I think I've figured out the season's casting priorities. Donald still wants the drama, but he wants the women to hold together better than usual and watch the males self-destruct for a change. This doesn't necessarily mean he wants a female winner, not with his current political belief system -- but the women shouldn't be the screamfest of prior seasons.
Most notably, with the exception of bringing The Hag in to serve as an adviser on how to painfully suicide rather than listen to anything she says, the beyotches stayed home. Some of them may have seen their ultimate edits and decided nothing was worth trusting Donald twice, and others just couldn't get around that contract clause forbidding them from killing him. The majority of the women are the lower-key personalities, and yes, I can say that for a cast which deliberately included Voldy.
(I'm very probably wrong about this, but I expect her to be quiet. She just lost her husband: she is potentially not an emotional place where she's going to be disrupting for the sake of camera time. Her priorities may have shifted.)
So. The women are:
Right. Not only a lot of more passive (or at least less bitchy) people, but a couple of 'Why?' entries based on their prior performances. A couple of solid performers, but for the most part, All-Stars these ain't.
The men? They have numerical majority (although I expect an early switch). And they also have problems. Lots and lots of problems.
You know, of all people, Penn should know better than to keep playing a rigged game...
Count the problems. You don't bring Dennis back unless you want to find out just how much it takes to make him self-destruct this time around, and you don't put Gary in a room without intending to film the resulting fire. Asking them to be on the same team is begging for either a battle royale or a marathon drunk, possibly with one followed by the other. Stephen -- well, he had credible moments in his first run, but that was before we found out just how bad his finances were. Don't let him count the money. Or hold the money. Or baptize you, but that's more general advice applicable in any situation. The men are in trouble until their problem children are gone, and what does Donald do with problem children? Pat them on the head and ask for more of the same.
So who does the script say won? Not Bret: I think Donald resents having to assign a sentimental win. I suspect our liar-in-chief wants to correct a mistake he will never admit to making and give this to Trace, because Trace is America and the rest of us can leave. If it's a woman, Marilu -- but I can't see a female ever winning again.
Remember the formula:
Everything else is just filling out the episode count.