The Traitor - Hunger Games in the Scottish Highlands
December 22, 2022 6:32 AM   Subscribe

BBC reality show "The Traitors" (trailer) has its final today: 22 contestants lodged in a Scottish castle and collaborating to win a pot of money even as they plot to murder and banish each other so to be the survivor who walks off with it. Host Claudia Winkleman - to be found bedecked in every variety of tweed - talks about how she was persuaded to host the show. The Traitors is like a long running version of the psychological party game Mafia, originally was developed in the Netherlands as "De Verraders". An American version, filmed in the same location, will follow.
posted by rongorongo (21 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Absolutely loving this show. There's also an Australian version which has already finished up its first season.

It's a little bit like The Mole, only, unlike the mole, the traitors do not try to sabotage them from earning money for the group pot. As a result, I find this makes it quite a lot more difficult for the traitors to be identified. Also unlike The Mole, the viewer is in on who the traitors are.

The US version will air on Peacock starting January 12th, hosted by Alan Cumming, and will feature (among others), Survivor alums Stephenie LaGrossa and Cirie Fields, plus former US Olympian Ryan Lochte.

Should certainly be interesting!
posted by juliebug at 6:58 AM on December 22, 2022 [2 favorites]

Is this streaming anywhere that US people can watch it?

(Our rule for reality competitions, generally only applicable to American ones: the moment anyone says they are "bringing their A game" or confesses they are "in it to win it," the show is banned forever.)
posted by mittens at 7:04 AM on December 22, 2022 [7 favorites]

You forgot "I thought we were friends!!!"
posted by JoeZydeco at 7:29 AM on December 22, 2022 [1 favorite]

mittens - not yet, as far as I can tell.

But there may be ways to get around geo-locked content. >.>
posted by juliebug at 7:30 AM on December 22, 2022 [1 favorite]

I think a big part of its success has been down to how varied and 'relatable' the contestants are, a move away from glossy 'influencer' vehicles and back towards the naivety of earlier shows... so of course the US version has put celebs and reality TV veterans into it (reminds me of when the US dropped all of the group interaction stuff from Deal or No Deal even though that superstitious cult-like banter was the main appeal over here)
posted by malevolent at 7:31 AM on December 22, 2022 [4 favorites]

Britain's Next Blackadder?
posted by RonButNotStupid at 7:38 AM on December 22, 2022

I have not seen this show but absolutely love Claudia Winkleman.
posted by dobbs at 7:42 AM on December 22, 2022 [5 favorites]

I'm 100% obsessed with this show. 100%.

SpoilersMy favourite thing is that one of the few places doing episode recaps is Wales Online and oh my goodness did they turn on Wilf when he dispatched Amanda.

Wilf is this show's equivalent of that Twilight Zone cornfield kid, but nobody on the show knows it. The minute he says, "I just don't trust..." in the confessional, you know who's dying at the roundtable.

I'm hoping Kieran can kill him off and claim the prize, but I'm not optimistic. I want to scream every time someone mentions the possibility of it being Wilf and Hannah jumps in to defend him.

Also, I was heartbroken when Aaron voted Maddy off. It would have been a chef's kiss ending if they had banded together and won it as a team.

posted by nangua at 8:53 AM on December 22, 2022 [1 favorite]

Aaron is my sweet Human cupcake and the show appears to have broken him just a little bit which makes me sad.

I think the traitors are gonna win tonight unless there is some major twist to force them to Out themselves to the rest of the group.
posted by Faintdreams at 9:45 AM on December 22, 2022 [2 favorites]

Also Caludia's stylist team deserves all the awards.

The distinctiveness of the Day vs Evening (or Team Building vs Round Table) Looks for Claudia are just freaking supurb.
posted by Faintdreams at 9:50 AM on December 22, 2022 [1 favorite]

Did not expect to get into this as much as we have, it seemed like a goofy nothing at first glance but because they've used "real people" AND they all went insane within three episodes, by then I was shouting at the TV, wishing arseholes like Tom and John a swift trip to Gonesville and loving every second of Queen Amanda.

There were only a few real mistakes in play (namely Alex and Amanda making odd choices, I won't say what) and on that basis I honestly want the traitors to win. One of the funnier aspects of this show is that the genuinely clever clogs get voted out/murdered first, so by the end of the show you have the goofballs, innocents and clueless left to try and rub some braincells together. It's really fun winter TV.

The one thing I could do without is the challenges, they are usually boring and I don't care about the money anyway, I only live for the drama. It would seem that they're more about interacting in teams and seeing people building bonds, but the editing puts more emphasis on securing the bag than how these interactions might affect later play. A more interesting twist might be that the traitors are building their own pot based on the failures of the faithful, so sucking at a game might become suspicious? I don't know, but anything to make them less than dull would be welcome for the next season.

Can't wait for Traitors All-Stars when they bring back Wilf, Rayan, Maddy and Amanda for some score settling!
posted by Ten Cold Hot Dogs at 11:43 AM on December 22, 2022 [3 favorites]

I've avoided this because it sounds like yet another reality show that relies on encouraging the worst aspects of human nature for its effect. Or am I wrong?
posted by Paul Slade at 11:45 AM on December 22, 2022

Ten Cold Hot Dogs - That's basically the plot of The Mole, which is interesting on its own, but I like that it's a bit more difficult to discover the traitors when they're all legitimately aiming to do well at the challenges. I still don't see how this is fair to the faithfuls in the least, except that the faithfuls start out by outnumbering them something like 4 or 5 to 1 and might, by sheer luck, vote out a traitor early. I'm definitely wondering how the game's balance goes going forward (in these editions and others).

Paul Slade - I wouldn't say it encourages the worst aspects. Is there lying and deception? Absolutely. There's also some manipulation (in general) by both faithful and traitors to try to vote people out. Still, there's a lot of relationship-building, much of which seems to be real. There was a really touching moment in one of the episodes when someone said they felt truly accepted by the group. I feel like there are real friendships forming here. The teamwork stuff to build money for the pot also seems to be somewhat genuine -- people truly cheering others on. It doesn't seem like people scheme as much as they do in Survivor or anything, if that helps.
posted by juliebug at 1:03 PM on December 22, 2022

BBC iPlayer works with a VPN set only to East London for some reason! I haven’t seen this but it’s been crazy popular in my Instagram circles.
posted by ellieBOA at 1:05 PM on December 22, 2022

Oh my.

What a finale !
posted by Faintdreams at 2:02 PM on December 22, 2022 [2 favorites]

Great ending, perhaps the best possible one. I like this show and I’ll definitely watch a second series.

(Ah, thanks for that juliebug. I guess I just find the challenges so boring—today, somehow, might have been the worst one of all—and a mechanic in there to spice things up outside of the medallions and the money would get me more invested.)
posted by Ten Cold Hot Dogs at 2:57 PM on December 22, 2022 [1 favorite]

I dunno, I've not been a fan of how the herd mentality has been manifesting (for reference, I've watched through episode 3). The participants' biases have been on full display, and it's been very uncomfortable to watch.
Exhibit A: Calling a woman suspicious for not picking up a glass. Don't forget, this woman only has one hand. Exhibit B: Labeling a relatively quiet and reserved black woman as two-faced, just two days in.
Really, most of them just seemed to be voting out whoever they don't like, rather than putting any thought into sussing out the traitors.
posted by krakus at 3:36 PM on December 22, 2022 [1 favorite]

There was a similar US series called "The Mole" that aired about 20 years ago, with Anderson Cooper slumming as the host/moderator. It was pretty much a mess. Participants were supposed to find clues to identify which player was The Mole, whose job it was to subvert and mislead the other players. [Sample Clue: "John was staying in room 13, and the 13th letter of the alphabet is M, and M stands for Mole."]

The most amusing thing I remember about the single series I watched was how obvious it was that Cooper despised the loud, dumb, right-wing creep who was one of the participants, but was obviously simpatico with the attractive young player who mentioned that he'd won a competition at a gay bar for having the prettiest penis.

(Note: I've undoubtedly screwed up some of the details of the show. It's been 20 years.)
posted by bcarter3 at 5:03 PM on December 22, 2022 [2 favorites]

Ten Cold Hot Dogs - I agree it would be nice if there were other... priorities, I guess. I think this is going to be something that they work on, both to make it a bit more engaging and to perhaps more easily identify traitors. It still seems so rigged in favour of the traitors to me.

krakus - Having now watched the entirety of Traitors UK and Traitors AU, I gotta say that I was more impressed with the contestants on the AU version. I feel as though the UK cast wasn't particularly good (at lesat at the start) and there was a whole lot of herd mentality going on, for sure.

Having said that, we do have to remember that a good strategy for the traitors IS to murder the smart ones or the ones people will listen to as soon as they become a threat. As such, by some point, the traitors may have the possibility of being well-insulated within a bunch of people with whom they get along and more "following the crowd" behaviour may present itself. I've found it very interesting to watch to see how people may or may not gang up on others and, if they do, on whom.
posted by juliebug at 5:26 PM on December 22, 2022 [1 favorite]

There were 5 seasons of The Mole (Cooper hosted the first two, Ahmad Rashad the next two celebrity seasons, and then John Kelley the fifth) and the sixth was just recently aired on Netflix, by the way. Another show like this is The Hustler which is just one person versus five and they earn money from trivia questions.
posted by soelo at 8:02 PM on December 22, 2022

Guardian review of the final episode.

It was a fascinating show. Part of the appeal of reality TV and quiz shows is fondly imagining “I could do so well here”. With The Traitors I’m not at all sure, however. Would I also be suckered and manipulated into group-think? Would I be murdered or banished for being a little threatening or strange; too quiet, too loud too opinionated - raising my wine glass incorrectly? Would I volunteer myself as someone who could be a traitor; would I then be picked and would I be able to handle it? I found it interesting that the final four were all people in the category of those who might have been teased at school: for their sexuality, their hobbies, their body shape. They were, indeed, not the self proclaimed geniuses or the apparently skilled detectives or the most photogenic - who were all dispatched efficiently. But rather the team players from the middle of the pack who rate the importance friendship highly. Not the typical reality show winners in other words.
posted by rongorongo at 2:02 AM on December 23, 2022 [2 favorites]

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