The Aftermath : Vanjie walked back into the workroom this week promising she was going to heed the wise words of Mary J Blige from last week’s Lip-Sync face-off : “no more drama”. Sadly, the show wasn’t listening and proceeded to set up an episode that was 5% content, 95% catfights, judging stunts, and patented A’Keria C Davenport shit-disturbing. Normally the makeover episode is a heartwarming affair, where queens respect their gay elders, or teach straight guys to dismantle their toxic masculinity, or give Sarge who runs the camera crew a chance to emerge from the shadows and show us all his Wintergreen. NOT THAT TIME! Meanwhile, everyone mused sadly on what a nice old lady Shuga had been, Silky tried her best to look humbled and downbeat in the wake of the judges shredding her ability to pad, and we were “treated” to a montage of the queens wincing in pain as they removed their wigs ‘n’ tapes
I guess it can’t hurt to be reminded occasionally that drag is agony.
The Mini Challenge : A return for one of last year’s most popular new challenges here, as the queens were asked to “Slap Out Of It” ie do the Reading Challenge again, but with added physical violence meeting each cutting line, in the form of a fake slap from the recipient. Last year you’ll remember that Ru herself was the one delivering the punishment beatings, but after “accidentally” poking Asia in the eye for real, she opted out this year, in case she landed the show with another lawsuit it couldn’t cash. They’re already in enough trouble with the unions for not hiring a professional editor to make the ending of All Stars 4 make sense. Now I’ll be honest, the sheer gulf in quality between the reads here and the ones used in the Reading Challenge make me suspect that EITHER the queens had outside help here OR they were all suffering from the effects of a gas leak there, and I know which I think is more likely. Absolutely it’s the gas leak, Willam has told us all how cheap they are and how rickety that set is, hire professional writers? NO WAY! Anyway, whether wind assisted or not, the constant here is that Nina’s reads were lame as. How can she be so good at writing for Brooke and yet so bad at writing for herself? Although speaking of which, A’Keria was on PRIME stirring form here, referencing the mostly buried third corner of the Nina-Brooke-Vanjie love triangle. Yvie (“Brooke, I don’t know anything about Canada or its people, and based on Snatch Game, neither do you!”), Vanjie (“Yvie, you ugly Naomi Smalls!”) and Silky (“NINA YOU BIG OLE CHAPERONE GRILLED CHEESE LOOKING MOTHERFUCKER!”) all got off some choice reads and slaps, but Brooke was the deserving winner for these amazing
80s soap opera villain reaction shots. Her reads were ok as well.
The Maxi Challenge : So as I said, it’s time for a makeover challenge, and here are the willing victims
I know that the consideration here was chiefly “who are the fans going to want to see again?” with a side order of “who has unresolved drama?” but neither Mercedes nor Kahanna ever got to wear anything nice on this show (and Mercedes had FOUR attempts), couldn’t one of them have had a makeover instead? I’m not exactly sat here wondering if Plastique could ever look truly beautiful as a woman, you know? (It also might have meant that Soju felt a bit less like a definitive booby prize). As winner of the slap-off, Brooke got to pair everyone up, which meant we got the following combinations :
Brooke & Plastique (aka Team “Brooke Would Like To Win”)
Nina & Shuga (aka TEAM ANCIENT)
Yvie & Scarlet (aka Team Get Out)
A’Keria & Honey (aka Team Davenport)
Silky & Soju (aka Team Drummed Out Of Chicago Because Of Sexual Harassment Rumours)
Vanjie & Ariel (aka Team What’s Left)
Quite. This series has worked assiduously to make sure that everyone who REALLY hates one another has stayed in the competition to fight one another ad infinitum (except for Ra’Jah, who hated everybody, I do miss that gremlin sometimes) so this return was never going to bring Alyssa vs Phi Phi All Stars fireworks, so I’m sure everyone in the production booth was rubbing their hands over Silky throwing a flaming visible nasty sulk over being “stuck with” Soju from second one.
The Drama : So, the easiest makeover challenge in the history of the show set up (seriously, even in Series 7 they had the added factor of the “conjoined twins” angle and the fact that queens were also competing to get back into the competition – here it was literally just “give this drag queen on your wigs and one of your dresses and step back”) it was unsurprising that the workroom footage was pretty much 100% petty squabbles. So here’s a quick rundown :
The Saga Of Ariel’s Wigs : Back with a vengeance, as Ariel had returned DETERMINED to work out where all the wigs she’d left behind had gone. Remember that? That one Untucked all about Ariel’s wigs? Anyway it turned out that Plastique had in fact been full of it when she claimed that Ariel had left all her wigs for her as her special best friend, and Ariel had in fact left one of her wigs for Silky (of all people) and the rest just…for the production staff to package up and send on to her? Flipping millennials. Anyway, everything all resolved when Ariel decided that the one wig she truly wanted had been stolen by Ra’Jah anyway, and good luck getting that back. Admittedly I may have some of this wrong, as I spent a lot of Ariel’s screentime
wondering why she’d painted blackheads on her face. And to think Michelle came so hard for Dusty’s Dots.
Scarlet continuing to be a preening weirdo :
What a legend
Silky & Soju : Yes, on the one hand, Silky took it way over the top in her disdain for Soju, to the extent that it felt a little bullying, on the other hand…how on Earth did Soju get cast on this show if she can’t walk in heels. And apparently it’s not just the tendonitis, apparently Soju tops out regularly at a grandma heel in her drag. Which
I feel like Silky’s reaction here speaks for me as well. As for her non-stop babbling about her cyst…I feel like maybe she needs to respect herself maybe a little bit more, because at points it felt uncommonly close to putting her on the same level as that Flavor Of Love contestant people only remember because she shat on the floor. Maybe I’m just being squeamish about bodily oozing.
Silky & A’Keria & Brooke & Soju : Basically a subheading of the above wherein Silky and A’Keria talked endlessly about how SHADY Brooke is for pairing Silky with Soju, like pairing anybody with Soju was somehow an entirely avoidable circumstance, like Brooke could have just called up Naysha Lopez and asked her to step in like they did in Series 8. Even as someone in the top 5th percentile for finding Brooke a little arrogant and a little manipulative I’m not seeing it, stop complaining girls.
Ru’s Walkaround : As it was last time around, it felt like a lot of Ru’s walkaround time was dedicated to telling Silky that her aesthetic is hideous, and for Silky to react like this was the first time she was hearing this. Last time we cut through the idea that Ru had ever told Silky she was “too beautiful”, this time we had Ru saying to Silky over and over and over and over again that knowing how to pad is fundamental, and Silky saying “oh I know!”. Did Silky reflect this knowledge on the upcoming runway? She did not.
Silky and Yvie’s Fight Of The Week : Scarlet told Nina and Yvie that she was surprised that Silky and Vanjie were still in, A’Keria overheard this and started a fight about it several minutes later (A’keria C. Shitstirrer <3), and this somehow turned into Silky and Yvie yelling at one another again, because Yvie never saw a fight involving Silky that she didn’t want to insert herself into.
Yvie saying that she doesn’t believe in drag families, she believes in drag TRIBES : This wasn’t drama, I just wanted to reference it because lol
The Runway :
Yvie & Scarlet : First of all, lol at Yvie actually saying that she’s given Scarlet the first drag outfit she ever made and herself the more recent elevated attempt she made at the same concept. Mostly because I think Scarlet looks better, but also why would you straight up say “my makeover is my cast-offs” when it’s ALWAYS a critique that someone has made their partner look worse than them? Anyway I like this, it plays into Scarlet’s wheelhouse of aquatic madness, and also I thought it was cute when they both did Yvie’s dumb laugh.
Nina & Shuga : I mean, that is actual clown make-up on Shuga there. I like that it’s colourful but the wigs aren’t great and Nina appears to be wearing…cycling shorts and rainbow thigh-highs? Together? There’s worse to come but I think the Bottom 2 here was fairly obvious.
Vanjie & Ariel : Straight-up robbage here, it was inexcusable. This is the second time this show has whiffed on giving Vanjie a deserved win (the other time being the Televangelism challenge) and it’s to the show’s detriment, because she’s going into next week’s show at a massive disadvantage to the other queens. Could she be the first queen since Jujubee to make the final without having won a single challenge? Well personally I hope so. This was gorgeous and a proper makeover, because Ariel didn’t even look Ariel. And not in the way that Shuga didn’t look like Shuga because Nina stuck her in a Space Raiders wig and painted her face sunburn red. The GOOD way!
A’Keria & Honey : The pageant looks in the makeover challenges often come across as a little uninspired, and this is no exception, especially as A’Keria has a lot more going on than Honey does. She got the nicer dress, the more flattering colour, the better wig, the more exciting ear-rings and accessories, the more vibrant make-up job, AND a booby keyhole. Even things up a LITTLE! I know it probably took up valuable time having to shave off that beard Honey unaccountably grew in the off-season but still.
Brooke & Plastique : They looked good, and I loved the runway presentation where Plastique was always a little bit off her big sister, but those nude panels look a bit wrong, and it turns out if you bring Plastique’s face halfway to Brooke’s it starts to look a little uncanny valley. A good job but, like Brooke’s other design challenge wins, not quite the best for me.
Silky & Soju : No
The Lip Sync : Oy, where to begin. First of all, No Scrubs is not a good choice to lip-sync because it’s so mid-tempo, but there’s really no excuse for what happened here in this day. Nina sticking to one corner of the stage and dancing entirely with her shoulders whilst picking her legs up whilst she was artfully stepping around dog mess and somehow being the BETTER performance? Silky just wandering back and forth with all the energy of someone meaning to leave the house but constantly having to pop back to grab her keys, checks the windows, and make sure the cat’s locked in, all whilst not knowing any of the words (TO NO SCRUBS!) then flolloping down onto the floor whilst even her best friend A’Keria had to admit she looked like a dying walrus? Ru saving Silky anyway because apparently she and Yvie have to spend the next two episodes yelling at one another some more? Let’s be honest, this lip sync was nothing more than both queens admitting they hadn’t a hope in hell in the grand finale RuPaul’s Stunt Hunt format, and they should have cut them both, ESPECIALLY as the entire episode was basically a massive culminatory roast over Silky having a bad attitude. Still, gotta keep that drama rolling.
The Untucked : More Yvie and Silky yelling at one another, it never ends.