“Back and More Savage Than Ever” tries to live up to its title immediately with more contestants, more catfishing, and some intriguing early alliances.
This recap of The Circle USA season 2, episode 1, “Back and More Savage Than Ever”, contains spoilers.
It’s back! And, at least according to host Michelle Buteau, it’s more strategic than ever, though I must confess I’m skeptical how much strategy this mob is capable of. Then again, Savannah, a data researcher on Capitol Hill and the first contestant of The Circle USA season 2, episode 1, seems smart enough. She’s also very pretty and she’s entering as herself. Plus she sets a photo of herself just sat at a cafe on an average morning as her profile picture, so that’s refreshing.
Speaking of smart people, Jack, an astrophysics and economics student, is the second contestant. He’s roughly eleven feet tall and is entering as his friend, Emily, a nice-looking sorority girl. This guy is super adamant about being manipulative and going down as “the biggest villain in Circle history”, and he’s immediately going tactical with his profile picture choice. I dislike Jack immensely.
Bryant, on the other hand, is a 26-year-old hippie nutcase who prays over his bottle of water and thinks he has lived many lifetimes. He’s also a professional breathwork coach following his spiritual awakening, which is apparently a real career. This guy seems like a lot of fun.
Deleesa, looking very good for 32, is a stay-at-home mom. She’s playing her husband, Trevor, who’s going to be the nice-guy single father. They get all the ladies, apparently, although when I was one I can’t say that was the case. Maybe because I write about reality television for a living. Trevor’s a good-looking dude, anyway.
The Circle USA season 2, episode 1 wastes little time before its first Circle chat. “Emily” opens up the communications with a nice greeting, and Bryant is hot on her heels (annoyingly, this guy seems super nice and it’s going to be harder to make fun of him now.) Savannah thinks she and Emily could be friends in real life, which seems ambitious. Jack is straight in on Bryant as well: “Breathwork teacher? Why not just say you’re unemployed?” Getting catty already. He better leave my new breathwork best friend alone. There’s also an early alliance being formed between Emily and Savannah here. Jack has found his target.
Anyway, time for the next contestant. Terilisha is a 34-year-old blue-haired substitute teacher with a facility for math, and also has a good catfish meter, apparently. We’ll see.
Lee is next, a 58-year-old author from Texas who has always written under a female pen name so is an expert catfisher. He’s going into the Circle as “River”, a gay waiter and student who he has just made up and supplemented with pictures from a friend of his. Since he’s a writer he’s basically a professional liar, which certainly gives him an advantage, but he’s playing a young, hip dude and he’s ridiculously out of touch with modern slang and such, so he’s going to give himself away in record time if you ask me. “You are so lit, Circle.” Christ.
Circle chat opens up again for the newcomers. Lee/River makes an immediate blunder by saying he’s “so on fire to be here”. What does that even mean?
The next contestant in “Back and More Savage Than Ever” is Chloe, a 21-year-old from Essex, England, who already has previous from being on Too Hot to Handle. She enters with a stuffed unicorn and loves America because she doesn’t think America and England have ever had a war. I hope nobody tells her!
Courtney, 28-years-old, is the entertainment host for an internet show. A gossipmonger, basically. Smartly, he doesn’t want the others to know what he does for a living so he’s going into the Circle as a barista.
When the Circle chat opens again, a few of the others recognize Chloe from Too Hot to Handle, and she immediately sets her sights on Deleesa’s husband. Lee is just charmingly, earnestly happy about how many gay dudes are involved. Bless him with his little pad and pen!
Speaking of Deleesa, she drops some bait from “Trevor” about missing his kid, since apparently, it’s just him and her at home. Chloe falls for it immediately, but Terilisha is suspicious of him being a catfish. Maybe that meter of hers works after all. Courtney gets a conversation going by asking everyone what kind of fruit they’d be, and it only makes Chloe even more interested in Trevor and his dark, juicy pomegranate layers.
Time for a game, “Says Who”. Everyone sees a fun fact about another player along with two profile pictures; they have to guess who did what. The first one is about someone’s mom walking in on them losing their virginity — Trevor is guilty of that. The next one is raising $10,000 to rescue a friend off the streets — Bryant, of course. This guy’s adorable. The next statement: I met a guy in a bar and ten minutes later we booked flights to Paris together — Chloe. Again, of course. This prompts more flirting from “Trevor”. The final question is who was part of the US national robotics team, which turns out to be Savannah. Lee, meanwhile, is worried about girl power becoming part of the game, which it promptly does when Jack/Emily sets up a girls-only group chat. Jack, by the way, has the worst press-up form I’ve ever seen, but I don’t suppose it’s relevant. The girls’ chat is pretty predictable — conversation quickly turns to Trevor, who Savannah and Terilisha are suspicious of. Chloe, though, who seemingly bases her entire perception of life on whether or not she fancies someone, is determined to believe that Trevor is legit.
Things are much more wholesome between the men in The Circle USA season 2, episode 1. Bryant reaches out to Courtney privately to offer him an unbreakable bond of friendship, pledging loyalty that will last many lifetimes. Courtney is, understandably, all for this.
The players have to rate each other, which proves easy for some and less so for others. Terilisha and Savannah seem to have an immediate bond, which is nice, but there’s nowhere near enough love for Bryant here if you ask me.
With the choices filed — we’ll learn the results momentarily — Deleesa/Trevor opens up a private chat with Savannah because she thinks they can bond over their shared single-parent experiences; Savannah was raised by just her mom since her father was in prison, and Trevor is “raising a little girl on his own”. Admittedly Deleesa gets emotional when she hears about Savannah’s background, but she stays in-character enough that Savannah completely abandons all of her previous suspicions and goes all-in on Trevor being her bestie. That was easy! Can’t wait for it all to go terribly wrong.
The rating results are in, and this is important since the two contestants with the highest ratings will become influencers — everyone else is at risk of being blocked. Here’s the ranking, for your convenience:
Seventh: Bryant, which is frankly unacceptable.
Fourth: A tie between Courtney and River (has River even said anything at this point? Weirdly high for him.)
This means Savannah and Terilisha are the influencers in a win for the smart girls. But!
In 24 hours, Terilisha and Savannah will have to decide who to block from the Circle. But they can also save one player each, and they can do that immediately. Who will they choose? “Back and More Savage Than Ever” leaves the matter on a cliffhanger. Netflix, play the next episode!