‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ recap S13 E10: “Get Your Freaky Friday On”
Another week, another day in the Werk Room on the great American experiment we call RuPaul’s Drag Race. Elliott with 2 T’s has sadly departed, and after some grumblings about her loss, Utica is more than happy to unceremoniously wipe her lipsticked goodbye message off the mirror. As quickly as she appeared, Elliott vanished (after four elimination attempts). What tricks and treats could Mother Ru have in store for us this week? Perhaps Utica will be forced to perform an exorcism on herself? Perhaps Denali will be asked to perform open heart surgery on Michelle Visage’s stylist? Only time will tell!
My name is Daniel Trainor and the last time I performed open heart surgery on Michelle Visage’s stylist, it DID NOT GO WELL. And I’ll leave it at that.
Whereas, thank goddess, I am Sam Stone, and while I haven’t performed open heart surgery, I have performed multiple energy healings on dogs, and do introduce myself as Dr. Stone.
Let’s go, girls (Shania)
DT: With four-time eliminated queen Elliott finally in a van on her way to the airport, the remaining queens excitedly assemble in the Werk Room as RuPaul enters looking like a Real Housewife of Boca Raton to explain that the queens will be meeting with “internationally renowned medium and author of The Universe Is Calling You, Char Margolis.”
SS: I am proud to share that I, too, am now an internationally renowned medium, but in middle school I was an internationally renowned XL.
DT: In doing some quick Internet sleuthing, I discovered that the first line of Char Margolis’s Wikipedia page states “Margolis’s claims to have paranormal abilities have been criticised by several media outlets which suggest she uses standard cold reading and hot reading tricks to perform her readings.” Love giving this a platform! Was the Long Island Medium busy?
SS: Who can say whether Char is a sham? The girls sit down with our drag medium to stir up some drama, and contact the spirits of our dearly departed drag elders (Lady Bunny? Hello?). This is a classic time filler, and honestly, I love it. There is barely a gesture at authenticity, and everyone knows this has to be so deeply produced.
DT: “Is there a farm? Is there a cow? Did you used to feed it?” – Char Margolis
SS: Where were you when Char Margolis literally conducted witchcraft to guess the name of the cow Utica fed on her farm? Me? I was lying mostly horizontal in bed. Historical.
DT: Baby girl, I could take one look at Utica and know she used to bottle feed a cow. Not impressed. Next question.
SS: Char Margolis should be invited to compete on All Stars 6, and I will die on this hill.
DT: Back in the Werk Room, RuPaul announces that, for the Maxi Challenge, the pairings were determined by Char’s seventh sense or whatever! Seriously, whoever convinced Ru to invest in crystals and NFT has a lot of questions to answer and I’ll be expecting a written statement.
SS: Daniel, Char could be listening right now through magic, so I would be a little more careful with your words.
DT: Sorry, Char! Lylas!
SS: Char’s pairs will be making each other over this week! It’s Makeover Week! But with a twist!
DT: Who doesn’t love a doppelganger? Contrasting human adults Symone and Utica get paired together. Symone is about as excited about this prospect as Char Margolis was to learn her parking wouldn’t be validated.
SS: Denali is paired with Olivia, the self-proclaimed “polite diva.” For those wondering, other polite divas include Princess Diana and that’s it.
DT: Rosé and Tina are matched up, and Rosé says the only relatable thing she’s ever said: “Tina’s drag is very fun and very expressive, and I don’t like a lot of it.”
SS: A queen of the people. Rosé and Tina spend most of this episode engaging in Hell’s Kitchen passive aggressive buffoonery and it’s not not compelling, if you know what I mean.
DT: Gordon Ramsay vibes! As they get down to business, Symone is forced to explain her “B.A.P.S.”-inspired look to the whitest person ever known, Utica. Honestly, this challenge isn’t sitting quite right with me. We’re being robbed of seeing Symone in this personal, cool runway look so Utica’s ass can fling herself down the runway without any context? This is not what I signed up for!
SS: Utica, once again, devotes much of the episode to cultural appropriation hand-wringing, while Symone and Ru are ironically forced to assure her that she isn’t edging towards racism by wearing a look Symone has given her. What exactly is Utica’s understanding of appropriation? Why has this been a big part of her arc for two consecutive episodes? Char? Can I get some answers?
DT: Kandy and Gottmik are getting the classic “how will they pull this off?!” edit! They are forced to do way more work than the other girls because their body types are scientifically and spiritually on opposite sides of the spectrum.
SS: Nevertheless, friendship and artistry win out. Kandy and Mik kiki and laugh with each other as they try to pull this challenge off, while Rosé looks on furiously from under an enormous, violently red Tina Burner wig.
DT: Before the actual runway, the girls get to practice walking the runway as their doppelganger. First and foremost, Olivia is wearing a pair of jeans that need their own testimonial. Who did this to you, and why, and are you okay? Watching the girls intimate their own walks outside of drag is sort of like seeing a teacher outside of school. It’s familiar, but also terrifying.
SS: Utica enters using full drama teacher voice while trying to teach Symone her walk. It’s all breathy tones and onomatopoeic sounds as Utica flits down the mainstage.
DT: The two of them are pushing flexibility and movement to new levels. It’s like watching that Kermit the Frog dancing gif, but like, elegant. As Kandy and Gottmik practice each other’s walks, I’m not sure if they can adequately imitate each other, but it’s immediately clear that I’d watch upwards of twelve hours of them trying.
SS: Where. Is. The. WowPresents sponsored spin off?
DT: Back in the Werk Room, Kandy and Gottmik continue to bond over their paths to self-acceptance and it’s really Drag Race at its best and most pure. Sometimes I’m capable of writing something that’s not annoyingly sarcastic. Bitch.
SS: Denali and Liv also bond over strong female figures in their lives, and Tina and Rosé have a somewhat tense seeming “I love how real you can be” moment.
DT: On the runway, Rosé and Tina are up first and, bravely, in the challenge where she’s supposed to fully evoke Tina Burner, Rosé is wearing a green dress. She eventually does a reveal and ends up looking more like Peg Bundy than Tina Burner, but it mostly works.
SS: Tina does a serviceable job of doing Rosé on the runway in a typical minidress/enormous pink wig combo.
DT: Olivia evokes Denali the best she can, by pretending to skate around the mainstage and flinging around a long ponytail. Denali’s gown is beautiful and conjures the spirit of Olivia, but her overall performance and aura do not. It’s lacking her trademark effervescence and thousand-watt smile. Jesus, I’m hard for Olivia I guess.
SS: I will say that Utica kind of turns it out in Symone’s very chic look, and Symone, for her part, does Utica’s signature kooky runway pretty well, too. Neither of them seem totally comfortable outside their own wheelhouse, but overall it was a good effort.
DT: Gottmik comes out looking a little more Tina than Kandy in a fiery one-piece, but she totally sells it on the runway and her “bye!” at the end is legitimately funny. Kandy comes out in Gottmik’s signature mug and a neon wig, fully meeting the moment. I love how they didn’t sacrifice the overall aesthetic and bare nipples for Kandy’s transformation. Surprise, surprise…they pulled it off!
SS: The judging this week is all a bit confusing. Who’s responsible for someone else’s look or runway not working? Is it on Utica to make sure Symone sells her look? Is Denali responsible for not looking enough like Olivia, when it was Olivia’s job to make Denali look like Olivia?
DT: To make matters more distressing, RuPaul drops the ol’ “who do you think should go home tonight?” and I swear to God, if these queens have learned anything from reality television, their answers should be “I’d rather not say.”
SS: Almost everybody votes for Olivia, and to be fair, the Olivia/Denali pairing was the weakest, but it’s still hard to see everyone gang up on our favorite charismatic queen!
DT: Kandy, for lack of a better phrase, pops off on the mainstage. It was all about how she and Mik had the most work to do and they still turned it out etc. etc. We’re not sure where the aggression came from, but it was a little hard to pay attention to anything said with that wig and Gottmik make-up, but uh, I’m sure she made some good points!
SS: In the end, it’s a lip sync between Denali and Olivia, two incredible performers who are hampered by the quite frankly homophobic song choice, “Shackled (Praise You)” by Mary Mary.
DT: It’s an odd song choice and an odd lip sync, if I’m being honest. They both show a lot of facial emotion, but there’s not much more to it. Ultimately, Olivia brings more, and her presence wins out. She sends the ice queen packing, ironically while wearing one of her dresses.
SS: These are the days of our lives. I, for one, saw Denali somewhere closer to the top four, but it seems that stepping into someone else’s drag was her Achilles heel.
DT: You know what they say: you never know somebody until you walk a mile in their men’s size 12 heels. With that, Denali skates away. Be free, beautiful.
Credit: VH1 screenshot