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One Ruthless Move Saved an Otherwise Uneven Season of 'Traitors'

By Dustin Rowles | TV | March 9, 2024 |

By Dustin Rowles | TV | March 9, 2024 |


peacock.jpeg

Excluding the reunion episode, the season finale of Traitors aired on Peacock this week, providing a spectacularly cutthroat end to an otherwise uneven second season of the series. Spoilers

The problem with this season of Traitors has almost everything to do with Dan, the former Big Brother winner who not only proved to be lousy at the game but blew up his fellow traitors in the process. Dan got suckered by The Bachelor’s Pete, who set a trap midway through the season and, against the advice of his fellow traitors, Parvati (Survivor) and Phaedra (Real Housewives), Dan fell right into it. He could have been a magnanimous player and accepted that he screwed up and bowed out gracefully (or at least, he could have quietly accepted his banishment). Instead, Dan more or less threw Parvati under the bus in an attempt to save himself, which was not only an asshole move, but one that made the game itself much less interesting.

Not only did Dan put a giant target on the back of arguably the season’s most popular player in Parvati, but for the rest of the game, the traitors mostly had to rely on the stupidity of the faithful to stay alive. Thankfully, there was plenty of that to spare, but two players, Pete (The Bachelor) and Trishelle (The Challenge), and to a lesser extent, CT (The Challenge), basically sniffed out the other traitors. From then on, it almost became a game not about finding the remaining traitors but positioning themselves to win once the traitors were banished.

Neither Parvati nor Phaedra could shake the smarter players, while Kate — recruited as a traitor after Dan’s banishment — had a strong shot at succeeding as a latecomer except for the fact that, as good a villain as she is, she’s surprisingly lousy at both lying and covering her tracks. Indeed, I suspect that the edit in the finale hid what was obvious to the remaining players (especially once Sandra was nixed): Kate was a traitor. MJ, CT, and Trishelle’s decision to vote her out was a no-brainer. Kate further compounded the obvious by voting not to banish when it was abundantly clear that a traitor remained due to the fact that someone had been murdered the night before.

And that left three players, all faithfuls, to split the money. But in what was clearly a plan designed much earlier on in the game, Trishelle and CT pulled off a remarkably fun and cutthroat move in the end, banishing MJ, knowing she obviously wasn’t a traitor so that the two of them would not have to split the money with a third. In a brief moment of obliviousness, Trishelle did vote to banish CT, but after a three-way tie forced a second vote, Trishelle voted out MJ, executing the plan she and CT — sibling-like frenemies on The Challenge — had put in motion.

Cirie dominating the first season over essentially a bunch of reality television newbies was a lesson to producers not to mix veteran reality contestants with those inexperienced in front of a camera. The lesson of the second season, however, is 1) for the producers to choose smarter, savvier traitors than Dan (and, to be honest, Phaedra), and 2) for the players to better consider their alliances. MJ, among others, should have known better than to take two people who had a strong connection prior to the season to the end. She had to know that she’d be voted out so that CT and Trishelle wouldn’t have to share the money with her. It’s cruel and cutthroat, but it’s the name of the game, and MJ was never good at it to begin with. She didn’t deserve a share.

The best reveal of the season, however, was learning in the final vote that the two winning Faithfuls were the best Traitors all along.