Warning: This post contains spoilers for the Big Brother 24 season finale.
After a season of "girl's girls" alliances that targeted other girls, an irate Elvis impersonator, a split-house twist that destroyed an alliance and a superfan breaking seemingly unbreakable records, Big Brother 24 now has a winner, a runner-up and a recipient of America's Favorite Player — one of whom powered through the worst to win it all.
Before Sunday's two-hour live finale, three houseguests remained: Monte Taylor, the 27-year-old personal trainer from Delaware; Taylor Hale, the 27-year-old pageant queen from Michigan, and Matthew "Turner" Turner, a 23-year-old thrift shop owner from Massachusetts.
Entering the final three, the houseguests all had relatively strong résumés. Monte held four competition wins, his social game was strengthened by his ability to charm allies, and he was largely responsible for the eviction of Michael Bruner, the season's best competitor, after a clutch double-eviction veto win. Turner wasn't far behind with 3 Head of House (HOH) competitions and also deserved credit for the eviction of Bruner, as he was HOH during the double.
And then there was Taylor, who certainly had the toughest road to finale night. With her two HOH victories this season, she managed to work her way to the finale despite being mistreated by housemates in the early portion of the game and being a target from week one. But as the season showed, Taylor played a mighty social game and would watch her foes be evicted one by one as part of the season's dominating alliance, The Leftovers, which Monte and Turner were also core members of.
Houseguests Compete in First Two Parts of HOH Competition
Once Sunday's finale kicked off, three of the Leftovers were all that was left over in the Big Brother house. The episode resumed where viewers last left off on the first part of the three-part final Head of Household competition. The endurance portion featuring haphazardly spiraling jumbo hotdogs that the houseguests had to hold onto for dear life. As Taylor explained, it looked something like a "rotisserie chicken."
While Monte and Taylor put up a good fight, it was Turner who held on to his prop wiener the longest and would move onto the competition's final part against the eventual winner of part two. To win, he said he pretended he was hugging his girlfriend Megan Belmonte instead of a hot dog. Lucky for him, it worked.
"Now I really need to focus up, because there's no way that I'm losing part two," Monte said after being dramatically tossed off a hot dog.
Viewers were then taken to part two of the final HOH competition, when Taylor and Monte faced off to decide who would go against Turner in part three for a chance to be the deciding vote of the night. In the competition, the houseguests had to juggle both their memories and their own physical abilities as they zipped across a platform and organized the titles of the season's competitions in chronological order on a billboard.
And once again, it was a guy who dominated — but by very little. Monte came up with the win in part two by finishing in 6:41, beating Taylor's time of 7:04.
"I could not be more excited in this moment, and I'm pretty sure both of us are gonna take each other to the very end," Turner said. "So this could not be any better."
After Monte's victory, Turner reflected on a a final two agreement he made with Monte, telling his housemate that he'd bring him to the last two seats if he wins the final part of the HOH competition. But little did Turner know, Monte admitted in the diary room that he felt taking Turner might not end with him earning a $750,000 check.
The Jury Deliberates on the Final Three Houseguests
Later in the episode, fans were treated to a jury roundtable, featuring the eight previously evicted houseguests who would vote to decide the fate of the night's final two (along with the eventual the third-place finisher). Joseph, Kyle, Terrance, Indy, Alyssa, Michael and Jasmine were greeted by fourth-place finisher Brittany as they discussed the ins and outs of the remaining players' games with Big Brother legend Dr. Will Kirby.
"To me this is a really, really solid final three," said Dr. Will.
Discussing Turner's merits, Joseph said that Turner "always had a team with him" and played a solid social game, while Kyle added that Turner was always "in the right rooms." Kyle even argued that, even though Turner had "played dirty," he hadn't necessarily owned up to his moves.
"The difference between Taylor and Turner is that there's strategy between Taylor's moves," Joseph said. "Turner is just attaching to someone and moving behind their shadow."
Moving on to Taylor, houseguests discussed what she overcame in the first few weeks of the game as a target, with Kyle adding that she'd "come off the block and be in a better position each week." The rest of the houseguests commended her ability to make it this far despite being targeted so often.
With Monte, the jury questioned why he never went home despite being a threat throughout the game. Michael added that Monte was smart and strong, with Brittany saying that he was getting "sloppy" socially later in the game.
The Final Head of Household Wins Makes a Decision
In the final part of the HOH competition — the live and most nerve-racking one — Monte and Turner went face to face with each other. One would leave the competition with a $750,000 decision in their hands, while the other would leave with their fate up to their competitor.
"Jury Fest" had the competitors try to prove how well they knew their former housemates. Video clips would play featuring three facts about each juror, and Turner and Monte had to decide which of those three facts was false.
Part three started as a close one with both Monte and Turner getting the first five answers correct, but Turner apparently didn't know Michael well enough, getting the question about the comp beast wrong. As for the last two questions, both Monte and Turner got one wrong, and Monte got the final correct, with him becoming the final HOH of the season.
Monte, now guaranteed at least second place and $75,000, then had to decide whether taking Taylor or Turner would be better for his game. Ultimately, he decided on taking Taylor along with him to the final two seats in hopes of winning the grand prize of $750,000. After the decision to evict Turner, Monte hugged Taylor close as he whispered, "I told you."
"I would say I'm shocked, I'm not mad. ... The fact that he didn't take me, I can't be surprised," Turner told host Julie Chen Moonves after the eviction.
At that moment, Taylor became the third Black woman to reach the final two in a mainline season of Big Brother, following Big Brother 3's Danielle Reyes and Big Brother 11's Natalie Mejeran. Neither former houseguest had won their respective seasons.
Jury Questions, Houseguests Reunite and the Big Vote
As the final two were locked in, Big Brother 24's jury reunited once more — this time with the just-evicted Turner. Each houseguest came up with a question for one of the finalists, and so began the grilling.
After some technical difficulties, Monte claimed his "most pivotal move" outside of removing Michael was deciding to evict Turner, who he called the "second-best competitor in this game." He later said his "biggest blunder" in the game was not protecting Michael and Brittany in the Leftovers alliance at one point in the game, saying it enhanced the target on his back.
Taylor, during questioning, confirmed that she adapted her game to improve her position in the house after being looked at as an "unreasonable" villain from week one. She then said she tried to not make the "biggest move" throughout the game to get through, and that she played "for the women" and protected the women in the game as much as she could, staying true to her beliefs.
"Being on the block can be something that is seen as a very weak game," said Taylor, who was on the block for her sixth time. "But when it comes to me, I am resilient and nothing will stop me from being here."
As they pleaded to the jury, Monte and Taylor both presented solid arguments for why they should win, although Taylor's came off powerfully — like a speech written for a movie. Monte boasted his strong social game, being a good competitor, avoiding false promises and playing an honest game. "I do hope that you choose me, at the end of the day, to be a representation of season 24 of Big Brother," Monte said.
Taylor, on the other hand, presented a different case. Although she said she won three competitions, she admitted the decision of a winner should be based on more than just wins in game. While Monte may have more "blood on his hands," she said that sitting on the block as frequently as she did made her "bleed out" and "bandage" herself. She referenced being blamed by houseguest Daniel Durston for Paloma Aguilar's mental health concerns, and remaining strong despite contestant Kyle Capener pitching an "all-white alliance" in the game. After her speech, she was met with rare audience applause. It was clear which competitor America loved this season.
"I am not a victim, I am a victor," Taylor told the voters. "And if there is one word that is going to describe the season it is resiliency. And if you were to ask yourself who was the most resilient person of the season, it was me."
As expected, following jury pleas, the finale also gave the season's houseguests a chance to clarify a few things. Joseph confirmed that he was not attempting to throw Taylor, Michael and Brittany's games under the bus during Dyre Fest. Two houseguests then confirmed what their actual occupations were, with Michael announcing that he was a criminal defense attorney and Joseph announcing he was a lawyer.
As for showmances, Taylor and Monte said that they were still "very close friends" after getting cozy in the game. Then Kyle and Alyssa confirmed they both were looking into the potential of making things official outside of the game, although Alyssa wasn't totally on board just yet.
But for the moment of truth, it was finally time for the make-or-break announcement. After Turner's vote went to Monte, votes from Brittany, Alyssa, Michael, Terrance and Kyle secured Taylor as the winner of Big Brother 24. (It was later revealed Joseph, Jasmine and Indy also voted for Taylor.)
In a goosebump-inducing moment, Taylor Hale became the first Black woman to win Big Brother after a season of fighting her way to the top each and every week.
On top of her victory, Taylor also became the first player to win Big Brother and also be named America's Favorite Player by fans, taking home $50,000 and a cruise for two.
"It's like winning Ms. Congeniality all over again," Taylor told Julie at the end of the finale. "But it's a cash prize this time."