Forget everything you’ve heard about Vanderpump Rules, Big Brother, and Survivor being the most conniving, manipulative, and backstabbing reality series on television. Netflix’s latest reality competition show, The Trust, is only getting started and, somehow, its cast has already managed to overshadow the greed and lies of most other reality show stars. And there’s one unlikely player behind it all.
Before getting into spoilers for the first four episodes of The Trust, which landed on Netflix on Wednesday and will stream new episodes weekly, you’ll want to know more about how the game works. It’s super-clever: Eight strangers are set to split a prize of $250,000—if they can stick together for a few weeks. At random intervals, they’ll be given the chance to anonymously vote someone off the show. But if even one person puts in a vote, someone’s going home. If no one votes, however, they continue on their journey to claiming the trust.
Sounds pretty easy, right? Have faith in one another, and you’re all walking out with a cool $31,250 (before taxes). But remember—these are Netflix reality stars we’re talking about. There’s no way they can play it safe while trapped in a house with one another.
(Spoilers for The Trust Episodes 1-4 to follow.)
Two alliances quickly emerge early into The Trust: It’s a classic tale of boys-versus-girls. The guys group is carried by Brian, Gaspare, Jake, with young ladies Julie, Tolú, Winnie, and grandma-like, elderly Mama Jay on the girls’ side. There are a few outliers, as with any reality show—secret millionaire Bryce saddles up to fellow realtor Lindsey, and single mom Simone wades through all the different groups.
Flirty Julie, however, can’t stop switching sides. She loves her girls, but she’s soooo into Jake. That’s not a huge deal—until Jake manages to piss off all of them women in a mini game during the second episode. When he’s asked to rank players based on traits like truthfulness and leadership, he can’t help but put his fellas in the top slots. This really rubs Tolú the wrong way, leading her to confide in Julie about wanting to vote out Jake. No! Not the showmance!
Luckily, Jake is a good guy, opening up to Tolú about his lack of respect for her in the game. (Although, does the stakeless mini game really matter all that much?) Tolú accepts his apology and, in a later conversation with Julie, says she no longer wants to throw Jake on the chopping block. Okay, we’re good, right?
You’ll never see this villain coming.
Seriously: Take a wild guess as to who decides to pose themselves as the antagonist. It’s impossible.
Also participating in the Jake conversation is Mama Jay, the wise elder and shocking snake of the girls’ group. After Tolú says her piece about forgiving Jake, and Julie makes the case for not voting anyone out, Mama Jay puts her foot down: She will be voting for someone tonight. There’s still a lack of trust around the house, and a player needs to be sent packing.
The obvious pick here would be Jake. Maybe Mama Jay still hasn’t forgiven him for his choices in the ranking game. At this point in The Trust, Jake has really atoned for his sins, but Jay walks into the voting ceremony ready to lock one player out of the bonus.
Again: I would be shocked if, at this point, you could correctly guess the player Mama Jay sends home.
Jake is safe. It’s sweet, motherly Simone that’s been voted out of The Trust. Mama Jay speaks her piece: Simone just had bad vibes, so she had to go. There’s really nothing else to Jay’s logic other than the general energy Simone was giving off, which, according to other players, was very kind and trustworthy! Where did this unabashed ire come from?
You really have to feel for Simone when you learn that she earned not one but two votes; one from Mama Jay, and one from Julie. What gives? Julie, fearing Jay would vote for her beloved Jake, tried to tie up the vote by selecting a random player to send home. Unfortunately, that random player happened to be the same one Jay chose. Bad timing.
We may never be able to understand why Mama Jay cast that vote for an unassuming player. Did she want to pose herself as the villain of The Trust? If so, it worked, because a sassy move like that now makes Jay the most interesting character on the show. My best guess, however, is that she thought there was only room for one Mama Bear in the house, so Simone had to go. Mama Jay has now become the reigning matriarch and diva of The Trust, and one of the early contenders for most cutthroat reality TV player of the year.