The Circle season 2: The good and bad of the Joker twist

THE CIRCLE Courtney Linsen stars in season 2 of THE CIRCLE. Cr. Netflix ©2021
THE CIRCLE Courtney Linsen stars in season 2 of THE CIRCLE. Cr. Netflix ©2021 /

The second season of Netflix’s reality competition The Circle has been markedly different from its first, as the assortment of players, of both the real and the catfish, have played a very different kind of game. There’s been a lot more drama – Bryant was basically blocked for being too good to be true/too kind, the spat between Terelisha and Savannah drove the plot of multiple blockings, and Courtney has really leaned in whole avenging angel act against anyone he thought was against him.

But the show itself has also messed with the players more than ever before, including creating a new twist known as the Joker, which allowed an existing player to anonymously chat with two new incoming Circle members. After Savannah’s boot, the Circle told her to visit the person she most thought should win the game. Naturally, she chose Courtney, her Circle BFF, and in doing so unknowingly granted him the power to become the Joker.

Now, in some ways, this feels a bit like producer manipulation, if gifting contestants with a largely consequence-free opportunity to stir the pot will obviously lead to good TV.

It’s one of those things where you hope that, if they’re going to do it, there are equal opportunities for other contestants in future episodes, rather than just this one-off that feels a bit like an unfair advantage. (Or, rather, it would, if Courtney were somehow the only player to get a “power” in this way is what I’m saying. If we’re doing this, do it, is more what I mean.

Did the Joker twist work in The Circle season 2?

However, there’s also a positive benefit to the Joker twist that will likely make the season 2 endgame shake out quite differently than last year’s. In season 1, the players who entered the game late never really found their footing or bonded with any of the contestants who’d started the game together. In fact, their outsider status became a weapon the OG players used against them, making it easier for those players to bond together to boot newcomers.

The Joker twist, rightly or wrongly, has actually helped Mitchell and Khat integrate more fully into The Circle. Khat shot all the way up to second place in this week’s rankings!

Granted, the fact that players knew two people would be blocked made everything about the rating ceremony kind of weird and suspect, but I think those two basically have to credit Courtney’s meddling with the fact that they’re not only both still in the game but remarkably well-positioned for players who started so late.

The question on my mind is not just whether the show will try to do something similar again before the end, but if Courtney will somehow be exposed for his time as the Joker. He actually did a great job convincing almost everyone that it was Emily behind the proverbial mask, and since Terelisha told Chloe the same it’s practically become gospel. If he manages to keep it under wraps until the very end – well, that’s a pretty powerful winner’s argument, don’t you think?

Next. What The Circle’s first blocked contestant means for season 2. dark

New episodes of The Circle stream on Wednesdays on Netflix. Who’s your favorite season 2 player? Sound off in the comments.