HOLLYWOOD—As I told a fan of “Big Brother” recently, this spinoff “Reindeer Games” has been the surprise hit of the winter season. I mean the first two episodes were fantastic, the third episode left me on a roller coaster of emotions, it was some of the best TV I have seen in years, and BB proper, you better take that challenge and bring it to the summer season. Oh, it was a game changer when it comes to strategy and gameplay. I mean Britney Haynes was an emotional mess, the players were scrambling, and we saw a great, Danielle Reyes ousted from the game.

Oh, it was heartbreaking, but TV was great. With that said, episode four, I wasn’t loving that much, not sure if the extra 30 minutes helped the previous episodes or that the players remaining weren’t just giving as much as I wanted. We had our final six, Josh, Taylor and Xavier on one side, Britney, Frankie and Nicole on the other side. It is what it is! Nicole please stop with the emotional heartstring of not having to be seen as a threat or as if someone wronged you. It is a damn game, if you find yourself.

Frankie won an advantage that allowed him to choose his partner for the upcoming Jingle Ball Brawl where he chose Taylor. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. It was a standoff between Nicole, Britney, Xavier and Josh. Yeah, Britney and Nicole should have stood their ground and stuck together, knowing how things turned out. Taylor and Frankie won the challenge and were forced to each pick and pair from the opposing duos to go into the Santa Brawl for an endurance duel.

Josh and Britney and Xavier and Nicole, it was so obvious what Frankie was going to do, but Taylor was in a predicament, as she had to choose between Nicole and Xavier. Nicole pulls the same move every single season of BB she’s played on. It is tired and old as hell at this point. However, Nicole was not being petty for once and realized that she needed to align with Taylor and Britney to ensure either Xavier or Frankie goes home to increasing their chances at the Reindeer Games.

For our final five this was a massive challenge, as multiple battles would erupt giving the contestants a chance to get their opportunity to the Reindeer Games. It all started with finding the right key to gain an edge in the Naughty or Nice Challenge, which Nicole was able to take the victory. It was a combined twist, two brawls, the winner of each advancing to the Reindeer Games.  She can choose one player to sit out, it is a double edge because you can really piss someone off, who can compete in the next brawl, maybe against you and take you out of the game.

For Nicole it is no secret, either Xavier or Frankie. Frankie and Britney of coursed pleaded with Nicole to send Xavier to the bench, as this first challenge was a food challenge. They had to sample various eggnogs and guess what ingredient was missing. It was a point based challenge with the winner getting a huge power that is expected to be a game changer. This tells me there are far more ripples than expected. These drinks look horrid. Wow, I would have never expected coffee to be in that first smoothie. This would be a fun challenge in BB proper. So this final round was a challenge between Taylor, Nicole and Frankie, with Taylor having an edge, and it worked to her advantage. Nicole you might have wanted to sit her out. Taylor’s power allows her to bring a PLAYER to the Reindeer Games with her, that’s massive, really massive.

Taylor really should’ve picked Britney, but if she slights Xavier, I think it might hurt her, but she choose Nicole, which I could not fathom understanding. I can understand not picking Xavier, but I would have loved to see Britney in that challenge. So this final Jingle Bell Brawl was a quiz about the events over the entirety of the competition up to this point. Frankie edged out Britney to earn his ride into the Reindeer Games, which means Britney and Xavier have to go to battle. Who wins? I have no clue; it depends on what the competition is people.

This Santa Brawl looks like a physical one. You have to knock down the blocks and then use them to build a new block billboard full of joy and happiness. This includes a zip line amongst other things and it is physical as hell people, way too physical for anyone. Damn we lost Britney, but I have to give it to X for earning his way to the Reindeer Games. The guy literally battled in EVERY Santa Brawl except the battle between Josh and Nicole.

This is going to be interesting, as we have two comp threats: Frankie and Xavier doing battle against Taylor and Nicole. I want to see how these challenges pan out. The finale was an interesting one to say the least. It was tournament style so a 2 on 2 battle, each who is victorious from each round advances to the final round. I didn’t expect a Naughty or Nice Challenge, where I am certain the winner will get to choose who they compete against in the first duel. I like this, but at the same time, I don’t like that because it’s a huge advantage. Damn, Xavier blazed thru that competition with record speed. Tiffany was back as host, and Xavier got the opportunity to pick the bracket setup and also give a disadvantage to his opponent. Yeah, that is big. I’m suspecting he is either going after Nicole or Frankie.

Xavier wants Taylor and himself as the final two, you should pick Nicole, but it is possible taking out Frankie early helps him long-term and Xavier decided to go against Nicole, which means Taylor has to do battle against Frankie. The first battle between Nicole and Xavier was one that was a puzzle that involved gears being put into place. This comp was similar to what Brittany won in “Big Brother 24.” That did not look easy then and it doesn’t look any easier here.

Nicole easily picked up the steam and managed to defeat Xavier and advance to the final round of the game. Nicole was so excited with her victory and I was happy for her. Xavier was a beast, so are we looking at a Frankie and Nicole showdown, I feel like it, but we shall see. So our second brawl is quite the physical one, where you are going to have to utilize balls to knock down mischievous elves. I want to give Frankie the edge here. You have to hear tales about the bad elves they listen to and knock down the correct elves. You don’t want to be wrong because the elves will all reset and you have to use a slingshot? Yeah, this is not going to be easy.

In a nail-bitter Frankie knocked down the wrong elf and Taylor managed to get the win. Frankie is out people! I have wanted him out for a while. This is epic to see TWO WOMEN make it to the finals of “Big Brother Reindeer Games.” I wonder what this final competition will be. Darn, just realized our final four consisted of three winners, all from Michigan and our final two are two women from Michigan! Oh, in a surprise twist, we got to see the first five players evicted to return (Cameron, Cody, Danielle, Josh and Britney). We also got to see Santa and all three of Santa’s elves (Jordan, Derek X and Tiffany). Britney’s DR said it all about Santa, just as our former contestants learn who were in the finals.

To say everyone was stunned with the outcomes was an understatement. So this challenge involves obtaining three items, a stacking puzzle, a maze and a climbing tree puzzle. Quite equitable, it is a bit more puzzle-centric than I like. I thought this tree challenge would be so much easier, but that is not the case people. Taylor grabbed her mistletoe first and was moving to the second challenge, which was the 3D puzzle maze. Nicole was hilarious, but she managed to get that mistletoe. This maze was the equalizer for both contestants, and Josh was rooting for Nicole, just as Taylor who is not good at puzzles, managed to edge out the win. And then its times for the stacking puzzle.

Nicole did finish her puzzle and was onto the third and final challenge, making up plenty of time. Nicole made up plenty of time and started on her third stack to balance things easily. The players were stressed watching the contestants go toe-to-toe in this stacking duel, that Nicole Franzel managed to win. It was a bittersweet victory and I was happy for Nicole. This was a fantastic 2 weeks of “Big Brother” edge of your seat unlike BB25. I hate to say this, but I hope “Big Brother Reindeer Games” is an annual treat for fans.