TV

‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ S13E14 Recap: Four Bussys On Fire, Two Inflamed To Win

RuPaul sings the word 'bussy', and they waste it on this song? A travesty.

rupaul's drag race s13e14 recap

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Confession: I fell asleep while watching this episode.

Who’s to say where the fault lies? Is it just that the final werkroom episodes generally have more suspicious padding than Dax Exclamation Point, where Ru pretends to choke up as the queens detail the traumas they’ve overcome to become a sickening drag artist?

Or potentially, was it just my body’s natural response to the sugar-rush of my first night out in Sydney now we can dance, complete with $19 vodka Red Bulls (more like Dax ????) that caused my body to crash completely when the buzz wore off mid-episode? It will forever remain a mystery.

Some things are clearer: after this episode, it’s clear the crown is either Symone or GottMik’s to take. Ru is most enamoured with them of the top four, GottMik especially, for who Ru tried to break out her best ‘almost crying’ voice she perfected during her AJ & The Queen acting lessons.

This has been a pro-GottMik recap since at least the Bossy Rossy challenge (should have won!), but this episode really cemented that the show wants us to think she’s grown exponentially during S13 and is now a full-fledge performer, and not just the ‘MUA’ who walked in. It’s not even particularly true (she’s been solid across challenges from the beginning), but that’s the narrative we’re being sold. But after the burn of Bimini-gate, I’m hesitant to trust the show’s own storyline.

Besides, Symone has been the winner since episode two. If you’re asking ‘why’, have you watched the show, Tamar? As always, it comes down to those final lip-syncs, which seemingly this year won’t be a Zoom-affair: they’ve filmed a finale in LA over the past few days.

Before it airs in two weeks, we’ll get a reunion (potentially also IRL this year?), with the season finishing just a few days before Down Under starts. In the meantime, we have a new RuPaul top four Rumix, featuring Ru gleefully singing the word “bussy”. Nature is healing.

RuPaul’s CBT Race

Before we find out no one is going home, the queens have to prepare verses and a dance for the debut of Ru’s new track, ‘Lucky’ — which somehow goes by without a single reference to Britney Spears.

The queens also have to prepare to emotionally disembowel themselves with Ru and Michelle over a tictac luncheon, and then later when Ru shows them photos of their childhood selves.

rupaul's drag race s13e14 recap

The WoW producers saw ‘UK Hun?’ and were like ‘oh yes, Jamal don’t take out this move even though the other cast did the same bit but in a considerably much catchier song and this move will make viewers compare the two’

During the Tic Tac lunches, Symone and GottMik have the most natural rapport with Ru and Michelle, which is unofficially the biggest test of the show. For Rosé, they focus on her theatre-kid energy, perfection and whether Jan will be jealous of her sister, essentially saying ‘you won’t win, but we will cast you two on All Stars 7′.

Kandy is told that she is a star but won’t win, and Ru is most animated whenever the queens let him go on his psycho-babble drivel which, while sometimes hitting truths, remains about as specific as anything Co-Star tells you.

rupaul's drag race s13e14 recap

‘Yes, I knew you were a Capricorn rising!’

The best part of the episode is Jamal Sims’ choreography sessions, purely because Jamal is a really kind, gracious choreographer. It’s sweet that Jamal recognises Mik is better memorising moves to lyrics, not beat counts.

Todrick clearly plays a character as ‘the mean choreographer’, but sometimes it’s just nice to see the queens not be stressed out for no reason (especially when we know they always do a much lengthier, relaxed rehearsal when the cameras are off).

rupaul's drag race s13e14 recap

As Kings Of Leon sang, “gottttt, your bussy’s on fire!” (I apologise for this caption.)

Before the main stage, the girls also chat about their first impressions of each other, and we learn they pretty much all wrote off Rosé as ‘unseasoned’ filler. She’s definitely shaken off that self-seriousness over the season, and it’s clear from her performance this week she is the most technically talented of the bunch when it comes to singing and dancing, but I just can’t see her winning.

It’s funny, given that All Stars 1 was essentially an excuse to crown Chad, but the show hasn’t really rewarded that kind of showgirl perfection since. Jaida’s perhaps the closest as a pageant queen, but doesn’t quite carry herself with the same energy.

Lucky 13

The song ‘Lucky’ is… not good, but the queens’ verses are pretty fun, as is the performance itself, with the four mono-chromatic-a rooms. Mik is just so rapt all episode long; Rosé’s rap is delightful; Kandy’s a lyricist; and Symone uses her ‘factry’ vocal tics for everything they’ve got. Will I ever listen to this again? No, but it still beats All Stars 3‘s slowed down ‘Kitty Girl’.

This week’s runway is Best Drag, which usually means ‘a gown or something you haven’t worn yet’. Kandy stands alone in the latter category, in a dress made by the same designer as last week’s pocket runway (which I still say wasn’t that bad).

This isn’t her best drag, but it’s great. Together, the hoop sleeves, plastic corset and neon is really playful, and while she doesn’t always nail it, Kandy has a really adventurous, forward-thinking eye. If a skinny queen wore this, she’d be praised for giving ‘Space Channel 5 realness’.

rupaul's drag race s13e14 recap

Me, when people badmouth Kandy.

Meanwhile, Utica, had she stayed, would have absolutely destroyed everyone this week with her Best Drag look of a literal church on her head.

Of the four, Mik’s 101 Dalmations look is my favourite: like the judges say, it’s a perfect balance of fashion and stupidity. Mik is just a really playful, joyous queen, and it’s a delight to see them laugh through the judges’ critiques and the show.

It’s a confidence that comes with being at home in your own skin — that’s always lovely, but the ease with which Mik has discussed being trans feels new to the show, as he refuses to make it into a huge plot point. The only time we’ve seen Mik falter was in E2, when his rap accidentally outed him to the girls. Comparing that shrinking, quiet Mik to the one we’ve seen, and the power in his own comfort is clear.

rupaul's drag race s13e14 recap

Gorge!

Before they all lip-sync one-by-one for some reason (maybe ease of edit?), each queen has to send a message to their younger selves. Rosé’s is the most rehearsed and clear-cut ‘here’s why I should win’ speech, while Symone’s is intense and raw: she’s clearly been through a lot, and it gives her drag persona so much more power. Mik’s is sweet, but Kandy telling her toddler self that he’s ‘CUNT’ is simply perfection.

Nothing much happens in Untucked, though there is a bit of self-reflection from Kandy on her growth during the competition. She picks her Untucked fight with Tamisha as a turning point, which seems apt: I think a very defensive, angry person came out then, and the tough ‘love’ Tamisha offered made Kandy take a step back.

rupaul's drag race s13e14 recap

The other main takeaway from Untucked is that Rosé’s brother is hot. Good for her!

This is someone who has repeatedly have to defend themselves physically and been victim to hate crimes — we saw Kandy grapple with her own instincts and decide to let go of that anger and move on. Once again, I am asking you to realise that Kandy is an emotionally mature, intelligent, funny queen.

All four queens get to stay, which we more or less already knew would happen. S12 is the first since S8 that featured a top three, as the move to the lip-sync tournament requires an even number. Just speculating, but perhaps they filmed an ending with Kandy leaving, in case they weren’t able to film a live finale?

Online, the love for Symone and Mik seems pretty even. I wouldn’t be mad at a double-crowning, though can Mik out lip-sync the other three? How many clever reveals can one waifish body have?


RuPaul’s Drag Race S13 is available on Stan, with episodes dropping 3PM AEDT each Saturday.

Jared Richards is Junkee’s Drag Race recapper and a freelancer who has written for The GuardianThe Big Issue and more. He’s on Twitter.