The following contains spoilers for the first three episodes of Peacock’s The Traitors.
Three episodes of The Traitors have come and gone, and luckily for faithful Sandra Diaz-Twine, she’s still in it to win it. But unbeknownst to her, her former castaway and rival Parvati Shallow is a traitor, which could make for a bumpy road for the two-time Survivor winner.
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Friday’s premiere episodes revealed that Dan Gheesling and Phaedra Parks were selected as traitors by host Alan Cumming, and they then recruited Shallow to join their ranks. Johnny Bananas and Marcus Jordan became the traitors’ first victims, while Peppermint and Maks Chmerkovskiy were wrongly banished by their fellow faithful. (Read a full recap of Episodes 1-3 here.)
But before the two former Survivors stepped into Cumming’s castle, some online beef put their relationship on shaky grounds. The two had frequently been at odds over who was the true “Survivor queen.” Diaz-Tine won twice in both the Pearl Islands and Heroes vs. Villains seasons, while Shallow was victorious in Micronesia and sat at the end with Diaz-Twine in Season 20.
But on Jan. 9, 2023 (well before The Traitors filmed), Diaz-Twine wrote on a since-deleted Facebook fan page: “For those Parvati lovers out there, go spend 2 hours on Survivor with her and see how much you like her then! She’s not that nice.” Shallow responded via Instagram story at the time writing, “Call me anything, but please don’t call me nice. Nice girls don’t win Survivor or build lives they love. @sassysdt you can keep my name in your mouth to stay relevant. I ain’t mad at ya & thanks for the compliment.”
Needless to say, this was one reunion that was fated to be awkward.
“The minute I saw her, I froze,” Diaz-Twine tells TVLine. “I was smiling until I saw Parvati and then my smile totally went away. It was like, ‘Dog, out of everyone they could have brought out here,’ you know?”
In the premiere, Peppermint (RuPaul’s Drag Race) was there to help the ladies break the ice, and while the women agreed to move past their conflict, Diaz-Twine said that she’d “take care of her once and for all” if she saw any signs of deception.
“Peppermint put us together. We talked briefly and we moved on, and after that point I never looked back,” Diaz-Twine says. “I don’t know if she needed [that] as much as I did.”
Shallow agrees. “I was really surprised when I saw Sandra at the castle and I was hopeful that we could work together and overcome any kind of drama that we had experienced in the past,” she says. “We had a nice little reunion and buried the hatchet, and were able to move forward.”
But what feels very noteworthy here: that was before Parvati chose to become a traitor.
But if there’s anyone who could come out on top as a faithful, it’s Diaz-Twine, a player whose “anybody but me” strategy paid off in spades for her. Twice! So how does she expect to survive yet another cutthroat reality TV game?
“I just wanted to play a social game because I know that that’s always what gets me as far as it gets me when I play Survivor,” she says. “People want to like the people they’re surrounded by and I didn’t want to give anyone any kind of reason to think that I was a traitor. Although, I wanted so badly to be a traitor! They have an advantage that no one else has. Yes, they can get banished, but they can’t get murdered. Anyone who is faithful can get both. I hoped that people would also say, ‘OK, she’s 100% a faithful because she’s constantly wanting to be a traitor.'”
Shallow, meanwhile, has a strong tie to The Traitors. She and Season 1 winner Cirie Fields played on two of the same Survivor seasons and both made it to the Final 3 on the Micronesia season. I ask if she was able to pick up any tips from her friend, but unfortunately, Fields was in the Big Brother house around the time Shallow flew out to Scotland. Though she does recall speaking to Fields about the show shortly after the show wrapped last year.
“I’d watched her season,” Shallow recalls. “I was so proud of her and I texted her and celebrated her, and I was like, ‘Congrats, how was it?’ She was like, ‘Cake walk. You would nail it.’ When I got out there, I was like, ‘She is out of her mind. This is crazy!’ The Traitors is such an intense game. It really can’t be underestimated.”
Episode 4 of The Traitors streams on Peacock Thursday, Jan. 18 at 9/8c.
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