After a two-week break, RuPaul’s Drag Race is back with a brand-new episode that sees the queens acting in Spanish soap operas. Let’s take a look at the shit that worked and the shit that mierda.
The queens return to the work room after the elimination of IVYYYYYYYYY WINTERSSSSSSS (we are legally required to write it as such,) and Jinkx Monsoon wastes no time in mourning her loss, before turning around on Coco Montrese and bitching her out for dismissing her as a “comedy queen.” Yeah, this season has been dipping its bucket in the comedy versus pageant well pretty often this season, but I can’t entirely blame it: after Sharon Needles’s win last year, the major theme of this season has been about expanding the definition of what drag can be. In the past, queens like Pandora Boxx were raked over the coals, while pageant girls like Tyra Sanchez were lauded constantly. This season has seen the inclusion of an openly trans queen as well as a surge in popularity for the campy queens. Despite the purported title of “Season of the Fish,” this season seems to be about reexamining what exactly is expected of a drag queen. All right, enough with that. How about we . . .
Cut to the next day, with boy Ru in a sharing circle with the other queens in their best grieving-widow realness. The challenge here is to cry on cue, which is . . . Yeah, does anyone else feel like that’s just a tiny bit uncomfortable? For the most part, the queens all sort of scrunch up their faces as if their heads are made of sponges and they’re trying to literally wring the sadness out through their eyeballs. Detox, however, sees the row of grieving faces and remembers her ex-boyfriend, whom she found dead in her home. It’s enough to elicit some actual tears from her, so in exchange for traumatizing one of her girls, Ru gives the win to Detox and . . . I don’t know, Alyssa I guess. Fuck it.
As the winners, Detox and Alyssa get to pick their teams for the challenge: the queens have to act in a telenovela. If you thought watching drag queens try to act was awkward enough, now they have to act with Spanish accents. Detox takes the opportunity to reform Rolaskatox to Alaska’s chagrin, while Alyssa picks up Jinkx and Coco. (Jaloco? Colyssinkx? Oh, who gives a shit, they all hate each other anyway.) Team Rolaskatox’s biggest hurdle seems to be that Detox is relying on a really hideous mask, which, while technically a risk, is the wrong kind of risk. Meanwhile, on team AlyssaJinkxCoco, the big problem once again is Alyssa’s lack of self-awareness. Alyssa may be a passably attractive queen, but she never quite seems to be aware of what she’s doing, and when it comes to acting, that’s a pretty big liability.
Rolaskatox is up first, acting out a scene featuring a mass suicide over the death of surprise-guest-star Fez! I mean Wilmer Valderrama, who apparently had a long day recording voiceover for Handy Manny because he could not give less of a shit about anything that’s happening. The actual stars of the show all fare decently well, although Roxxxy still can’t get her timing down, Alaska’s stage slaps all miss by five feet, and Detox spends an hour pouring out fake poison.
On team Jinkx and the Also-Rans, Jinkx and Alyssa have to act out a mother and daughter who literally orgasm themselves to death over food, a premise that is exactly as promising as it sounds. Despite the weak set-up, Jinkx completely steals the show, as her comic timing is precise down to the millisecond, and her fake orgasms are hysterically funny. The same cannot be said for Alyssa, whose orgasms sound like a manatee commiting seppuku. Coco almost does well but ends up tripping over herself when she sees Fez. Apparently, there’s something about whatsisname’s bland handsomeness that has her splooshing.
In the workroom before the mainstage showing, the queens gang up on Alyssa’s back-to-back lip-syncs. Alyssa, who’s been consistently bottoming out over the competition, seems intent on lip-synching her way to the top, once again completely misreading what the competition is supposed to be. Alyssa may be a terrific dancer, but as you can see, she’s not exactly the best at understanding the guidelines of the competition. Which, come to think of it, may be why she ended up losing her crown. Huh. Well, Alyssa’s decision to lip-sync her way to the top is going to bite her in the ass soon, because it’s time for the runway! RuPaul walks the catwalk in a beautiful, flowing blue dress, and she’s joined at the judge’s table by Michelle Visage, Santino Rice, Jamie-Lynn Sigler and Maria Conchita Alonso.
The top three are Alaska, Jinkx and Roxxxy this week. Roxxxy may not have the best timing, but those flubs have been edited out of the final product, and her runway look benefits from a simpler hand and cleaner style choices. Alaska is widely lauded for her acting talent and her comedic skills, and while her flamenco dress and maracas aren’t necessarily a hit, she sells the garment like a pro. But it’s Jinkx who really steals the show, pulling the weight for her team and doing a Dia de Muertos skeleton look that puts her improved makeup skills on full display. Jinkx may be the youngest and campiest, but she’s the clear frontrunner at this point, and she earns another win.
The bottom three spots go to Detox, Coco and Alyssa. Detox wasn’t necessarily bad, but a debatable runway look is enough to have her edged out by Roxxxy. With only six queens left, if you’re not in the top at this point, you’re in the bottom. But the real bottom two are obviously Coco and Alyssa. Neither one has been making strides in the competition, and this episode finally pits them head-to-head. The judges love Coco’s look — an orange jumpsuit with flowing sleeves. — but her blanked lines are enough to place her in the bottom. Alyssa crashes and burns the hardest once again, and between garbled, incomprehensible performance and a raggedy dress that Santino dubs the worst he’s seen in five years on the show, Alyssa’s going to be relying on her “fail and then lip synch back into the competition” plan again.
So here it is, everyone. The Alyssa/Coco duel you all knew would be coming. The two former friends have to lip-sync to Paula Abdul’s “Cold Hearted,” and the ensuing dance-off is a no-holds-barred fight to the death. Alyssa jumps into the air, spins around and lands in a split, but when Coco flares her sleeves and hits every word with pinpoint precision, it’s all but over: Coco finally beats Alyssa. When the dust settles, Coco chantay you stays, while Alyssa finally sashays away. It’s a fittingly dramatic end to a dramatic episode.