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Accusations, blunders, and terrifying scarecrows haunt The Traitors 2 players

Accusations, blunders, and terrifying scarecrows haunt The Traitors 2 players
Mercedes "MJ" Javid, the first murder victim Johnny Bananas, and traitor Phaedra Parks (Photo by Peacock)

“Welcome to the dark side,” Alan Cumming said, as allegedly outside the door of the newly selected third traitor: Parvati Shallow.

At the top of The Traitors US season two, episode two, the “diabolical duo become a treacherous trio” of traitors: a Survivor winner, a Big Brother winner, and a Bravo winner.

Traitor Dan said Parvati’s “reputation is very cutthroat, cunning, and deceptive.” Does it also help that Parvati was already been accused of being a traitor, and got defensive? Is she an easy goat for the traitors to throw to the faithful wolves?

A person in a white sweater and leggings sits in a chair; a stack of large round gold coins is in the foreground
Parvati Shallow, before being selected as the third traitor on The Traitors US 2. (Photo by Euan Cherry/Peacock)

But before Parvati joined them, the OG traitors had to commit a murder. Their options were Kevin, Bananas, and Peppermint. That’s three very different approaches: an obvious goat, a challenge beast, and someone we’d soon learn was voted most liked by the players.

Dan told us that “I wanted to operate in the shadows. This is where I do my best work,” and with Phaedra, was a little more aggressive: “I can push a little bit and get my agenda done.

Phaedra objected to Bananas because of his challenge prowess, but we’d soon learn that Dan got his way—and that Phaedra knew what he was doing. “This is Dan’s playground,” she said. “This murder is going to shock everyone. People are going to be upset.”

The next morning at breakfast, the last players three to arrive were Bananas, Peppermint, and Kevin.

One question some of us had about season two was whether the producers would continue to send the traitors’ options into the room last. While it may not have been obvious to the first group of players, having seen other seasons, the cast will know to be on the lookout for that. At least for this first murder, the three options were indeed kept out of breakfast until the end.

Kevin and Peppermint arrived together; Bananas was the first murder.

A person wearing white gloves and a white wrap sits in a chair; a stack of large round gold coins is in the foreground
Peppermint in The Traitors US season 2, episode 1, before she became the first person banished by the group (Photo by Euan Cherry/Peacock)

Peppermint, making the first of several new-to-strategic-competition-reality-TV mistakes, told everyone that Bananas is “somebody who can’t be controlled.” A good analysis, but maybe not the best to point out immediately and publicly.

The night before, Trishelle made a dumb joke about Peppermint being a traitor if Trishelle ended up dead, and decided Peppermint’s reaction was enough to accuse her of being a traitor. Everyone knew about this—perhaps except Peppermint!

“What situation did we have?” she asked. Trishelle explained, “your face—I felt like I made an accidental find.”

Peppermint, in an interview, told us, “Honey, this is some bull-shit.” At breakfast, she stood up, walked over to Trishelle, and said, “If you get murdered, it might be by my look, but it won’t be because I’m a traitor.”

That was a perfect response, shutting down Trishelle while acting unbothered. Alas, Peppermint had more mistakes to come.

First, Alan Cumming arrived to throw Bananas’ picture onto the floor. “Do you know what’s not on the breakfast menu today? Bananas.” LOL

A person poses in front of a painting of himself
Alan Cumming, host of The Traitors US season 2 (Photo by Euan Cherry/Peacock)

For the mission, the players wore matching flannel shirts in three colors, and then followed three paths for a version of a season-one challenge, this time with creepy scarecrows.

At each pair of scarecrows, which had players’ names on them, the group was asked a question; the answer was which of the two players had the most votes from the entire group. They carried the answer scarecrow to the next station, and if they were right, it’d unlock that question; if not, they had to return.

“The faithful are telling us exactly what they’re thinking about everyone,” Dan said, though I think he meant “the producers.” This mission is definitely designed to give the players—but especially the traitors—some clues about groupthink.

However, this may have backfired a little on Dan, who was the answer to the question “Who needs to speak up more?” In an interview, Phaedra said, “I’m not sure it’s going to work for this game.”

The question about which player was the most-popular had Peppermint and Deontay as options. Kevin and Trishelle insisted it was Deontay. Blue team initially chose Peppermint’s scarecrow, but threw it on the ground and then had to go back and get it, because the answer was indeed Peppermint.

After arriving at a terrifying field of scarecrows, the players had to dismember them to find the gold bars—and possibly one of three shields.

I like that there are more shields in play, and that they’re not just going to a random player. But so far, that also means the traitors know who has them, and thus they’ll never waste a murder on someone who has a shield.

The scarecrow challenge was organized so that the scarecrows with shields were in a separate area, making it clear who was going for them. What if the producers had just scattered the shield scarecrows among the others, giving the players a chance to be more stealthy about getting a shield?

Dan used the public shield to try to shield himself with a “double bluff,” demonstrating to the others that he was worried about his own survival.

After shredding scarecrows, the players made $16,000.

Back at the castle, Peppermint reflected on her popularity. “Me being popular with a bunch of snakes and traitors? Let’s see how far that popularity gets me tonight!” she said.

But it was her own words that were her downfall. With Trishelle’s detective work providing the most public accusation, Peppermint defended herself. Badly.

“I don’t like being accused of things I didn’t do,” she said to a group of people. “If Trishelle is really concerned about not banishing a traitor—I mean, not banishing a faithful.”

Oh, Peppermint! In an interview, she said, “it was a slip-up, but I mean, find me a human being who hasn’t accidentally said the opposite of what they meant to say.” Absolutely. Alas, so early in a game like this, such a slip-up is a shiny object for everyone to chase.

At the first roundtable, Parvati didn’t yet know the identity of the other traitors, and thus could have potentially voted to banish one of them. But no one suspects Dan or Phaedra, at least not as far as we’ve seen, so that scenario did not play out.

Peppermint started the roundtable: “I’d like to speak.” I guess she had no other choice, considering how much she’s dug herself into the hole Trishelle created.

The producers sat them next to each other, and things got heated, quickly. “Don’t put your hand in my face like that. It’s disrespectful,” Trishelle said, while Peppermint held her hand up to ask Trishelle to stop interrupting. Ugh, Trishelle.

Tamra switched targets and grilled John about his breathing and whether he has asthma and/or is asthmatic, though whatever lie she thought she caught him in paled in comparison to Peppermint slipping up and calling herself a traitor.

John got a few votes, but when he voted, he said, “that evidence we’ve acquired can’t be ignored.”

Janelle voted for Peppermint, too, saying, “out of all of these people, you’re the most likely to be a traitor.”

For a moment, I was wondering if this logic was specious. Would an actual traitor be so obvious? But it’s easy for me to see how someone unused to playing strategic games, or just uncomfortable with deception, would be nervous if selected as a traitor.

The Traitors US players are continuing their trend of voting together, though there were some scattered votes for John.

“If you’re not a traitor, I’m going to feel like absolute garbage,” Trishelle said before the reveal. Well, hop on in to a dumpster, Trishelle, because Peppermint was revealed to be a faithful.

Peppermint spun around to face the roundtable, and the editors cut to commercial mid-spin, catching her in a great pose.

“I’m a huge fan” of The Traitors, Peppermint said, though she added that she did the show to “advocate for our transgender community.”

“I am not happy right now,” Shereé said, having voted for Peppermint. She told us later, “I feel horrible for going with the majority.”

In the kitchen, Deontay called Peppermint “a beautiful person” and said, “this shit make me want to cry—I relate to that, I know what it feels like for people to go against you … to know I’m a part of it.”

Maksim Chmerkovskiy, who is apparently getting The Traitors Australia Paul edit because he popped up out of nowhere, said that the accusations were “a made-up nothing.”

During the post-banishment hang-out, Marcus called out Dan for not talking. “Anybody that didn’t speak up was very happy with the way the conversation was going, because they knew it wasn’t directed toward the traitors,” he said.

That is great analysis, and Dan needs a new strategy, fast. But first, Parvati will join the other traitors for her first murder.

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