Last week, we said farewell to Farrah and now our cast has been halved. We’re in the home stretch, the final mile, the last DRAG. The queens mourn Miss Moan with a collective whine in her honor and then instantly, we get a healthy serving of…
1. Nina’s Paranoia
Nina’s convinced the queens are talking shit about her. Not, like, any specific queens and not using her name, per se, but it’s all definitely real, like totally 100% real, and certainly not just in her head. Peppermint tries to placate her, but can you imagine talking to person with glasses painted on their face and trying to convince them they’re *not* crazy?
2. This Week’s Challenge
Ru lets the girls know that this week’s maxi-challenge is to create and star in their own pilots. And they’re definitely going to be full 22-minute pilots and not just like disjointed two minute sketches, that’s for SURE. Now they’ve got to pick their teams and since Ru can be a rude lil piggy sometimes…
3. The Teams Are Picked Schoolyard Style
Shea fucking books it for Sasha. Pep tries to join, but gets pulled in with Trinity and Alexis. Good gracious, though, check out Nina standing there all glum with her hands in her pocket like a cartoon hobo. She straight up looks like she’s in the sunken place. The other groups click in right away, but Nina ‘n Valentina struggle to find an idea that really gels…so they decide to wing it. Lord have mercy.
4. Mary, Mother of Gay
The trio has given themselves a the classic sitcom premise of ‘two church moms have gay sons and then go to a nun for help and then they all make a bunch of dick jokes.’ And in Alexis’ latest display of cognitive dissonance, she gives Pep a line read on “cunt” to make sure she’s *nailing* the t-sound, then does a country character who talks like her mouth is full of mashed potatoes. The shoot’s very fun, but the real story here, and you KNOW I gotta do this…
5. Is This An Amy Sedaris Character?
Bless you, Trinity. Bless you.
6. Teets & Asky
Sasha and Shea also nail it with a pilot that’s serving blaxploitation film meets Russian spy thriller realness. The looks are fab and there’s actual jokes, which can sometimes be a lot to ask of a drag queen. Team Sashea (Sheasha?) has become a real threat. Next time they pick teams, you better hoof it and sprint a bit faster, Miss Peppermint!
7. Nina & Tina
Then comes Nina and Valentina. They start with the voice-over which they haven’t written and thus, it goes poorly. Then their opening scene which they haven’t written and thus, it goes poorly. Then a physical bit which they haven’t written and thus, it goes slightly less poorly because they wind up just slapping one another. With the pilots in the can, we move on to your runway, which is Club Kid Realness. Vivacious, you are missed. Let’s go to the looks:
8. Sasha Velour
Sasha serves us high fashion clown. It’s a good look and definitely club kid, though I’m not all that surprised by it. I’m ready for Sasha to WOW me and though this is a rock solid runway, I’m just not fully gagged yet.
9. Shea Coulee
And honestly? Same with Shea. It’s a great look and the mask is very cool, very club kid, but this is the one thousandth bathing suit she’s worn. One day, she’ll get read for it, but not today. Not today.
10. Nina Bonina Brown
Nina is serving us nightmare ballet, Swan Lake in the Underworld, and, again, I like it, I really do, it’s just not that dissimilar from what we’ve seen from her before. I just want to be WOW-ed. Is that so much to ask on Club Kid Week? Wow me, queen!
I mean, you know what I’m going to say. It’s cool, but it’s not IT. This is a matador look with some long nails and a rad mask. It’s fun. But it wouldn’t STOP THE CLUB. Somebody better wow me soon or else…
12. Trinity Taylor WOW
Now here we fucking go! This is club kid. This is insane. And to top it all off, it’s a vastly different look than we’ve seen so far from our Botox Beauty Queen! This look is a NAIL. Trinity is followed up by…
13. Peppermint DOUBLE WOW
And then there was Peppermint. Peppermint! This is another full-on NAIL. It’s wild, it’s club kid, and it totally embraces her character. I’m proud of Peppermint. Her star is rising. This is one of my top looks for the season. To Pep!
14. Alexis Michelle
Alexis’ look is great. I’m vibing on the make-up and the wig styling is a nice choice and oh who the hell am I kidding I’m still thinking about Peppermint. She looked like a Good Witch from Candy Land! I loved it. Because of their piss poor pilot, Nina and Tina end up in the Bottom Two. Valentina is a fan fav and Nina’s been struggling for weeks, so it almost feels like this is a set up to send Miss Bonina Brown home. The song kicks in, one of Ariana Grande’s lesser hits, and then…
15. …Valentina Keeps Her Mask On
Valentina keeps on her mask. She keeps. Her mask. On. Is this a choice? If so, it’s a reeeeal bold one. By virtue of mathematics, half of a lip sync is lips, and Valentina has opted not to use them. So Ru, for the first time ever, stops the lip sync to request Valentina take off her mask. And then: Valentina. Says. No.
16. Ru Is Shooketh
No, she says! No! To Ru Paul! On her show! This is quite a stand to make, quite a hill to die on. But Ru hits her with that stern parent face: ‘what part of this don’t you understand?’. Valentina relents. She removes the mask. I guess her bold choice will be denied. Now she’ll just have to turn it out and prove her worth the old fashioned way, but…
17. VALENTINA DOESN’T KNOW THE WORDS
Oh My Lord. She doesn’t know the words. Drag Race only has maaaaybe one rule: Don’t Fuck It Up. And here is Valentina, fucking it up. The bar I watched this ep in was truly aghast, there were screams, you would’ve thought the President was shot. Well, maybe a high ranking Senator. Valentina has been a top notch talent so far, so it’s really hard to watch her crumble so dramatically. But Ru is left with no option but to send her home. She does so almost admonishingly. She, like us, wanted more for Valentina. We were rooting for you, we were all rooting for you, etc. Ultimately, it’s the sort of hyper-specific melodrama that makes this show a treasure. And though Valentina’s run was cut short early, she’s got a legion of twink fans and a bright career ahead of her. But let this be a lesson to you all: learn the word. Learn the goddamn words. Until next week!