It feels like just yesterday we were saying adieu to the delightfully twinky Joey Jay, and yet as Tina Turner once sang “big wheels keep on turnin’, Proud Mary keep on burnin’.” With those seminal lyrics echoing around our incredibly damaged brains, we’re back with another episode of critical darling RuPaul’s Drag Race.
I’m Daniel Trainor, and the only critical darling I will ever acknowledge is Jane Krakowski.
I’m Sam Stone, and we get it Dan, you’re gay.
As Mother Ru would say, let’s get into this fucker, bro!
DT: We start in the Werk Room after the elimination of Tamisha Iman, which legally is not something I’m allowed to talk about yet.
SS: Although Dan is bound by his NDA, I will mention that Kandy says she’s upset about sending Tamisha home which is confusing because last time I checked Kandy was threatening to deck Tamisha, and Tamisha was calling Kandy “lil’ girl.”
DT: Before getting out of drag, the girls find time to slip in a few quick, but devastating, digs about Elliott, who says it’s a “coincidence” that two girls she’s been in groups with have gone home, but in my culture we call that karma.
SS: Elliott is at the bottom of the food chain here, and it honestly seems like a very high school dynamic (perpetuated of course by self-proclaimed “mean girls” Kandy and Tina). In her talking head Elliott wonders if her unpopularity isn’t the result of her “awkwardness.”
DT: RuPaul walks into the Werk Room looking like a homosexual French burglar and explains that, finally, it’s time for all of these grown adults to make fun of each other on national television.
SS: It’s sort of a beautiful contradiction that Ru preaches this message of self-acceptance and inclusivity, but still pushes this trope where we all ridicule one another for our faults and shortcomings. Gorgeous!
DT: The girls waste no time in making fun of Kandy for her weight. Gag! Sickening! Meanwhile, Elliott makes the insane decision to make fun of Gottmik’s face, all while wondering why the rest of the girls can’t warm up to her.
SS: Gottmik, and that trademark vocal fry, win the reading challenge, and the library is firmly closed.
DT: Ru tells the girls that, for this week’s Maxi Challenge, they will perform improv on something called “Bossy Rossy After Dark.”
SS: The Ru-boot?
DT: The Ru-boot!
SS: I submitted a packet for “Bossy Rossy After Dark,” and my rejection letter was smeared with blood? Not sure what that means, but they told me to never contact them again so…
DT: As somebody who spent years studying at the accredited university Upright Citizens Brigade, an improv challenge is actually supposed to come with a PTSD warning and I did not receive that, so Sam you will be forced to go it alone from here on out.
SS: I have told you time and time again to not tell people that you voraciously studied improv like the gay nerd you are, but once again we find ourselves at this crossroad.
DT: It’s my cross to bear! Ru randomly splits the girls into groups. Elliott says she’s never done “traditional improv” before, which makes me wonder about what untraditional improv is. Are you encouraged to say “no?” Do they pay the performers???
SS: Untraditional improv is just like…having a conversation with a stranger, I think? No stakes, no conflict, right? Anyways I love comedy! Utica shares that she loves improv which gave me full body chills, headache, upset stomach etc. It felt a lot like a rough comedown.
DT: As we get into the challenge, it’s clear that things aren’t as they seem. Why does this IMPROV CHALLENGE have a SCRIPT? Do pigs fly? Is the sky green? Is BRITNEY FREE?
SS: Symone is doing her best to help her partner Kandy Muse, who’s trying to incorporate last week’s critiques by creating a quieter, less standoffish character, but in practice is mostly just quietly moaning.
DT: Olivia and Utica have a very polite fight over who gets to play the mime during their scene. Utica says she has done mime work before, which is not something I would have necessarily guessed, but absolutely knew in my soul. Olivia, however, gently insists that she’s horny to play a mime for so long that Utica succombs and gives her the role.
SS: Rosé, Denali, and LaLa are up first, and they’re very good! Rosé and Denali’s performance experience shines, but LaLa, while still funny (!), can’t stand up next to these two charismatic queens.
DT: The mime and her friends are next. Olivia, it turns out, was the right choice! She and Gottmik play off each other well and get some genuine laughs. When it’s time for improv legend Utica to hit the stage, however, things go haywire.
SS: Utica enters, nine feet tall, and seemingly coked up to hell. Utica, and I say this lovingly, physically cannot shut the fuck up. She enters with a minutes long monologue about…Starbucks? Girl, I don’t know.
DT: Kandy walks in, purportedly playing a Paris Hilton-type. She’s not giving us much at all. Subtlety is one thing, but whispering everything because you’ve been told you’re too loud isn’t exactly the move. Not hot, if you will.
SS: Her scene partner, Symone, is, predictably, perfect. She enters by climbing over a fence in a minidress, and things only improve from there. This recap is not sponsored by Symone, but Symone, if you’re reading, we are open to the idea!
DT: You’ll never guess this, but Tina Burner walks onto the “Bossy Rossy” set wearing a red wig and red dress. Meanwhile, Elliott walks in wearing…..almost the exact same look she wore for the Miss Money Bags runway. The two of them have big asses and big tits and work at NASA or something?
SS: Reduce, reuse, recycle, Rihanna. The storyline here was unclear, but the scene ended with Tina sitting on Elliott’s face. The audience was shook. Elliott was shook. Ross was speechless. We always hear that the secret to these challenges is making big, bold choices, but in this case, the choice may have been a bit too uh….much for this nice Christian recapper.
DT: As they prepare for the runway, Elliott complains about the fact that the girls complimented Tina for doing a better job in the challenge after Tina did a better job in the challenge.
SS: Elliott’s unpopularity amongst the girls is becoming a major storyline in this episode. Tina and Elliott have a little talk wherein Tina tries to teach Elliott how to be more approachable and friendly, and Elliott reveals that she’s been having difficulty connecting with the girls due to her struggles with depression.
DT: Elliott says she’s engaged to a man who does not understand her mental health issues, which allows me to say that Elliott should not be engaged to this man. AND THAT GOES FOR EVERY PERFECT PERSON READING THIS RECAP. KNOW YOUR WORTH, READERS. WE LOVE YOU.
SS: Also please like and subscribe!!!
DT: On the runway, the theme is….Beat It? Bead It? It’s all a bit murky. Denali kicks things off, dressed like a lamp because she’s been obsessed with them since she was a little baby boy. Go off, I guess. Or on. Lamp jokes!
SS: Did it take anyone else approximately four looks to interpolate that the theme was, in fact, beads? Cool — no, me neither. I got it right away, too. Denali is not just a lamp, she’s dressed as a giant sparkly chandelier, which is a perfect analog to her personality, actually: a little bit too much, but it works.
DT: LaLa Ri looks like she went to Mardi Gras covered in super glue and hoped for the best. It’s nothing terribly remarkable, but her personality makes it basically work. Rosé, once again, has completed the assignment but not really gone for any extra credit.
SS: Utica comes down the runway in a bloody wedding dress moment that didn’t scream beads, but was nice nonetheless, but the serve of the night, for me, was Kandy Muse who gave us ostentatiously wealthy hoe, dripping in jewels. As always, Kandy completely sold it on the runway, and she earns herself a spot in this week’s top three.
DT: I really liked Gottmik, who looked like the result of David Lynch designing the ball pit at McDonald’s. Meanwhile, Tina Burner is wearing yellow and green. My god. Miracles happen. Angels are singing. CHANGE IS POSSIBLE IN BIDEN’S AMERICA.
SS: Symone, of course, wows the judges, as well as your aesthetically perfect recappers, in a beaded two piece, but it’s Olivia’s young girl-inspired moment that takes the win this week. A second consecutive win for Olivia means that Symone finally has some real competition on this dang show.
DT: Utica’s underwhelming performance in the challenge lands her in the bottom three, but her “bride who got her period” look saves her. Elliott, whose rollercoaster of a week continues, winds up in the bottom with her New Orleans flapper look (?) and is forced to lip sync against LaLa, who finds herself forced to fight for her life again.
SS: Thus, LaLa cannot rescue herself again and gets the boot after a very entertaining, competitive lip sync.
DT: I think all Drag Race lip syncs should be to Kelly Clarkson album cuts, but I’m just a gay boy with an opinion and a keyboard!
SS: Go back to improv school.