“RuPaul’s Drag Race” Episode 1613 Recap: Magic Michaela

This recap of RuPaul’s Drag Race 1613 contains spoilers.

All good things must come to an end. She held on for a few more weeks, but my love Morphine Love Dione has been eliminated. I really wanted her to be the hot underdog of the season, but alas she has sashayed.

But first! After the last lip sync, Morphine is feeling energized. Winning the lip sync has given her the fire to keep going — even though she said a similar thing the week before. Meanwhile, the other queens are getting nervous that Sapphira has now received her third win in a row.

It’s a new week in the workroom and the queens are tasked with playing RuPaul branded Monopoly. Is it part of a mini challenge? Nope! Just an ad.

Once they’re done promoting that, The Queen of Capitalism arrives with some dancers from Drag Race Live! It’s the makeover challenge and in an inspired touch of added branding, Ru has tasked the queens to makeover these hunky male dancers. The queens are assigned at random (or by producers) based on who they pick (that we see) from a furry pink box.

Plane is paired with Nick who she describes as hairy muscly Dawn. Morphine is thrilled to be paired with Miguel but also horny and nervous. Nymphia is paired with Jonathan who she’s shocked to find out is straight. Sapphira’s partner Marc is besties with Q’s partner Sebastian. And all the queens keep talking about how this challenge is perfect for them.

We get the usual beats of this challenge when men are the makeover recipients. There’s a tucking tutorial — with Morphine insisting Nymphia is tucking wrong and not thoroughly enough — and the men get all their face and body hair shaved.

The pairs also have to come up with dances and because the new queens are professionals, many of them take the lead instead of our competing queens. I do think Q is reeeeally lucky how little dance has been involved this season. It’s definitely been a design and comedy heavy year.

Despite her four wins, Sapphira is a bit shaken this week. First, she changes her partner’s name due to Ru’s suggestion — smart — and then she changes her outfit plan because her initial concept is too hard to dance in — not smart. We’ll see proof later, but the dancing never matters for this challenge!! I thought it might be different this time, because they’re paired with professional dancers, but nope! It’s still just a brief fun moment to give the new queens the Drag Race experience.

Throughout the episode the pairs bond. Marc talks about his grandma introducing him to queer art and Plane and Nick connect over dancing while closeted. Nymphia also has a touching and vulnerable moment where she cries talking about always feeling like the oddball out of the group and Jonathan gives her a very nice straight boy pep talk.

The guest judge this week is Kelsea Ballerini and I was grumpy about another middling judge until I learned that she performed with drag queens at the CMT Awards and unfortunately we’re living in a time where that gesture means something. Then I learned that she was in a Fletcher music video and was like oh she’s queer that’s cool! But then learned she is not queer?? Despite covering her latest video, I’m way out of the Fletcher loop and lore. Anyway, I landed on Ballerini being a fine judge. And I’m very happy to see Ts Madison back.

Q and Sebastian now Luna are matching perfectly in big monster dresses looking like nightmare clowns. Morphine and Miguel now LaTina are matching and look good but I immediately knew it was too simple. Nymphia and Jonathan now Juanita (Juanita Wind… best name of the night) look incredible in their matching bird outfits. Sapphira and Marc now Shakira are both in orange but don’t look great and are not matching. Plane and Nick now Lazi Susan (another great name) are matching and look great in a very Plane Jane yellow and black look.

Michelle says she’s having a sapphic moment for LaTina, but Morphine is critiqued for not hiding Miguel’s arms. On the one hand, I understand that drag is often about illusion. On the other, I think that’s a really boring view of both drag and womanhood. Maybe it’s because I’ve been thinking a lot about Love Lies Bleeding, but why cant a woman have ripped arms?? I understand the outfits are simple but they both look beautiful and match AND THEIR DANCING WAS ACTUALLY GOOD. She’s my fave so maybe I’m being defensive but I feel like Q should’ve been critiqued for being a bad dancer and frankly the looks. Who cares if there’s resemblance if you both look bad?

Anyway Plane and Lazi each win $5,000 courtesy of Monopoly — callback! — and Morphine and Sapphira are lip syncing to “Miss Me More” by Kelsea Ballerini.

Sapphira knows the way to beat sexy, sincere Morphine is to go comic with it and that works. I think in another context Morphine might’ve won, but given their track records I can’t argue with the judging. Sapphira has the most wins in Drag Race herstory and Morphine has none.

Well, except, of course, her winning my heart.

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

+ I wrote in my notes that my girlfriend was really taken with Nick’s shoes but I don’t remember what they were.

+ Hyacinth is a better drag name than Shakira, sorry Ru.

+ Plane says she’s getting a degree in marketing. I bet she will not finish that degree but maybe that’s why Ru loves her!

+ An even more revealing fact about Plane is that she didn’t come out until she started doing drag. I’m still not a fan, but I have softened to Plane a bit throughout the season.

+ Rewatching this episode I’m questioning if I was actually TOO HARD on Morphine and could’ve defended my fave more! Because people have been cheering her so hard. Queen of the people.

+ Queen I’m rooting for: Sapphira or Nymphia

+ Queen I’m horniest for: Morphine

+ Queen I want to sashay: Q

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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 515 articles for us.

4 Comments

  1. i immediately was like aww drew will be sad when morphine got sent home – but truly unless it was a double save, i would not have seen the point in this season if sapphira went home before the finale. morphine is a star tho!

  2. “Plane and Nick now Lazi Susan (another great name)”

    What am I missing about “Lazi Susan”??? I mean, Ru was freaking DYING over the name and, 2 weeks later, I STILL Do Not Get It.

    And speaking of not getting: the love (last week and this week, too) for Ts Madison back. Ever since TsM threw shade on barely-legal Jazz Jennings for something as intimate and personal as the combination of bottom surgery and mental health? So Not Cool.

    Sorry Morphine sashayed, but it really seemed inevitable. LS Assassins can only slay for so long…

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