Last week, fan favorite Valentina left the competish after breaking Ru’s Cardinal Rule and, frankly, fucking it up. Emerging victorious: Nina. Will this be the week that Nina feels her stock rise? Where her confidence finally inflates? Naw. Instead we get…
1. More of Nina’s Same Old Bullshit
Above, we see the queens clapping for Nina and chanting her name. And yet still, Nina does not feel appreciated, still she doesn’t fully believe in herself. Will this be her episode? (It won’t).
2. The Makeover Challenge
It’s time for the drag makeover challenge. And this year, the queens are putting members of the Drag Race crew into a drag. It’s a nice change, as often times this episode is told through the lens of the ‘straight guy being like wtf while he looks like a woman for the first time’…but on this episode, a lot of these straights have been around. These straights really get it. Let’s talk about our pairings:
3. Alexis and Brady
Alexis is paired with Brady, who runs sound. Brady’s got a cute smile and an ‘aw shucks’ attitude, he’s one you’d bring home to Mama. Or as Alexis would say: Mawwmawwwwwwwww.
4. Sasha and Duncan
Sasha is paired with Duncan, the associate director. Duncan’s second-in-command around these parts under Ru. He puts off a tough guy vibe, but is totally down to clown, for the good of the *episode*, which makes him a good AD. He tells a story about how his little son likes to wear heels and is going to love seeing Daddy in drag and it honest to God makes me tear up a little. That said, as associate director, he’s influential in developing each episode’s story, so he coulda just made all that bull shit up, in which case: kudos, Duncan, you’re a VERY good AD.
5. Shea and Josh
Shea is paired with a handsome PA, Josh. He’s a first-timer to the show and its through him that we get the typical makeover episode narrative of ‘wow heels hurt!’. Shea spends a lot of time trying to teach him how to walk and his feeble attempts make her react with the above face. She’s worried. So are we. Josh, though, is really chill*.
6. Trinity and Rizzo
Trinity is paired with another handsome PA, Rizzo. He’s also a first-timer but is a lot more gung-ho in a ‘I just took a gender studies’ class kind of way. As Trinity is known for her tuck, she trains Rizzo in how to hide his little weiner and gnards. That’s where we get the above still, of a drag queen eyeing a straight boy as he tapes his testicles back. Again: is this television? Godbless Drag Race.
7. Nina and Aaron
Nina is paired with Aaron from the art department. He’s a kind and creative soul, aware of Nina’s misgivings about herself and eager to boost her confidence. It’s his pep talk, in fact, that almost seems to get through to Nina. But this week is an uphill climb for Miss Bonina Brown…matters of self-worth aside, she’s initially opts to teach herself to sew before abandoning it after she remembers that makes absolutely no fucking sense at all. She’s wasting time in a week with double the costumes to make, which is math that doesn’t bode well for her.
8. Peppermint and Sarge
Peppermint is paired with Sarge, a former military man turned camera operator who’s done 7 seasons with the show. And as the above picture should make clear…
9. Sarge Is A Goddamn Saint
He’s funny, he’s shady, he’s fucking game. Sarge is a model makeover contestant, I’m excited to see what he can pull off. Ru reveals that in addition to the drag look, they’ll also be doing a lip sync and we’re off to the runway.
10. Ru’s Runway Look
Let’s just briefly gag over this Zaldy gown! This hasn’t been the best season for Ru looks, but this dress + hair + feathers is a win. I guess have designers as guest judges more often? Now to the looks!
11. Trinity Taylor + Glittafa Dayze
Trinity and Glittafa Dayze serve body, though Trinity’s got a lot more skin. Like literally, I think she has more skin than Rizzo, it was one of the surgeries. She follows through on her promise and their tucks are flat enough to eat a Tic Tac lunch off of. The hair is big and it’s everywhere and I love this look!
12. Shea Coulee + Bae Coulee
Shea and Bae Coulee struggle right off the bat. Shea’s look can slay, but Bae is simply not okay. And it’s not just about Mr. Josh’s walk…the wig needs styling and the dress ain’t a good fit. Shea gets read for leaving her sister out to dry and justly so. We have to take care of our allies!!!!1!!!
13. Alexis Michelle + Rye Anne Stardust
Alexis and Rye Anne Stardust come out serving you some reeeal basic Jetsons glamour. But that look in Rye Anne’s eyes, it’s like she’s got a terrible secret. Did she murder someone? Did she lie about going to grad school? Did she fart? I think all of the above.
14. Nina Bonina Brown + Ariana Bonina Brown
Nina serves us a very classic Nina look and, unfortunately, I think her drag sensibility is wearing thin on the show. Nina is truly a unique voice, she’s WOW-ed me with her style of drag, but it’s at this point there’s been a lot of skulls + creatures up in here. And so this look gave me a ‘yeah yeah seen it before’ impression, which is never how I figured I’d react to two men dressed as S&M bunnies. So it goes.
15. Sasha Velour + Dunatella Velour
Sasha and Dunatella Velour for the win! I mean not literally, they end up giving it to Trinity, but Sasha’s look is fucking fierce. It’s a concept, it’s fashionable, it’s very true to Sasha, and Duncan looks great! Through all the looks, Ru, who has maybe two-and-a-half emotional settings, is getting her fucking life seeing all the crew dolled up. Ru’s genuine excitement might make this one of my all time favorite episodes. There! I said it! Print it on my tombstone!
16. Peppermint + Winter Green
And then there was Winter Green. Listen, the look is fine. Not bad, not great, totally fine. And the patterns clash a bit. But Winter Green is serving such attitude, such body, such total fuck-the-world confidence. It just reaffirms the point…
17. Sarge Is A Goddamn Hero
I mean, look at him here in the lip sync, shaking that ass for cash and making Ru cackle. I love Sarge. I. Love. Sarge. As aforementioned, Trinity is our winner and Shea + Nina end up in the bottom two. Will Nina use this as a moment to remember that there’s a fire burning in her heart? One that’s reaching a fever pitch and bringing her out the dark???
Nina is dejected right from the get go. She does a fine lip sync, but Shea’s the only one really there. Nina’s had a tough go of it, to be sure: always doubting herself, often in the bottom, and so she’s not prepared to push it push it real good today. And I feel for Nina! I think she’s an immense talent, but ultimately got in her own way for reasons we’ll never totally understand. It’s her time to go, but I’ll miss her. And like the dejected shady bitch she is, she leaves this final message…
19. Nina’s Farewell
And sue her, we will. That’s it for this week! Only two more episodes before we have our Top Three!