12th Mar2021

‘Ru Paul’s Drag Race UK 2×09’ Review

by Rhys Payne

Well… last weeks episode of Ru Paul’s Drag Race UK was a lot! We had a very interesting comedy challenge performed in front of an empty audience, with one of the queens jokes having to be bleeped-out due to their nan ringing up the BBC (it was A’whora); we had drama by the bucket full; Tayce told everyone about her love for beans on toast which led to her being given a PR package from the king of beans, Heinz, themselves (Heinz if your reading this I also love beans!) and Tayce gained the title of drag race assassin after her third time in the bottom, as she sent home her roommate A’whora. So yeah… last week episode was something and I was excited to see how everyone would deal with the fallout this week.

We are at the semi-final episode, which means that only four queens are remaining in the competition. This episode started with the iconic puppet mini-challenge, where queens are allocated one of their peers to recreate on a puppet and deliver an insult-based comedy skit to try and make everyone laugh. If you remember last week Lawerence was fuming at Ellie after she decided the order in last weeks challenge and she repetitively brought this up in the opening moments of the episode. This is why I found it quite convenient that Lawerence was randomly given Ellie to impersonate for this challenge. Don’t get me wrong I thought this was very clever and added a lot of tension but it was clear this was planned! Bimini wins this weeks mini-challenge with her homage to Lawrence Chaney which I thought was deserved. This meant that Bimini was allowed to distribute the roles for this week’s main challenge ‘Beastenders.’

The maxi challenge this week was for the queens to perform in the original British soap opera ‘Beastenders’ which has a reference to EastEnders with the characters having very similar names (my personal favourite Phylis Bitchel) and the show is set in the Queen Dick. In the previous season of Ru Paul’s Drag Race UK we had downtown draggy, which was where Baga Chips gave birth to her now-iconic catchphrase “much beta’ – which I imagine has now earned her a substantial amount of money. While there weren’t as many iconic moments as there were in downtown draggy, I enjoyed this week’s challenge. It was hilariously funny, with a clever reference to the original soap opera and was given enough time within the show to seem like a genuine episode of a soap too. All the judges were impressed by the queen’s performance in this challenge so if you have not seen this sketch them I would strongly recommend you do so… now!

However, before the queens get to set they experience another mid-preparation siren going off. It must have been very stressful for the remaining queens as last time this happened they were all told to go home and were not able to return for seven months. Lawerence addressed this within the episode so it was clear that it had affected her. It was not another Covid announcement; instead it was an opportunity for the queens to have a sit-down masterclass with Natalie Cassidy, who has appeared in Eastenders for a while. Natalie talked about the queens giving themselves over to the role which some did and some did not. It was clear from the off-set that Tayce and Bimini were so much more prepared than Lawerence and Ellie, as the latter two needed constant help with lines. Later in the episode, Tayce express her concern after the judges praise all the queens for the fantastic performance but she felt as if she and Bimini should have to be appreciated more as they did not struggle with lines, which to be honest I have to agree with! In the challenge itself, I thought that Ellie Diamond looked incredible so much so that I did not recognise her at first. After the challenge had been recorded the queens headed back to the werk room where they discovered they had been given letters from loved ones at home. I can’t remember the last time this had happened but last season the queens made over their loved ones which this seasons cohort were not able to do due to the current global situation. This scene was very emotional and helped to show that the queens are also real people!

My favourite part of any pantomime is the pantomime dame so you can imagine my absolute delight when it was announced that this weeks runway theme was “Panto Dame”. I think Lawerence Chaney did incredibly on the runway when she wore a classic panto outfit that had a tape measure belt, pins on the side and a sewing machine on her head as a fascinator! She even had the iconic words “he’s behind you” etched into her bloomers, that she showed the judges, which were so wonderfully camp which I loved! Bimini also did incredibly well with her outfit as she also had “it’s behind you” on her bloomers and yellow gloves where the colour ran into the trimmings of the dress which looked both fashion-forward and camp as anything. I thought that Ellie Diamond also looked incredible as she wore a Union Jack decorated outfit that sparkled every step down the runway. She had a miniature crown too, with the whole ensemble being so wonderfully camp! I was a little disappointed by Tayce’s look this week as she had a more fairy godmother/showgirl inspired look with these massive blue feathers which I have never seen dame wear in all of my life! As the theme was panto I knew it was only going to be a short amount of time until an “oh no it’s isn’t” chant was done and despite how predictable it was, still made me chuckle. The two things I didn’t enjoy in this episode was Ru’s lack of awareness of Britishness and the use of a cutout on the judging panel. Throughout this episode, Michelle had to explain to Ru the panto tradition and Cockney rhyming slang – which are two fundamental concepts for this weeks episode. While I am aware Ru is not British and she can’t understand all the references, if the episode revolves around these key ideas then you would think some research would have been done. In both the challenge, and on the judging panel, they had a cardboard cutout who was supposed to be playing Dani Dyer’s character in EastEnders. This was funny at first but once they gave him a voice and voiceovers the comical runway comments I did find this somewhat tiresome.

On the top this week was Bimini – who has now won four of those badges which gives her loads of momentum ready for the finale. On the bottom however was Tayce and Ellie. This is Tayce’s fourth time in the bottom and that never goes well for the performer. Equally, however, Ellie has yet to lip-sync so no one knows what talents she may or may not possess. This would have been a wonderful time to crank out a camp classic for the queens to perform while they are dressed as panto dames (such as “Holding out for a Hero” by Bonnie Tyler) but alas! However, the performance by these two queens was one of the best lip-syncs of the entire season. rivalling Memory in episode 2! Both queens were told to stay this week (as Cherry and Tayce should have in the Memory lip-sync) which mean that we go into the final with a top four. I am very excited for next weeks episode as it is the finale, where the queens do another musical number and we also see the return of all the eliminated queens… which is bound to bring the drama!

Overall, this was a fun episode of Ru Paul’s Drag Race UK with one of the best scripted acting challenges in a long time; and with a runway that I would personally love to take part in! Tayce kept a hold of her lip-sync assassin title and goes into the finale alongside three of the other queens.

**** 4/5

Let us know who you want to win and if you are #TeamTayce, #TeamBimini, #TeamEllir or #TeamLawerence in the comments below!

One Response to “‘Ru Paul’s Drag Race UK 2×09’ Review”

  • Christine fudge

    For the first time in herstory 😄 , I want them ALL to win . Someone should write a sit-com for them . They are all hysterical together . Being welsh though I obv am #TeamTayce,
    Good luck to all. Can’t wait for next week x