyone was curious about me. A lot of the friends that I have from high school, I don't really have the same relationships with them because there was always something that was done or said that completely ended the trust. And it always, sadly, had something to do with my race. Unfortunately, even throughout my college experience, I tended to hang out with more people who looked like me because it was comfortable. And it just always felt like I couldn't get to that point where I could have a white friend who I completely trusted, like a true friend, you know what I mean? I could have accepted anything, bro. If you wanted to work with everybody but me. But for it to have been attached to my race, that's the part that-- Either way, I don't hate you, and it's not even that I dislike you. I dislike your thought process, but as a person, as a human, I love you, dude." --Monte
"Brittany and Michael keep saying that it's not good for their game that they shared this. I don't know how it's not good for their game to share this at this moment. Michael and Brittany are smart people. When we've been in this alliance, they've always been so calculated in what they're doing and why they're doing it. Decisions were made for reasons and everything plays out just fine for them." --Monte (to Taylor)
"Some may see this as an end of a journey, but I see it as more of the beginning and you all have been a part of the beginning of that journey." --Kyle (in his Save-Me Speech)
"Big Brother" sets the stage for an epic two-hour double-eviction episode next week with new episodes Sunday and Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET and Thursday at 9 p.m. ET.