It’s hard to imagine a show like The Masked Dancer — a spinoff of everyone’s favorite dystopian nightmare The Masked Singer — being any weirder than its premise. Celebrities in elaborate costumes dancing for other celebrities who have to judge their performance and guess who they are based on their moves? Sure. Why not. Nothing matters anymore and honestly most days I’m just relieved that the room I’m in isn’t currently on fire. But somehow, even in this economy, Dancer has delivered us a real shock. Thursday night’s episode revealed that underneath the moth mask was none other than Elizabeth Smart.
Though she’s currently an activist and best-selling author, your most visceral memory of her might be as the girl who got kidnapped when she was 14 and held against her will and sexually assaulted for nine months before being rescued. Now, you might be asking yourself: Why a moth? Are they particularly hardy insects? Was butterfly taken and this was the next best thing? Nope. No, it is far, far darker than that, my friends. Before her identity was revealed, Smart explained her costume choice in a now completely horrifying introduction video that had many guessing the celebrity underneath was actually Monica Lewinsky. “You know, moths don’t seek out the spotlight,” her disguised voice-over said. “It draws us in whether we want it or not.” So, you see, the moth is a prisoner. And though Smart survived her highly traumatic ordeal, going on to become an inspiration to trauma survivors everywhere, her celebrity status is just another form of captivity she’s learned to survive as best she can. Sit with that for a minute and then tell me these shows aren’t exactly the prime-time entertainment we deserve.