If last week’s episode was an example of RuPaul’s Drag Race at its very best, this week is an example of the show at its . . . Well, I wouldn’t say bad, because this episode was still entertaining as fuck. Maybe frustrating? That’s it. This is the show at its most frustrating, so this week, the shit that werked doesn’t outweigh the shit that shat by quite as much as it should.
There’s an elephant in the room this week and its name is Rebecca Glasscock. As Shannel is only too happy to point out, Rebecca was saved last week in lieu of Jade, an ostensibly better queen in almost every regard. (Well, except maybe for tucking.) Although there’s an even bigger elephant in the room to contend with: a lack of a room. All the furniture has been pushed to the side so that the queens can perform their mini-challenge, which is a workout with a quintet of female martial artists. Woo! Fitness!
Turns out, our queens could stand to sign up for a gym membership or something, because most of them can barely throw three punches before they have to sit down and replenish their electrolytes. Bebe Zahara Benet is particularly bad at this, as her boxing looks less like an actual fighting style and more like Lindsay Bluth’s chicken dance. Rebecca wins the mini-challenge for being the last queen to pass out from flailing away at a punching bag.
As her reward, she gets to pair up the queens with the female fighters they have to make over. Rebecca chooses the petite one with bone structure for herself and then doles out the remaining girls according to her competitors’ strengths and weaknesses. What she doesn’t know is that this challenge isn’t so much about making people over as it is playing nice with the noobs. Shannel may be up her own ass and her girl may be the most muscular, but Shannel knows how to ease her child into the world of drag.
The same can’t be said for Bebe or Rebecca, who collectively have all the warmth and maternal instinct of a great white shark. Rebecca has her daughter walking up and down the catwalk so that she can get acquainted with high heels, despite the fact that Ms Glasscock walks like a 40-year-old accountant who just shit his pants. Bebe doesn’t fare much better, as she treats her daughter the same way you might treat someone at a party who keeps talking to you about how much The Secret changed her life.
The challenge also provides an interesting twist for the two genderfuck queens, Ongina and Nina Flowers. Given that this is a challenge about drag queens making over butch women, their genderfuck aesthetic is going to have to be applied SUPER carefully. While Nina has the makeup skills to pull it off, Ongina’s makeup skills are a bit lacking, and her little-boy look needs to blossom into a grown woman.
In a weird twist of events, Shannel ends up getting a bit of a character redemption in this episode. She and her girl are the only pairing with any real chemistry, and the challenge offers Shannel an excellent opportunity to showcase her best feature: her immaculate polish. Usually, this quality ends up tipping over into delusion, but having Sweet Pea around to ground her really helps balance her out.
Oh, and I forgot to mention: the newly made-over boxers have to do a lip-sync to Beyoncé’s “Freakum Dress,” but since their performances are barely seen and have no actual bearing on the outcome, we’re just going to glaze over that one. But that’s okay because Lucy Lawless is on the judging panel this week. YAY, XENA!
Nina is our designated “safe” queen this week, even though she manages to pull out a pair of incredibly impressive looks. Her own look is reminiscent of a Disney villain, all flowing capes and fierce makeup and inexplicable Afro-mohawk thing, and her daughter’s dress looks like a fun-size version of Nina herself. Shannel is our close-second this week, making both herself and her daughter look absolutely glamorous. There are a few too many elements, but like Nina, her daughter is a clear representation of her aesthetic.
The bottom two this week are Ongina and Bebe, both of whom didn’t quite understand the challenge. While Ongina’s girl looks great, the look she gave herself just reads as boy. A very well-dressed one, but still a boy. Bebe, on the other hand, tries to give her girl a globe-hopping look, but neither one of them look particularly great, and there aren’t enough connective elements between the two of them for Bebe to make it read the way she wants it to.
The ensuing lip-sync doesn’t involve a lot of movement, probably because the stage is so small, but it gives both girls a great opportunity to overact to Britney Spears’ “Stronger.” Ongina feels the song in every part of her being, but Bebe goes fucking ape-shite, tearing off her wig, convulsing on the ground and giving grade-A crazy face. As my boyfriend put it, Bebe is the William Shatner of drag. After Ru takes a minute to think over her decision in the back, she heavy-heartedly gives Ongina the boot.
I’ve neglected to mention Rebecca in all of this, and there’s a reason for that: I’m saving her for last. Rebecca won this week, and absolutely nothing she did could possibly warrant her victory. Both her and her daughter come out in LBDs you’d get for $5 at Winners, the wigs are plastic, and while her daughter has a great face, Rebecca once again erases her entire face, leaving nothing behind but eyeballs in a sea of beige. And once again: REBECCA. CANNOT. WALK. IN HEELS.
Rebecca may be a (subjectively) stunning drag queen, but there’s really nothing much there. There’s sure as shit no charisma, nor is there anything unique about her. She has nerve, but that’s not saying much, and if there’s any talent hidden in all of that, she’s not showing it. RuPaul’s Drag Race has been criticized for showing favouritism to the fishy, bitchy queens — Tyra Sanchez, ’nuff said — and given Rebecca Glasscock’s win tonight, it’s hard to argue that point.