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Kate is great on The Traitors! Adding her late is absurd.

Kate is great on The Traitors! Adding her late is absurd.
Kate Chastain joined The Traitors US 2 halfway through the game, in episode five (Image by Peacock)

When the cast of The Traitors US season two was announced, had Below Deck star Kate Chastain’s name had been on that list, I would have celebrated.

Kate is, of course, a terrific cast member. In season one, her I don’t want to do this attitude frustrated me at first. But I grew to love her wit and sass, and also the way she navigated the game itself.

Adding her as a player at the very end of the fifth episode in a 10-episode season? Giving her a vote when she doesn’t even know people’s names? Ugh.

Kate was immediately entertaining! (“I’m just going to have a good time and fuck up some shit,” she told us.) And I’m sure she will continue to be, and I am sure I will be very amused and perhaps even forget about this. But it just seems like amateur-hour producing to drop in a new player mid-game.

A woman with long blonde hair sitting at a table, gesturing with her right hand
Kate Chastain at breakfast on The Traitors season 1, episode 3 (Image via Peacock)

I will give the show some credit for preparing the other players for a late addition. Alan Cumming teased her eventual arrival in the very first moments of the game: “21 of you, for now. But who knows what the future holds?”

Still, what this move says to me is: We didn’t trust this cast enough, so we created an insurance policy. There was plenty of drama without Kate, starting in the traitors’ tower/turret/thingy.

Phaedra was pissed at Parvati for calling out The Real Housewives players. “I was talking about Larsa,” Parvati tried to claim. Phaedra said, “It pissed me off,” and she insisted, “I’m not an actress.” The conflict ended quickly, at least in the edit.

Dan took credit (“I lit the stick of dynamite”) for this. Dan loves taking credit for everything in interviews, and then refusing to speak to the other players in sentences that sound even vaguely human, so he might as well just wear his traitor robe around the castle.

For the traitors’ murder, Parvati said “you decide” to Phaedra, and she proposed either Tamra or Sandra. They settled on Tamra, which Phaedra said “will bring confusion, and everyone knows I am loyal to the Housewives.”

Upon learning of her murder, Tamra said, “I just hope it’s not a Housewife in there that murdered me.”

At breakfast, Janelle proclaimed that Housewives “don’t have the skill or the strategy” to be traitors, and I would like to proclaim Janelle doesn’t have the ability to identify traitors.

But! Janelle was on to Dan. “Dan, at the beginning of a game, plays possum,” she said. “He’s the most devious Big Brother player I’ve ever played with.” Then again, Janelle is on to everyone; at the roundtable, she also accused Sandra and CT.

Peter, however, is getting much closer. Others were, too. CT said, “Give me a theory, Dan.” Dan said, “I’m not going to throw a name—when I do…”

Dan and his furrowed brow are terrible at this part of the game. “Has Dan expressed his suspicions in private conversations?” John whispered to Janelle and Peter. “Dan’s a traitor,” Peter said.

Kevin, meanwhile, announced he was going to accuse Janelle. “Everything just leads back to her,” he said. Everything with Kevin for me just leads back to his hilarious portrait on the wall, which encapsulates his game perfectly.

A person wearing a peacock feathered cap standing next to a podium with a fake rooster
Alan Cumming introduces the bird call mission to The Traitors US 2 players (Photo by Peacock)

Alan Cumming, a peacock feather in his hat and a fake rooster at his side, arrived to explain the mission and its clever twist. The mission had three pairs of players outside the castle, identifying bird calls and repeating them via radio to the group at the castle, who had to search for fake birds that made the same sound, earning $2,500 per bird.

This was similar to the church bells challenge last season, but complicated by giving the players the option to go for a shield. Only the six players who were outside and listening to bird sounds could win a shield, leading to the episode’s first shouting fight.

In their ridiculous color-coded bird watching costumes, Janelle and Peter, Sheree and Kevin, and Trishelle and Bergie ran around the grounds. Shereé and Kevin could not read their map, and got lost.

The single greatest part of this mission was Alan Cumming’s reaction to the players in the castle. After they heard, via radio, one of the outside players’ repeating the bird call, the players ran inside, all repeating the noise themselves.

Alan almost seemed to break character, laughing and looking at the camera. “I mean, come on,” he said. Among his other quips: “I haven’t seen a Housewife yodel before” and “a former speaker of the House of Commons saying to me Fluffy Pants from the Forest—now I can die happy.”

After the challenge ended, which earned the group $10,000, Alan also said, “This castle has heard some high-pitched shrieks in its time—a few from me.”

A person wearing a peacock feathered cap standing next to a staircase
Alan Cumming watches The Traitors US 2 players making bird sounds (Photo by Peacock)

“Does anyone want to reveal if they won a shield?” Alan asked the entire group. Janelle spoke up: “in the best interest of the faithfuls, we are not willing to reveal anything.”

The only thing I’ve missed about the shield from season one is its secrecy, so I appreciated their decision. As Peter said, it would “create a much larger blanket of protection.” Of course, that’s only if one of them is not a traitor—and as luck would have it, no traitors were outside. Bad move on the traitors’ part for not insisting one of them be outside.

Peter’s strategy is to tell specific suspected traitors that both he and Janelle earned the shield, so the traitors would instead murder Bergie or Trishelle, thereby failing and “walk[ing] into a trap,” as Peter said.

Peter’s suspicions of Dan were not convincing everyone. Kevin, for example, said Dan “hasn’t done anything.” What did you expect him to do, Kevin? Write I’m a traitor in blood on the wall? Fling feces at anyone who accused him of being a traitor?

A person purses their lips
Janelle on The Traitors US 2 episode four, before her habit of targeting faithful came back to bite her (Image via Peacock)

At the roundtable, after Kate’s introduction, Janelle called out CT, Sandra, and Dan. Sandra replied, “What kind of crap is that?”

(Sandra’s forehead wound, by the way, was from the graveyard challenge, as she explained on Instagram.)

Kevin declared that he wanted to talk and no one could interrupt him because he had the conch. He caught Kate whispering—she just wanted to know what his name was—and said, “Kate? Could you listen to me?” Kate said, “You think Janelle is a traitor. Got it.” Again: great TV!

Dan was also accused, and said to everyone, “I don’t take it personal,” Dan said. Oh, Dan! Bad at playing this game, bad at grammar.

Janelle told him “you’ve done nothing” and “you’re not acting like a faithful,” and demanded, “Dan, who do you think is a traitor?” Peter said, “One name, at least.”

Dan took the easy and obvious way out: “I’m saying Janelle. I think I’ve been blinded by my friendship with Janelle. … I can’t trust you anymore.”

A person sits back in a chair and grimaces
Dan realizes his time on The Traitors US season 2 may be coming to a swift end (Image via Peacock)

I am intrigued by the central argument Janelle was making, and the counterargument people used to flag her as a possible traitor. Janelle insisted that Dan was not helping the faithful because he wasn’t trying to get traitors out, just sitting and doing nothing.

Because Janelle has been so vocal, and so wrong, others accused her of being a traitor. Instead of going for real traitors, the theory holds, she’s trying to flush out faithful. That is, of course, what she’s done—accidentally, we know, but the evidence piled up for everyone else.

This line of thinking was best illustrated when Sandra and Janelle came together to thoughtfully discuss: “You’re a fucking traitor.” “You’re a fucking traitor.” “You’re a traitor, bitch.”

Janelle got 9 votes, and Dan 5. Kate voted for Janelle, saying she’d learned from Big Brother that “you vote with the group at first”

“I’m a faithful, you idiots,” Janelle said. Bergie found some balls lying around and said, “You guys are trusting the traitors!”

“I will take my shot tomorrow,” Dan told people, clearly reassuring them with his continued unwillingness to have any kind of opinion. Bergie said Dan’s name was already “on my chalkboard.”

(During a traitors’ tower discussion, Dan told told his fellow traitors he’d “sleep on” something,” and Phaedra said, “Oh my god, you’re doing it to us.” Big Brother strategy just doesn’t work here.)

Peter undercut his own clever plan to get the traitors to murder a shield-holder by sharing this plan with Kevin, Bergie, and John—before the next murder.

But it didn’t matter, as he wasn’t clever enough for Parvati. “He must be lying and trying to sniff us out,” she told the other traitors. Dan said, “I don’t think he’s that savvy.”

Savvy Dan told the other traitors, “I need this murder.” His target: Bergie, because Bergie is on to him.

“This murder is either going to win me the game or it’s going to lose me the entire thing,” Dan said. Looks like next week we’ll see our first traitor exit the castle.

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Happy discussing!

Daniel

Wednesday 31st of January 2024

I’m surprised you didn’t bring this up, but it’s obvious they added her because that other guy quit the show (don’t even remember his name lol). Seems like the delay was a result of flying her in and the producers seemed to have the show already planned out for the right number of people. I will say giving her a vote was weird. If I were at that table I would’ve just gotten everyone to vote her out—hey you got a 50/50 chance she’s a traitor!

Andy Dehnart

Wednesday 31st of January 2024

This might be true! But I doubt it. First, shows have alternates on location for just this kind of scenario. I also don't think The Traitors' format requires a certain number of people; it's easy to drop the finale from six to five, for example. This seems like purely a drama play to me—but I will try to find out more!

Cat

Saturday 27th of January 2024

CT running through the castle with his arms flailing had me nearly peeing my pants. I do love this show, but I’m not feeling the cliffhangers.

AK

Saturday 27th of January 2024

Dan is so bad at this game! He’s lucky that he’s playing with a bunch of idiots like Kevin. I’m really ready for him to go. We need some payoff and a new storyline.

Brekkie

Saturday 27th of January 2024

@AK, Kevin in The Traitors Canada was the same - thought he could play it like Big Brother and didn't grasp it's a different game that needs a different strategy.

Vicky

Friday 26th of January 2024

I think they're messing with us, and Dan will accept Parvati's wisdom, though I hope he does not! I'm very tired of Dan and his attitude.

Brekkie

Friday 26th of January 2024

Well the next time shot of the round table spoiled how it plays out.

Thought this episode was a bit of a dud to be honest. Unlike the UK series which has really gained momentum from the funeral episode onwards feel like we're in a bit of a mid-season slump here.

A real mistake only releasing one episode a week and not sure the all reality alumni cast is working either.

Brekkie

Saturday 27th of January 2024

@Bad Mitten there is a shot of the full round table where as well as most players being clearly identifiable a quick count of the heads around the table reveals whether or not they attempted and failed to murder someone with a shield.

@Raph - I'm not sure it would work live - the UK version certainly wouldn't as the press would attempt to get word into the castle and the post production adds alot to the cinematography of it, but agree that it needs more episodes a week but not all at once.

The UK version aired three episodes a week for four weeks and whether by chance or design ended up basically as a four-act play, with the major cliffhangers falling in that last episode of the week. This is a show really where stories usually playout over multiple episodes rather than in just the one, so sometimes with just one episode a week you only get half the story.

I think three up front then double episodes released each week with the final released afterwards would have made sense.

The UK finale aired last night - won't spoil it but it's doubled the overnight ratings that the finale got for the first series and even the spin-off reunion show got higher ratings than the actual final got first time around.

Bad Mitten

Friday 26th of January 2024

@Brekkie, how so? I did see Bergie in the preview, but that only really either confirms he either wasn't murdered (and it was John) or that he was unsuccessfully murdered. Unless John was in the preview too and I missed it, but if not I don't think it spoiled it.

raph

Friday 26th of January 2024

@Brekkie, i agree, the show is not a binge show, but i dont feel like this kind of show is a weekly show either.

They should have done 2-episodes a week like monday and thursdays. to keep momentum going...

for the show to then last longer I dont know how that would work without complicating the game more...

i could see it though further evolving into a reality show live version of clue further.