26th Jan2021

‘Ru Paul’s Drag Race 13×04’ Review

by Rhys Payne

This is the episode that every Ru Paul’s Drag Race fan has been waiting for, for what seems like the longest time (but it’s only been three weeks!) This weeks episode is when the two groups of queens finally come together to compete against everyone!

It already seemed like the show is relying on Eliott with 2ts to be the boiling pot of drama as she was sent ‘home’ by the group B queens on the first week, so it was clear that when they were united there would be some drama. From the moment the winners circle realised they would be encountering the queens they beat in their individual lipsyncs in episode one, they decided that Eliott should hide to surprise the rest of the queens, in a hope to be a gag. In my opinion, they were VERY surprised! They had only known Elliott for one day and sent her home so when she emerged it was like “Oh yeah remember her,” which I don’t think was the reaction producers were hoping for. Eliott came in all hot and bothered trying to start some drama but was immediately shut down by none other than Tamisha Imann who took on the ‘don’t take no messing’ side that a mother has. When my mother used to complain to companies or was forced to stand her ground we would call her by her alter-ego name ‘Momma Jo’ that we created for to represent this abrasive characteristic. Tamisha was channelling her inner ‘Momma Jo’ at the beginning of this episode as Eliott was shut down before she could start anything! Never forget that if you are pulling a stunt in the workroom it is guaranteed that “Tamisha Imann is coming for you!” I did feel that the ‘drama’ felt very forced in this episode, with Tina Burner doing her best to stir the pot and manufacture a fight which to me fell flat.

The main challenge this week (there was no mini-challenge) was to overact in a Hallmark-style holiday movie advert which was cleverly dubbed as a ‘Ru Paul’-mark Holliday advert. The teams were decided by Ru Paul herself, which I am always skeptical of as it suggests there are hidden intentions behind the groupings… and usually for drama purposes! My first thought that they were going to group Eliott and Tamisha to get the continuation but they did not which I am insanely grateful for. Tamisha was out into a team with Gottmik, Tina Burner, Joey Jay and Kandy Muse which to be honest most of my favourite queens in one group and so I know instantly they would be a force to be reckoned with. Each queen was given a different script to celebrate a different holiday but **spoiler alert** they were all very similar stories and so the queens had to showcase their talents to make their advert stand out, which I thought was an incredible concept and made the show focus on the queen’s performance rather than the story, script etc. One of the funniest things I have ever seen was when Ru Paul asked Utica if she had ever smoked weed. Utica’s facial reactions had everyone on tears of laughter including Ru Paul! This was absolute comedy gold which I did not expect from this kooky queen. Within the challenge itself, I was impressed by Kandy Muse as she managed to channel her personality into the over-the-top character she was given. She is the first queen, that I can remember, who has a brash and loud personality and has been able to use this within a challenge to create a great performance. Now, if you know me you know I can perform a pretty good Cher impression which I do semi-regularly in real life so it was really surprising for me to see Tamisha struggle initially with playing a character inspired by this musical icon. She managed to nail it by the end of the challenge and delivered many hilarious lines but it was the struggle at first I could not get my head around.

The runway theme for this episode was “trains for dayssss” which I hope a queen would do a look inspired by the vehicle “train” instead of a fabric train but alas! I enjoyed Denali’s bright and vibrant parrot inspired look complete with a colourful puffy Mohawk. This was, in my opinion, the only outfit that made sense to have a train as birds usually have a train of feathers whereas everyone else’s seemed like the train were just there for the sake of being there… and for the challenge. Kamora Hall again walked the runway with a stunning Asian influenced gold dragon look that had spikes and scales all over it, including the train itself. This was a beautiful runway look that she was very proud of and it is clear fashion is her area of expertise. Gottmik showcased a wonderful outfit that included the colours of the trans flag which made sense for her given she is a trans man. She even brought her own, what appeared to be, a leaf blower so the audience could see her fabric blowing in the great wind. Joey Jay’s look this week was an S&M inspired look with a tongue as her train. I didn’t understand why this was designed in the way it was, until she turned around and had a colourful mouth at the back of her dress. To me, the front of this outfit was fairly simple but it was the back that caught my attention and it was a shame we didn’t see this until she was exiting the runway.

This week we don’t get a lip-sync between the top two but instead the bottom two battle each other to see who goes home. This was between Denali and Kamora Hall this week and it was fairly obvious that Kamora would be leaving. Denali has already delivered two incredible lip-syncs (one of which was in ice skates) and is known for her incredible dance abilities. Additionally, Denali’s outfit was perfect for performance as it was a bodysuit with a detachable train which she took off early in the battle however Kamora had a very heavy and stiff outfit which made it very difficult to do anything in, never mind perform next to this dancing queen. Denali’s performance was full of energetic dance moves and from this performance makes me want to see her live once everything in the world is back to normal. Kamora was told that she is going home this week, which is a shame as I believe she had more incredible looks to show but she wasn’t able to bring her personality to the show. Next weeks challenge sees the queens create looks from unusual materials, which I for one are very excited about!

Overall, this was a fairly entertaining episode with some very forced drama that I found difficult to watch. There were a few standouts in the main challenge, with Denali showing us that she is the dancing queen of this season.

***½  3.5/5

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