The six-person alliance that controlled "BB23" weighs in on the Final 3 after Monte picks Brittany or Turner to join him and Taylor on finale night.
It was a big night packed with tons of content, and only one hour to get through it all as three became four ahead of Sunday's live "Big Brother" finale!
The burgeoning relationship between Monte and Taylor hits a road bump, Turner starts to sweat his position in the House with Monte holding all the power, and Brittany makes her final pitch to try and stay over Turner.
Over in the Jury House, it's back-to-back-to-back Houseguests arriving as first Terrance and Michael arrive after the double eviction, followed by Alyssa from this past week. The Jurists react to the weeks and weigh in on who they think has the best game right now.
After the live vote -- which was just Monte -- and eviction, Julie Chen then reunited The Cookout to get their takes on the Final 3 and who they think has the strongest game heading into the finale.
A showmance is always dangerous in the "Big Brother" house -- well, most of the times -- but is it perhaps better if it happens late in the game? There have been a lot of question marks about whether or not Taylor and Monte are playing it smart hooking up at this stage.
For one thing, there are so few people in the House, it's impossible to be sly about it. We caught a glimpse of that when Monte quickly snuck back upstairs after he and Turner left -- without perhaps realizing that they share a bedroom. Turner obviously knows what's up.
Taylor, perhaps a little more cognizant of how important perception is at this stage of the game, made a conscious effort to ensure that everyone felt equally welcome in her Head of Household room, and that she was clearly the one in charge, as the HOH.
This was one of the facilitating factors in a rift forming between her and Monte, with the other being a comment she made that didn't sit well with him. That the two incidents happened back to back left him feeling like she was being condescending, rude and disrespectful.
Unfortunately, when confronting her directly, but privately, about it, he reverted back to the early season narrative that Taylor is a cold-hearted bitch -- so if you're concerned about her saying something insensitive, you may need to check yourself a bit, too.
There was no indication that this was a deeply serious relationship at this point, so it could be that it was more a product of attracting and isolation leading to doing something that felt good and helped the time pass with someone you were good friends with, and little more.
While we can't say for sure what's in their hearts, they seemed to be in a good place together during the live portions of the show. Perhaps things took their place and both parties have moved on, or perhaps the convenient relationship will continue through the rest of the season.
After the incident where Taylor snipped that Monte hadn't actually been there for the first full year of his goddaughter's life (due to being on the show) and snatching her headphones back, Turner check in with his one-time bro. After all, trouble in paradise is good for his Final 2 with Monte.
Turner, as as been his modus operandi all season long, kept things lowkey and mellow in how he handled Monte this week. He expressed support and happiness for whatever was going on between Monte and Taylor, and made it clear that his loyalty hadn't wavered.
That's a huge thing with Monte, as Taylor has openly campaigned for him to take out Turner, his biggest threat in the game, and save Brittany. Monte looks at a Final 3 with him and the women, though, and isn't sure either would take him to the end (and he's right to have those concerns as they've both expressed a desire to have an all-female Final 2).
Brittany, on the other hand, was campaigning hard. She's been maintaining a lie all week that it was Turner who threw an errant vote to evict Taylor last week as part of a strategy to stir the pot and try to elevate her status in the game.
The problem is that she's not been as successful in selling it as Turner has been in selling the truth. Frustrated, Turner has gotten emotional and expressed both anger and tears over being thrown under the bus like this, and what he sees as Brittany leveraging his friendship with Alyssa as game.
Brittany, who has not been emotionless all season long and cried plenty of times over game and non-game things alike, has been dry-eyed and very mechanical and logical about pushing her lie over and over and over again.
Taylor has expressed skepticism in Turner's authenticity, but that could be more a matter of her having been gunning for him for weeks now and this just adds fuel to that fire. Monte is inclined to believe him, but that could be more a matter of their longstanding alliance and friendship. On the outside, the truth seems fairly obvious, but inside is where paranoia rules.
Brittany's final pitch was all about the resume that Turner has built already, and the fact that he's far more capable of beating Monte in the final HOH competition than Brittany herself is. Whether or not this is true is up for debate, as Brittany's performance in recent comps has been extremely strong (and Turner is a mess in memory comps).
She carried that pitch right up until her final save-me speech, but ultimately Monte stayed loyal to Turner, explaining in his eviction speech that he has to keep an eye on next week. It's the right play for him, as there is a solid chance that both Taylor and Turner would take him to Final 2, giving him the clearest path to the end.
Catching up with Jury House shenanigans, there was nothing talked about regarding Kyle's racially-driven paranoia about a possible Cookout 2.0, but there was nevertheless a big bombshell dropped at the end of the segment.
First, Terrance and Michael showed up following double-eviction night a couple of weeks ago, with the latter a real shock for everyone else. But it also allowed them to really weigh in on Monte and Turner's role in his eviction.
If you'll recall, Turner was HOH and Monte won the Veto. Turner was actually planning to honor the alliance they'd just made with Michael, so it was Monte who made the decision that a vulnerable Michael had to be taken out right now.
It was the right call, but Turner was reluctant even then to pull the trigger in case it didn't work. And in his goodbye message to Michael, he didn't own or take responsibility for that shot, which Michael was disappointed by. As a gamer, he wants people to own their biggest moves.
Terrance also echoed this sentiment, suggesting that as the Veto holder, Monte gets more credit for getting Michael out of the House. Kyle, too, seemed to be Team Monte, for the time being. Is he in the best position to win?
Later, Alyssa showed up to explain how it was that she got voted out, and how it was that Taylor wound up on the Block against her rather than Turner. It was all about Monte protecting his own interests, and protecting Turner. Had Turner hit the Block, Taylor and Brittany would have voted him out, and clearly that's not what Monte wants for his game.
But it was an aside comment she made while explaining this that really floored everyone. "Taylor slept in Monte's bed for three days," she said. It's definitely been more than that since, but that was enough to get a shocked reaction from the Jury, and hurt silence from joseph. Clearly, the thing they shared in the House didn't last long after he left -- another reason we're not sold on Taylor and Monte being more than casually fun.
One of the few times all six members of last season's dominant Cookout alliance have been at the same place together, it's interesting to see how they perceive the game and who's doing the best, as it's different than where the Jury is.
The biggest difference, of course, is that the Jury lived it while The Cookout has seen it all, including confessionals, so might have a wider perspective on the overall game. Of course, The Cookout isn't voting, so that clearer perspective may not mean anything as it's all about the Jury's perception.
Nevertheless, Derek had to give credit to the game that Taylor is playing. She's navigated the toughest route to finale night with her back against the wall throughout the season. On top of that, she has the most compelling story for victory, and we've no doubt she will own all of her strategy and gameplay to get to where she is.
On the other side of that, Xavier and Kyland seemed to be leaning more toward the guys, believing that both Monte and Turner have played dominant games. Xavier actually thinks Turner's game is a little bit stronger than Monte's, putting him opposite of where the Jury is.
Julie also asked about the alliances we've seen rise and fall this season, but the answer there was pretty simple. As Hannah explained, the six members of The Cookout had a bigger mission outside of the game, and that's what kept them together.
Outside of their mission, there's no reason an alliance should ever ride all the way to the end because all things cannot be equal within that alliance. We saw that last season because it was clear that Tiffany was in a bad spot in the alliance -- and that Xavier was going to win. She's such an incredible gamer that had this been any other season, she'd have jumped ship much sooner. She sacrificed her personal game for the bigger mission, and she's not the only one who did.
This season, there was no bigger mission. The mission was the $750,000 grand prize, so alliances were only good until they weren't for someone. The House was filled with good strategic players, so all those moving parts were representative of people perceiving their place in an existing alliance and making a move. It's just part of the game.
What's exciting about this season of "Big Brother" is that we have a very even Final 3 heading into finale night. No one was dragged there by anyone else. Monte and Turner each have three comp wins and Taylor has two. They've each fought hard to be where they are.
They've also played extremely different games, even if Monte and Turner share a lot of the same big moves. That should make it both interesting to hear how the FInal 2 respond to the Jury and nearly impossible to predict who might win.
Any one of these three could win the final Head of Household competition -- no one has a clear edge over anyone else -- and we're not even completely sold on who might take who to the Final 2 with them, as everyone has their game faces on.
Monte Taylor (27) is positioned the best in the House right now because it really does seem he may have a clear path to the end no matter who wins the final HOH competition. That said, though, he's not a guaranteed lock to win if he does make it to Final 2. But he's proven very persuasive and compelling as a speaker, and he can be very pragmatic, so we see him owning his game, which should sit well with this Jury. Grade: B
Matt "Turner" Turner (23) can probably make it to the Final 2 with Monte winning final HOH, but that's not a guarantee. We're pretty sure Taylor would send him out, unless he can convince her that Monte's resume is stronger than his. She's been wanting him gone for weeks, though, afraid of his resume and what he's done in the game. Him making it to Final 2 would be against odds at this point, and a compelling argument. Can he get there, though? Grade: B-
Taylor Hale (27) has the best story to win, but that means she might be the biggest threat left in the House. If she doesn't win final HOH, there's a chance the boys will take each other and try to win the Jury with their final speeches. It's going to be hard to beat her underdog story throughout the season, and the fact that she never gave up and fought her way into power and control. Plus, she'd be the first Black woman to win the game, which will be another compelling argument she'll surely make. Who wouldn't want to be on the right side of history? Grade: B-
Brittany Hoopes (32) did everything she could to convince Monte to keep her in the game over Turner, but Monte knows his best chance of making it to the end was to keep Turner in the game and to remove Brittany as an option. With Brittany in the House, the chances of her and Taylor taking each other rises significantly, and that leaves Monte in third place. She tried, but there was no way he'd take that risk. Grade: F
"I did not expect you back this soon." --Taylor (after Turner and Monte leave and Monte sneaks right back upstairs
"Oh look, he's coming back." --Taylor (watching Turner on monitor)
"But he's coming back to the bathroom." --Monte
"So where are you supposed to be? --Taylor
"Oh, I don't know." --Monte
"My boy, are you in there?" --Turner
"I share a bedroom with Monte. So when he doesn't come to that bedroom every night, there's only so many places he could be. Clearly he is sleeping upstairs with Taylor. I'm fairly sure that Monte will bring me to the Final 3, but as for Final 2, if you're boyfriend and girlfriend, it's obvious you're taking each other. It's like a blood agreement Final 2." --Turner (in Diary Room)
"He gets it." --Monte (to Taylor)
"I can't believe I have witnessed a human be alive for a year." --Monte (to Taylor and Turner about his goddaughter)
"Well, you haven't, but--" --Taylor
"Well, I haven't witnessed, but--" --Monte (finding her comment rude and insensitive)
"I want Brittany to feel as comfortable in my room as Monte and Turner clearly feel. So I want to make it clear, it ain't Turner's space, it ain't Monte's space. It's my space." --Taylor (in DR)
"Disrespectful, all up in my room, taking my music, falling asleep. You got your own bed." --Taylor (to Monte, trying to make Brittany feel comfortable to also come in)
"I want to know from Monte how serious this relationship is on a scale of you're taking me to Final 2 or you're not" --Turner (in DR about Monte and Taylor)
"Out of curiosity, do you think that's gonna continue after today?" --Turner (to Monte)
"Stuff like today, it's not something that I would be sure of right now." --Monte
"I feel awful. I did not mean to say, no you have not been present for this person, no you do not love and care for this person. Oh, no, it's really been like nine months because of where we are, cut off from the world." --Taylor (to Monte)
"Truly, I am so sorry that the tone was condescending, disrespectful." --Taylor (to Monte)
"Like, that was just rude. When people may have said that you rubbed them the wrong way, I think it came down to this cold sort of person that you were showing. That stuff today, it made me feel like, okay, this is not a person I want to spend more time with because I have a very low tolerance for disrespect." --Monte (to Taylor)
"I do not think it's fair that he is taking this persona that was pushed on me my first few weeks in this house with very weighted language that he knows really hurts." --Taylor (in DR)
"And we are back to the Taylor is an insensitive b---- narrative." --Taylor (after Monte leaves)
"Once upon a time I was loyal to Michael, but once his resume started stacking up bigger than mine, I had to take him out. Thinking about Turner, his resume's getting pretty strong, too, and taking him out could look pretty good on mine." --Monte (in DR after Brittany's last pitch)
"Monte, you have the opportunity right here, right now to make a game-changing move by evicting Turner. I know you think you can make that move if you win the final HOH, [but] you drastically increase your probability if you're competing against me. We've competed in 13 comps together, you've outperformed me in 11 of those 13, and only 4 out of 9 for Turner. You don't win any extra money for making this harder on yourself and I don't want to have to tell you that I told you so. So keep me in the House and bet on yourself." --Brittany (save-me speech)
"Mad respect to Brittany, but genuinely I would be bamboozled if you think Brittany is better for your game than I am. I have showed loyalty to the both of you. Brittany, on the other hand, I don't think has" --Turner (save-me speech)
"Love and respect to both of you. I appreciate the fact that we've made it this far, and I couldn't' have been more thankful to have this experience with the people in this room right now. In order to make the best decision for my game, I have to think about next week, and for me that decision is voting to evict Brittany." --Monte
"I don't know, I'm speechless, and that's hard for me." --Jasmine (in Diary Room after seeing Michael enter Jury House)
"Did you have any hunch that the week prior you might have been the backdoor target?" --Kyle (to Michael)
"Oh yeah absolutely. Turner does not have a good poker face." --Michael
"I will agree with you on that, Michael, 'cause I know he is the one that messed with my muffin." --Jasmine (still on it)
"Even though it was Turner's HOH, I believe we have to give this win to Monte by winning the Veto and controlling the Veto." --Terrance (in DR about move to evict Michael)
"I definitely think Monte and Turner were at the center of the plan to get me out, but I learned in my goodbye message that Turner wasn't really taking a lot of credit for my eviction, which I think is a big missed opportunity on his part. I wanna vote for someone who I feel like played a strong game and can also own it." --Michael (in DR)
"Who do you think is coming?" --Jasmine
"A weaker move would be Alyssa, and a strong move would be a Monte coming in." --Terrance
"Heard you guys were talking smack, huh?" --Alyssa (entering)
"Monte's in the best position. If he keeps playing an amazing social game, I think he's made some very strategic moves at the end of the game." --Kyle
"I came to find out after the vote that Turner and Monte made a gentleman's deal that if Turner was not the replacement nominee, he would vote me out of the House. So that was his only option, putting Taylor up." --Alyssa (about Monte replacing Brittany with Taylor on the Block)
"Tayor slept in Monte's bed for three days." --Alyssa
"[silence]" --Joseph (but his face said everything)
Following is the schedule for the remaining episodes of "Big Brother," all airing on CBS.
Friday, September 23 at 8 p.m. ET (look back, start final HOH comp)
Sunday, September 25 at 8 p.m. ET (2-hour live finale)