Maybe this really is RuPaul’s Best Friend Race?? After the premiere’s dalliance in psychological torture, we return this week with just about the most wholesome Drag Race episode in the show’s 13 seasons.
But first! We must wrap up the psychological torture! The queens in the Porkchop Loading Dock are voting one of their own out with lipsticks All Stars-style. They didn’t even get to see each other’s lip syncs so this is based entirely on first impressions. Joey votes Elliott. Denali votes Joey. Kahmora votes Utica. The rest remain anonymous to the viewers but Elliott and Utica tie for the bottom. They do a re-vote and bye-bye Elliott — two Ts, three eliminations, one hour on Drag Race. Impressive stats.
Not to be that girl, but I’ve watched enough Drag Race to know this wasn’t the end for Elliott. Still, the queens seem so convinced! Rosé the Gemini has a comically cold confessional where she’s basically like oh well.
But enough about the losers! Back in the workroom the winners are starting their first real day. Ru pops up on the screen to congratulate them on a job well done and Olivia flashes the cutest little self-satisfied smile!! Have I mentioned I have a crush on Olivia and her smile? I have a crush on Olivia and her smile.
Ru joins them in the workroom and who does he introduce? Elliott! With 2 Ts! Ru gives an inspirational speech about how they’re all winners and how they shouldn’t let anyone make them feel bad about themselves and it’s like okay but you just psychologically tortured them you terrifying fracker.
All of the other queens are immediately paranoid about Elliott and Elliott doesn’t help by immediately talking shit to the shit talker herself, Kandy Muse. This was a big episode for Gottmik re: trans stuff, but I am also very closely tracking her romantic possibilities, and I must say she seemed delighted by Elliott creating drama.
The mini challenge is two runway looks which is often the first challenge in premieres. I always love this, because it acts as a great introduction to the queens’ aesthetics and leads to some truly iconic looks. (Remember Violet Chachki’s reveal??) The first category is Daytime Drama Mama and the queens do not disappoint — especially Gottmik and Symone. Gottmik wears a latex dress with a rainbow on the bottom and a bright blue sky on top. Symone wears a fabulous multicolored suit.
The next category is Nighttime. Gottmik is once again the standout, with a long black dress with a slit up the side and one of her nipples only covered with a pasty. She says that since she had top surgery she loves to have her nipples out and what a gift for us all. Tina says with her outfit she was trying to show her sexy side — it’s helpful when queens explain their high concept looks. Elliott similarly touts her sexiness saying she belongs in a Gentlemen’s Club — I think in this case the gentleman is Tim Burton. (I’m sorry, but if Ru is going to be nice this episode I’m going to be mean!)
The main challenge is a new version of Ru’s song “Condragulations.” The queens will each write a verse and choreograph the number together. We learn that Tina was in a boy band and that Olivia writes music and plays piano! “Who’s ready to be the star student? Me!” she exclaims. Adorable.
No one wants to take charge of the choreography, so Tina takes over by default. Elliott is literally a choreographer, but she is intimidated as the loser of the bunch. I get that, but also she should’ve shown what she can do! And her plan backfires because eventually she does swoop in and her initial hesitation just makes everyone more suspicious of her. Gottmik is thrown when they start choreographing her section because her lyrics start “I was born a girl” and she hasn’t disclosed to the cast yet. She suddenly feels really dysphoric in a way that surprises her and she’s worried it will hold her back.
The next day Gottmik is feeling a bit better and confides in Olivia. Olivia’s so supportive!! She says her pronouns are she in drag, he out of drag and asks Gottmik for hers. Gottmik says hers are the same and she feels clocked when people overcompensate and he/him her in drag. It’s a really nice moment and endeared me to both queens even more. As a trans woman who hangs out in a lot of overtly cis dykey spaces I feel a kinship to Gottmik inserting herself into such an aggressively AMAB space. I’m sure doing it on television is even harder. It makes total sense that she’d have new waves of imposter syndrome-induced dysphoria.
The simmering drama with the newly dubbed “Elliott the Spy” simmers down to nothing after she explains what really happened in the Porkchop Loading Dock. LaLa points out that Elliott got eliminated three times and suspicion sort of just turns to sympathy. The queens are more concerned that the others weren’t actually sent home which is very silly to me, because of course they weren’t. They talk about who they would send home of each other and give the pageant girl answer of saying their biggest threats. The consensus? Tina and Gottmik are the biggest threats. But Olivia thinks they shouldn’t underestimate her.
The new version of “Condragulations” is fun, but the song isn’t great to begin with and the queens don’t quite reach the level of last year’s incredible “I’m That Bitch.” That said, LaLa and Symone were the two standouts and everyone at least did pretty well.
The runway category is Lamé You Stay and once again Gottmik and Symone wow. Symone is dressed as a sexy boxer. Much like her bestie/roommate Gigi Goode, Symone refuses to rest on her looks and instead loves a concept. Personally, I love when people are beautiful and clever, because then I don’t have to admit to being shallow.
Ru, Michelle, and Ross are joined this episode by choreographer Jamal Sims. Michelle has a grey streak in her hair and it really did a lot for me. For some reason all four judges are So Nice. They point out a few missteps among the queens, but mostly their notes are just encouragement and jokes about poppers.
Backstage during Untucked the queens also have a lovefest. Symone gushes over LaLa, Gottmik officially discloses to everyone else to lovely feedback, and everyone talks about how much they love each other. Is this what quarantine has done? Everyone is so starved for human connection that you put a couple of catty drag queens in a room together for a week and they’re ready to elope like Clare and Dale on The Bachelorette??
I don’t mean to sound disappointed. I love to see the queens thrive and get along. And it would’ve felt wrong for anyone other than Elliott to go home this week. Instead having Symone and Olivia lip syncing for the win and $5K was a treat. They’re both sexy and campy and just pure entertainment. And I was thrilled for Symone to get another win.
But I’d be lying if I wasn’t daydreaming of next week when the insecure losers are at each other’s throats — or the week after when the two teams come together. Maybe this is all part of Ru’s long game of psychological torture. Create hierarchies, create alliances, force Gottmik to do another round of disclosures.
I’m sorry I doubted you, Ru. The library will soon be open.
Teleport Us to Mars!! Here Are Some Random Thoughts:
+ Tina mentions that back in New York, Kandy created a lot of unnecessary drama. But Elliott came for her pretty aggressively and she kept her cool. I guess we’ll see…
+ Symone compares her second runway look to The Matrix Revolutions which feels pretty trans to me.
+ An ad for Boy Butter! On TV! You love to see it.
+ The main challenge was sponsored by the Werq the World Tour — Ru never fails to be Ru.
+ When Gottmik disclosed during Untucked, I was so confused, because I felt like her lyrics were obviously a disclosure. But nope! LaLa admits to having no idea from the lyrics that Gottmik is trans.
+ Ru jokes that this week there no bottoms, only tops, except the judges. I’m sorry but I refuse to believe Michelle Visage is anything less than a top-leaning switch. I’m actually fully convinced she topped Adore Delano while they were on tour and that’s why Adore was so hurt when she was mean to her on All Stars 2. Is this based on anything but vibes? No. But please don’t take this fanfic away from me.
+ Queen I’m rooting for: Symone (is she the frontrunner now??)
+ Queen I have the biggest crush on: Olivia Lux, Gottmik, and the thought of Olivia Lux and Gottmik together
+ Queen I have weird sexual feelings for that I need to unpack: The grey streak in Michelle Visage’s hair