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Voices: Why ‘nice guy’ Harry must win The Traitors (…after the most gripping hour of telly since the last episode)

Voices: Why ‘nice guy’ Harry must win The Traitors (…after the most gripping hour of telly since the last episode)

It’s always the quiet ones. Actually, no, that isn’t true. It’s usually the loud, brash, conceited ones that never shut up. Which is why it’s nice when one of the quiet ones stands up and gets one over on everybody else.

Last night’s episode of The Traitors – as well as being simply the greatest, most gripping hour of telly since the previous night’s funereal shenanigans – was a modern British underdog story.

In it, the quiet, permanently overlooked and underestimated Harry, a 22-year-old British Army engineer from Slough and the younger contestants in this year’s line-up, revealed himself to be a dastardly mastermind on the sly. With consummate ease, he betrayed the self-proclaimed series puppeteer Paul at the roundtable, and manipulated the Faithfuls to have him banished from the Scottish castle. The spare took his sweet revenge on the heir.

It was borderline Shakespearian. Not good Shakespeare – more like a production of Henry V in a field that your friend drags you along to, where the actors aren’t mic’d up properly and it starts raining around act four. But Shakespeare nonetheless. It had all the twists and turns of good drama, with satisfying denouement.

If you missed the episode – for which Bafta will surely come calling – here’s what happened. Faithful Charlotte told Traitor Harry that Paul had been badmouthing him to the others. This prompted Harry to start plotting against Paul, partly as an act of self-preservation, and partly because… well, it’s Paul, a pantomime villain who had started to believe his own propaganda and was high on his own supply. He had it coming.

When it came to the roundtable, Harry got his punch in early, systematically unpicking Paul’s gameplan, while his supposed fellow comrade-in-arms sat in horror, helplessly watching his carefully constructed ecosystem of betrayal fall apart in front of him. Dark-horse Harry was so convincing in his cross-examination that virtually everybody ended up voting for Paul, who could do nothing as he was finally banished from the castle.

If social media impact is anything to go by, nice-guy Harry wasn’t anybody’s first pick for MVP of the show – that honour would probably go to Paul himself, or the much-missed Diane. But Harry has proven himself adept at survival where those two could not. There’s a good chance that he could now go on to win the £120,000 prize in next Friday’s extended final.

At this point, Harry really does deserve it. He’s still a baddie, but has somehow managed to play the deception game better than anybody else, while maintaining an image of humility and general likeability. Where others have fallen due to their own ambitions getting the better of them, Harry has played a much more measured and clever game that should see him right through to the end. Even a legend like Kathy Burke is egging him on.

It’s refreshing to have somebody unassuming like Harry shine for once. Reality TV is usually dominated by big characters with big mouths. Up until last night, The Traitors seemed to be following a similar path, with Paul. Reality TV loves a villain – your Nasty Nicks, your Ekin-Sus – so it’s a nice change of pace to have everybody rally around an anti-hero for once.

The quiet ones don’t usually get their due. Maybe this time they will.