CONTAINS MASSIVE SPOILERS FOR THE TRAITORS
As all reality TV connaisseurs know, some of the best drama you can find on TV is not just in police procedurals, heists or Upside Downs; it is with real people living their lives (in front of the cameras) or real people in extraordinary situations (also in front of a camera).
The Traitors is a contender for the best TV drama and best comedy of the year. It is a perfect combination of paranoia, misplaced arrogance, over-the-top reactions, distrust, intrigue and ridiculousness. It is escapism in one of the best forms possible. The tension felt watching the roundtables on The Traitors rivals what I felt watching the last two episodes of Apple TV+’s Severance (honestly).
When we first saw the 22 contestants meet each other on a steam train to the Scottish Highlands in episode one, it all seemed very twee and polite; they didn’t know each other but were united in trying to win money. Once they arrived at the incredible Traitors castle base camp they learnt (from Claudia Winkleman, wonderful as usual) that they would be split into ‘Faithfuls’ and ‘Traitors’. They had to work together to build the prize pot in different tasks but if there were any Traitors left at the end of the game they would take home all the money and leave the Faithfuls with nothing. They had the opportunity to try and find and vote out the Traitors at the nightly roundtables. Oh, and the Traitors got to wear ridiculous cloaks and ‘murder’ contestants they wanted to get out of the game every night after the roundtables.
The first couple of episodes had a slow start as a few obvious Faithfuls were offed from the roundtable just because the loudest voices were suspicious of them for being quiet (or in some cases the Traitors did some great deflection work). As the pack has thinned and friendships and alliances have grown, the show has got better and better. There have been so many great moments on the show, but here’s a round-up of some favourites:
Alex and Tom Revealing Their Relationship – Episode Four
TV presenter/actor Alex and her magician/idiot boyfriend Tom decided to deceive the other contestants from day one and pretend that they didn’t know each other. They thought that a divide-and-conquer tactic would help them win the game. This lasted until episode four, when Alex was picked by The Traitors to go ‘on trial’ (which basically meant she was one of three who could be murdered that night), Tom freaked out and decided to tell everyone they were a couple and he knew she was a Faithful. This romantic declaration completely backfired and made the couple look completely untrustworthy. The fallout was one of the funniest scenes on TV this year – there were tears, stormouts and a very confused and upset BMX rider (Matt) who thought him and Alex had made their own romantic connection. Hilarious!
Wilfred Turns on Alyssa – Episode Six
Alyssa was always going to be the weak link in the original Traitor line-up (with Wilfred and Amanda). Her eyes were constantly misty, she was incredibly quick to throw Nicky under the bus (who was a strange choice as an initial target) and we all knew she wouldn’t last long. However, it was fellow Traitor Wilfred/Brutus who, when he realised he was in the firing line, stabbed Alyssa/Caesar in the back. She was revealed as a Traitor and the Faithfuls were over the moon – Wilfred was part of the reason they found her out and he earned a lot of (misplaced) trust.
Andrea’s Adorable Friendships – the Whole Series
Retired 72-year-old Andrea was incredibly popular in the group and struck up great bonds with 24-year-old Aaron and 30-year-old doctor Amos. From the moment they met on the train to the castle, Amos and Andrea had a sweet friendship (until they both got murdered). A highlight of the show was watching Andrea and her other bestie Aaron play boules while she regaled him with tales of the 60s and meeting Hollywood star Ava Gardner; I am willing to bet that Aaron has no idea who Ava Gardner is, but watching him laugh along was so endearing and charming.
Wilfred Turns on Amanda – Episode Ten
Self proclaimed ‘Welsh dragon’ and matriarch Amanda played an absolute blinder as a Traitor, until she slipped up and voted her BFF Theo as a Traitor. People started to question her intentions and loyalty and Wilfred used their uncertainty to get her out. After he ousted Alyssa in a similar way at the roundtable we could hardly be surprised by his tactics, but it was amazing to see Amanda go from ‘100% Faithful’ in everyone’s eyes to a Traitor so quickly.
Maddy Being Right About Wilfred and No One Listening – the Whole Series
Someone else who kept a secret from the group (like Alex and Tom) was Maddy. She decided that she didn’t want to tell her fellow contestants that she was an actor so they wouldn’t think she was acting all the time. Like the other secret-keepers, Maddy decided to reveal the truth over breakfast, leading to more accusations of deception and lies.
Maddy really was a Faithful throughout, and had Wilfred’s card marked from very early on. The only problem was, no-one else believed her. Friendships have developed to such a point in the final episodes that Wilfred has Faithful Hannah saying ‘on her life’ he could never be a Traitor. On your life?!
Maddy left in episode 11 and still maintained Wilfred was the Traitor. She’s been right all along (let’s ignore her other vendetta throughout the series for Faithful Aaron).
Wilfred Recruiting Kieran (and Immediately Regretting It) – Episode 11
As the last Traitor standing, Wilfred was offered the opportunity to offer a Faithful an ultimatum; join me as a Traitor or leave the game right now. Wilfred decided to ask influential and seemingly level-headed Kieran to join him but goodness me, is that looking like a mistake. Kieran spiralled immediately and was incredibly close to voting Wilfred out at the roundtable after hearing some second hand gossip from Maddy. So far Wilfred has been an incredible Traitor but could this last-minute alliance be his undoing?
The Traitors final episode is on BBC One at 9pm tonight (and we can’t wait!)