RuPaul’s Drag Race
We’re having a sleepover! This reunion was, in a word, lovely. Drag Race did what it does best: embraced the circumstances and turned out a special episode that was campy, fun, and one-of-a-kind. It begins with a tribute to classic sitcom theme songs and dubbing the season 12 queens “The Shady Bunch.” It’s funny, it’s cute, and we even get a throwaway reference to Sherry Pie that I was not expecting. The reunion vibe is best described as “Zoom Slumber Party,” but instead of someone’s mom bringing up snacks, it’s RuPaul as someone’s scary uncle wearing baby blue fetish gear for some reason.
This season’s cast is ultimately a group that likes each other quite a bit (or at least a group that’s savvy enough not to prolong tiffs that might damage their reputations), so drama was predictably kept to a minimum. That said, we are certainly served some authentic moments of interesting conflict, not to mention a top-tier reading challenge. So while there’s no earth-shattering revelations or shocking reveals of covert villainy like in seasons past, you won’t be left disappointed by the reunion. It’s a tasty, socially distant snack that leaves us hungry for the highly anticipated finale episode next week.
Much like a Nicky Doll read, reunions are non-linear, and they shift focus frequently. So let’s talk about the highlights!
What the fuck is RuPaul wearing?
RuPaul’s look is like the second season of a Ryan Murphy show: the more I think about it, the more confused and concerned I become. If I were to describe Ru’s look, I would say it’s “Darth Maul competes in a Lucha Libre World Cup sponsored by American Apparel.” Let’s start with the hoodie. Why wasn’t RuPaul just wearing a suit? He’s worn a suit to literally every other reunion, so why not this one? But most importantly: THE MASK! Not only why a mask, but why this mask? I have no answers to any of these questions, and I fear I never will. However, I do have more than enough time to read any and all conspiracy theories as to why RuPaul made these bizarre choices. I implore you: please leave your most outlandish hypotheses in the comments below.
Heidi remains Heidi N. Closet
We’re celebrating, Closet Cases! After watching literal MONTHS of Ru and Michelle disparaging her good name, tonight we have the satisfaction of hearing Heidi stand in her truth and say “no more!” Heidi remains proudly closeted, and I’m so thrilled to see it. Also, Ru, where was this energy for Kalorie Karbdashian Williams? The double standards! The riggery!
Brita’s apology tour
Oh, Brita. Brita went through it this season. When she wasn’t declaring herself the Queen of New York approximately 60 times per episode, she was picking fights with Aiden and stumbling through challenges that should have been right up her alley. Suffice it to say, absolutely none of this resonated with the Drag Race fanbase, and Brita exited season 12 worse off than she entered it. In an effort to save face, Brita comes into this reunion with what is better described as a PR strategy than anything else. There’s an emotionally empty reconciliation with Aiden, featuring the favorite Drag Race bromide: “We’re like sisters, and sometimes sisters fight.” Sure, Jan! I found myself rolling my eyes, and I was ready to write Brita off completely until the reading challenge. Brita’s claws came out! Her reads were top notch, and it was nice to finally see an authentic, non-calculated moment from Brita in this reunion.
One of my surprising favorites of this reunion is none other than Nicky Doll. While some queens opted to take the more gracious, deferential, pageant route when answering questions, Nicky was unafraid to stand up for herself. Nicky was sent home on the “Gay’s Anatomy” challenge after many of her fellow queens named her the worst actress of the night. Tonight, when asked what she would have done differently, Nicky says she would have stood by her performance: “If there’s one thing this show gave me, it’s more confidence.” When Ru asks the other queens why they named Nicky as the worst, Nicky is QUITE unafraid to give them a piece of her mind. She lays pressure on Brita and Crystal in particular, who ultimately can’t come up with a satisfactory answer when pushed. And most importantly, tonight Nicky asked the most important question of the reunion: “Who the fuck is Pee Pee La Poo?” God bless this Parisian queen!
Rock M. Sakura is FUNNY, honey!
Of course, we all knew Rock was talented and a fan favorite (there was hell to pay when she went home), but we truly saw what we were missing this episode. Rock is seriously funny, and it was lovely to see her quip and banter with ease outside the confines and pressures of a competition environment. “I’ve been masturbating so much my weiner looks like beef jerky” was her first line of the episode, and it only got better from there. Don’t be surprised if you see her pop up on All Stars in a year or two.
The rise of Miss Vanjie
Having Miss Vanjie cameo on the reunion to do impression-based character comedy is just the sort of chaotic genius I’ve come to expect from this show. She’s literally incapable of changing her voice (which for reference sounds like if Kermit the Frog were a pack-a-day smoker), so watching her try to do nuanced accent work is pure joy. It’s quite clear that Drag Race is leaning into the self-made, charismatic, viral legend. I’m sure we can expect to see her popping up in many seasons to come.
The reading challenge
Miss Rona might be closing every business in sight, but, luckily, the library is open. Reading is nothing if not an essential service, and our queens are happy to provide it. This segment was excellent across the board, but let’s spotlight my top 5 reads:
“You sure do talk a big game for someone who came in 13th place on a 12 person season.” —Brita
WOW. This is what we call a two-for-one read. A swipe at the infamous Sherry Pie, and a devastating read of our last-place contestant and fierce Broc-ally Dahlia Sin. Brita had time tonight.
“I’m really sorry for how I treated you all season, but I was just preparing you for how Patricia Quinn would treat you after the Snatch Game.” —Brita
I repeat: WOW. I was not prepared for this ruthless read. Brita and Aiden have barely reconciled, and yet Brita comes through with this gut punch. Aiden really could not catch a break this season and tonight is no exception. (If you haven’t seen Patricia Quinn’s official statement on Aiden Zhane, it’s a must read.)
“Don’t worry, you guys, I put everything into Google translate, and it came out funny!” —Rock M. Sakura
Rock is dangerously quick, and truly had the perfect comeback to Nicky’s meandering journey of a read.
“Crystal Methyd, you are the prettiest girl on the planet… of the apes.” —Widow Von’Du
Like Brita, Widow did not come to play for this challenge. She did not hold back with these girls.
“Gigi Goode, I bet R. Kelly wouldn’t even piss on you.” —Widow Von’Du
I have… no words.
Five Lip Syncs?!
In our one finale teaser, we learn that there will be a total of five lip syncs before naming the winner. The best theory I’ve heard comes from Xtra’s Kevin O’Keefe: Kevin hypothesizes that we will get one solo lip sync from each finalist, an elimination, and then one more solo lip sync from each of the top two. Whatever the case may be, it’s sure to be an exciting episode, and I could see any of the top three snatching the crown. Only one way to find out. See you next week!