‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ Recap: Two Tops Refuse To Bottom
Snatch Game At Sea was anything but smooth sailing.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe it was Slavoj Zizek who said, “talk that talk baby, you better walk that walk, baby”. And isn’t it funny that while Zizek was off dragging Jordan Peterson, Yvie Oddly and Brooke Lynn Heights were turning his theory into praxis?
Snatch Game (At Sea) is usually considered The Week that separates filler queens from the stars, even though only three of the challenge’s winners have gone on to become crown-wearers. Still, it was surprising to see both Brooke and Yvie bomb so hard they end up in the bottom — not to mention that you better call me a diabetic, honey, because Shuga is here for another week, against my better judgement, girl.
pivoting to earnestly rooting for Shuga Cain
— Kevin O'Keeffe (@kevinpokeeffe) April 20, 2019
One can’t deny talent, and Miss Shuga had an undeniably great week — even if her storyline this episode amounted to, “honey, I paint a heart on my nose, girl”.
Even if Shuga’s not proving to pop as a Drag Race character, between her runway, that eye-catching breast contour and her couchie-cou Charo impression, Shuga finally had an episode to prove why she’s still in the competition.
Alongside everyone else, no less, after S11’s frontrunners redeemed their god-awful impersonations with a double-shantay lip-sync that immediately lands as one of the show’s greatest.
Put on your sea legs, because this Snatch Game was all but smooth sailing.
22 Inches? Now That’s What I Call A Moby Dick
Tensions are high when the queens re-enter the workroom this ep, with Silky mad at Brooke and Yvie both saying she should’ve been in the bottom, as well as Vanjie and Yvie continuing to spar.
Last week, I prophesied that this season’s double shantay would be Silky and Yvie, right at the crux of their feud, à la Phi Phi O’Hara and Sharon Needles. That, um, was wrong (it’s not impossible there will be two, but it’s pretty unlikely), but it is clear that this fight is going to keep sitting at boiling point for a few more eps.
After another (quite funny) mad-libs mini-challenge, we get to the meat of it: Snatch Game At Sea.
While I was thinking the nautical theme was an excuse for Ru to wear a sailor’s cap (a quick glance at Instagays will show gay men are inexplicably attracted to them) turns out it was actually a tie-in with the show’s sponsor, queer cruise ship operator Vacaya. Sure!
Jinkx Monsoon wanders around the workroom with Ru. She might be the season’s best cameo (sorry Morgan McMichaels). Her advice is actually useful, reminding the queens that Snatch Game isn’t about impersonations per say, but being able to perform a caricature of a person — one that meshes well with their own drag persona.
That’s why Silky as T.S. Madison — trans trailblazer, musician, and extremely NSFW vine star — is such a no-brainer. From flirting with Jinkx to that 22′ inch weave and her cute runway run, Silky slays this episode.
As does Nina West. She impersonates broadway legend Harvey Feirstein/Match Game regular Jo Anne Worley, two choices that play off Nina’s love for old school camp, irreverence and innuendo. Having said that, swapping between the two probably cost her a win — just like when Bob did it in S8, it lands a little too close to show-boating.
Plus, performing as only one character allows the jokes to layer on top of themselves, and gives other queens a chance to build up a riff with the character, like Silky did with Plastique. Shuga rounds out the top three: we’ve seen Charo before, but she hits all the notes, looks the part, and Ru lives for her runway look.
Plastique and A’Keria are both safe for their perfectly safe performances as Love And Hip Hop…‘s Lovely Mimi and Tiffany Haddish.
Plastique’s choice originally seems a little too similar to the nail-tech character she’s broken out a few times. Drag Race has long had an ‘interesting’ relationship to racial stereotypes, and this seems to be a case of a queen (smartly, though perhaps not wisely) relying on them to coast through the competition.
Then there’s the bottoms: Yvie, Brooke and Vanjie. It’s debatable whether Brooke deserved to be in the bottom considering that runway, and it seems like the show decided to save Vanjie for another week. To channel Trixie-as-Ru for a second, her snatch game was Bhad, Bhabie.
Having had two terrifying encounters with Danielle Bregoli before, I did laugh at her coming for Tony Hale (who, just quietly, is quite attractive when he’s not Buster Bluth???). But from that workroom run-through, it was clear Ru wanted LaToya to make her fourth Drag Race appearance.
Which brings us to Brooke. Yvie missed the mark and played too mean (and just plain factually wrong) by portraying Whoopi as out-of-work and bitter, but Brooke’s Céline was out of this world bad. It was as if Kenya Michaels-as-Beyoncé had taken a Xanax — if Ru dared to speak over Ru.
A dark day was over for Brooke Lynn, but, as Michelle Williams (singer) says, ‘We Break The Dawn’.
If you can’t make them laugh…make them GAG! pic.twitter.com/VXdQVJlT9m
— Brooke Lynn Hytes (@Bhytes1) April 21, 2019
How About That Lip-Sequince?
Is Carson Kressley dead? Without him to make quips about anal sex, there’s a huge, gaping hole on the judges panel. Then again, you probably didn’t even notice that he’s been missing most of the season, until now.
On the runway, Ru’s legs are out! RuPaul is 58, and in related news, ageism is dead. Stream ‘Medellín’ by Madonna.
This week’s theme is sequins, and yet, somehow there’s not a single reference to Roxxxy Andrews. Again, the super open theme allows for a lot of variation on the runaway, and all the queens turn it out.
But really, who the fuck cares about anything else than this?
Again with the S7 parallels, but Brooke’s reveal carries the same energy as Violet Chachki’s two-in-one tartan look; an effortless gag. Besides last week’s Untucked antics, this was the first moment where I’ve absolutely lost it over Brooke. The next came immediately, in the lip sync.
Holy fuck! Like me, you’ve probably rewatched this lip sync 85 times, and we have no reason to stop. Each gave their own spin on an incredibly cookie cutter song (not an insult, somewhere there’s a video of me tearing my shirt off to this song at ~8pm on a Friday), and were tit-for-tat the whole way through.
On Vulture’s excellent Drag Race podcast What The Tuck?, hosts Matt Rogers and Mono Agapion have repeatedly said that this season lacks a super intellectual/savvy queen, á la Bob, Raja, Bianca, Katya, Jinkx, Violet, etc.
But I think Brooke’s runway and, particularly, Yvie’s cartwheel wig-reveal proved them wrong, as both played with our expectations of Drag Race 11 seasons in by offering new elevations of ‘the reveal’, something which I had become pretty tired of. If you don’t think Yvie had the edit of her wig dropping and Ru’s disappointed face in mind, you’re underestimating how well she’s playing Drag Race as a TV show, on a season that’s getting better and better.
Next week is an acting challenge spoof of Cops, L.A.D.P. In the meantime, I leave you with perfection.
— ً (@Ietjisoosing) April 19, 2019
RuPaul’s Drag Race streams on Stan, with new episodes from Season 11 available each 2pm AEST.
Jared Richards is a staff writer at Junkee, and co-host of Sleepless In Sydney on FBi Radio. It’s Taurus season, bitch.