Have you finished binging Peacock’s The Traitors yet? If you still need to finish it, what are you waiting for? If you haven’t finished it, please stop reading this post and revisit it once you’re done with Season 1. This post is about to be packed full of major spoilers. You’ve been warned.
Faithful player turned Traitor Arie Luyendyk Jr. recently opened up on Us Weekly’s Here for the Right Reasons podcast about his experience filming the show. According to Us Weekly, he discussed the game’s authenticity, his decision to become a Traitor, and that shocking twist ending that sent him home empty-handed.
One of the most significant turning points in the game came when Cody Calafiore became the first Traitor banished. Down a player, the remaining Traitors, Survivor competitor Cirie Fields and Christian De La Torre, were given the opportunity to invite one of the Faithfuls over to the dark side. They chose former Bachelor and Bachelorette star, Arie, to join them as a Traitor. And looking back on the experience, he says it was a tricky decision to make. But he’s confident that becoming a Traitor secured his spot in the finale.
“I was so far through the game [at that point],” Arie explained on the podcast. “I did waiver a little bit because I was like, ‘If I say no, then I’m more than likely [to be murdered next], but I had the shield, so I was like, I’ll probably will make it through one more murder/banishment, but I’m not going to make it to the end.’ So then I was like, ‘OK, I just have to join,'” he added.
However, being on the Traitor’s side of the game came at a cost for Arie. Cirie pulled the ultimate power move during the show’s final moments, outing Arie to secure her position as the last Traitor standing.
Throughout the game, Arie, along with pretty much everyone else on the cast, wrongfully suspected Below Deck’s Kate Chastain to be a Traitor. When Arie accepted the Traitor’s invitation, he fully expected to see Kate and Quentin Jiles under the hoods. He shared on the podcast that he was legitimately shocked to find out who the Traitors were and that production never gave away any clues or hints that would help guide players in their decision-making.
“It’s so authentic — how the game is played, and that is what I think makes it so amazing because even when you’re doing the interviews and you’re talking about, let’s say, other castmates or the missions, you’re never led by the producers doing the interviews,” Arie shared.
He continued to praise the show and its gameplay for being organic, which explains his genuine shock when he discovered the true identities of the Traitors. “I was like, ‘OK, this is crazy.’ I had never even suspected Christian or Cirie, so I was like, ‘We’re definitely making it to the end.’ Because if I didn’t suspect them, then the people closest to me haven’t either.”
Arie continued, “So I’m like, ‘Dang, this is gonna be great.’ And then, you know, Christian, I feel like made a huge error the next day, and then it was just kind of like, ‘Shoot, should we banish Christian?’… If he would’ve just kept it cool, I feel like Christian and I probably could have made it to the end and figured out how to either win with Cirie or at least get Cirie out or something. I think that would’ve been the way to go. But that’s how the cards fell,” he added.
RELATED: The Traitors: Interviews With Host Alan Cumming And Contestants Kyle Cooke, Rachel Reilly, Cody Califiore, And Cirie Fields
Looking back on the final moves of the game, Arie believes that Cirie intentionally got close with Quentin and Andie Vanacore during the final mission to curry their favor. This created the golden opportunity to throw Arie under the bus at the last second.
“For me, when it all kind of went sideways was the last mission. We flew in the helicopter, and just speaking with Cirie, we had to do a swim test to see if we were capable of completing the last mission,” Arie explained. On our down day, we all did a swim test, and Cirie was like, ‘Yeah, I can’t really swim. You know, I can swim, but I’m not gonna be the best at swimming.'”
He continued, “And she knew that Quentin couldn’t swim, so I feel like her gameplay was to make sure that she was with Quentin and Andie in the end. So when we split up on that last mission, that was kind of a pivotal moment. I was with Kate all day, and then we went to banishment, and Kate got banished,” Arie said.
“So I lost whatever leverage I had because she was gone. And then I also hadn’t spent the whole day with the other two contestants. Essentially [Cirie] had been in their ear all day. So I was like, ‘Oh, this is bad,” Arie stated.
In the end, Arie says that Cirie made the game about “who needed the money more.” For him, that changed the stakes and helped him make the decision to walk away.
Arie said, “It changed it from a game to like, ‘OK, we’re talking about money.’ That’s what it became about. Which, honestly, I didn’t like,” he said. “It was very risky of her to do what she did because I could have blew up the entire game at the end and just threw her under the bus. But I just felt like, ‘OK, I want to respect the game.'”
He continued to explain that he was still Faithful at heart, so before walking away from the castle, he tried to drop a few clues for Quentin and Andie that there was still a Traitor in their midst.
Arie elaborated, “[My first clue was] I didn’t say congratulations, I said ‘good luck’ on my goodbye. [My second clue was] I only hugged Quentin and Andie, and I did not hug Cirie,” he added, “And then I also said that I was recruited very late, which kind of tipped [them off], like, ‘Hey, there could be somebody left.'”
However, Andie and Quentin were so blinded by the idea of winning the cash that they completely missed that Cirie was the biggest Traitor of them all. She was staring them in the face the whole time and ultimately took the $250,000 jackpot for herself. Whoops!
TELL US – WHAT WAS YOUR REACTION TO THE ENDING OF THE TRAITORS? WERE YOU SURPRISED AT HOW ARIE WALKED AWAY FROM THE GAME? IF YOU WERE IN ARIE’S SHOES, WOULD YOU HAVE TRIED TO HELP ANDIE AND QUENTIN RECOGNIZE THAT CIRIE WAS THE FINAL TRAITOR?
[Photo by Joy Malone/Getty Images]