“RuPaul’s Drag Race” Episode 1606 Recap: Come On, Barbie

This recap of RuPaul’s Drag Race episode 1606 contains spoilers.

Law Roach is here! While the ultimate Drag Race acting challenge is when the queens have to pretend to be excited about a guest judge they don’t know, it’s such a joy when it’s someone the queens genuinely revere. More judges like Law Roach please!

But first, let’s start with the previous week. Amanda is gone and Q is lamenting being in the bottom so early in the competition. Just like I didn’t mind her mourning second place, I don’t mind her saying that! I like when the queens are in it to win! Someone else giving Q the benefit of the doubt is Xunami who says she’d rather examine if there’s any truth to Q’s critique than hold a grudge. That’s an earth sign for you!

It’s a new day in the workroom and Charo is there! The mini challenge is a flamenco competition sponsored by the country Spain. (Okay, fine, their tourism board.) It’s very fun! The standouts are Morphine who has flamenco experience and Xunami who is eager to prove Q wrong. Morphine’s approach is more self-focused than partner-focused which I found delightful — reminder: I love her — but it secures Xunami the win. The prize? A trip to Spain!

The maxi challenge is for the queens to design a look for themselves and a matching look for a doll. I love RuPaul getting in on the Barbie craze without violating their copyright.

With Amanda gone, Plane says she’s in her congenial era, but the other queens are right not to buy it. For one, she takes some of Plasma’s fabric when Plasma is distracted. Someone who is actually being congenial is Sapphira who is spending a lot of time helping Mhi’ya instead of working on her own look.

Nymphia claims to be struggling which is just as unlikely as Plane being nice. Morphine calls her the little banana who cried wolf. Nymphia will later admit that spiraling with insecurity is just part of her process.

As the queens work on their outfits and dolls, the producers goad a couple of them to talk about their trauma. Plane says her dad took away her dolls and said only nasty faggots play with dolls. She doesn’t blame him since they were in an isolated Russian Jewish immigrant community, but does think it might explain her personality. Q then talks about growing up poor and says that her mom cried when she announced she was going to be on Drag Race.

The judges are Michelle, Ts Madison, and Law Roach, and again it’s just such a delight to have this group together. Sorry to Ross and Carson and Santino Rice!

Unfortunately, I don’t think the queens are quite worthy of Law Roach? Nymphia’s look is a big tule bow and it’s good, but not the greatness we’ve grown to expect. Plane’s look is well-constructed, but her drag identity is confused enough without the aquatic twist. My favorites were Megami who appealed to the Mets fan in me by dressing in blue and orange New York colors, Dawn who matches her doll perfectly to her alien robot self, and Q who does a fantasy edition where she’s like a fairy meets Maleficent and throws glitter in the air.

Morphine is trying to take Michelle’s note that she’s more than a BBL by covering her ass and Dawn is trying to take Michelle’s note that she’s more than elf ears by being a robot. Both of their looks were good, but I do think this is as much a branding/writing challenge as a design challenge and it wasn’t necessarily the week to deviate from their trademarks. That said, I do think both found ways to show their personas without these signatures. Unlike Jane who seems to have no identity.

Sapphira uses her potion and the judges are baffled. It may not have been her best, but it was miles better than her apprentice Mhi’ya or Geneva who has the same fabric as Plasma and Plane. She blames her inner saboteur and I believe that saboteur is named Plane who was saying in the workroom she should use it. Ultimately, it’s up to Sapphira to ignore those internal and external voices though.

Joining Sapphira in safety are Morphine, Megami, Xunami, and Nymphia.

Plasma, Mhi’ya, and Geneva are bottom. Plane, somehow, joins Dawn and Q at the top. The judges love Plane!

Law Roach tells Dawn her outfit is giving Paris runway and Q looks like she’s about to do a murder. But then Ru says Q’s doll is most collectible and she takes a breath.

Dawn is safe. Q wins. Plane is safe. Plasma is safe. Geneva and Mhi’ya are lip syncing to “Control” by Janet Jackson. It’s a great lip sync song and one of the better lip syncs of a season with fairly weak lip syncs so far. Geneva does her best work, but it’s not enough as Mhi’ya shows she is, in fact, queen of backflips.

During the episode, we get a glimpse of Geneva’s TikToks where she does cool designs in her leg hair. It seems like IRL there might be more to Geneva’s drag than what we saw, but it was still her time to go. Throughout these episodes, Geneva Karr was Geneva Conventional.

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

+ The queens talk about what plastic surgery they’ve had and it seems almost all of them have had lip filler. Do I need lip filler…?

+ Plane makes a crack about Morphine’s stomach which is rich coming from someone so desperate for curves she’s confused her breastplate for a personality.

+ I’m glad Q finally won, but it would’ve been appropriate for Dawn to win the “Welcome to the Dollhouse” category. How old is Dawn? Is she even familiar with Dawn Wiener?

+ Queen I’m rooting for: Morphine and Sapphira

+ Queen I’m horniest for: Morphine

+ Queen I want to go home: Mhi’ya and Plane

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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 562 articles for us.

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