November 15, 2021
Business Games Hollywood & Entertainment Innovation Technology

Netflix’s ‘The Circle’ Season 2 Has The Same Problem As Season 1

We are heading into the finale of The Circle season 2 this week, the reality show I am weirdly attached to on Netflix, despite not really being into the genre otherwise. And while I have enjoyed this season, as of this week’s batch of episodes, it’s pretty easy to see that The Circle season 2 has effectively the same problem as season 1 when it comes to the “competition” itself.

Just like with season 1, the players that are there at the start have a distinct advantage when it comes to making it through to the final, and almost all newcomers that arrive after the first batch are either blocked in short order or have effectively no chance to win the money in the finale.

We have seen this in season 2 quite clearly:

  • Lance Bass, played by his assistant, Lisa, was blocked relatively quickly after his arrival.
  • Khat, who arrived mid-season alongside Mitchell, was blocked this week first.
  • Then, Mitchell was blocked as the final cut before the finale.
  • The only survivor is John, played by blocked catfish Jack and Lisa, but nice guy that he is, it’s easy to tell he has a roughly zero percent chance to be rated highly enough to win the finale. He just does not have the alliances.

In short, if you come in late, it is too hard to catch up on past drama, so you lack information, and it is hard to worm your way into established alliances that have already been set up.

For instance, bonds between River, Courtney and Chloe were already firmly in place when the new arrivals showed up. The same between Chloe and Trevor. No surprise, all of them are in the finale.

This exact same thing happened in season 1, albeit to an even greater extent. Of the five finalists there were zero who did not enter the competition in episode 1, Rebecca, Chris, Sammie, Shubham and eventual winner Joey were all there from the start, and had bonds with one another that were never effectively penetrated by any of the newcomers.

How much should I read into the strategy of The Circle? Probably not a lot. There are many fishy things about the show, like how these contestants are alone 24 hours a day and in a show all about making connections and allies they get what, like two, three minute conversations with other players a day? If that was me I would be messaging players left and right all the time trying to make friends, so there must be some sort of strict limit on that the rules don’t spell out. It’s pretty weird.

I also think fundamentally you are setting yourself up to be at a disadvantage as a catfish as there is only downside and no upside given that you run the risk of being discovered, which is essentially an automatic blocking (which is what happened to Emily/Jack this season).

But the latecomer thing is the main problem if this show is going to continue. The only real advantage they have is being immune from the first blocking, but they are set way, way behind everyone else to the point where the show gets a bit predictable because you know none of them will stay long term or win.

As for who I think will win this season? That’s an article for another day (it’s Chloe). More to come.

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