‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ Episode 1615 Recap: She’s Just So Pretty

This recap of RuPaul’s Drag Race 1615 contains spoilers.

Credit where credit is due: The producers crushed this one. These queens have been watching reality TV for too long to imitate the antics of early season reunions. So why not have them actually compete and re-open old wounds while performing? A reunion lip sync lalaparuza was inspired — almost as inspired as how it shook out.

When the entire cast of season 16 pranced back into the workroom, I realized that unlike previous reunions, this was shot last summer along with the main season. It’s a very different vibe when the queens haven’t had the experience of watching themselves and rehashing drama on Twitter. Also none of the returning queens have new genders or new filler.

While our top three watches backstage, the rest will compete to be The Queen of She Already Done Had Herses and the winner of $50,000. Some of the queens seem resigned to their fate of not winning, others know they’re top contenders, and a third group have a hefty dose of that drag delusion. Geneva is especially over-confident.

Xunami says that no one should sleep on the girls who went home early, because one moment does not define you. It’s a nice sentiment and feels especially true for Mirage who is a great dancer but went home for not knowing the lyrics.

Mhi’ya is confident, claiming she let Morphine send her home last time. What?? She also says she only gave 65%. First of all, that’s not true. Second of all, what an embarrassing thing to admit. Why wouldn’t you give it your all every single time? Obviously, I’m rooting for Morphine, but separate from my bias — and is it really bias if I just like the best queen? — this was an annoying thing for Mhi’ya to say.

Speaking of Morphine, I considered turning this whole recap into an ode to the queen so lovable it’s her middle name. But then I realized doing a normal recap would be an ode to her given how she did this episode.

The first queen selected by pit crew Bruno from a bingo cage is Dawn. Rather than choosing one of the weakest queens, she picks her bestie Amanda, because she thinks Amanda will pick the song she wants. I love this as a reason! Pick what will lead to the best performance! It works and Amanda picks “Damaged” by Danity Kane. Dawn is emoting and having fun, but Amanda is killing it. I think Dawn may have chosen Amanda as a way to help her friend win — and because she wants to rest. When she gets backstage, she shouts, “I love this show!”

The next queen selected is Q. She picks Megami, a misguided attempt to choose easy competition. Megami selects “What About” by Janet Jackson. Narrator of the season, Morphine, wisely points out that Megami isn’t picking the song she wants, but the song that will hinder the other bitch. Megami notes that she may not be the best at choreo but she is Latina and can still move. At least, better than Q that’s for sure. Megami easily wins.

Finally, the moment we’ve all been I was waiting for: Morphine. She picks Geneva which was a brilliant choice, because Geneva is good so it doesn’t seem cowardly, but she’s saving the Mhi’ya rematch for the end. Morphine is dressed in a glittery black suit dress and a curly blonde wig. I don’t remember what Geneva was wearing but I do remember she did her reveal too early. Morphine does her (first) reveal right on time, ripping off her outfit to get into a beige and black glittery bodysuit right after Geneva falls into the splits as if to undermine that move. Dawn exclaims, “She’s just so pretty!” and YES Dawn gets it. Morphine then does a second reveal this time shaking off her blonde locks into long straight red hair. Morphine wins (duh) and Ru politely says, “Geneva thank you for giving it your all.”

Next up is Mirage. She picks Hershii which feels like a bad choice. If she really wants to redeem herself, going after the first eliminated queen feels like it undermines that a bit. I’m not saying she needed to go for Mhi’ya but I think she should’ve picked Xunami. Hershii chooses “Alone” by Kim Petras and Nicki Minaj with the hope that the Nicki part will trip Mirage up on lyrics. Alas it does not and Mirage easily wins. I just think it would’ve hit harder with tougher competition!

That means the threeway lip sync is Mhi’ya vs. Plasma vs. Xunami. The way this works is there’s only one winner but that winner gets to skip to the next round.  Mhi’ya’s name is selected which means she gets to choose the song and she picks “Milkshake” by Kelis. Props to Plasma for really giving it her all even if it feels a little like watching your drunk aunt grinding at a wedding. Also props to Xunami who knows she isn’t going to win so decides to just give “model” and highlight her beauty. Mhi’ya does a few of her tricks, but to be honest no one is that great. Mhi’ya still wins.

Kicking off this next round is Amanda. She picks Megami. Morphine narrates that Megami is someone they all think they can beat. (Ominous.) Megami once again makes an excellent strategic choice of song with “The Shoop Shoop Song” by Cher. This allows her to do comedy and Amanda’s very solid performance just can’t keep up. Backstage Plane says “the Eeyore of drag” won and, shady comment aside, she’s write. Megami wins again.

Next up is Morphine v. Mirage. Morphine picks “This Time I Know It’s for Real” by Donna Summer which allows Morphine to really emphasize her beauty and get us all to fall in love with her even more. Mirage does a great job and it’s certainly close, but Morphine wins!

Now it’s down to three. Whoever’s name is picked gets to choose their opponent and then the other queen automatically goes to the finals. Morphine lip syncing three times in a row would’ve exhausted her so I watched that bingo ball nervously. Megami is chosen and once again makes an inspired pick. She chooses Mhi’ya. Amanda says this is a bad choice, but I deeply disagree. Mhi’ya has a reputation for being the best and if you’re going to lose why not lose to the best? Also Megami has charm and Mhi’ya has none. Megami can’t out-charm Morphine (and she certainly can’t out-dance her) so Mhi’ya is an opponent with a very different skillset. Also because there’s only one song left, they’re stuck with “We Got the Beat” by The Go-Gos, not exactly Mhi’ya’s number one choice.

I really thought the producers would insist on a Morphine/Mhi’ya rematch. But they wisely observe that Megami is on a role and it’s way more fun to watch her than Mhi’ya! Megami wins, much to everyone’s surprise. I was delighted!!

The final matchup is to “Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)” by C+C Music Factory. My first thought was Megami making it to the finals means an easy win for Morphine. But that’s exactly how everyone else was thinking all night! Megami begins lip syncing with her hand and it’s very funny and a brilliant way to pull focus from Morphine. But a joke will only go so far… how can anyone’s eyes not drift back to Morphine?

As I waited for the winner to be announced, I truly had no idea how things would shake out. Would the strongest lip syncer — and the love of my life — take it? Or would Ru and the producers be too excited about an underdog story?

HOORAY!!!! Morphine is a winner, baby! She may not have won the crown, but she did win $50k… and our hearts.

Teleport Us to Mars!! Here Are Some Random Thoughts:

+ A man in the audience winks at Amanda while she’s performing. That same man later looks at Morphine like he’s ready to throw his entire life away for her. (I get it, obviously.)

+ Maybe it’s because now I know she’s trans, but this whole episode I couldn’t remember why I hated Amanda.

+ I loved Morphine’s video game metaphor.

+ If you haven’t watched yet, check out Morphine’s Whatcha Packin’.

+ Queen I was rooting for: Morphine

+ Queen I’m horniest for: Morphine

+ Queen I want to be best friends with but then maybe one night we’re hanging out and there’s a vibe in the room and it’s like should I act on the vibe or will that ruin our friendship and the sexual tension is heavy in the air like the Miami humidity until finally one thing leads to another and we kiss: Morphine

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Drew Burnett Gregory

Drew is a Brooklyn-based writer, filmmaker, and theatremaker. She is a Senior Editor at Autostraddle with a focus in film and television, sex and dating, and politics. Her writing can also be found at Bright Wall/Dark Room, Cosmopolitan UK, Refinery29, Into, them, and Knock LA. She was a 2022 Outfest Screenwriting Lab Notable Writer and a 2023 Lambda Literary Screenwriting Fellow. She is currently working on a million film and TV projects mostly about queer trans women. Find her on Twitter and Instagram.

Drew Burnett has written 534 articles for us.

3 Comments

  1. I’m sorry, but the Mhi’ya hate on display here ticked me off, and “Also Megami has charm and Mhi’ya has none” is a WILD thing to say imo. I’ve been tired enough combing through racist Drag Race stans on Twitter pretending that it’s not impressive to watch a queen pull out stunts and tricks that take years of training and experience to pull off effectively in a lipsync song, but seeing it pop up ad nauseum in this recap was a bit much for me. I personally have always found Mhi’ya’s shady comments to be funny and have viewed them as an obvious bit (remember when she said with a straight face that Sapphira couldn’t fit into her costume? I screamed!), but if people don’t feel that way it’s fine. I just hated biting my tongue every time I checked in on AS’s recaps all season long, and seeing the hate hitting so hard on an episode after Mhi’ya literally has already been eliminated and cannot win this show and has been dealing with nasty trolls all season long. I don’t really care if anyone thinks she’s the worst thing to happen to Drag Race ever, but can we please remember that she’s a person? Lord knows I don’t take the recaps on here that seriously, but it’s gone long past the point of being funny. At least the fact that it looks like we don’t get a reunion this time around means this will be the last time I have to get my recaps with a side of bitterness (unless she wears something to the finale that people can’t possibly refrain from insisting is the worst thing they’ve ever seen that proves to them that she’s a talentless hack who somehow scammed her way onto this famously low-effort competition show ofc).

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