In my recent review on “Pressure Cooker” I mentioned how I disliked it during the early seasons of skilled competition shows when people made decisions based on “game strategy” rather than on merit. It may surprise you, then, to learn that I absolutely loved Peacock’s “The Traitors.” On “The Traitors” “game strategy” is the whole point.
The show is set in Scotland, ostensibly at the castle of our host, Alan Cumming, who was born to play this role. He has invited 20 people – 10 who have been on other reality shows (most of them from Peacock’s corporate sister, Bravo, but a few others as well) and 10, well, normal people to join him at his castle for a little game. Not being a big watcher of reality shows, I didn’t really know who anyone was, and in all honesty, it didn’t make a difference as far as enjoying the program went. There are some references to their previous stints, but nothing you can’t follow just by the dialog on this show.
Each day, the contestants engage in a mission of some sort. One day, they may be trying to blow up wood frame Scottish beasts, another, they’re struggling to roll barrels through the castle grounds. The point of the missions is for them to collectively earn money toward the prize pot of up to $250,000.
The contenders have been divided into two groups, but not everyone knows who’s in which group. Some have been selected by Cumming to serve as the titular Traitors, who’s job is to get rid of as many of the other players as possible without getting caught. The rest are known as the Faithful.
The Traitors all learn who’s on which team because each night, they don heavy cloaks, sneak through the castle carrying a lantern and meet in a creepy castle turret to decide who they’re going to murder. Once the victim is picked, their judgement is delivered to the victim, who is now out of the game.