‘RuPaul’s Drag Race UK’ S3E5 Recap: Scarlett’s Fever

Well, if you're going to have a tantrum, best to look stunning.

rupaul's drag race uk s3e5 recap

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“No-one wins”: B-grade horror tagline, or Drag Race first? For no real reason, RuPaul decided that this week’s set of lame non-jokes, obvious puns and toilet humour weren’t funny, and so no-one received a RuPeter badge this week — despite these commercials being no worse (or better) than most others on the show.

Let’s be honest: Drag Race acting scenes and commercials are usually just a couple of wacky faces and jokes about tucking. This week was no different, as the eight queens were split into two groups to film and write commercials around ‘Draglexa’, a drag queen version of Amazon’s Alexa (Draglexa??? When ‘Siri that walk’ is right there….).

Ru’s mini-outburst seemed a little unwarranted as if trying to repeat last season’s ‘no fucking H&M’ moment: to paraphrase Detox, I’m not saying they were the best, but they ain’t the worst!! Still, there’s something to be said for how Scarlett and Charity both imploded this episode, as they tried a little too hard to prove they were worthy of last week’s double-save.

And while Charity went home, it’s Scarlett who had the worse week with her mini-meltdown culminating in a walk-off during Untucked. But if you are going to chuck a tantrum, what a look to do it in. Scarlett’s mug gives Krystal competition — she’s beautiful, even when she’s seething.

Dog Eats Dog

Right off the bat, Scarlett’s having a rough week. Over-compensating, there’s an awkwardness to her banter with River about badges and track record. It just doesn’t quite land, and then there’s insult to injury when, in the mini-challenge, Charity runs away from her after Scarlett grabs her to pair up.

I feel for her! Last week was rough, and she had a huge confidence shake: Scarlett’s clearly trying to recover and prove herself, and it gets the better of her. To a lesser extent, same with Charity — both have a bit of desperation this week, and they don’t play well in their groups. Later, on the runway, the queens say both had bad energy this week, which we don’t really see too much of it beyond some bossiness. Maybe it was just the vibe.

rupaul's drag race uk s3e5 recap

Boss bitch.

But first, mini-challenge. In the grand tradition of furry-adjacent challenges, this week the queens pair up as dog and owner, going through an obstacle course. The only takeaway is that Krystal is genuinely a solid actress: she hasn’t reinvented the wheel, but she has a pretty intuitive understanding of what types of characters work for what situations, even if she’s not necessarily coming up with amazing jokes. She’s really growing on me.

rupaul's drag race uk s3e5 recap

Drag queens chewing gum while looking bored… it is the height of comedy, to me.

Scarlett and Krystal are deemed the winners, and become captains for the groups, choosing queens. This is where things get iffy: these branding commercials are usually individual challenges, and maybe storyboarding, scripting and acting it as a group is just a little too much? Add into that this season’s one ep a day filming schedule, and you can see why the queens went for obvious jokes and ideas.

Scarlett goes with Choriza, Ella and Kitty, and the edit shows that the queens aren’t really receptive to her ideas — including a Mommy Dearest reference that she then acts out in detail on the main stage, which, while funny, is very desperate.

rupaul's drag race uk s3e5 recap

They do the job!

We later learn that Scarlett is dealing with some external pressures, too, as her mother is terminally ill, and she wants to do her proud on the show while she’s still alive. As with River mourning her recently passed mother, it’s a huge cross to bear, and goes a long way to explaining her feelings this episode. Empathy goes a long way, and it’s nice the show balances out her melt-down with an explanation, though I’m sure fans will still attack her for no reason.

Krystal’s group is the better of the two, mostly because of the decision to have River be the sole voice of draglexa. Again, nothing revolutionary, but does the job.

rupaul's drag race uk s3e5 recap

Is it reductive to say Charity looks a little like Shar*n Nee*les?

‘It’s Expensive To Be Me-e-e-e-e-e’ – Erika Jayne negotiating her RHOBH contract

The runway’s theme is money honey: not the most exciting, but there are some stunning looks. It’s funny to think River’s first storyline was about her ‘cheap’ runways, as she’s consistently provided some of the most beautiful looks of the season. This red and gold gown is divine.

They should have given River the win: as my housemate said (he gets angry if I don’t attribute his thoughts), it’s odd they use her ‘small role’ against her, given that the judges usually praise a ‘scene-stealing cameo’.

rupaul's drag race uk s3e5 recap


Kitty and Ella, who would have made up my top three this week, went for classic ideas but well done: the judges didn’t love Ella’s hair, but I didn’t mind it. Whatever!

rupaul's drag race uk s3e5 recap

Kitty-Scott Claus winner of UK3,,, hearing it more and more….

rupaul's drag race uk s3e5 recap

Ella Vaback.

Kyrstal wears virtually the same bodysuit we’ve seen her in before, Scarlett is stunning in an ’80s white-striped suit, Choriza completely misses the mark, and Charity comes out as a bloody tooth-fairy. We get the moment we’ve all been waiting for, as the judges challenge her to do straight glamour.

rupaul's drag race uk s3e5 recap

I’m sorry, I can’t [hate this], Don’t hate me.

rupaul's drag race uk s3e5 recap

Very Ilana Glazer white-power suit.

rupaul's drag race uk s3e5 recap

Bless her…

Charity is probably a little too out of place on the show, which Michelle more or less says this episode, praising her innovativeness while saying it’s not right for this context. She’d succeed much more on something like Dragula, but I doubt she expected to go far: Drag Race isn’t built for her drag, but she got to showcase it to the world. It’s probably worth the trade-off of getting non-sensical critiques.

rupaul's drag race uk s3e5 recap

The detail is immaculate, but I also find this hard to look at because I’m a widdle scared baby.

Vanity looks pretty, but, like the judges say, is taking her time blooming. I can see her making it far in the show, but it seems like we’re just scratching the surface: maybe she’ll kick into gear like Bimini did?

rupaul's drag race uk s3e5 recap

To quote my favourite TikTokker, we love.

Ru sends the queens back-stage without pronouncing a winner or even any safe placements, giving a tense air during Untucked. The queens also have to share who they think should go home, with most saying either Scarlett or Charity: Scarlett is clearly really hurt, and says she doesn’t even want to talk to anyone.

They try and explain that they feel like she’s giving up, which she again fights back against, but I think it’s a miscommunication — Scarlett isn’t giving up, but she’s so shaken by her stuff up last week that it’s unclear if she can continue to compete at full-force. She proves herself in the lip-sync against Charity, which is to Shirley Bassey’s ‘Big Spender’. While Charity’s creepy take cements that she’s a ella va-performer, it’s her time to go.

Next week is Snatch Game! I’m hoping that Vanity, Scarlett and River do well and have their breakthroughs, but mostly I’m just excited to see what Kitty and Choriza do.

RuPaul’s Drag Race UK S3 is available on Stan, with episodes arriving each Friday 6am AEST.

Jared Richards is Junkee’s Drag Race recapper, and a freelance critic who has written for The GuardianThe MonthlyNME and more. He’s on Twitter @jrdjms