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?
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.
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?
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.
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.