The Traitors has always been a masterclass in treachery, but last week’s stunning elimination might as well have been the Super Bowl of subterfuge. When Dan Gheesling tried to throw his fellow Traitor Phaedra Parks under the bus, he found out firsthand why no one should ever try to go toe to toe with a Real Housewife who also happens to be a lawyer. Her fiery comebacks will forever remain seared into our memories, and thanks to her quick wit, the Faithfuls finally caught Dan and ousted a Traitor from the castle.
While most players can rest easy for a night, however, the stakes have never been higher for Peter Weber. Night after night this week, I’ve lain awake, biting my nails and asking myself one question over and over again: Will this former Bachelor accept the Traitors’ offer to join their ranks, or will he stick with the Faithfuls and risk getting murdered?
For those who’ve never sojourned in Traitors host Alan Cumming’s castle, a quick primer: The Peacock reality show gathers 21 players together in Scotland, and all of them hope to share a $250,000 cash prize. Hidden among the Faithfuls, however, are an undisclosed number of Traitors, each of whom will take all of the money if they make it through the final elimination. Each week, the players vote to “banish” one suspected Traitor at the roundtable, and afterward, the Traitors gather in the castle tower to “murder” one Faithful.
Following last week’s elimination, the Traitors had a choice. They could either kill someone off as usual, or they could try and convince one Faithful to join them. In the end, they decided to try and lure Peter over to the dark side. After much thinking (and over-thinking), I have decided that there is only one logical route for Peter to take, and that all others would likely spell his doom.
Then again, his choice will inevitably come down to what his real goal in this game is. Does he want to remain a golden boy and outsmart the Traitors, leading his team to a shared victory, or does he want all the cash for himself?
Peter knows better than anyone what a tight spot he’s in. Two weeks ago, he set up a trap for Dan and Survivor winner Parvati Shallow, both of whom he correctly suspected as Traitors. He told each of them that he and Big Brother alum Janelle Pierzina had won two “Shields” during a challenge, which would prevent them from being murdered, when in fact two other players had secured immunity. As soon as the Traitors targeted one of those protected players—Love Island USA alum Carsten “Bergie” Bergersen—Peter knew that at least one of them had to be either Dan or Parvati. At the roundtable, Peter made clear that while the group had wisely chosen to vote Dan out, he still suspected that Parvati was a Traitor as well. Now, Parvati wants to neutralize Peter by bringing him in as an ally so she can watch him murder his friends. Our villainous queen never falters, but will Peter take the bait? More importantly, should he?
This entire situation calls to mind last season, when the Traitors successfully recruited another former Bachelor—Arie Luyendyk Jr. While Arie proved to be an excellent game player, he lost out at the very end when his fellow Traitor, Season 1 winner and Survivor legend Cirie Fields, booted him during the final elimination, solidifying her clout among the remaining Faithfuls.
As Peter considers his own options right now, the decision mostly boils down to one question: Should he choose the short-term safety that comes with becoming a Traitor, or could he instead find a way to survive the next couple weeks, which would allow him to make it for the long haul?
My hours of deliberation have left me skeptical that Peter could succeed as a Traitor. First of all, how the hell would he and Parvati work together? Parvati might hope that bringing Peter into the fold will get him off her back, but he’s already spent days telling everyone who would listen that she’s a Traitor. If he suddenly changes his mind or even lets up a little, the red flags will be flying high above his head. Beyond that, Peter’s game and allyships have been so consistent from Day One that any shift in strategy will similarly tip his fellow players off.
Beyond the impracticalities of Peter becoming a Traitor, doing so would also still put him at risk. Being a Traitor in this game comes with considerable power, but at the end of the day, it’s unlikely that two Traitors would ever choose to split the cash prize. If you’re playing as a Traitor, it’s probably because you want all of the money for yourself, so unless you’re sure you can outmaneuver your fellow wolves in sheep’s clothing, there’s still a good chance you wind up going home.
In other words: If Peter joins the Traitors, he will avoid getting murdered in the next couple weeks for knowing too much, but he’ll also have to watch his back, because there’s no telling when Parvati or Phaedra might choose to throw him under the bus. After all, they’ve been playing together for longer, so their loyalty to one another could run deeper than their allegiance to him. Peter might have the full trust of the Faithfuls right now, but what do we think his odds would be in a finale face-off against Phaedra, who will undoubtedly keep track of every little inconsistency in his gameplay once he switches teams?
If Peter remained a Faithful, he’d obviously need to tread lightly. Yes, Parvati wants him dead, but right now, the Faithfuls are more powerful than they’ve ever been in any season of this game. They know the identity of one remaining Traitor, and if they’ve been paying any attention to how this game works, they should also have a good hunch about Phaedra. Really, the question is how committed Peter is to remaining a team player, because if he wants a win for the group, it’s practically in the bag.
Whenever a Traitor goes out, they usually try to take their fellow saboteurs down along with them. Dan writing Phaedra’s name on his chalk board might’ve been disastrous for his game, but if the Faithfuls know what they’re doing, they’ll take it as a sign that Phaedra deserves some suspicion alongside Parvati. Peter has not targeted Phaedra, so if he rejected the Traitors’ invitation, his path to victory could be as easy as convincing everyone to vote Parvati out during the next roundtable. From there, he could wage a more covert campaign against Phaedra—assuming he’s realized that she’s the other Traitor. Given how Phaedra has been playing, she’s unlikely to come after Peter just because he targeted Parvati; as long as you leave Phaedra alone, she’ll usually leave you alone.
It’s unclear what Peter is going to do, but if he’s really in this game to win it, I think his best choice is to say “no” to the Traitors. If his fellow Faithfuls are smart, they’ll reward his excellent detective work with a Shield during the week’s challenge, should one become available to them. (Seriously, who the hell else would the Traitors target at this point, anyway?) Being a Traitor might grant more power in the short-term, in this case, it might wind up being a bigger liability in the end. Then again, if Peter does choose to joust against Phaedra in the end, it could just be the showdown of the century. If this season has taught us anything so far, it’s that you should never underestimate a former Bachelor or a Housewife.