11th Mar2021

‘Ru Paul’s Drag Race 13×09’ Review

by Rhys Payne

Now the production team at Ru Paul’s Drag Race are shady but know exactly what they are doing! In the last episode, we saw Kandy and Symone in the bottom two with Ru Paul deciding to award the converted double shantay (double save of you will) which cause outrage with the fans on social media! Now instead of having a follow-up episode to move on from this drama the show decided to have a Covid special last week which meant fans were left stewing for two weeks without an episode. Now, I know they worked on this lockdown special ages ago but to put it right after this dramatic moment was very clever, as it builds up even more excitement for when normal programming is resumed. I was unfortunately not able to watch the special episode that was filmed in the queen’s homes but from what I have heard it was incredibly powerful! In the last regular episode we watched, Rosè got her first win and in a musical theatre-related challenge, which was what she had wanted since the beginning of the season. This win came after she had battled against Denali for the lead role and must have felt even more special due to her legacy in the girl band Stephanie’s Child. There was an interesting discussion this week around the fact that in the last episode the bottom three queens (Tina Burner, Kandy Muse and Symone) were all in the bottom three but no one went home which riled up some of the other queens.

The mini-challenge this week had the queens dress up in the best punk rock-inspired quick drag and had to perform an audition (second time in two weeks for Denali and Rose) to be in the entirely fictional band “The Panty Hos” (see what they did there.) At the end of the challenge, we saw Ru Paul perform as if she was doing this challenge which I enjoyed. People online are currently skating Ru as she has a team of 50 people to help her get ready so to see her take part was a nice inclusion! Tina Burner managed to Ru-deem herself this week by winning the mini-challenge where she was awarded a cash prize!

The main challenge of Ru Paul’s Drag Race this week was the snatch game where the queens have to bust out the best celebrity impressions and try to make Ru Paul laugh. We saw special appearances by Raven (from Drag Race season 2, who also appeared in Drag Race UK this week) and Victoria “Pork Chop” Parker (who was the first-ever queen eliminated in season 1) which I always enjoy when queens come back as you get to see how much they have improved from their season without the pressure of all-stars. This was a big conversation this episode surrounding Utica character in the snatch game and specifically the hair she was going to use. Utica let everyone know she would be doing Bob Ross in this challenge but instead of wearing an actual Afro (due to her concerns surrounding cultural appropriation) so instead so had made a wig out of squirrels which to me was so classically Utica! During the “bossy Rossy after dark” challenge a few weeks ago I talked about the curse of queens when they say they do a certain thing for a living but will flop in the challenge when that skill is being tested (a la Utica with improvisation) but there also seem to be an anti-curse where the queens say that have never done this before and always do well. GotMik let everyone know that she had never impersonated Paris Hilton before (who Raven also played in her original season) but she did perfectly! Denali looked incredible as the iconic hairstylist Johnathan Van Ness who seemed to be referred to as JVN a lot now. I enjoyed Rosè performance as Mary Queen of Scots as not only was it funny but also taught everyone a thing or two about the queen. I did find it somewhat ironic how Kandy Muse joked about how no one could understand what Rosè was saying. Despite how well she did in the improv challenge as few episodes ago, Olivia did not do well this week. Her choice of character Tabitha Brown was fairly unknown and after her performance, I don’t know much more about the character apart from they are vegan.

The runway theme of this weeks episode is fascinating fascinators (which is a fantastic name) where the queens show off their best headpieces. Denali costume this week was brilliant with a gravity-defying Coffee pot on her head and she didn’t walk the runway she roller-skated it which was super fun. Denali is known for being an ice skating performer so to see her using her skills on this runway was great. Olivia Lux wore a nice scientist inspired outfit that had liquid Mercury as a fascinator which was great as it made sense to the rest of the outfit. I loved Rosè’s look this week as she had a giant rose on her head that also made sense with her rose look. Utica wore a picnic inspired outfit with a basket on her head. She had ants scattered across her body to still stick with the campy twist she likes to put on her outfits. Gotmik wore an incredible punk rock-inspired outfit that had a giant paper clip going through her head which I thought looked incredible! Now onto Symone, who showcased one of the most powerful outfits that I have ever seen throughout all of drag race her-story. At first, it looked like a simple white outfit that was almost religious in its appearance but once she turned around everyone saw the powerful message of “say their name” and bullet holes that were a reference to the current BLM movement and her voiceover was so beautifully delivered. Seeing this message on a mainstream show is so important and it’s this crossroad of drag and current affairs/politics that shows the power and influence these queens truly posses. Even Ru Paul gave Symone praise for delivering such an important and powerful message on the runway!

Gotmik was the winner of this weeks episode with Utica and Eliott in the bottom. They both performed to the song fascinated which was a clever way to tie the episode together with the runway theme which I enjoyed. I loved Utica’s performance in this song as this is the type of performance I would see live and Ru agrees with me and Eliott was told to sashay away. This is technically Eliott’s third elimination in this season (as she lost her first lip-sync, then sent home from the losers circle and now this one) which must be some type of record!

Overall, the snatch game this season was not as great as previous iterations but was quite entertaining, the runway theme and lip-sync song tied the episode together which I always love and we saw one of the most powerful and moving outfits ever grace the drag race runway.

****½  4.5/5


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