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The Traitors US’s first truly terrible twist—and episode

The Traitors US’s first truly terrible twist—and episode
On The Traitors US 2 episode 7, Peter, fell into a pit of mud dug by the producers, not unlike what they did to the faithful (Photo by Euan Cherry/Peacock)

We’re only two seasons into The Traitors US, but season two, episode seven is the first time I’ve really been annoyed with the show and its producers. That’s a dramatic shift, because usually I’m bowing at their feet, having been swept away by the thrill that is The Traitors, even if I have quibbles.

Not this episode.

It had a promising start: We opened with a battle between The Bachelor and a Survivor winner. That gave way to two alliances, one led by another Survivor winner, Sandra, who came alive as a player.

The two groups were preparing to face off at the roundtable. Would Sandra and her pool balls—with the help of Parvati—take out Peter? Would Peter and his alliance take out Parvati, and have their second traitor in a row? Or would Peter and Parvati work together?

Instead of getting to watch this play out at the roundtable, instead of letting this train race toward as it gained momentum, the producers pushed it off the tracks. Did someone call Jeff Probst and ask for advice or something?

A person's face and hands inside a net full of leaves
MJ is caught in the producers’ net, just like the other faithful (Photo by Euan Cherry/Peacock)

Alan Cumming announced the arrival of this nonsense by telling the players they’d all have to go “on an outing. A deadly outing.” In the woods, by a fire, he told them, “Tonight, there will be no roundtable. There will be no banishment. Tonight, you will have the power to change the course of this entire game.”

In other words: Weakened Traitors, here’s a free pass! This effectively gives the power back to the two traitors, who were weakened by Peter’s refusal to join them and their inability to murder, at least for one episode.

Were the producers so worried Parvati would be banished—leaving just one traitor, and possibly ending the season before it was actually over—that they had to intervene?

Even if this twist was planned in advance, and was not at all a reaction to what was happening in the game, it’s bad game design. The faithful are underdogs, and their one bit of power comes from the the roundtable banishments. Taking that away leans on the scale even more for the traitors.

In the woods at night, a person uses a torch to light another torch while others look on
Alan Cumming presides over The Traitors’ worst twist yet (Photo by Euan Cherry/Peacock)

At the “human sacrifice ceremony,” as Kate called the exercise in the woods, the players had the chance to give each other immunity.

First, the two shielded players, Kevin and Sandra, chose one person to protect from murder: Shereé. She then selected Phaedra, who saved CT, who saved John, who saved Peter.

That left MJ, Bergie, Kate, Parvati, and Trishelle vulnerable to murder. By itself, I like this little game: it’s a great way to illustrate alliances and suspicions. The emotion was also surprising: Phaedra touched that Shereé protected her, Trishelle crushed CT picked a politician instead of her.

But then to cut the roundtable out? And then to switch the episode’s focus from identifying the traitors to who had their feelings hurt? And then not even show us who the traitors decided to murder? After a 60-minute episode?

No.

And this was going so, so well! The traitors learned that Peter would not join them when Alan walked into the turret instead.

Peter said, “I want to be a part of winning this the right way” and could never “betray my team.” Parvati said, “What a dummy.”

Phaedra hilariously told Parvati that breakfast is “gonna be your last meal,” which may have been what had the production panicking.

Parvati promised, “I will rise from the ashes” and “I am ready for battle today,” and her plan was fascinating. Alan didn’t reveal there was an attempted recruitment, and Parvati said, “So who got recruited?” Then she added: “We got a new traitor in the house. Is it you, Peter?” He said, “We shall see.”

“Let’s not judge our faithfuls. Maybe they said no thank you,” Kate said. Kate’s always thinking!

Parvati asked people to raise their hand if they got a letter. “Somebody’s lying,” she said. Curiously, Peter said, “I guess this means you’re not a traitor; I’m still here.”

Parvati called him out: “That’s a big change of heart.”

There was a meeting of the five-person alliance, and Peter told Trishelle, Kevin, John, and Bergie that he was recruited, and that they needed to “take Parvati out, and we cannot miss.” Trishelle, however, thought it was too risky to vote out Parvati.

During this conversation, Phaedra, and then MJ, tried to come in, and they asked them to leave. Subtle!

Meanwhile, Sandra called people to the pool table and laid out balls to show how the numbers worked out. “One of these has to be banished,” she said. “If Peter’s the head traitor, let’s take him out.”

Watching this ball action, Kate said, “This is the best thing I’ve ever experienced.”

Parvati was in this group, and thrilled. “I cannot wait to watch that smug smile fall off of his lips when he gets banished. I am going to be dancing all the way to the turret,” she said.

Two people run through the woods in winter clothes; one is holding a canvas bag
John and Parvati complete the mission on The Traitors US 2 episode 7 (Photo by Euan Cherry/Peacock)

For the mission, the players split into pairs to travel through the woods to answer questions. Answer wrong, and they were eliminated—in extremely shocking and hilarious ways!

We first saw Peter run to get a scroll in order to find out if their answer was correct—and fall into a hole full of water and mud. “Shit!” he said. When Sheree saw this happen to her partner, she said, “Oh hell no! Shit. Hell no.”

Then she got pulled up into the air into a net, as did CT. Amazing.

Everyone was eliminated—along with the money they were carrying—except Parvati and John, and Kevin and Sandra. Both answered the final question correctly, and somehow Kevin and Sandra completed the course more quickly, winning shields.

They won just $8,000, adding to the players’ still-paltry prize.

Back at the castle, there was some armory action: CT found the old armory and a huge shield. Then, Peter took Phaedra and Parvati into the armory, which was just incredible. “Or we could work together,” Peter told Parvati. Phaedra didn’t like that: “I don’t want to be in no collusion. Y’all talk,” she said, and left.

And then, well, they were called away from whatever this was going to be, and we were deprived of a potentially great roundtable. With Peter safe, perhaps all of this will pick up where we left off. But to wait a week for that is inexcusable.

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Happy discussing!

Michael Harmstone

Sunday 11th of February 2024

It's basically a take on a twist the UK version used in Series 1 - they did a meal which was a safety chain, whoever was left over could take a bribe to leave the game.

My suspicion is they did it because of Deontay's quit - they need a certain number of people for each challenge remaining (all of which we know what they are thanks to the UK one!) and a certain number of people at the end, so they needed to lose a banishment or murder from that, and they couldn't have three nights with no murder so it had to be lose a banishment but do it in a way that at least messes with the traitors a bit.

Heidi

Sunday 11th of February 2024

I will just never understand how they let Sandra get this far in the game. She is a damn force of nature in these things, other than the physical thing now, I guess.

Bad Mitten

Saturday 10th of February 2024

Am I back to watching big brother? Tragic to see what could have been an epic episode ruined by an awful twist

Gavin

Saturday 10th of February 2024

Worst episode ever is all I can say I have watched UK (season 1+2) Aussie (1+2) new-Zealand 1 also USA (1) on with the second I hope no others follow suit once a week is bad

AK

Friday 9th of February 2024

I am deeply confused by how these confessionals work. Parvati was shown wearing five different outfits tonight.

AK

Tuesday 13th of February 2024

@Keith Privett, interesting. I've been noticing this since the first episode, because they've shown confessionals with Parvati in that same all-white outfit with the headband every week. I guess she must have done that interview at the end looking back on the whole season or something. The confessionals kind of tipped the outcome of the Janelle vs. Dan showdown for me. I noticed that all of Janelle's confessionals had the same outfit while they showed some interviews with Dan wearing another outfit that clearly must have been filmed later on.

Keith Privett

Friday 9th of February 2024

@AK, They grab confessionals most days... and editors use them for any day in the narrative if it helps tell the story. Reality editors are TV's version of collage and found object artists - use anything available. It's weird, but would we rather they ask folks to repeat the same lines each day when they come in?

And it's a trope as old as the genre. While less obvious on Survivor, hard core fans have found out time shifted confessionals from hair length, errors in digitally switching Buff(tm) colors, and loose lips in post-show interviews.

But this time, it was indeed clumsy.