The Traitors 204 Recap: Who Did Parvati Shallow Poison?

Episode four of The Traitors season two picks up right at the cliffhanger where we left off: wondering to whom Parvati Shallow gave the POISON CHALICE. This tactic is new to season two, and I haven’t decided if I like it. Forcing the Traitors to murder in plain sight surely puts the Traitors more on edge than declaring who shall die from on high in their turret. It seems like it gives the Innocents a leg up, because surely one of them will be able to remember someone giving whoever ends up being murdered a weird glass, right? RIGHT?!

In the previous episode, Phaedra Parks decided she didn’t want to involve herself in giving out the chalice, so it was down to Dan Gheesling and Parvati. Dan was supposed to retrieve the chalice from the library, and then Parvati would be in charge of surreptitiously convincing someone to drink it. Despite his fervent desire to be a Traitor, Dan couldn’t pull off moving a glass out of a room (…), so Parvati handled that, too.

I thought Parvati might flirt her way into giving the chalice to a man, because, well, it seems like that might be the easiest route. Parvati identifies her target, places the chalice down, says cheers, and just like that — her target drinks.

But it wasn’t a man! It was dear, sweet, trusting and silly Ekin-Su Cülcüloğlu! Parvati targeted someone whom she loves, who would never suspect her. It’s the kind of cutthroat ruthlessness we’ve come to expect from such a strong game player. (It’s giving Amanda Kimmel’s commitment to Parvati in Survivor’s Heroes vs. Villains.)

Dan, quite literally right next to Parvati and Ekin-Su, doesn’t seem to notice that Parvati has finished the job he was supposed to start. Sorry Dan, you’re being upstaged by the very person you decided to bring in! Why am I not surprised?

After an odd and unexplained mention that Deontay Wilder has left the game “after the day’s events” (?), we’re on to another lavish breakfast of scones and endless orange juice. Dan, Phaedra, and Parvati arrive at the table first, and this is when Parvati reveals who she murdered. She explains that her choice of murder victim wasn’t particularly strategic — it moreso came from a place of pragmatism; who could she subtly get to drink out of a “rusty old cup”? Phaedra is not pleased with the choice; she’s worried that because she voted for Ekin-Su at the last roundtable, people might now suspect her (I don’t quite follow the logic tbqh).

But much to everyone’s surprise, every single remaining contestant ultimately walks through the door to breakfast — including Ekin-Su! Alan Cumming reveals that the poisoned victim will die at some point later today. Yikes!!

Before the challenge, Dan tells Parvati that he’s wondering if they should throw Phaedra under the bus, essentially to give the Innocents something. This is disappointing because it feels both mean and not strategic in addition to being the second time a Black woman has been targeted for no discernible reason this season. It’s way too early in the game to justify giving the Innocents literally any clue, in my opinion! (If anything, I think Parvati and Phaedra should team up and get rid of Dan — people already suspect him!!!) Disappointingly, Parvati seems to agree with Dan, but I’m hoping she’s just saying that to his face to keep him thinking she’s working with him, so that she can stab him in the back and betray him later! A girl can dream.

The challenge for the day is an extremely theatrical, preemptive funeral march/trivia game for the yet-to-be-identified poison victim. I’m not gonna lie, this challenge got really creepy, and I actually began to question if this might do a little psychological damage! The combination of the eerie black carriage, drawn by eerie black horses, with all the contestants dressed in black, led by the commanding theatrical force of nature that is Alan Cumming made this feel, at least to me, like… a little too scary! I do think that’s the point — I guess the line between horror camp and actual horror is pretty thin.

Alan Cumming, host of The Traitors Season Two, dressed all in formal black, leads the contestants in a funeral march, saying, “Death is the final destination for us all, players.”

I mean, you’re not wrong, Alan Cumming!

By the end of the challenge, it comes down to three potential victims: Parvati, Mercedes “MJ” Javid, and of course, Ekin-Su. Everyone then votes for who they believe was murdered, and every single person votes for MJ, because strategically, she seems like a good target for the Traitors — she’s opinionated, outspoken, and not afraid to be a team of one. Alan Cumming reveals that Ekin-Su was in fact the actual victim and everyone — including Parvati, Phaedra and Dan — is like WHAT???!?!

Chaos ensues. No one can figure out why the Traitors would want to get rid of Ekin-Su. They seem to have forgotten that this wasn’t a typical murder — someone had to drink out of a weird chalice! Nobody seems to be asking, did anyone see someone give Ekin-Su a drink?? Such as, I don’t know, Parvati??

Back at the house, Larsa Pippen is rallying the housewives — including Phaedra — towards voting for either Chris “CT” Tamburello or Dan, because she is firmly convinced an “alpha male” is behind this. (Her belief that only a strong man could be making the choices to get rid of other strong men feels, well… somewhat outdated!). Parvati decides to take control of the narrative because that’s what she does; she plants the seeds that maybe Larsa is a Traitor. And her listeners fall in line, of course. Parvati makes it look easy.

It’s interesting to see how differently Phaedra and Parvati approach the role of Traitor. Phaedra seems to prioritize fitting in with her allies, keeping such a low profile that even I, a viewer who knows that she’s a Traitor, find myself thinking she’s innocent. Parvati, on the other hand, takes a more domineering approach, drawing focus away from herself by throwing it onto someone else (in this case, Larsa). I love when you get to see multiple strong players take completely different strategies! (As for Dan’s strategy… he seems to think he’s controlling the game when really all he did was engineer a situation where he could be close to Parvati. Give him a fedora and call him Russell Hantz!)

(I want to give a quick shout-out to Sandra Diaz-Twine, who seems to be playing this game like it’s a version of Survivor, and the roundtable is Tribal Council. She talks with everyone, feels out where the votes might go, and decides to rally people — before the roundtable even begins! — towards Larsa because she doesn’t want her ally CT to go home. Sandra doesn’t seem as concerned with identifying the Traitors as she is with remaining in the game, which could actually totally be a winning strategy.)

At the roundtable, Parvati again throws Larsa under the bus, saying that the Traitor is likely an actor, or…a housewife. Phaedra is noticeably perturbed by this, because it throws heat in her direction, as a fellow housewife herself.

After Larsa gets the most votes and goes home, the Traitors meet in the turret. Phaedra is extremely mad at Parvati (and Dan, because he’s there too) for implicating the housewives, and I see where Phaedra is coming from. She really lays into Parvati, saying no one likes her and everyone thinks she’s a Traitor! I wonder if this is true or if it’s coming from a place of anger. The editing hasn’t yet shown us people outwardly hating Parvati, but she’s certainly been unpopular in other reality TV shows she’s been on. She can be divisive!

I also could see how Parvati’s move to implicate the housewives could actually strengthen Phaedra’s game, because people would never guess that Parvati and Phaedra are working together. But that would require Parvati and Phaedra to trust each other wholly and completely, and unfortunately, at least right now, I don’t think they do.

This episode leaves us in an emotionally volatile moment: Will Phaedra and Parvati reconcile, or will each race toward cannibalizing the other first? We’ll see!!

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Anya Richkind

Anya is a writer, a Pisces, and a huge fan of Survivor. She lives in Brooklyn with her partner Jess and their kittens, Buckett and Tubbs. She writes a substack called Questions I Have in which she explores questions big, small, medium, and more. Check it out here: anyarichkind.substack.com

Anya has written 35 articles for us.

4 Comments

  1. Ok ok ok assuming they’ve all seen season 1 and know that traitors can’t reveal themselves, wouldn’t a foolproof faithful strategy be having everyone at the toys table saying they are a traitor?????? Boom, three traitors reveal themselves.

      • Omg, you’ve found a loophole!! I wonder if they will ever try that!

        Watching this episode, I did find myself thinking about how the fact that the game is so new impacts strategy. Like, conversely, people playing Survivor have twenty years of experience to base their moves on (and 40+ seasons!). But with this, there’s only the one season before (and I suppose the other Traitors franchises), so I think they’re all still playing a relatively straightforward version of the game? I wonder how it could evolve over the years. Maybe there will be people using the tactic you thought of!!

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