The Traitors 205 Recap: A Killer Move

The fifth episode of The Traitors season two picks up in the turret, where we last saw Phaedra getting really mad at Parvati for implicating the Housewives, broadly. After Parvati confirms she was only trying to get out Larsa (which she did!) and apologizes for implicating Phaedra in any way, Phaedra seems to forgive her. Dan, again, is there! (I’m starting to think this is his strategy, actually, to outwardly be so passive.)

Parvati offers the choice of murder to Phaedra, since she picked their last victim (Ekin-Su). Phaedra settles on Tamra Judge — a choice that suggests she really has buried the hatchet with Parvati, since Tamra is herself a Housewife. It also really protects Phaedra, because she has just shown her loyalty to the Housewives — if a Housewife is then murdered, the Traitor couldn’t be Phaedra!

The next morning, when everyone walks into breakfast except for Tamra, it causes chaos, as always. Alan Cumming gravely retorts, “A real Housewife lost her real house life,” which makes me remember just how great of a host he is. I love these odd, dramatic one-liners he delivers with such aplomb every dang time. Alan Cumming also reveals someone new will be joining today. Who will it be!!

At breakfast, CT is extremely suspicious of Dan, who has essentially refused to ever state a suspicion of a single person being a traitor. CT is pushing him really hard to make one single guess, and Dan, adhering to what I have to believe is his strategy, continues to refuse. He’s sort of a brick wall, revealing literally no information. (Sometimes when I play the game One Night Ultimate Werewolf, there are people whose strategy is to simply not talk. Sometimes it makes them look suspicious, but most of the time, you simply stop engaging with them, because if you can’t get any information from them, you worry you’re wasting your time. I think Dan is approximating this strategy.) It seems the tides are turning against Dan, and I don’t know if this is admirable or silly, but he seems to do anything but panic! For me, it’s a little infuriating. It’s like, dude, do something!

After breakfast, it’s clear the tides are turning against Dan, as many others are suspicious of him (Janelle, Trishelle, Bergie). Only Kevin is absolutely convinced that Janelle is a traitor.

This episode’s challenge involves the team splitting up, one competing outside (with access to winning the two shields in play) and one competing inside (with no access to the shields in play). After some back-and-forth about the teams, determined mostly by which players are insisting that they get a chance to win the shields, the challenge begins. It’s actually a very funny challenge involving all of them running around and imitating bird calls. Tonally, it feels very different from the funeral march last episode, and for me, it’s a welcome reprieve, if a bit boring.

Alan Cumming, host of The Traitors Season 2, stands at a podium before an ornate staircase, raising his hands in feigned exasperation, saying, “I mean, come on.”

Trishelle and Bergie win the shields, and Peter comes up with an actually interesting and strategic idea: If Trishelle and Bergie don’t reveal they won the shields, every person on the outdoors team can be protected. Peter reasons that if the Traitors don’t know who of their six has the shields, they won’t want to target any, because they won’t want to waste a vote. As far as I know, Peter is from The Bachelor, and I was impressed to see him ratchet up the game play by employing a pretty nuanced strategy. If he can pull it off, that is.

Back in the house, after the challenge, Peter intensifies his strategy by telling Dan, privately, that he and Janelle won the shields. Peter tells Parvati, also privately, the same thing, thinking that if either of them are the Traitors, (1) this might protect him and Janelle from getting murdered and (2) best case scenario, they believe him, and choose to murder Bergie/Janelle, who actually has the shield, effectively wasting a murder, and revealing themselves as Traitors. Sneaky sneaky, Peter! I love it.

Janelle is still really gunning for Dan. Once again, the best thing Dan seems to come up with is going to Parvati and getting her to handle it for him. Generously, maybe this is his strategy. Parvati reasons that if Janelle is coming for Dan this hard, they’ve got to get Janelle out, to protect Dan. This isn’t the first time I begin to wonder if Dan would protect Parvati like she is seemingly willing to protect him. Despite being labeled so often as a villain, I don’t think Parvati plays dirty; she decides who’s on her team and who isn’t and cleaves to those boundaries. It seems Parvati sees both Dan and Phaedra as her team, at least for now. Dan, on the other hand, seems to be a team of one, and I worry how this could affect both Parvati and Phaedra moving forward….

Inexplicably at this point, we learn who the new player is going to be, and it’s the iconic Kate Chastain, a fan favorite from season one of The Traitors and a whole lotta seasons of Below Deck!! I’m excited to see how she shakes things up; you can always count on Kate to say exactly what she’s thinking, and that’s always a rollercoaster to watch. Alan Cumming, wearing a shirt seemingly made only of feathers (love), brings another chair to the roundtable, and in walks Kate.

Kevin steels himself and delivers a formal accusation of Janelle, which really gets under Janelle’s skin. She, in turn, says she thinks — nay, is sure — the Traitors are Dan (right!), CT (wrong!), and Sandra (what??). Her choice to accuse beyond Dan baffles me, especially considering CT and Sandra are close allies (they will rally against you), from competitive reality TV shows built on kicking people out when they show you can’t trust them. I really wish Janelle had just stuck to Dan!

Dan’s defense, unsurprisingly, is to provide no defense. I actually think I see his strategy begin to work here. It’s like, how could someone react so calmly if they really were the Traitor?? Wouldn’t they be freaking out? But that reasoning actually holds no water, for me. Because he is a Traitor, he can stay calm, because of course he can prepare for this moment, because it is a reasonable accusation, since it’s based on truth. For Faithfuls, getting accused of being a traitor is an unreasonable accusation, because it’s not based on truth, so of course it sends people into a tailspin! Peter and Janelle push Dan to say a name, any name, and he says… Janelle, again, sidestepping making any choice for himself. He aligns with the majority every single time.

When the votes come in, they’re split between Janelle and Dan. But at the end of the day, Janelle gets the majority of the vote. I can’t help but remember literally earlier in the episode, when CT was absolutely gunning for Dan! But of course, saving his own life in the game became more important than eliminating Dan — Janelle was a much more immediate threat to his continued presence on the game. In all reality competition shows, emotion plays a bigger role than I think most contestants would like to admit — but maybe in The Traitors more than anything else, because getting accused of being something you’re not is just…really emotion-inducing!!

Janelle goes home, and some of the people at the table — namely Bergie — see this as confirmation Dan is in fact a traitor. It’s hard for me to see how Dan will clear his name at the next roundtable.

Back in the turret, the Traitors discuss their next target. Parvati reveals Peter told her, in confidence, that he won a shield. Dan reveals he did the exact same with her. Parvati, in true Parvati fashion, immediately knows Peter must be lying. I stood up and cheered!! Parvati’s biggest asset has always been her extremely sharp emotional IQ; that gal simply knows when people are lying! Poor Peter has no idea who he’s dealing with! Parvati reasons that because they don’t know who has the shield, they should murder someone who wasn’t on the outside team — also because then it’ll imply to Peter that Parvati and Dan are NOT the Traitors. Seems like a great plan to me!

Dan, on the other hand, thinks Peter couldn’t be savvy enough to strategically lie (??) and believes him. Dan reasons that because Phaedra got to decide the last murder (Tamra) and Parvati the one before (Ekin-Su) (which remember, was only because no one else could execute the poison murder), he should get to decide this one. This reasoning doesn’t sit well with me, because Dan is implying both Parvati and Phaedra asked for and wanted to decide the last murder victims, which neither of them did. Two women and a man, and only one seems to feel entitled to make decisions for the group…interesting!!!

Dan seems to think the best choice (for his life in the game) is to murder Bergie — a.k.a. to fall right into Peter’s trap. Which, as Parvati realized in about one second, is indeed a trap!!! But Dan seems to believe it’s worth the risk of wasting a murder, which I find unstrategic and shortsighted, to say the least.

I’m nervous that Parvati and Phaedra choosing to go along with Dan, even though they KNOW it risks wasting a murder, could be really bad for them, ultimately. Here’s what I’m afraid of happening: They murder Bergie, and he is saved because he has the shield. This, to Peter, confirms Dan and Parvati are both traitors. Dan, to save his own life, decides to go full-throttle on…Phaedra, which would make no strategic sense, since she has arguably been playing the best game of all three of them.

But I just don’t see Dan throwing Parvati under the bus. Maybe I’m wrong! What do you think will happen??

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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.

5 Comments

  1. Is no one else on AS watching this riveting show??? Alan is incredible. We love and live for Kate but I’m nervous she won’t last very long. Dan is dumb and Pavarti and Phaedra should work against him.

  2. This season has been amazing so far. I’m so nervous about the next episode though. I want Dan to be banished but I fear that he is not giving Parvati and Phaedra a name because his plan is to throw one of them under the bus the next day and get them banished. And the easiest one to target is Parvati. Peter told both Dan and Parvati the “truth” about the shield and he can tell people he saw her give Ekin-su the poison.

    I really hope I’m wrong though and the women team up to banish him.

    Fingers crossed!!

    Also – Kate, I need you to destroy Kevin for how he spoke to you.

    • I know, I had a similar thought when Dan refused to tell Parvati and Phaedra his idea. (TBH, I don’t think he has a big grand plan or anything, I think he’s biding his time until he knows what to say, and then he’ll have teed it up to seem all smart and like it’s been brewing for a while.) I agree that Parvati would make the most strategic sense for him to target — also because anyone who knows her reality tv history knows she’d be a great traitor. I just… don’t know if Dan has it in him to do Parvati dirty like that. We’ll see!!

      And I am so glad Kate is there, and I feel like we can be SURE she will have some words!! She always does!!

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