Rise and Fall great

Last night proved it: Rise and Fall deserves the same acclaim we gave The Traitors

Never in my life have I been so on the edge of my seat at a cliffhanger

Like a grafter ascending to become a ruler in the penthouse, Channel 4’s Rise and Fall took its time to get to greatness, but if last night’s episode proved anything it’s that the pay off was worth the wait. Many have switched off to Rise and Fall, and it’s safe to say that it hasn’t had the impact that The Traitors had on us all at the tail end of 2o22 despite being created by the same people. But for those who’ve stuck with it and took a chance on it, last night’s episode proved it deserves the exact same level of acclaim as its more famous older brother. Rise and Fall is some of the greatest reality TV I’ve ever seen – here’s why.

Grafters versus rulers

For the uninitiated, here’s the show: A group of self appointed rulers who shoved themselves in the lift on episode one ascended to the luxury penthouse and the rest of the cast went down to a dingy basement. The grafters live in basic conditions with bad food, and complete ‘work shifts’ to build up the prize fund. The rules determine how many work shifts the grafters have to do every task – up to five. The prize fund can only be won by a ruler.

Every so often, grafters vote two of their own to rise to the penthouse, where the rulers vote to decide who joins them in the penthouse. The rulers then have to vote the weakest ruler out of the game – where they leave the show permanently. Sometimes, they go back to being grafters, but this changes varying on the twist.

What’s transpired over the season is constant shifts of power, interesting and at times frightening reflections of society – as a diverse group of rules slowly devolved to solely being white men. Romances have blossomed, tensions have risen, betrayals have shocked us – and the show has generally been very watchable. Until last night.

Last night was one of the greatest episode of reality TV I have ever seen. Period. Let me break it down for you.

‘Tensest deadlock since The X Factor’

Last night opened with the rulers being split on whether to send him Jeff or James – if they didn’t reach a consensus then both would leave. The rulers refused to change their minds or back down, and both Jeff and James left the game. The fact no one changed their minds is something to note.

Grafters wise, Sidney, Ramona and Sophie all want to go up to the penthouse. Sidney and Ramona make a pact to vote for each other, but it all comes out that Sidney backstabbed Ramona and voted for Sophie – so up Sophie and Sidney went to get voted for and see who would rise.

Some backstory: Sidney and ruler Jack are a thing in the show. There’s a firm alliance between them two and with Rossi – who’s also a ruler and Jack’s closest mate on the show. Sophie on the other hand, is firm friends with ruler Moses and they have a tight bond. Connor, formerly a close ally of Jack, Sidney and Rossi’s who has a target on his head in the penthouse for being a weak ruler and has now aligned with Moses to give himself more of a chance.

This leaves Jack and Rossi firmly team Sidney, and Moses and Connor team Sophie. The cliffhanger we were left on last night perfectly full circled from the opening ruler split. Neither Jack and Rossi or Moses and Connor were willing to change their mind on who should rise, so they were given an ultimatum. For every minute they refuse to decide, the £49k prize fund that had been slowly built over the previous weeks would decrease by a grand.

The grafters below watched and screamed in horror as the four men refused to back down – the game becoming a showing of pride and not doing what was best for the team. Eight grand fell, before the rulers were then told if they didn’t come to a conclusion then the prize fund would start going down by five grand every minute.

And that’s where the show left us. That cliffhanger to end all cliffhangers. After weeks of watching grafters eat literal dog food and lug themselves through sewage to earn the prize fund, watching it drop so fast was edge of your seat levels of chaos. I honestly have no clue where the show will go from here – and that’s a masterclass in reality TV.

The way all the storylines from the season came together in a double elimination and a machiavellian plot of tension that had everyone falling from grace left right and centre? Unbelievable. I genuinely have no clue how it’s all going to go down tonight.

I guess I wrote this to one, give Rise and Fall its flowers for how great it truly is, and two – to implore you to watch it. Don’t miss out on the best thing you’ll watch since Hannah turned on Wilf before Christmas.

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Related stories recommended by this writer:

• It’s nearly time! Here’s when this chaotic season of Rise and Fall is due to end

• ‘Started with four people of colour, now it’s six white men’: Rise and Fall has a problem

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