Type keyword(s) to search

The Group Chat

The Traitors Reunion Delivers Sore Losers and Bad Fashion

Inside the highs and lows of the Scottish castle get-together.
  • Cirie Fields and Christian de la Torre on The Traitors reunion (Photo: Peacock)
    Cirie Fields and Christian de la Torre on The Traitors reunion (Photo: Peacock)

    It took six weeks, but fans’ requests for a Traitors reunion have finally been answered. On Tuesday, Peacock released a one-hour special that brings together the entire cast of the U.S. adaptation — including winner Cirie Fields and villain Kate Chastain — for an in-depth conversation about the reality competition show’s first season. Though the series itself is hosted by Scottish actor Alan Cumming, Peacock tapped Andy Cohen to oversee the reunion, a transition that’s addressed in the opening minutes as Alan offers his hooded Bravo counterpart some advice about dealing with the season’s many personalities.

    Those personalities are on full display in The Traitors Season 1 reunion, which rehashes the moment in which Cirie bested Andie Vanacore and Quentin Jiles to win, offers more Kate-versus-Rachel Reilly shade, and sees Traitors like Christian de la Torre and Cody Calafiore justify their actions. As the first season of The Traitors comes to an end, Primetimer’s Joe Reid, Claire Spellberg Lustig, and Mark Blankenship discuss the highs and lows of the long-awaited reunion special.

    Joe: I wanted to kick this off by welcoming you two as my fellow Faithful, but given how poorly the Faithful played in this season of The Traitors, I feared that would come across as an insult. To start off, I want to get right to the heart of what I was hoping to find out with this reunion episode: specifically, whether in the last nine or so months between the filming of the season and the filming of the reunion, had Andie and Quentin managed to get over the fact that they got outplayed by Cirie. Turns out, nope! They still haven't.

    I loved the experience of watching The Traitors, but one thing that left a bad taste in my mouth was the way Andie and Quentin reacted to losing the money. Disappointment, I would have understood; even some resentment in the moment. But the way they both morally shamed Cirie for carrying out her Traitor duties and winning the money for herself made me think a lot worse of them. You'd think nearly a year would have brought them perspective. I get that I'm coming at this from the perspective of someone who a) watches a ton of competitive reality and has had time to build up my "the game is the game, no hard feelings" ethos but also b) loves Cirie Fields like a member of my own family. So I am not objective here. I just think this kind of sour-grapes attitude is a terrible look on Andie and Quentin.

    The crux of their shared grievance, as they told Andy Cohen, is that Cirie played dirty by bonding with them over their personal lives and then "using it" to convince them to eliminate Arie at the end and ultimately trust that Cirie wasn't a traitor so they kept her in the final three. Maybe I should cut Andie and Quentin some slack on this since they haven't played reality TV competitions before, but in a game of social strategy, bonding with strangers over personal lives IS THE GAME. That's all you have to work with. That's what a social strategy is. So, trying to make Cirie look like a bad person who preyed on Andie and Quentin's family situations to win the money is not only unfair, but also exposes Andie and Quentin as terrible players. But again, maybe this is the Cirie fanboy in me coming out, much like the Big Brother fanboy in Michael jumped out when he started ragging on Cody for things that fully happened several years ago on Big Brother instead of anything Cody did on The Traitors. Where are you both on the Andie/Quentin question?

    Claire: I don’t think this is an instance of the Cirie fanboy in you coming out, at all. As Kate said during the group’s circular, way-too-long discussion about Cirie’s “backstabbing” move: “Don’t hate the player, hate the game.” There’s clearly a disconnect here between the everyday people on the show, like Andie and Quentin, and the cast members with experience on other competition series. (The other reality show alums seemed to be split between these two camps, as we see with Below Deck’s Kate and The Bachelor’s Arie Luyeydnk Jr., who’s Team Andie-Quentin.) I’m not sure what kind of show these newbies thought they were participating in — The Traitors is right there in the name! — but it was frustrating to watch them spend 20 minutes pretending like this is a game about building meaningful connections, rather than one requiring manipulation and strategy.

    That said, the Cirie-Quentin-Andie back-and-forth did address some of my confusion about Arie’s sudden exit in the finale. It never made sense to me why Arie took himself out of the game after Cirie threw her sachet of red powder into the fire — and if he did try to give Andie and Quentin clues about the Traitor among them, I definitely didn’t pick up on anything. So thank you, Andy Cohen, for helping to clarify the thought process behind the season’s most shocking moment, even if it probably should have been clearer as it was playing out on screen.

    Mark: I’m with both of you on the Andie-Quentin question. I feel sympathy for them, because clearly they’re upset and disappointed, and perhaps they feel ashamed for seeming so gullible. In both the finale and the reunion, Andie especially seemed to be operatically upset about losing, which strikes me as a strategy to deflect some feelings of personal embarrassment. But at the same time, here’s something that bothered me: Andie was mad at Cirie for using their family situation as a tool, but then Andie used that exact same family situation to gain sympathy from the room. They basically said, “How can you use me after I told you the following personal things about me, which I will now list in detail so that I can get everyone else on my side?!?!” Like Joe said, it’s bad game play.

    Speaking of contestants without reality television experience: What did you think about Christian’s appearance in the reunion? He seemed to be going for some kind of middle ground, where he somberly insisted his bad acting was a strategic choice, yet also came to the taping in a vest with no shirt. He strikes me as one of those reality competition contestants who can’t seem genuine in a manufactured environment. Which is hard, I’m sure! But it makes me appreciate someone like Cirie, who has mastered that “real person in a fake situation” balance, when I watch how awkward Christian always seems.

    Joe: Not to be too harsh, but Christian just seems like a wannabe to me. I appreciate turning a look at a reunion as much as anybody — Kate referencing her tartan pattern from the season was a highlight! Rachel's "couture" serpentine green satin sash/cape was definitely a choice! — but that no-shirt, denim-but-also-cheetah-print vest, big hat look just screamed insecurity. Which was his vibe all season, really. I think Christian was an essential part of this cast because his foolishness actually pushed the game along and ultimately gave Cirie and Arie a window to get him eliminated, which I think was a necessary big move at that stage. But Mark, you're so right about how this season really underlined the difference between people who know how to be reality TV stars and those who don’t. It's a skill!

    How did we feel about Andy Cohen as a host? I liked the little hand-off scene at the beginning between him and Alan Cumming, but it did remind me how much I wished Alan would have been there to comment on events he was on site for. This did all go down at his castle, after all! I think Andy Cohen is a good reunion host when it's clear he's super into the show, and I'm not entirely sure he was all in on The Traitors. He obviously loves his Bravo homegirl Kate, and you could tell he's a Cirie fan. But I maybe wanted him to dig into the events of the show more. One thing this reunion made me realize is just how much Cirie was able to take advantage of the fact that so many of the Faithful — including reality TV vets like Stephenie, who should know better — were over-moralizing the idea of being a Traitor. They all thought you essentially had to be a bad person to be a traitor. Hence why so many suspected Kate! That's a huge part of why Cirie wasn't suspected, because they didn't think she would ever do anything so dastardly to them. I think that's an attitude that Andy would have picked apart in a Housewives reunion.

    Claire: I, too, loved the moment when Alan handed things over to Andy, but even that mini-scene seemed to acknowledge that the Face of Bravo wasn’t the best person to oversee this reunion. It’s telling that Andy relied heavily on fan-submitted questions, the surest sign that he wasn’t ready to play mediator between the show’s warring factions. As a result, the reunion felt more like a feel-good catch-up: Even the Andie and Cirie dispute ended with a hug and the promise of a Cirie-sponsored dinner. I do wonder whether Peacock approached Alan about hosting, first, and what the reunion would have been like if he were overseeing the proceedings. Granted, Alan wasn’t around for the secret hallway negotiations or the Traitors’ discussions, but he could have offered an interesting perspective on those dramatic Round Tables and Cirie’s bait-and-switch, which would have gone a long way towards making this reunion more exciting.

    Mark: Joe, you’re absolutely right about the moralizing everyone did about being a traitor, and for me, that gets at the one weak spot this season. It’s disingenuous for any of them to pretend like playing this game to win is somehow a character flaw. The biggest groaners were the moments when people suggested they would’ve played in a manner that let people split the cash. Well, that’s why y’all didn’t win! It seems like people are trying to spin their failure into some kind of success, instead of being gracious about the fact that they were outmaneuvered.

    Joe: What do we wish had gotten more attention in the reunion? Obviously, with only 48 minutes (so stingy!), we couldn't get to everything. I was surprised we didn't get more from Kyle, whose Summer House has become one of Andy Cohen's faves. Kyle isn't even someone I like on Summer House, but I wanted someone to give him credit for being on to Cody before anybody else was, in a season where hardly anybody was right about who was or wasn't a traitor. I also wanted Andy to pull back the curtain a bit on the Cirie/Stephenie/Rachel alliance from their previous show Snake in the Grass. The Housewives reunions aren't super precious about behind-the-scenes stuff, so I was hoping that Andy might give Kate room to further complain about pre-alliances as she did in her post-finale press appearances.

    Mark: I would’ve liked to hear more from Ryan Lochte, because he seemed to have a genuinely good time on the show, and I would’ve loved to get some information on the breakfast scenes. I was low-key obsessed with how Arie always ate. No matter the situation, he found time to have a little fruit or some toast. Tell me more about this regimen!

    Claire: Oh my god, the breakfast scenes. In an ideal world, this would have been a two-part reunion, with Part 1 devoted to gameplay, and Part 2 exclusively focused on the breakfast setup, particularly those toast display racks. I can’t get over the fact that producers offered contestants seven pieces of extremely burnt toast, two pieces of limp, pale bread, and nothing in between.

    On a more serious note, it would have been interesting to hear from the contestants eliminated early on in the competition, who mostly just sat there looking sad and bored. (But if you’re just going to ignore them, then maybe we don’t need them there, at all.) And as a longtime Below Deck fan, I’m ride-or-die for Kate, so I would have loved to see a few more takedowns of her co-stars. Honestly, let Kate host The Traitors Season 2 reunion!

    The Traitors is now streaming on Peacock. Join the discussion about the show in our forums.

    TOPICS: The Traitors, Peacock, Alan Cumming, Andie Vanacore, Andy Cohen, Cirie Fields, Kate Chastain, Rachel Reilly