It’s the final five on RuPaul’s Drag Race, which means it’s time for the annual makeover challenge. This year, RuPaul’s Drag Race celebrates the end of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell by putting army boys and seamen in drag for your amusement, so let’s take a look at the shit that worked and the shit that shat.
As you may have noticed, the workroom is now devoid of weird faces and a general air of zero self-awareness. Yes, Alyssa Edwards and her non-existent chin have been sent packing, and to the surprise of no one, Coco Montrese isn’t about to put on some Adele and think about the good ol’ days. If anything, the queens are downright relieved. At this point, the queens have undone the ties of sisterhood and are now using them to garrote one another. Jinkx Monsoon is in the most danger as the season’s golden girl, and the bitch better watch out since the others know where she sleeps! (It’s basically anywhere because, you know, narcolepsy.)
Anyway, the next day RuPaul sends the queens a SheMail about spackle, which for some reason leads me to believe this week’s challenge will involve flipping a house. Boy Ru enters the workroom along with “Storm,” a personal trainer who was apparently named after one of the X-Men. Storm is here to make the queens sweat it out in a workout mini-challenge. The queens are forced into pink camo tank tops and high heels before Storm has them fail at jumping jacks and sit-ups. (For some reason, this Seanbaby article came to mind.) One by one, Storm picks off the queens until Alaska is arbitrarily chosen as the fitness queen, but not before we get the joy of seeing Jinkx’s weird exercise faces.
It’s at this point that Ru drops the main challenge: the girls must spackle some drywall in her condo — I mean, the queens have to make over a bunch of gay servicemen. As the winner, Alaska gets to pair off the queens with their GI Joes and decides to do so “fairly” by pairing up everyone based on who’s across from them. Roxxxy gets the hairy bear, Jinkx gets an older fellow, Coco gets the beefy Latino, Detox gets the muscle bottom (I’m assuming here), and Alaska saves herself the tall, statuesque twink. Needless to say, no one’s happy except for Alaska, because her guy’s pretty, and Detox, because her guy knows how to walk in heels and is gayer than five guys fucking six guys.
If previous iterations of the makeover challenge have taught us anything, the guys who are the biggest challenge to make over tend to pay off in the end. And as Raven found out in Season 2, it’s a lot easier to shave off body hair than it is to teach someone to walk in high heels when they have the grace of pubic lice. This is once again the case, as all it takes to turn Roxxxy’s bear into a curvaceous mini-me is a set of clippers, while Alaska’s guy hobbles along in his heels like someone with two sleeping feet.
But it’s Jinkx’s guy, Dave Lara, who ends up stealing the show. As the oldest guy there, he shares with Jinkx the sort of old-school camp that she’s known for and has plenty of stories about fighting for equal rights back in the days when shows like the one we’re currently recapping didn’t — and couldn’t — exist. They share a tender moment when Dave reveals he’s HIV-positive, and Jinkx makes sure she doesn’t put his health at risk with all the work they have to do. He has stories about being outed to his superiors in the US Navy, he has a sense of history that no other queen but Jinkx could appreciate, and . . . well, I’ll let this image sum up the single greatest thing about him.
HE KNEW JUDY GARLAND. I mean, granted, he also indirectly killed her, but still, brownie points! Just as the queens are getting acquainted with their drag daughters, boy Ru decides to throw one last curveball at them: they have to perform a colour-guard performance on the mainstage. For those of you who, like me, assumed that was a form of detergent, colour guard is where you twirl flags. Why is Ru making them do this? Because RuPaul maintains her youthful vigour and slim figure by drinking the tears of drag queens. This season has been especially appetizing.
Speaking of queens in massive amounts of pain, we’ve been neglecting Detox. This episode, she finally opens up about her plastic surgery to her adorable little pocket gay of a partner. Turns out, a couple years ago Detox got into a nasty car accident wherein she collided with the back of a truck while she was riding a motorcycle and she ended up losing most of her forehead. In case you were wondering about all the plastic surgery, most of it is reconstructive rather than cosmetic. And that lip wiggle is going to come in handy, because it’s time for . . .
The mainstage! RuPaul walks the runway in a stunning black dress — it’s probably the best she’s looked in five seasons — and she’s joined on the judging panel by Michelle, Santino, Clinton Kelly from What Not to Wear and George Kotsiopoulos from Fashion Police. Now that you’re vaguely aware of their existence, let’s move on to the colour guard! Jinkx and Fortuna do a shoutout to Gypsy and Mama Rose, tapping in nicely to the queer criterion, while Roxxxy and Isabella’s flag-waving is simple and precise. The others do slightly less well, with Alaska and Nebraska sword-fighting with their flags standing in for their penises, Detox drops her flag as her daughter Beth Adone smacks her in the face, and Coco Montrese is just “meh.”
Roxxxy and Jinkx rise to the top of the pack, thanks to a pair of solid transformations. Jinkx and Fortuna go for classic flapper looks, walking down the runway together arm in arm to show the connection between them. Roxxxy makes a clone of herself in Isabella, once again dipping into the well of cape-reveal-skin-tight-one-piece that she’s been riding through the competition. Expected, but it works for her. While I personally would have given the win to Jinkx and Fortuna, Ru gives it to Roxxxy based on how similar she and her drag daughter are. As the winners, they get a shopping spree to . . . American Apparel? Really? Okay, then. They get American Apparel. Good for them.
So the bottom(ish) three are Alaska, Detox and Coco. For the most part, Alaska did pretty well, putting her and her daughter up in Catwoman-esque catsuits. That being said, when it’s down to the final five, “pretty well” isn’t going to cut. Neither will Alaska’s janky padding job on Nebraska, whose hips look like she’s smuggling a pair of six-packs in her pants. But she’s given a reprieve as Detox and Coco end up in the bottom two. Detox’s questionable style choices bite her in the ass, as the judges describe her and her daughter as Raggedy Anne dolls, and the less said about her clusterfuck of a colour guard number the better.
After three lip-syncs, Coco Montrese finally finds her final failure in her drag daughter, Horcheta. Coco’s biggest challenge — other than an unpleasant attitude, lack of acting ability, bad fashion choices and inability to sing — is that she doesn’t know how to paint for TV, as exemplified by her orange highlights, and she sure as hell doesn’t know how to paint others. Horcheta’s makeup ends up being a road map of failure, with thin lines of highlight under the cut of her cheek that makes her look like she has a beard and eye paint that makes her look part feline. Horcheta ends up looking like Lil’ Kim currently does, and it’s clear that this is Coco’s last stop.
In light of their fuck-ups, Coco and Detox have to lip-sync for their lives to “Two To Make It Right,” as sung by Seduction (aka, Michelle Visage’s pre-Drag Race girl group). Coco’s dancing and lip-synching is once again tight as the strings on a fiddle, but she doesn’t make much of a connection to the song or the judges, while Detox makes the wise decision to zero in on Michelle Visage and make sure that she maintains a connection at all times. Despite a lip-wiggle that makes Michelle cringe, Detox plays it smart enough to win the round and send Coco home. So long, Coco! We’ll always remember you for being orange.