Last night on RuPaul’s Drag Race, it was a time for Snatch Game and self-sabotage! Plus, the queens got face time with extra special guest, Bianca Del Rio!
Episode 7 should have been among the best of the season. Not only did RuPaul’s Drag Race roll out their most beloved, most challenging tradition with “Snatch Game,” but for the mini-challenge, Ru opened the library. (Because reading is what? FUNDAMENTAL!) Yet, half the queens floundered, be it in the mini, the maxi, or the mainstage Mermaid Fantasy challenge.
In a good library trip, I’m scream-laughing from the reads. But the season 10 queens only mustered a few chuckles from me, grabbing the same angles and running them into the ground. (The Vixen’s rough edges, Eureka’s fat.) Eureka got a little bit back by calling out the queens who were relying on that body-shaming. But Vixen was vexed when this plus-sized queen took the reading crown. Which was the beginning of a bummer arc for this brawling contender.
Oh, The Vixen. She came in with bullhorns saying she’s here to fight, and she’s brought that fight every week, frequently feuding with Aquaria and Eureka like it’s in her contract. To this Chicago queen’s credit, she’s got a point when she talks about how both those white queens like to do a sort of crop-dusting shade throwing, where they say something shitty then try to walk away unscathed. Vixen doesn’t play that game, and if you’ve been keeping up with “Untucked,” you’ve seen how she’s called out both for trying to pick a fight and run, then crying when Vixen gives it back. Vixen noted that their response paints her as the “angry black woman” who made the white girl cry, and she’s not going to be pinned down like that. Then this ep pointed out, Vixen and Monique Heart have unique challenges in the drag community. Neither one has a lot of money to make their looks work. And that’s maybe been hurting their runway.
Last week, Monique vented that’s she’s tired of being safe, but how can she compete against the pricey looks of some other queens? Which is a really good point! (You can hear Kameron and Cracker compare how much they spent on the Drag Race gear in this week’s Untucked.) As the profile of RuPaul’s Drag Race has risen, so have the expectations, which favors the contestants who boast more expensive wardrobes. But it wasn’t Monique’s inexpensive runway that first tripped her up this week. It was not listening to Ru when warned of Snatch Game impressions, “Make it fucking funny, bitch.” (Spoilers: she did not.)
Since season six winner Bianca Del Rio is the queen of the comeback and a Snatch Game champion, this was the perfect moment to bring her into the workroom for some tough love. But it was actually Ru who was getting real real with the queens, pushing Eureka away from her poor Divine impression and warning Asia O’Hara out the gate that Beyoncé is an impression that’s failed hard in this challenge TWICE before. WHY DOES NO ONE LISTEN TO RU!?
There were some bold choices made in Snatch Game, from Miz Cracker’s Dorothy Parker, to Kameron Michael’s Chyna, and Vixen’s Blue Ivy Carter. But none of these risks paid off. Eureka was predictably fabulous as Honey Boo Boo, and managed to make the impression funny without seeming mean. She kept to the playfulness of the kiddie character, instead of leaning into some of its more problematic aspects.
Meanwhile, Asia and Vixen’s mother-daughter act turned Beyoncé into a mean mommy, and Blue Ivy into a sulking child. Look, if you’re going to go there, Asia, go ALL the way and make it Beyoncé by way of Joan Crawford! Ru LOVES Mommie Dearest, run with it! And Vixen can try to blame Eureka for trampling on her time, but she cut herself off at the knees by bringing nothing but “brat” to that bit. As the judges pointed out, we’ve NEVER HEARD BIC speak! Vixen could have given her a random accent or had her quote Beyoncé and Jay-Z songs. She could have made her the most cutting kid on the block. Instead, she crashed and burned, and blamed it on someone else.
Meanwhile, Monet X. Change dared to do Maya Angelou, the impression that got Chi Chi in trouble in All Stars 3. But Monet came to play. She knew how to spin the eccentric poet’s style into something fierce and funny. She had me at “two Hallmark cards,” and slayed with that soliloquy.
Above her in the bleachers, Monique struggled with Maxine Waters, fumbling joke setups and throwing away her “reclaiming my time” moment. But getting political worked for Aquaria, who proved the biggest surprise of the night with her Melania Trump. The gags were a tad expected (the Michelle Obama sign, the Help Me note). But where Aquaria really came alive was in the comebacks, calling Ru “Barack,” and making jokes about Chyna/China and hooker urine.
Going into the runway, you knew the top was going to be Monet, Eureka, and Aquaria unless one of the middling queens pulled out an extra fishy mermaid.
Alas, as much I love her, Monique gave us basic fish in this cheap tail look. And hey. I get it that budget is an issue. But the material is only the beginning of this look’s problems. It feels hasty and sloppy. After that Queen of Hearts card look, I expected better of her.
The judges were divided on Asia’s mermaid-meets-luchador fantasy. But I kind of loved it for being totally bonkers…even though I would not have guessed this was in any stretch supposed to read “mermaid.”
Monet came out swinging with her warrior mermaid look. Michelle Visage didn’t get it, but the gash not only read to me as a war wound but also as a cheeky innuendo. She had me hooked.
However, the win went to Aquaria, who went high-fashion with an elegant and disturbing oil-slick inspiration.
This means Aquaria and Eureka are now tied at two wins apiece. And Vixen not only wound up in the bottom two, but learned that four queens on that runway (Monet, Asia, Monique, and Aquaria) think she should be next to go home. Vixen took that RuVeal about as well as you’d expect, by lashing out at Eureka (who had not named her to go home) and the judges for liking Eureka. As much as I admire the passion, politics, and real talk Vixen brings, she had no one but herself to blame for being in the bottom two tonight. Her Blue Ivy was one-note, and that note was not funny. And in her runway look, she brought out crooked boobs! This isn’t a matter of budget, but attention to detail. And for whatever criticisms Vixen may throw at Eureka, you can’t clock that queen on attention to detail.
And so we arrive at another disheartening lipsync: Monique versus Vixen. I wasn’t ready to see either queen go home. But the fire had definitely gone out in one of them. Just last week in “Untucked,” Monique was saying that anyone who goes up against the Vixen in the Lipsync for Your Life was dead in the water, because that queen brings her all to that stage. (Would that she would to the rest of the show!) So, maybe that’s why Monique seemed so defeated. Vixen left it all on the stage, while Monique threw it away, just like her wig.
Look. If you’re going to ditch your wig, it better be for something better. Another wig. A fall of flowers. A literal explosion. Because Ru’s seen it all, squirrel friends! But worse still, Monique did not know the words to “Cut To The Feeling,” and halfway through gave up even pretending she did.
My heart breaks for her. Monique was a strong queen who was a lot of fun and brought some great fashion. To see her get in her own way like this is a reminder of just how damn hard this show is. No shade. Only love…and hopes we’ll see Monique again on an All Stars.
Next week, the remaining queens will have a Cher-focused challenge, which means the return of All Stars 1 winner Chad Michaels! I love the stepped-up role past winners are playing this season. And it’s always a thrill to see them interacting with the new Drag Race stars. But some of that promo has me worried that certain queens don’t really know their Cher herstory. (cough cough Aquaria cough cough) So, we’ll see if they can snap out of it.