Sun. Aug 9th, 2020

TV Rucap: Drag Race All Stars 5 Episode 5 “The Flava of Snatch”

The episode we’ve all been waiting for is finally here: it’s the Snatch Game (of Love, again)! At this point in the competition, track records are pretty evenly matched: Shea, Jujubee and Miz Cracker all have one win under their belt (India also won the first week of the competition, but she sticks out in comparison to the other three, because she’s been a power bottom for the rest of the competition). Snatch Game is probably the most coveted feather in the cap of a queen’s resume, so it will be a big opportunity for any of the queens to prove themselves by winning this week, and shift the focus of “who is the frontrunner?” in her corner. 

Ranking the Snatch Game Performances

1.       Jujubee

Eartha Kitt has been done on Snatch Game before (by Chi Chi Devayne in Season 8, and Valentina on All Stars 4, in the first Snatch Game of Love), but Juju’s is the best! When even in some of the best Snatch Game performances, you can sometimes see just a little too much effort and preparation, Juju’s comedy is as effortless as always. She’s nailing the voice and the mannerisms and the feeling that her Eartha lives in her own little world. 

2.       Shea Couleé

While it’s a little disappointing that Shea opts to select a straight cis man for Snatch Game over an unlimited number of female diva personalities to choose from, at least she picked Flava Flav, who IS camp. Shea seems to have Sasha Velour on the brain, introducing Flava Flav with “gender is a construct: tear it apart.” The best thing about Shea’s Snatch Game performance is that whenever you think that she’s going to be making a joke that’s a little too blue to be funny, she brings it back to a more wholesome place: fourteen inch… clock! (get your mind out of the gutter!) and “bitches” isn’t a Flav Flav misogyny moment, they’re obviously dogs, duh! It’s also great that you can always count on these Drag Race girls to suggest Red Lobster as the perfect ironic unironic romantic date.

3.       Alexis Mateo

A good Snatch Game requires a queen to be on her toes, and ready to seize jokes that are handed to her, and when Cracker accidentally answers one of the questions that was meant for Alexis, Alexis takes the opportunity to drag her for it, tying it back to her “I bet you didn’t see that one coming” thesis. And when India tries to turn the “you didn’t see that one coming” line back at her, Alexis is ready to clap back, “neither did you.”

4.       Miz Cracker

Lady Gaga has been done twice on the show before, terribly (the first by Sonique in Season 2’s very first Snatch Game, which ultimately sealed her elimination, and by Phi Phi O’Hara in Season 4), and that Cracker’s attempt is probably the best of the bunch is not saying much, because she’s not very good, either. Cracker has recreated Lady Gaga’s 2019 Golden Globes look (only her wig is platinum blonde with none of the blue tint that Gagz donned), which serves as a cue to how she’ll be approaching this Snatch Game performance: it’s all myopic, rehearsed A Star Is Born themed jokes, a week after she’d already made a “hundred people in a room” joke on the show. Well, at least she had one corny “Affogato” joke!

5.       Blair Saint Clair

Bless her heart. This is Blair’s first Snatch Game, and it really shows. She probably should have listened to RuPaul’s warning in the Werk Room that she wasn’t finding Blair’s Ellen De Generes impersonation very funny, but she’s sticking to her guns, and chooses to play her in the Snatch Game, anyways. It’s disappointing that Blair passes up opportunities for jokes, choosing to forfeit one of the questions because she doesn’t think that she could seduce Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman. She finishes with one good joke, though: parodying Ellen’s 2014 Oscars selfie moment. Overall, this wasn’t a great showing for Blair. 

6.       India Ferrah

Poor India. This is her first Snatch Game, and this performance is typical India: it’s neither great, nor memorably terrible. The problem is that India’s punching above her weight, in picking someone with more personality than hers, and isn’t succeeding in doing anything larger than life, for better or for worse. The only things that really read as Jeffree Star are in the look, where India has blocked her eyebrows and is wearing a track suit: nothing about her mannerisms feels related to Jeffree in any way, and answers like “private belongings” are vague, missed opportunities to come up with something funny or surprising. The tragic cherry on top of it all is India’s attempt to recite a poem, which is not on the level of a Shea Couleé or a Bob The Drag Queen. But, she’s able to finish with one joke that lands successfully: after Tommy has picked Alexis’s Walter Mercado as his match, India comes up with “Call me: he’s not a real psychic; he’ll never see it coming.” LOL, yay!

After a couple consecutive weeks of really weird judging, this one feels like it’s finally grounded in the reality of what actually ha happened. Cracker and India get the harshest critiques, and Shea is determined to be the winner of the Snatch Game. 

When the girls go back to the Werk Room, and it’s up to Shea to decide whose lipstick she’ll choose in case she wins the lip sync, she thinks that she already has a good idea of who she wants to send home, until India insists in having a private tête-à-tête to spill some tea: apparently, when Shea was up for elimination in Week 3, Mayhem and Alexis “campaigned” for Shea’s elimination. It seems convenient that Alexis and Mayhem (who is no longer around to refute the allegations) are the only girls who are dragged into this, and that India only brings up the incident in a moment where she would otherwise be the obvious frontrunner for elimination. The logical conclusion is that Alexis and India probably both believe that they are telling the truth: you can speculate that Alexis probably made some off-hand remark that India is blowing out of proportion. But, it’s enough of a foil to change the tenor of the conversation of who should be going home: Cracker should probably feel grateful that her poor week in the competition isn’t really going to factor into anyone’s decision. 

The Lip Sync: Madonna’s “Open Your Heart”

This week’s Lip Sync Assassin is none other than Vanessa Vanjie Mateo, so if she wins the lip sync and is holding Alexis’s lipstick, that would mean that she’d be sending her own drag mother home. That would be awkward and sad, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility: just last week, Morgan had to send her own best friend Mayhem Miller home. 

Shea and Vanjie take two different approaches to their performance: Shea is very cool, focused, confidently polished and poised, where her passion comes through effortlessly, while Vanjie is more upbeat, bouncy and effusive, serving playful winks and smiles. The two girls seem pretty evenly matched, so it could go either way, and feel like a deserving win. Ru decides that Shea is the winner of the lip sync, and she reveals that she’s chosen India’s lipstick. India maintains that she was not lying, telling this to Shea on her. Is this ever going to be settled, once and for all, or is this going to be one of those unsolved mysteries like whose lipstick Bebe Zahara Benet pulled when BenDeLaCreme self-eliminated? Regardless of whether or not this will ever be clarified, this episode was another great addition to the Snatch Game collection, and a return to form, after a couple weird weeks of the show.

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