‘The Traitors’ Queen Phaedra Just Royally Screwed Up—Twice

Photo Illustration by Thomas Levinson/The Daily Beast/Peacock
Photo Illustration by Thomas Levinson/The Daily Beast/Peacock
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(Warning: This post contains spoilers for The Traitors Season 2, Episode 9.)

Phaedra Parks might have one more ally on her side in the final stretch of The Traitors, but if this week’s sloppy performance is any indication, the Queen of the Traitors will not keep that throne for much longer.

For the uninitiated: In The Traitors, dozens of celebrities gather at host Alan Cumming’s Scottish castle to compete for a chance to share a $250,000 cash prize. Among the Faithfuls lurk an undisclosed number of Traitors, each of whom will take the money and run if they make it through the final elimination. Each week, all the players gather for a roundtable ceremony where they vote to “banish” one suspected Traitor, and afterward, the Traitors meet in the castle turret and decide whom they’ll “murder.”

Last week, the Faithfuls finally banished their second Traitor, after Big Brother winner Dan Gheesling: Survivor legend and Traitor Parvati Shallow. So this week, Phaedra got to recruit a new partner in crime to join her murderous mayhem in the castle turret by issuing an ultimatum to one fellow player: either switch sides or get murdered. Phaedra chose returning Traitors player and fellow Bravo-lebrity Kate Chastain. When presented with the offer, Kate seemed as noncommittal as ever. She also correctly pointed out that she’s actually not the best liar. But, hey! What choice did she really have? Of course, she accepted.

For the most part, Phaedra has been a phenomenally smooth operator. She tends to avoid making any traitorous decisions, allowing her fellow saboteurs to leave their own fingerprints on whatever mess they might create. Case in point: She allowed Dan and Parvati to go after Carsten “Bergie” Bergensen a couple weeks back, even though Parvati suspected that former Bachelor Peter Weber had laid a trap for her and Dan by feeding them inaccurate information. When it turned out she was right, it was already too late—and Phaedra’s hands were clean. Now, however, the ball is in her court, and it turns out, she might not actually have the skills to back up her royal Traitors title. This week, at least, she was a hot mess.

The Traitors ‘Mistress of Murder’ Parvati Shallow Tells All

Phaedra and Kate’s first order of business was to choose a murder victim. They knew someone had immunity, but thanks to another one of Peter’s little tricks, they didn’t know who. Kate wanted to murder Bling Empire star Kevin Kreider, but Phaedra worried that might be a bad idea, given that he’d targeted her last week at the roundtable. Truthfully, that’s the problem with all of Phaedra’s preferable picks: Peter Weber and Real World: Las Vegas star Trishelle Cannatella both voted for her last week, and their closest ally, former Parliament member John Bercow, would have done the same if he hadn’t also been sure about Parvati.

If Phaedra and Kate wanted to throw some mud in the water, they could’ve gone for one of their Bravo personalities, like Real Housewives star Shereé Whitfield or Shahs of Sunset personality Mercedes “MJ” Javid. Hell, they could’ve shanked Sandra Diaz-Twine, who’s been gunning for Pilot Pete alongside them for a while. Instead, they chose Kevin—a predictable decision that could easily boost the skepticism toward Phaedra.

All of that said, things aren’t looking good for Peter, either. The Challenge alum and “castle daddy” Chris “C.T.” Tamburello pinpointed Peter’s problem in a confessional interview this week: “He doesn’t listen to anybody else, and he’s not consistent. ... It’s one thing to think like a Traitor and another to play like a Traitor.”

‘The Traitors’ Ushers in the Golden Age of Queer Villains—and It’s About Time

Folks are getting suspicious of Peter’s constant trickery and game-playing, especially after Phaedra revealed to the group last week that he’d offered to work with Parvati even while telling everyone he believed she was a Traitor. His switch-up to going after Phaedra instead of Parvati last week has since become even more ammo to prove that he’s not being entirely honest with his fellow Faithfuls.

At this point, the Traitors have targeted his group week after week, bringing their numbers down to an untenable low of three. To win against Phaedra this week, they needed to win at least two players over to their side before the roundtable. So far, no one seems to have figured out that Kate might have switched over; only MJ noticed that she seems a little off at breakfast. Team Bachelor has their work cut out for them!

Still, Phaedra might’ve made their work a lot easier for them with her second big mistake of the episode.

It all went down during the mission, which gathered our players in a chapel to shoot a catapult at some stained glass windows. Each window bore one of the remaining players’ names. One by one, they all needed to fire the catapult at one of their fellow players’ panes, and the last name left standing would win a shield. The challenge was worth a potential $25,000, and each missed shot would lose the group $250.

It took some practice, but soon enough, everyone got the hang of maneuvering the catapult and learned that shifting its sights from left to right was a bit easier than up and down. Because of that, players mostly worked across the rows. But then, with only a few names remaining, Phaedra decided to cut a long, diagonal line across the board to target Trishelle. Unsurprisingly, Kate was not thrilled.

“You are not doing yourself any favors,” Kate told producers of her teammate, “and by proxy, me as a fellow Traitor!”

What logical sense would Phaedra’s move make if she wasn’t deliberately working to make sure Trishelle remains vulnerable? What possible explanation could she give at the roundtable? As we later saw, she offered none.

By the end of the mission, the group walked away with a respectable $15,250, but the evidence against Phaedra could prove even more valuable. CT, who was leaning toward voting for Peter, switched over and agreed to vote for Phaedra at the roundtable. Peter, Trishelle, and John worked on Sandra, MJ, Shereé, and Kate as well. But did they manage to get the numbers they need? Thanks to a truly diabolical cliffhanger, we’ll have to wait until next week to find out.

‘The Traitors’ Star Kate Chastain Spills All the Castle Tea

Phaedra is a master of misdirection, and even John’s eloquent case against her at the roundtable might not have been enough. As she pointed out, the Traitors might’ve written down her name on their chalkboards on the way out, but they were also both “in collusion” with John’s “bromance friend” Peter. “And since you so eloquently defend him,” she said in a master stroke of manipulation, “he likes me so much now that he wants to work with me!” (In truth, Peter simply pulled Phaedra aside for a conversation, but who needs to know that?)

When Peter tried to come back at Phaedra, she predictably put him in his place, too: “What you might have forgot, Peter, is that this is not The Bachelor and I don’t have to kiss your ass for a rose.”

The roundtable votes were an even split: Phaedra, Sandra, Shereé, and Kate voted for Peter, while Peter, John, Trishelle, and CT scribbled down Phaedra. MJ will have the deciding vote, and it’s truly a toss-up as to whom she might pick. On one hand, she promised to keep an open mind, but on the other, she and Phaedra have been buddies from Day One. Let’s hope she makes the right choice, because the fate of the Faithfuls now rests in her hands.

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