‘RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under’ S2E3 Recap: ‘Brunch’ Would Be A Funny Drag Name
This week's challenge lets the queens do what 'Down Under' queens do best: talk shit in front of a drunk audience.
Brunch is served, and so is one of Down Under‘s best episodes yet, with a challenge perfectly catered to our drag scene. This week’s drag brunch let the S2 queens do what they do best: talk shit and make naff jokes in front of a drunk audience. It’s night and day to last week’s painful acting challenge, where the queens couldn’t make a God-awful script shine. More of this!
Of the hosting duos, Pomara and Beverly were the most rigid but were by no means bad — some weeks, being less good is enough to put you in the bottom. It’s clear that it’s Pomara’s time, as she has had severely less screentime than Bev, who is at the moment one of the show’s leading voices.
All three eliminations have been a little brutal and this is no exception, but with only eight episodes, we have to steam ahead. This is a really strong cast and they all have a lot to show: I’m sad to think last week might have turned some viewers off, as DU2 is shaping up to be a solid and, most importantly, thought-out season.
It’s too early to make any sweeping judgements, but it seems like the show took in a lot of last year’s feedback. This week’s conversation between Hannah and Kween is the most obvious example, a nuanced, even-handed addressing of cultural appropriation that makes S1 feel like a completely different show. It’s a shame the S1 queens got the short end of the stick, but I’m loving this season a lot and can’t pick a winner just yet, either: maybe Hannah, Kween or Spankie?
But for now, it’s time for brunch. Sunday funday with these pig dicks!
What Was Said More This Episode, “Saboed” Or Banter About Sucking Someone Off?
After last week’s Spankie win, Hannah enters the werkroom saying she’s ready to suck off Ru for a win after just missing out both times. She’s right to say it, though I didn’t need the image in my mind. For this week’s mini-challenge, the queens use their psychic abilities to guess which pit crew member is hiding which ‘drag essential’ in their pants, and Molly wins $5,000 for it. Wow.
She also gets to pair up the queens for the brunch hosting challenge, and while Spankie says she’s been “saboed” by being paired with the quiet Yuri, it’s really Pomara and Beverly who are set up. The two can’t seem to get along — well, Pomara seems to think Bev is an annoying, unfunny young twink and won’t really give her a bar. Or, at least, that’s what we see in the edit: Bev seems to try really hard to placate Pomara, but she’s getting zilch from her. It’s a bit awkward, though in Pomara’s defence, Bev goes into this wanting a tight script, where the challenge calls for a little looseness.
Because the werkroom is so small, everyone can hear Molly talk to her partner Hannah about her strategy in pairing up weaker comedy queens with stronger ones. Looking around, that’s probably only true for Spankie and Yuri, at least on paper: Kween and Minnie are an unlikely duo but that’s by no means a bad thing. The two plan out a set poking at their differences, exploring white privilege and intergenerational friendships. While Yuri and Spankie take home the win this week, it’s really Kween’s episode. There’s a level of thoughtfulness here that was missing the first two weeks: this challenge feels like her true introduction.
We also get a chat with Hannah, Molly, Kween and Minnie about racism within the queer community, in which Hannah brings up some culturally insensitive performances she’s done in the past. Hearing her talk to camera (and the queens) about her accountability and how she knows that, despite the work she’s done, some people she’s offended may never forgive her, we get a completely different perspective from Scarlet last year. In her own words, she ‘seeks forgiveness but can’t demand it’, and the show slows down to give the chat the space it deserves.
In rehearsals with Rhys and comedian Chris Parker, the girls are given pretty solid feedback bar for Hannah and Molly, who are given the classic “we want to see you” line. It confuses them, and the end product ends up being a cohesive but not terribly funny couple of minutes about originally wanting to grow up and be, respectively, a priest and a clown. They’re towards the lower end this week, but it’s not really their fault: they’re the only ones given this direction, and it’s just a bit too much to fit in.
It’s also clear that Pomara and Bev aren’t getting along, with the two bickering during rehearsals, resulting in Rhys giving them the death knell feedback of “try not to undermine each other”. Spankie and Yuri are solid, and Minnie responds to comments she’s doing a little too much by saying “okay yeah fair comment I agree” possibly faster than anyone has ever said anything. She’s just TV gold.
Eye Infection? I Hardly Even Wipe Correctly
When it comes to the actual drag brunch, the duos perform in sequence of ‘worst’ to ‘best’: Bev & Pomara, Hannah & Molly, Kween & Minnie, and then Yuri & Spankie, though Spankie almost has to go on alone. Yuri has an eye infection and spends the day getting treatment, arriving in the werkroom to put on drag while the other queens are, if the show’s to be believed, performing.
But surprise! She makes it, and the duo are the best of the bunch: it’s joke after joke after joke, the two have great chemistry and it’s the only one of the night that actually feels like a drag brunch bit. The rest are a little uneven — Molly has a stunning line about farting in her foreskin when she’s tucked, Kween & Minnie’s is a little awkward and uneven, but gets into a rhythm eventually, and Bev & Pomara never really get it started.
This week’s runway is ‘red for filth’ and we’re joined by comedian Urzila Carlson, who I have never heard make a single joke. My fave look would be Minnie’s red ribbon dress, save for the nip slip, as it’s a tribute to three Sydney queens who died from AIDS — Caroline Clarke, Leggs Galore and Tallulah Bright. It’s a beautiful sentiment and she looks radiant: it’s a shame the dress no longer fitted and was loose up top. Almost wish the show let her fix it and refilm the runway, as it was a moment that transcended the competition. But on Instagram, Minnie says Leggs was known for a nip slip, so maybe it’s a fitting tribute in its own way.
Spankie, astonishingly, has my other favourite look of the night, a Poppy-print dress in tribute to ANZAC soldiers. Odd the show didn’t directly say what it was — maybe it required too much time to explain.
Molly and Hannah continue to excel: Hannah just looks perfect, and Molly’s little train reveal from a throw is something I’ve never seen before on the show! They’re both super polished, and I could see either of them holding their own on a vs. The World runway. (That is, if they don’t win the season.)
Pomara also looks beautiful in an earthy gown to represent Uluru, adorned with Indigenous prints on top. If you’re going to head out, may as well be with your best look yet. Michelle is such a delightfully awkward white woman, and breaks out her line about Pomara “bringing culture” to the runway, like someone’s aunt who doesn’t want to say the wrong thing so ends up saying something so vague it barely makes sense.
Yuri goes full devil-imp, while Kween takes a similar route but makes it more Maleficent, while Bev wanders the halls of an abandoned mansion as a bloodied ghost. Very pretty!
Spankie and Yuri are given the win and get $5,000 each, meaning this episode alone gave away the equivalent of half of what Kita Mean received for winning S1. Damn. The judges praise Kween for “arriving” in the competition after a rough start, tell Minnie to “direct herself” and her energy a little more, and say Hannah and Molly just needed more material than doing exactly what Rhys directed them to do.
Backstage, Bev has a teary breakdown about potentially leaving the show and letting down people back home. The pressure just really gets to her, and she starts talking about her “dark and mysterious front”, which is an incredibly 21-year-old thing to say and a little embarrassing to have on camera. But who among us didn’t think we were dark and mysterious at that age? We can’t all be Effy from Skins, and Bev pulls herself together for a killer lip-sync to the Kylie remix of ‘Starstruck’ by Years & Years. It’s a bloody good one, and if the episode count wasn’t so tight, I’d say it was a potential double save. Bev even breaks out a roundhouse kick into a split: these girls keep introducing new moves to Drag Race, which I truly thought was impossible at this stage.
Next week’s the Snatch Game: I’d argue last year’s actually wasn’t that bad, but I’m also of the mind that Snatch Game is almost never good. Prove me wrong Down Under S2!
RuPaul’s Drag Race: Down Under streams on Stan in Australia, with new episodes each Saturday at 4pm AEST.
Jared Richards is Junkee‘s Drag Race recapper, and a freelancer who writes for NME, The Big Issue, The Guardian and more. He’s across the internet as @jrdjms