WARNING! This article contains spoilers from The Traitors US season 2 episodes 1-3!
- Dan Gheesling’s Big Brother skills may not translate well in the game of The Traitors US, where deception and banishment can easily eliminate players.
- While Dan is a strategic mastermind, his weak social game is making him a target among the faithful contestants.
- The faithfuls are already starting to suspect Dan as a traitor, and if he doesn’t come up with a brilliant plan soon, he might not be able to save himself from banishment.
The Traitors US season 2 traitors–Dan Gheesling, Phaedra Parks, and Parvati Shallow–have begun their diabolical reign, but Big Brother legend and winner Dan might not be cut out for deception and murder. Host Alan Cumming chose Dan and Phaedra as the original two traitors. Then they were asked to recruit a third member, and they chose Parvati.
On The Traitors US season 2 premiere, Dan told Alan that the only reason that he went there was to be a traitor. When he was selected, he expressed in his Diary Room session that he was “so excited” and “born to be a traitor.” He said that it was “hunting season” for him. He was “ready to take these sheep down,” and they weren’t going to see him coming. However, Dan’s game is now beginning to unravel. Although he is one of the greatest players ever in Big Brother history, Dan might not have what it takes to make it as a traitor.
This article is based on The Traitors US season 2 episodes 1-3.
The Traitors US Is Very Different From Big Brother
Dan got his start on Big Brother 10, and won the game with the first-ever unanimous vote. He also played a perfect game, with no eviction votes. Dan stayed under the radar at the beginning of the game, throwing competitions in order to downplay his threat level. He won three Head of Household (HOH) and two Power of Veto competitions during that season. Dan later returned for Big Brother 14 as a coach, during which he placed second to Ian Terry. He won one HOH and one Power of Veto competition during the season.
Although Dan was very successful on Big Brother, The Traitors is a completely different game. While in Big Brother power is earned by winning competitions, in The Traitors, if the faithfuls figure out that a contestant is a traitor, they can easily vote to banish them, and there’s nothing they can do about it. During Big Brother, Dan was able to use his relationships with his fellow contestants to get far in the game. It will be extremely difficult for him to do that on The Traitors if he becomes a main target early on, and a few faithfuls already are suspicious of him.
Dan’s Strategy Is Stronger Than His Social Game
On Big Brother, Dan was a master strategist. His most iconic moment was his legendary “Dan’s Funeral” from Big Brother 14, which is one of the greatest moves in Big Brother history. When Dan was nominated for eviction on Day 49, and didn’t win the Power of Veto, his fate seemed sealed. To make matters worse for him, Dan received a solitary confinement punishment during the competition, in which he’d be subjected to a dance party while alone in a room. This punishment became a blessing when he used his time alone to come up with a strategy to stay in the game – planning his own funeral.
When his solitary confinement punishment was over, Dan made it seem as though the room made him sick. He later dressed all in black and carried a Bible, gathering his fellow houseguests in the living room. He acted as though he were done playing the game, and said something nice to each houseguest. However, he saved his ally Danielle Murphree for last and told her that she was dead to him in the game, although they could still be friends outside of it. He was very angry with her because he thought she’d betrayed him during the last Power of Veto competition.
Dan’s funeral astonishingly changed many people’s opinions about evicting him. After the funeral, Dan then revealed that Ian was a mole to HOH Frank Eudy, but Ian was safe because of the Pandora’s Box Veto, so he couldn’t be nominated. Dan and Frank then convinced Jenn Arroyo to use her veto on Dan, and Frank nominated Britney Haynes instead. Dan then apologized to Danielle and tried to convince her that it was all a ruse. Britney was voted out and Dan eventually made it to the Final 2 with Ian. With his funeral, Dan turned the whole game on its head, saved himself, and proved how brilliant he really was.
In The Traitors, Dan is a genius in the turret, coming up with diabolical plans for murder. However, his weakness is at the round table during banishments. He doesn’t have a good poker face, and he didn’t speak up at the first round table. His social game isn’t as strong as his strategy. When Dan had to recruit someone to be a traitor with him, he said that he needed someone else in the turret with him who knew how to get stuff done and wasn’t going to feel bad about it.
Choosing Parvati as a traitor was a smart move, but now Dan also must branch out to the faithfuls and earn their trust the way that The Traitors US season 1 winner, Cirie Fields, did in order to win the game. So far, outside of the traitors, he’s only aligned himself with his Big Brother 14 co-star Janelle Pierzina, reasoning that he not only trusts her, but she’ll do the dirty work. Dan has to talk to more people so that he doesn’t look suspicious. By staying so quiet, he appears too confident, and as though he doesn’t need anyone to protect him in the game.
During Big Brother 14, Dan was able to use his funeral to save himself in the game, which put his social game on the line with Danielle and others. However, he did this later in the game when his fellow houseguests knew him well and had grown to love him. As a Traitors contestant, it will be much harder for him to convince his fellow contestants, many of whom have much stronger personalities than him, that he’s not a traitor if he doesn’t build relationships with them.
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The Faithfuls Are Already Starting To Suspect That Dan Might Be A Traitor
As a traitor, Dan has made some moves to try to throw off his fellow competitors. The first was murdering Johnny “Bananas” Devenanzio, which nobody expected. Next, during the second mission, he went for a shield for immunity from being murdered, even though he didn’t need it. His reasoning was to use a “double bluff” to make people think that he went for the shield because he felt unsafe. Dan figured that his fellow contestants would believe that there was no way that he was a traitor.
However, during The Traitors US season 2 episode 3, some of the other competitors started to suspect that Dan might be a traitor. Trishelle Canatella brought up his name, saying that he wasn’t giving any information. However, she and Carsten “Bergie” Bergersen agreed that he seemed so reserved that they might be wrong. In a separate conversation, Larsa Pippen asked Dan who he thought the traitors were, and he said that he wasn’t a “vibe person,” but rather an “action person.” He said that he was hoping that there was going to be some kind of tie in the murders, but he didn’t see anything with the murders of Johnny Bananas and Marcus Jordan. Larsa was suspicious of Dan because of his quiet demeanor.
Dan Admits He Doesn’t Know What To Do Next
After Dan’s conversation with Larsa, he said that he noticed that she was giving him “the evil eye” and “weird vibes,” and he admitted in his confessional, “Right now I’m not really sure what to do.” Parvati later warned him that people were saying his name because he was so quiet. Before the round table, Dan expressed in his confessional that he knew he was “in for some heat,” and the only thing that he was focused on was to “have a great defense and be very poised when I deliver it.” Before the round table, Larsa declared that she wanted revenge on the traitors for murdering Marcus.
Although Dan planned to be cool, calm, and collected during the round table, he actually had a bit of a weak defense. Bergie began the conversation by saying that Dan’s name had been brought up, and he should probably speak up if he wanted to. Dan said, “I’m a thousand percent faithful. I know I’m quiet, but if that’s a crime, then so be it. It takes me a little while to open up, but I look at that as an asset to the faithful. When I say a name, I want people to say this is Dan taking a shot, and I don’t miss.” He then said that he didn’t want another situation like when they incorrectly banished Peppermint as a traitor.
However, Mercedes “MJ” Javid countered that if they all played the game that way, then there would be no conversations, risks, or game. She said that the way that Dan was playing the game was way too safe, and he was just trying to fly under the radar. Deontay Wilder argued that people shouldn’t confuse Dan’s quiet personality with being a traitor because that’s just how some people are. He brought up Maksim Chmerkovskiy as a possible traitor, but Larsa argued that they were on the wrong path.
Larsa then admitted that, even though she loved Dan and thought he was amazing, something about his energy and calmness made her uneasy. She said that it was horrible to think it, but he had a demeanor about him that scared her. She said that he knew that he was really good at playing these types of games, and Maks wasn’t a gamer. Instead, Larsa thought that Dan could be “a killer.”
Dan replied by saying, “I can do a better job of talking to you, but that’s my personality. Like I’m just generally more quiet. Like there’s not a ton I can do about that, but I can do a better job of, you know, talking to you.” In this moment, Dan didn’t seem to have any strategy at all except to try to convince Larsa that it was just his personality that was making him suspicious. Later in the episode, when the traitors had to murder someone in plain sight, Dan left it up to Parvati to get the job done, rather than take matters into his own hands and murder someone who suspected him.
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Dan Received Votes At The Traitors US Round Table
At the second Traitors round table, Dan received two votes from MJ and Larsa, but Maks was banished instead. When Maks revealed that he was a faithful, Larsa told the group that they were going off the wrong things. MJ declared that they had to be careful moving forward because they’d now eliminated two faithfuls–Peppermint and Maks–because they’d been influenced by Deontay and Sandra Diaz-Twine.
During the next round table, it’s very possible that Larsa and MJ will try to take control, especially because Deontay was so devastated about being wrong about Maks, and might not speak up again. If Larsa and MJ continue to suspect that Dan is a traitor, it won’t be long before they convince the rest of the group to banish him. Unlike Big Brother, there will be no way for Dan to keep himself safe by winning an HOH or Power of Veto competition. Also, his fellow traitors, Phaedra and Parvati, have not only received no votes for banishment so far, but no one has suspected them of being traitors at all.
Dan was an exceptional Big Brother player, but he might be in over his head as a traitor on The Traitors. While he’s just as strategic and smart as ever, it might not be enough in a game where there’s no safety to be earned. Dan has done a good job so far as a traitor, but, now that people are starting to suspect him, he has to come up with a plan that’s even more genius than his Big Brother funeral. Knowing Dan, he’ll most likely pull it off, and win The Traitors US season 2.
The Traitors US season 2 is available to stream on Peacock.
Sources: Jeff Aronson/YouTube, Dan Gheesling/Instagram, Dan Gheesling/Instagram