First Impression Review: Peacock’s “The Traitors” Returns for Season 2 with More Fun and More Polish

The Traitors Season 2

Moderate spoilers.

NBC/Peacock’s breakout reality-competition series The Traitors returned for its second season. And its first three episodes definitely deliver the same fun murder mystery shenanigans as its inaugural season. Maybe even more so.

First off, I must say that NBC and Peacock have really scored big time with their casting for The Traitors. They already have an Emmy to prove it, earned for their season one casting. But the collection of various reality TV “stars” for this second season exceeds even that already great list.

The series thankfully foregoes civilian contestants this time around. (They were really a mix of horrible, bland and bitter contestants who did not contribute much other than allowing the viewers to have people to laugh at.)

This season’s mix of contestants of course features personalities from the NBCUniversal family of reality TV (mostly from Bravo). But they’ve also invited some MTV legends as well in addition to (and this is the most amazing part) some legitimate All-Stars from CBS’ reality cornerstones Big Brother and Survivor.

(I’m hoping The Amazing Race gets represented on a future season. ATTN: NBC and Peacock, please cast Charla & Mirna!)

The Traitors Season 2

It is an absolute feat that NBC/Peacock has been able to grab legit Big Brother and Survivor All-Stars and icons. And icons from seasons past, not the younger and more recent set of houseguests or castaways. In season one, it was Rachel Reilly and Cirie Fields. This season, we get Janelle Pierzina and Dan Gheesling and Parvati Shallow and THE Sandra Diaz-Twine. I mean, all the show needs now for next season is Rob Mariano and Rupert Boneham and Danielle Reyes. (And yes, Charla & Mirna pretty please!)

The Traitors really knows how to get the reality fandom talking. And that’s both for diehard fans and casuals. I haven’t watched Survivor, even casually, in years. But of course I know who Sandra and Parvati are. The last time I watched MTV’s The Challenge was when the words Real World and Road Rules were still attached to the title. But I certainly know who CT and Johnny Bananas and Trishelle are.

Throw in reality-savvy personalities from Bravo, The Bachelor franchise, Drag Race and Love Island and then random wildcards like Dancing with the Stars pro Maks Chmerkovskiy, Bling Empire actor/model Kevin Kreider, champion boxer Deontay Wilder and former member of Parliament John Bercow? Then you’ve got a pretty solid, if not amazing cast of characters.

And these first three episodes definitely allowed almost all of these characters to get their moment in the spotlight.

The Traitors Season 2

Which brings me to my next thing to gush about. I definitely much prefer that they are rolling the episodes out weekly instead of all at once to binge like last year. This way, fans and viewers can spend each week talking about the show. And surely there’ll be a lot to talk about, judging from these first three episodes.

More social media buzz means more people might want to watch the show. Word of mouth arguably helped season one gain so much attention. And it arguably is what helped other Traitors series around the world be successful as well. This weekly rollout will only bring about positive effects for the series.

And that buzz is quite deserved.

The first three episodes of this second season show a more polished production. The series seems to have worked on ironing out the kinks from the first season. Which is to be expected. They had to see what worked and what didn’t. And it’s refreshing to see them actively looking for ways to improve the show.

Part of that improvement seems to be the pacing. These first three episodes unfold with a much better flow. Each episode has a pretty set format that maximizes the excitement and drama. Unlike the more random cuts of season one, so far, these episodes follow the Murder/Breakfast reveal – Challenge – Roundtable – Murder. Each episode has ended on the perfect cliffhangers.

The Traitors Season 2

And those cliffhangers have been effective thanks to a mix of great, creative new challenges and the contestants being naturally drama magnets from their experiences on reality TV (and similar venues).

I have enjoyed all the challenges so far. Each of them has helped to fuel and provoke drama amongst the Faithful. Fingers pointed, feelings hurt.

And the Shields now being available in challenges rather than walking into a room and betting on luck adds even more to the competitive drama that already exists without this new twist. Seeing the Faithful being much more active in pointing fingers (and it appears more so later on as well), promises a lot of Roundtable drama that will be much more consequential outside of that room.

The Traitors Season 2

As for our new Traitors, I think the show had to choose at least one of the CBS All-Stars. And Dan Gheesling being that one was the perfect choice. His knack for smooth talking, cutthroat and strategic play was very much what helped get him to the Final 2 twice (with one win). But now thrown into a much different environment, will he be as successful? For longtime Big Brother fans, that will be an answer everyone will be waiting for.

Meanwhile, I don’t know much about Phaedra Parks. But she definitely is another great choice amongst the non-CBS contestants. She has that fun, playful personality that works so well as a Traitor. And she is someone that you know will never back down from a fight. So it should be fun and exciting to see her play (and loving) this role.

And finally, Parvati being chosen to join them in the turret. She too is known for the type of gameplay from her time on Survivor that is so suited for Traitors. It’s truly a wonder why everyone wouldn’t immediately suspect and point the finger at her or Dan (or even Sandra) on Day 1. But then again, most of the other people probably are not casual fans who know of their history anyway. Hehe.

The Traitors Season 2

Alan Cumming is of course just awesome as host. Definitely cannot imagine anyone else in that role.

As for who I’m rooting for, definitely Janelle and Sandra for now. Seeing Janelle show she is still a comp beast is awesome. A bit of a surprise to have lost Johnny Bananas so early. And Peppermint was also gone too early.

But these first three episodes have already delivered so much. And really, The Traitors overall is such a fun and enjoyable series that offers up something refreshingly different in the reality-competition genre today.

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