“RuPaul’s Drag Race” Episode 1304 Recap: Three Hot Businesswomen and One Hot Clown

Finally, the competition begins! After three episodes of lip syncs, runways, and performances, our thirteen queens are now one big dysfunctional family.

With Elliott in hiding, the winners try their best to look intimidating as they await the other queens. Kandy is wearing a black cowboy hat and a tight black top with plaid pants and looks really hot?? (Full disclosure: I’ve been adjusting my spiro and have been wildly hormonal so take this week’s crush additions with a grain of salt.) The initial reunion goes somewhat smoothly, mostly because Elliott isn’t interesting enough to make any of her drama stick.

A new week! Kandy notes that they have a very diverse cast and a very cute cast. If she isn’t going to win the crown she’s going to get a boyfriend and I love that for her. Ru arrives and informs the queens their challenge this week is cheesy holiday movies! It’s time to make some ads for the RuPaulmark Channel which doesn’t actually exist, but might when Ru runs out of Drag Race countries.

Love of my life Denali is on a team with Olivia, Kahmora, and Elliott in a Valentine’s Day movie called Misery Loves Company. Denali isn’t an actor but she takes on the lead role because she wants to prove she’s a top threat. Once again I love her Aries confidence and competitiveness, but my sweet baby immediately gets overwhelmed when she realizes lead roles have a lot of lines.

Love of my life Symone (I’m poly — I can have multiple loves of life) is on a team with LaLa Ri, Utica, and Rosé in a Flag Day movie called God Loves Flags. LaLa is surprised to learn Flag Day is a thing — honestly, I also had to google it. And Rosé notes that she and Tina are the actors, so she really has to prove herself. Meanwhile, Tina, Kandy, Tamisha, Gottmik, and Joey are in an April Fool’s Day movie called April Fools Rush In — Kandy immediately calls dibs on a character named Whoopie Cushion.

Ru walks into the work room and calls them all lipstick thespians — a joke I very much appreciated. He’s in a chipper mood as he goes from group to group flirting and starting drama. He teases Rosé for identifying as an actor first drag queen second, questions Utica why she was picked over Elliott, giggles wildly when Utica doesn’t respond to whether or not she’s smoked weed, asks Kandy how short her shorts are, and teases Tamisha over her Cher knowledge. Season 23 Ru will still be finding any excuse to say, “Snap out of it!”

The hilarious Ross Mathews returns to his role as director for the three segments where he shares that April Fool’s Day is his favorite holiday which… frightens me. It’s very clear which of these queens are actors and which are not. I’ll save most of my thoughts for the finished movies, but it’s worth noting that Tamisha initially struggles but eventually kills it once again proving all she lacks is confidence. Also worth noting that Kahmora struggles the whole time BUT wears hip pads and a breast plate under her green screen suit gaining me as a fan forever.

Back in the work room, the queens prepare for the runway. Gottmik and Tina help Kandy fix her outfit and establish themselves as a trio of self-identified “shade monsters.” As much as I don’t love Tina, I do love Drag Race cliques — shoutout to the Heathers — and this group is cute together.

As the queens talk we learn that Symone’s first time in drag was when she went to prom!!! They show a picture and she looks so pretty!!! Referring to her birthname, Symone says all the fear that Reggie had, Symone did not. It was one of the first times she felt strong and seen and not afraid to be herself. Where is THAT movie Netflix?? I want THAT movie!!! Build! A! Prom!

Joey, forever earning my gratitude, asks the queens if any of them have ever dated women. The producers, forever losing my gratitude, do not show everyone’s answers. But we learn that Rosé has and then Tamisha talks about her kids sharing that her daughter is also named Tamisha. (Insert puppy dog eyes emoji.) Symone says she’s gold star, which is a dated biphobic term in lesbian community, but she’ll have plenty of time to learn that from us in the future. Every gay man is just a few years away from being a trans lesbian and I’ll be waiting for her when she’s ready.

Comedian — and Celebrity Drag Race contestant — Loni Love is the guest judge and the category is Trains for Days! Okay I need to stop for a minute and talk about how this episode has a sketch about Flag Day and a train-related runway category. You all know what I’m talking about, right? After spouting a bunch of ahistorical, transphobic bullshit RuPaul tweeted “In the 10 years we’ve been casting Drag Race, the only thing we’ve ever screened for is charisma uniqueness nerve and talent. And that will never change.” Underneath this quasi-apology was a picture of the trains flag. THE TRAINS FLAG. RuPaul Andre Charles accidentally googled “trains flag” instead of “trans flag” and then posted it without realizing. It’s maybe my favorite thing Ru has ever done. Shoutout to Gaby Dunn for buying me a “trains flag” shirt.

But, of course, this runway isn’t about that kind of train — though Tina tries to do a whole conductor thing. Rosé is wearing a blue tux with a tule train. Denali stuns in a quetzal bird-inspired look. Olivia has a Beethoven thing going on which is extra cute because she’s a pianist. Gottmik is wearing trans flag color chiffon which she blows with a stoned leaf blower. And Kandy again looks hotter than she ever has in a dress made out of red velvet and leather. But it’s Symone who clearly wins this runway with her jumpsuit and durag train.

The first movie — Misery Loves Company — is… rough. You can’t just Aries your way into acting abilities and while I have faith that my girlfriend will dedicate the next three years of her life to studying Stanislavski and eventually excel, Denali just could not get there in an afternoon. HOWEVER, she is playing a mean successful businesswoman who hates Valentine’s Day and ends up being in love with a tree and I did appreciate all that from a lesbian perspective. Elliott is fine, Kahmora is even worse than Denali, and only Olivia shines from this group.

Movie two — God Loves Flags — is way better mostly because Symone is incredible. She is also playing a mean businesswoman (I am truly so spoiled!) and she’s just so funny and watchable. LaLa is a little flat but hot in a pride flag dress, Utica is pretty good, and Rosé as Gnomey the gnome is great. Each segment ends with actor/Canada’s Drag Race judge Jeffrey Bowyer Chapman appearing as a deus ex love interest, but in this one Symone says, “You’re cute and all but I’m a lesbian.” Well, that was quick Symone!

The last movie — April Fools Rush In — is also pretty good. Gottmik fills the role of mean business woman, this time an ambitious lawyer who hates pranks. Tina and Joey are pretty good, Tamisha pulls off Cher, and Kandy is soooo good and still hot? Not sure what’s happening with me and Kandy this episode, but the fact that it continued while she was fully dressed as a clown is… interesting.

Elliott, Olivia, Utica, Gottmik, Joey, Tina, and Tamisha are safe. Denali, LaLa, and Kahmora are the bottom. Symone, Kandy, and Rosé are the top. The judges praise all three bottom queens for their looks before critiquing their acting. Then they gently critique Kandy and Rosé’s looks before praising theirs. Symone is all 10s as she deserves. They go back for Untucked and when they return Symone has, of course, won. She is now two for two. I am so proud of my Capricorn girlfriend.

The bottom two is Denali and Kahmora. In the confessional, Denali says she needs to prove herself to the queens that didn’t see her win and oh my she does. The song is “100% Pure Love” by Crystal Waters and she kills it. She even finds a moment amidst her dancing to run her hands up Kahmora’s body. I hope Denali gets back to winning next week, but if we have to keep watching her lip sync, I’m happy to keep watching her lip sync. And she seems happy to keep winning them.

And so we say goodbye to Kahmora Hall. She’s who I predicted would go home first, but I’m so glad we got to spend the time with her that we did. I grew really fond of her, and I hope this experience helped her settle in herself and her identity. Break up with your boyfriend, take an acting class, and then come back for All Stars.

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

+ Because this week’s theme was holiday movies, I have fan casted Happiest Season with Season 13 queens (this is assuming they all learned how to act):

  • Abby — Gottmik
  • Harper — Kahmora
  • Harper’s mom — Tamisha
  • Harper’s dad — Tina
  • Sloane — Denali
  • Jane — Utica
  • John — Kandy/Joey (don’t make me choose)
  • Riley — Symone (OBVIOUSLY)

+ Tamisha says instead of Cher her personal divas are Gladys Knight, Patti LaBelle, and Natalie Cole. When Ru and the other judges critique queens for not having certain “universal gay pop culture knowledge,” it’s worth asking… universal to who?

+ Loni Love speculates that Rihanna will someday be wearing Symone’s durag train which reminded me that Symone is probably going to follow in the footsteps of Jaida, Shea, and her bestie Gigi and perform in the Fenty Show and I am so excited thinking about that!!

+ Kandy solidified her episode MVP status by telling Elliott she should’ve been in the bottom. Once again Elliott was too boring to really turn this drama into anything exciting, but it was still a fun little Untucked moment.

+ Speaking of Elliott, this is how she responded after being racist and praising a queen for being “Black girl magic but not too aggressive.” And here’s her eventual notes app apology. Hopefully she won’t be around much longer, for several reasons.

+ When everyone is praising Symone, she says how proud she is of herself and then says, “I did a really good job” with the cutest smile! This felt extremely Capricorn to me and I really appreciated it.

+ Instead of taking a smoke break some of the queens just go outside in face shields. Pandemic!

+ Queen I’m rooting for: Symone and Denali

+ Queen I have the biggest crush on: Symone, Denali, Gottmik, Joey, Kandy, Olivia, LaLa, Rosé (truly if anyone knows why bringing my spiro dose back up made me hornier send me a DM)

+Queen I have weird sexual feelings for that I need to unpack: Kandy dressed as a clown

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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 520 articles for us.


  1. I kept thinking that I was not going to like Utica. I kept thinking she was going to be the kind of annoying Thorgy Thor over the top look at me look at me I’m quirky and cerebral and so random.

    But I fucking love Utica. Her face when Ru asked if she smoked weed had me cackling as loud as Ru. She’s quickly becoming one of my favorites. I loved her makeup last episode.

    (Still thinking Olivia, Symone, Denali for the top three.)

  2. Where to even begin. “Gold star” is not a “biphobic” term. Why does this person get to dictate how lesbian women who have not slept with men define themselves personally? What does that have to do with bisexual women? The term gold star when used to refer to oneself has nothing to do with another persons sexual history. Why is it anyone’s place to police others personal sexual identity? Also – for a gay website, why is it not alarming for Drew to claim that homosexual men are about to transition? Is that supposed to be funny? Can men not be feminine or do drag anymore without being accused of being trans? If so – why would they transition and date women? This is just repackaged homophobia and I’m so sad to see this on a website for “homosexuals.”

    • Gold implies best, so you believe a lesbian who has never been with a man is somehow better. (Urban Dictionary uses the word “pure.”) However, I believe this creates a culture of gatekeeping, biphobia, transphobia, sex negativity, and shaming towards people who have been sexually assaulted.

      I also believe that if we are going to assign a value judgement (which we shouldn’t) less exploration of one’s sexuality does the opposite of make someone more that identity. This is why so many trans people start as gay men or straight men or gay women or straight women before transitioning and realizing they’re actually somewhere in between. Gender and sexuality are complicated and often when you’re attempting a certain gender role you close off your sexuality or vice versa. The fact that you’re confused why someone would go from being a gay man to a trans lesbian just shows me how few trans people you know. Obviously, I was joking about Symone specifically (these recaps have jokes), but it’s a joke based in truth.

      Also this isn’t a website for homosexuals. This is a website for queer people.

      • The key word you are using is “I believe.” You are allowed to believe whatever you want, but personal feelings are not facts. Shaming someone for not being a “gold star” would be considered very shitty, but sexually identifying as whatever you want is not for you to “gate keep.” Urban dictionary is also a site composed of silly definitions mostly published by teenagers. Not a valid source especially compared to the other source – the actual opinions of lesbian women.

        While you accuse this poster of not knowing any “trans people,” you seem to not know any lesbians because as an out lesbian since high school I can attest that “gold star” does not mean pure or better in any way.
        It’s actually a “tongue & cheek” reference to the way women who are not sexually available to men are bullied mercilessly through adolescence for being frigid losers. The sex negativity young lesbian women face when trying to figure out their sexuality in a male dominated landscape is very difficult for young women. I know this from personal experience and have had many friends and partners who feel the same. By referring to others or ourselves as a “gold stars” in a joking way – We are redefining our past trauma in a positive manor for overcoming the pressures and bullying faced as a young women.

        Many women are made to feel like social pariahs for not being interested in men, especially in adolescence when all that criticism from your peers confuses you and hurts the most. Obviously excluding women who have dated, loved or experimented with men is weird and phobic to a degree but again, you can call yourself whatever you want.

        • I’m also a lesbian who has been out since high school, and I can assure you that for me ‘gold star’ has always signified exactly what Drew describes. ‘I’m a lesbian who has never had sex with a man’ is value neutral. ‘I’m a gold star lesbian’ is not. It insinuates that there’s a ranking.

          Of course, the issue of being shamed or degraded for not being interested in men is a real thing, and those of us who haven’t had sex with men face all kinds of negative assumptions about whether we really know we don’t like them etc, but that fact doesn’t discount the connotations of the term ‘gold star lesbian.’

          Gold stars are given out as rewards in school for kids who have the highest marks or best behavior. The kids with the gold stars are at the top of schoolroom hierarchy. How could we assume this metaphor wouldn’t frame ‘gold star lesbians’ as being more elevated than everyone else?

        • while urban dictionary could be a questionable source if Drew were writing a scholarly or journalistic piece, using it as a vernacular reference for a discussion in comments about how a term is perceived seems pretty legit.

    • Got it.
      So you’re saying that lesbians who do not sleep with men, and have been pressured to do so, are not allowed to personally reclaim or use any words at all about themselves because it might hurt or “exclude” someone unintentionally.

      Come on. Do some people maybe mean they are “better lesbians” because they are gold stars? Sure. But everyone with a brain knows that’s silly.
      No one can speak for everyone. But is that a thought crime? To have private jokes amongst groups of people as long as they are not weaponized against others? People call themselves the hottest bisexuals, the queerest person, Drew just “transed” and “lesbianized” a gay man. People play with identity all the time, who are you to call that a problem?

      Why can’t we call this issue out for what it clearly is – every single time a woman doesn’t center men or might even remotely have exclusivities she’s a problem.

      • You’re allowed to call yourself whatever you like. If you do that in a public space, bisexual people, later in life transitioned people and survivors of sexual assault are allowed to tell you when they have a negative reaction to that term. That’s called discussion. You’re not persecuted because someone just disagreed with you.

        • This! I’m a lesbian woman and a “gold star” and I really dislike the term because of how often I’ve seen it used to be cruel to women who come out later in life, or how it’s used as a boast in a way that feels extraordinarily cruel to sexual assault survivors. You’re allowed to use the term, but other lesbians are allowed to critique use of it, surely?

      • Actually, “gold star lesbian” *is* a term that centers men. It places the focus on whether a woman has ever slept with a man, and turns it into a huge thing that defines her identity.

    • another lesbian here to say 80s-aughts ‘goldstar’ was for sure used to imply superiority in circles i ran in. often i think no malice was intended, but the same was true when my grandfather used ‘coon’ to describe black men – the casual harm was ok. maybe the meaning for goldstar has shifted over time, and people are all different in their sensitivities. but empathy and respect when someone tells you something is hurtful seems like a basic accommodation to make for communities fluent in the effects of discrimination.

      also, i can’t presume to speak for the trans community, but i can’t see criticizing a trans person for humor that reflects their experience as fair. humor provokes. perhaps it’s an off joke (i’m in no position to say), but there can be room for a joke to miss or even be unkind without it being an offense. we can not like a joke and say so without denouncing the author as a bigot. again, i have no opinion on the specific joke at hand.

      there’s a lot to be mad about these days, but Drew seems like a good person who puts herself out there and contributes to this community. i hope people consider that.

      • I can see how people wouldn’t understand the spirit of Drew’s remark about an apparently cis gay man deciding to transition, but personally I didn’t assume that this was meant literally. It’s a comment that tells us ‘I like this person and can see some of myself in them. I am complimenting this person by claiming them as someone like me.’ Why not give Drew the benefit of the doubt?

        Queer cis people engage in projection like this all the time. Think of every article here that has implied that someone is secretly queer or in a queer relationship. Oprah and Gayle. Taylor Swift and the Kushner lady. Any woman who has ever spoken to Cara Delevingne. When I make a joke about living on a houseboat with my wife Natasha Lyonne, do I really need to be accused of erasing Lyonne’s heterosexuality and lying about being married to her? No. It’s understood that I am jokingly projecting my own desires onto her out of fondness. You would have to assume the very worst of me to be offended.

        Cis gay and bi people have always granted ourselves permission to fantasize, to speculate, to joke about public figures or people we have crushes on. Trans people deserve the same right, and the same benefit of the doubt we extend to cis gay and bi people.

  3. Drew, I definitely looked for the trains flag in the flag factory skit, it would have been a delightful easter egg.

    There were some strong performers here but Symone is unbeatable. Her pronunciation of ‘factory’ was perfection.

  4. I’m glad this is a Kandy positivity zone! I really enjoyed her this episode and it seems like a lot of people hate her/thought she should be in the bottom(???).

    I did think there were performers that should’ve been in the bottom before Denali was but also if she lip synched every episode that would make this one of the best seasons ever (but actually please keep my girl out of the bottom my heart can only take so much).

    • LOL you guys really don’t want a discussion obviously. Nothing those users wrote here was offensive. Why are you censoring people with differing viewpoints? Good luck. You’re turning this website into an echo chamber and alienating your original audience which were actual cisgendered lesbians.
      Sincerely, a non larper

      • “alienating your original audience which were actual cisgendered lesbians”


        Yikes. You’re really tattling on yourself with those dog whistles. If you really miss the toxicity and soul-crushing negativity of TERF-era AfterEllen this much, you are more than welcome to create a space on the interwebs of your very own. It’s a big wide internet out there! But please don’t poison and try to colonize this space for those of us who value this lovely, thoughtful, empathic, mutually-supportive community.

        I remember when comments like these started to appear in the comment sections on AfterEllen, full of the same knee-jerk negativity, name-calling, sea-lioning, biphobia, transphobia, and general incivility. It makes my blood run cold to see it happening here now, too.

        But hey, if that’s the jerk circle you really want to recreate, then again, go ahead and circle up. Elsewhere. Where a community hasn’t already decided that incivility, gatekeeping, and bad-faith “discourse” are unwelcome.

      • The comments that don’t contain insulting language are still up. No one is saying you can’t call yourself a gold star or debate the merits of its usefulness, but freedom of speech means that those of us who are uncomfortable with the term are allowed to say so. It would be silencing lesbians to stop lesbians uncomfortable with the term from voicing their discomfort. I’m a gold star lesbian who doesn’t like the term, and I’m not the only one. Are we not allowed to talk about our experiences, too, or is there a select list of lesbians who are allowed to give their opinions while the rest of us with the audacity to have a different opinion should just be quiet?

  5. I believes spiro raises progesterone which in afab people’s bodies with regular 30 day hormonal cycles is when ovulation occurs. Horniness during ovulation helps people with the biological access and desire to keep making babies.🙂 So welcome to being forever horny maybe?

  6. I am sooooo many kinds of thankful for these recaps. Drew, I have been recommending them to my long-time Drag Race fan friends and everyone agrees they are the perfect balance of wit, appreciation, humor, and critique. Thank you thank you thank you.

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