Welcome to the eighty-second week of Season 13 of RuPaul’s Drag Race! When this competition started nearly two years ago, there were 13 drag queens competing for $100,000 and the love of Norvina from Anastasia Beverly Hills. There are still five queens left and another acting challenge is upon us, and thank G*d because this show is like oxygen to us.
My name is Daniel Trainor and just like Faith Hill, I’m caught up in the touch, a slow and steady rush, baby isn’t the way that love’s supposed to be, just breathe!!!!!
My name, however, is Sam Stone, and recaps are my whole personality now.
Well then let’s get writing so we can both continue to live.
DT: The girls return to the Werk Room, forever scarred from Utica’s roast performance, to reckon with whether or not roasts or drag queens from Minnesota should be permitted to exist.
SS: Utica began her goodbye note with the phrase “hey goobers,” which is appropriating hetero culture.
DT: The girls discuss Symone’s placement in the bottom and Kandy picking up her first win. Up is down, down is up, Rosé is still dressed like Loretta Lynn after a trip to Claire’s. It’s chaos.
SS: Claire’s is actually where I got my first dose of the vaccine.
DT: Gottmik reveals that the Roast taught her she knows how to write jokes, something that I’m hoping these recaps will eventually teach me, but here we are in Week 13 and things are looking bleak, babe!
SS: To kick off this week’s episode, RuPaul enters the Werk Room, having boldly chosen to have a mustache, and introduces the girls to their newest acting challenge: a gorgeous short called Henny, I Shrunk the Drag Queens.
DT: Rick Moranis hive we’re eating tonight.
SS: The girls divide up parts and predictably there is drama when two girls want the same one, just like in my high school production of Thoroughly Modern Millie, when I pushed a girl down the stairs to secure the titular role of…wait for it: MODERN.
DT: The queens go over the script, react like they just read a cinematic magnum opus. Nice girl Olivia who keeps playing nice girl parts and being criticized for being too nice all the time lobbies for the role of, you’ll never guess, the nice girl.
SS: It’s actually polite diva vibes, Daniel. Please respect that.
DT: Kandy continues to be dead-set on leaning into the villain edit this season, demanding that she gets to play the role of Dominique, the villain of the story, instead of Symone. To further her point, she says one of the most tragic things I’ve ever heard on broadcast television: “Natural born leader? I don’t see that for me. The smart one? No.”
SS: Nothing wrong with an absolutely devastating self read! Eventually, Symone backs down, which makes sense because we have already seen Kandy get into a physical altercation with a fully adult man in a wig once this season.
DT: As the girls gets their looks together, Rosé puts on a cotton candy wig and calls it “kind of butch,” Kandy uses her time to continue lusting over Joey Jay for some reason and Symone is in the midst of a full-blown anxiety meltdown, which means I’m in the midst of a full-blown anxiety meltdown.
SS: Before we experience a complete emotional Chernobyl (too soon?), Scarlett Johansson appears on a large television to play her most challenging role to date: HERSELF. Hello, is this the Oscars? I have a suggestion!
DT: Scarlett, once again stealing a role from somebody more qualified (Judi Dench?), waxes poetically about, uh, green screens? Acting? It’s unclear! She does manage to say “if you don’t believe in yourself, then nobody else is going to believe you,” which was RuPaul’s “if you can’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else” alt.
SS: Every drag queen dreams of the day Scarlett Johansson will answer some questions, and for our lucky queens, today is that day.
DT: Kandy asks Scarlett if she’s ever had to play a villain in a movie which is blatant “We Bought A Zoo” erasure (I’ve never seen it, but I assume she told Matt Damon not to buy the zoo). Somehow, not one of these girls asked Scarlett what she whispered to Bill Murray at the end of Lost In Translation.
SS: Scarlett’s advice ringing in their ears, our queens arrive on set to begin filming their green screen debut in the campy and somewhat confusing Henny, I Shrunk the Drag Queens. It’s immediately clear that Olivia, playing the nice girl, will be sticking to the same schtick that didn’t work for her performance in last episode’s roast: child actor acting.
DT: It wasn’t great the first time, and it’s uncomfortable the fourteenth time. Symone, too, stumbles in her scenes, as she’s done in several recent acting challenges. Is she in her head? Is she intimidated by the other queens? What happened to the stunner who turned out a hilarious Flag Factory performance? She’s falling back on her affected society lady thing that we’ve seen, frankly, far too often this season.
SS: Listen girls, there’s going to the well because it works! And then there’s going to the well because it’s all you can do. The well is dry. The well is barren.
DT: Olivia is fully asking about blocking, camera direction and character motivation. Somebody took a Film Studies class in college! Listen bitch, me too, and I didn’t like Lawrence of Arabia, either! Gottmik, however, continues to have a great time and, at the end of her performance wonders aloud “Like, do I want to be an actor?”
SS: The same question I ask myself when I request and successfully get a student discount at the movies.
DT: The girls trudge through filming and the entire plot of this movie (?), limited series (?), Funny or Die sketch (?) makes absolutely no sense, but that’s never stopped them before! Once they’re done and begin prepping for the runway, Kandy says “there is so much more to gay life than what you see you on TV,” and God I hope so because all this episode has taught me is that Carson Kressley is bad at sex and Colin Jost can pop out from anywhere.
SS: She’s so right, though. For me, gay life breaks down this way: 25% wondering if you should eat less dairy, 55% wondering if you should have started a podcast 2 years ago, 18% hating the show “Looking,” and 2% depressive episodes.
DT: On the runway, the theme is Haute Pockets and suddenly the roof of my mouth is on fire! Symone is up first, and describes her look as “very lead singer of Paramore,” which is how you describe your look when you don’t know the lead singer of Paramore’s name.
SS: Rosé has a cute mod moment that Daniel inexplicably hated, and Gottmik has the serve of the night in a trench coat, flasher-inspired situation that was a cheeky nod to a quick character cameo in Hercules.
DT: I did not hate the mod look, but I did find it a little exhausting that Rosé, who is always in a battle with herself to be as boring as possible says, “I’m inspired by the 60s!” We’ve all watched Mad Men! Zoo bisou bisou or whatever! Meanwhile, Kandy says her look is “Japanese-inspired,” and listen girls, we will not be touching that with a ten-foot pole!
SS: Olivia’s Haute Pocket runway look is…a dress that has pockets. It looked a little bit like what girls from my high school wore to Winter Ball in 2011 (stoned, and poofy, and unremarkable) which is coincidentally also how I showed up to Winter Ball.
DT: Indeed, Olivia’s runway look is underwhelming, but in an unfortunate turn of events, so is her performance in the challenge! She gets rightfully reamed out for doing the same thing she’s been doing for weeks, and the cracks in Olivia’s polite diva routine are starting to severely show.
SS: The judges fall all over themselves complimenting Gottmik’s humor and timing, as well as Rosé’s polished professionalism, but they have some pointed words for Kandy based on her runway.
DT: Symone is relieved to find herself safe, along with Gottmik, while Rosé takes another win in an acting challenge. Kandy and Olivia are left to duke it out in a lip sync to “Strong Enough” by Cher, formerly of Sonny and Cher.
SS: I was actually quite “gagged” as the youths say, for this lip sync. Olivia was giving emotion, Kandy had some glitter to throw in the air. All in all —
DT: P!NK VIBES!
SS: …yeah. All in all it was pretty evenly matched, but it was clear the judges only had eyes for Kandy.
DT: Whether it was because they couldn’t take their eyes off Kandy’s monstrosity of a dress or the fact that her performance was kinda campy and fun, she steals the lip sync and our resident supervillain lives to fight another week.
SS: If this show has taught me anything, it’s that being nice is bad and being mean is good!
DT: As Colin Jost would probably say, “that’s showbiz, baby.”