RECAP: “The Circle” U.S. Season 6 FINALE

May 8, 2024

BY Eric Rezsnyak

For all of my complaining about this season — particularly the middle section — I very much enjoyed this finale. The primary reason for that is that these people calmed down after the final rankings and were just, you know, people. That sounds weird, given that this is still very much a game show. But “The Circle” has always felt different from “Survivor” and “Big Brother” and the rest. In past seasons, we’ve gotten to just enjoy these people figuring each other out — who is real, who is a catfish, who is a phony, who they can build real trust with, etc. This season was so focused on gameplay that I felt disconnected from the people actually playing the game. But that changed in this finale, which did a great job wrapping up the season, and also made me genuinely like pretty much all of these players. Shame it didn’t happen until the last 20 minutes of the show…


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Let’s go over our Final 6, in order their final standing in the game.

6th Place: Myles

Myles got axed by “Olivia”/Brandon as the Super Secret Final Influencer, in a move that I think defined the entire game. It was a savage cut, but it was absolutely essential if anyone not in the Tres Fuego alliance hoped to win. Myles played this game very well — one of the best players this season — and I appreciated that, after the initial sting of blocking wore off, he acknowledged that this was exactly what he would have done were he in the position to do so. Once he was eliminated, I thought we got to see a bit more of the actual Myles. I liked that person significantly more than I liked Game Myles. I think he actually does have a crush on Quori-Tyler — I am not convinced it is reciprocated — and it’s pretty clear that he has a real bond with Kyle. I’ll concede that I assumed it was all strategy, but this finale made it pretty clear that there is a softer side of Myles. If they ever do an “All Stars” season, I would absolutely bring back Myles. He’s a great player, and also a tolerable “villain.”

5th Place: Lauren

The most telling part of this episode came from the in-person Circle Chat, when Quori-Tyler, Kyle, Jordan, and Brandon/”Olivia” were all talking about what was actually going on behind the scenes of the game — these secret alliances, the background conversations — and Lauren seemed completely out of the loop. Kyle and Brandon both acknowledged that early in the game Lauren was a significant player, but she completely lost the plot — quite literally — and frankly the only reason she made the finale was there was nobody else left to eliminate. She hadn’t been actively playing for weeks, and none of her connections to other players seemed legitimate. When she was worried that the Secret Influencer would block her, I audibly guffawed. She came into the finale absolutely no threat and finished the best she possibly could have. I think Lauren is nice enough, but after watching this whole season I have no idea if that’s sincere or just a reflexive act she puts on to get what she wants.

4th Place: Jordan/”Big J”

Also placing as high as possible, Jordan made a huge impact on this game, especially for someone coming in halfway through. I shudder to think how frustrating a Tres Feugo-locked season would have been to watch, and without Jordan pulling at that alliance, I think that’s exactly what we would have gotten. Unfortunately, he was swinging too hard, too fast, and alienated 50 percent of the finalists — there was no way he was going to win (it’s telling that even with that level of dislike, he placed higher than Lauren). I’m not sure I would give Jordan the sole credit for the Myles boot. Jordan seems to think it only happened because he alerted Lauren and “Olivia” to Myles’ central position in that alliance. I think Brandon was already keenly aware that Myles was a very powerful player, and if nothing else knew about the Quori-Tyler alliance. Jordan did seem crestfallen at the live Circle Chat, almost frustrated that he wasn’t given more credit. I’m sure 4th Place was a bitter pill for someone as competitive as he seems to be, but again, you can’t alienate half the cast and expect to win this game.

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3rd Place: Quori-Tyler

This is an interesting one. I thought Quori-Tyler had a decent shot to win, and the fact that she placed THIRD, not even SECOND, is a real testament to “Olivia”/Brandon’s last-act power moves. Icing Myles was crucial, but in the end I think Brandon cementing a strong bond with Kyle is actually what resulted in Quori-Tyler ending up a lovely 2nd alternate. I think she put too many of her eggs in the Myles basket, and once he was removed her whole game toppled. She did have bonds with the rest of the players in the game, but I don’t know if she realized that “Olivia” had supplanted her position with Kyle, and clearly the ugliness with Jordan also sunk her — Jordan rated her in last place, which contributed to her third-place finish. I would also bring Quori-Tyler back for an “All Stars” season. I suspect she learned some difficult lessons this time around. I’ll be curious if anything developed with the Myles situation after filming. Did anyone notice during their post-blocking visit she literally could not stop looking away from him and at the television? Was she maybe embarrassed? Or just uncomfortable? Because we didn’t see any of that energy when she was on the couch with the rest of the finalists.

2nd Place: Kyle

I’ll give Kyle a lot of credit: he spent the first half of this game barely even engaging. The Tres Fuego alliance definitely got him back on track, and I went into this episode thinking he was a dark-horse to win it. Nobody in the finals disliked Kyle, and he had especially strong bonds with “Olivia” and Quori-Tyler. My issue is that Kyle did very little in this game on his own. He wasn’t making the moves, he was going along with someone else’s moves. I can’t think of a single thing he specifically did to move his game forward, but he capitalized brilliantly on his relationships with other people. That is a great way to get toward the top of the heap, but I don’t know if it will ever be enough to win a competition like this. I guess the one thing he did better than anyone else this season was be genuine. And that’s saying something, because he was lying both about his relationship status and his career. Weird season!

Winner: “Olivia”/Brandon

In my opinion, the correct winner for this season. Brandon started out quite hesitantly, but still somehow ended up an early Influencer. A disastrous mid-game taught him that he had to actually start playing, and by the time the Ride-or-Die twist happened, that’s exactly what happened. The Kyle alliance and eliminating Myles were the best moves of the season, and Brandon earned that win. I will say that I was astonished that Brandon made the VERY OBVIOUS mistake in the final cyber Circle Chat to not throw people off from him being the Super Influencer. That was such a bad move and could have killed his chances, but it’s notable that the bond with Kyle was so strong that he realized what “Olivia” had done and STILL put Brandon first. Brandon was also a delight to watch, and seemed like a real human being, not just a game bot. Which is, again, saying something, as he was playing a completely different human being. Congratulations to you, Brandon! You earned this.

A few other comments:

-It’s a finale and we don’t ever get to see the goddess that is Michelle Buteau? Netflix, what happened? I choose to believe it’s because she was busy filming the second season of her wonderful comedy series, “Survival of the Thickest.” But please do not deprive us Michell again in the future. I was looking forward to actually seeing her all season!

-How was Deuce paid absolute dust by the rest of the Circle Familia during the in-person meeting? You would think they would be fawning all over him.

-I think casting overall was off this season. I still do not understand the point of casting both Autumn and Cassie; that seems redundant to me. I’m sure a gamer/streamer like Lauren looked great on paper but she ended up being a dud. So was Paul/”Caress.” That’s like half the cast.

-The AI player being removed at the end of Act I took a lot of air out of the middle of the season. It’s strange, because when the Spice Girls gimmick happened, I never felt that way — it was a fun start to the season, but after they left the rest of the season still stayed on track. I don’t think this one did. Especially in that second batch of episodes, the series seemed to be grinding while it shifted into gear.

-I think it’s worth noting that our “super fans” like Quori-Tyler and Jordan finished outside of the Top 2, and that more “genuine” players placed 1 and 2; I’m not sure “super fans”/game bots work with this particular series.

And that’s it! Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed these recaps, you should check out the other shows we’ve been reviewing. And if you REALLY love pop culture, please subscribe to our podcast wherever you listen to podcasts, or become a Patreon subscriber. Our subscribers at the $10/month level or higher can kiki with the panelists about “The Circle” and a slew of other shows on our exclusive Patreon server!

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