Another week, another fine episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race. After last week’s high highs, it’s only reasonable to expect that this season would continue churning out high-quality performances. However, it was not to be, and this week’s main challenge presented a train wreck of epic proportions. That said, everyone loves a good train wreck every now and then. With that, let’s look at the five most memorable moments of season seven’s third episode as they occurred.
1. Shady Starts
For the second consecutive episode, the queens get off to a significantly shady start, with Jasmine and Kennedy Davenport loudly discussing how clear it was that the other team of girls was going to lose in the previous challenge. In particular, the two don’t seem to care for the fact that there’s a certain group of girls who all look exactly the same (I’m not going to say that I agree with them, but … I totally agree with them), are young and tall and thin and flat, and just don’t know anything about what it means to be a drag queen. These are harsh words on their own, but coupled with the fact that the two were clearly having their discussion at such a volume as to be easily overheard, it makes it all the more antagonistic.
What’s even more interesting about the complaints Kennedy and Jasmine exchange is the fact that they don’t seem to be alone in their low esteem for the Pale Queens. Later in the episode we learn that there seems to be a pretty significant divide between older and younger contestants and only time will tell whether this will be this year’s Heathers versus Boogers. (See also: season three.)
2. You Hover Me Right 'Round, Baby, Right 'Round
There was no guest judge for this week’s mini challenge, largely because a guest judge would have pulled focus from the most important occurrence of the week: RuPaul’s Hoveround entrance. The contestants were tasked with creating an aged “Golden Girl” look and then boogieing on down the way. RuPaul’s Drag Race doing a Golden Girls–themed challenge is basically the ne plus ultra of Logo programming, and it’s actually a shock that it’s taken this long for it to occur. Still, RuPaul stole the scene in this challenge with her precise comic timing and never-ending well of elderly-based puns. (“Sissy that walker” being a personal fave.)
3. Have Courage and Be Kind, Queen
Max has been a somewhat peculiar presence so far on the show, slightly awkward and with a very conscious artifice that can be kind of off-putting. He’s obsessed with old Hollywood glamour, often donning a peculiar accent to boot, and the result sometimes feels like that gawky 12-year-old who’s still trying really hard to figure out what their personality is, exactly. But this episode gave us an opportunity to see more of who Max truly is at heart and it turns out, he’s a really good person. As group leader, he stepped up when one of his teammates was melting down and gave her the pep talk she needed to shake it off and move forward. After Max’s words, Jaidyn was able to get over her self-doubt and perform to the best of her ability. Ultimately, the most interesting part of Max’s words is that they didn’t seem to come from a place of self-preservation, but a place of true empathy and caring, a sudden spot of kindness that was more than welcome in this episode.
4. MacBitch, Please
This week’s maxi challenge was another high-intensity workout for the contestants, requiring them to, again, work in teams and, this time, perform drag versions of two Shakespeare classics, “Romy and Juliet” and “MacBitch.” Max’s team took on the former and Kennedy’s team took on the latter, with one group doing significantly better than the other. While team “Romy” ended up pulling off a fine rendition of their play, “MacBitch” was a continual house of horrors and even generous reality show editing couldn’t pull together a rendition that was anywhere near watchable. There are any number of reasons Team MacBitch couldn’t pull it together, from the perpetually switching roles between Jasmine and Violet, to basic acting underperformance, to just plain mismanagement by Kennedy. But in the end, none of that matters because a train wreck is a train wreck, no matter how it jumped the tracks.
5. Ru’s Wrath
There are few things better on RuPaul’s Drag Race than when Ru herself gets fed up. The feeling whenever it happens verges on however it feels when your mom is about to call you by all three of your names after her voice drops two octaves. And while tonight didn’t feature RuPaul in white-hot rage mode, it did have her in completely fed up, “I’m so disappointed in you” mode, and that’s almost as good. “I don’t want to hear any goddamn excuses any more,” she shouted at Team MacBitch, and heaven help those girls if they think she doesn’t mean business. Were I a contestant, I would shape up real quick, before Ru transforms into full wig-snatching, come to Jesus meeting mode.
Bottom two: Jasmine and Kennedy Davenport
Line of the Night Honorable Mentions:
“Someone bring me a puppy, I want to die.” —I think we’ve all been there, Pearl.
“Panties, BITCH!” —Jasmine is underwhelmed by Violet’s choice undergarments.
“Where did you get a loaf of bread?” —RuPaul is as stymied as we are by Jasmine’s Golden Girl accessories.
“How can anyone be crap at being a bitch?” —Mel B asks the tough questions on the judge’s panel.
“I’m giving you Emancipation Proclamation realness.” —Katya keeps it real on the runway, giving her best Abraham Linqueen.