Finally, another horror episode. We haven't had a horror-themed challenge on RuPaul's Drag Race since Season 4. That was the season premiere episode where Sharon Needles proved her craft and justified her position in the contest with an amazing post-apocalyptic zombie. Bonus points were duly awarded for flawless use of theatrical blood capsules.
This week took the horror theme even further.
The episode picked up right where the last one left off, with the two groups of contestants converging for the first time. Shade was thrown. No cupcakes were served.
The mini challenge forced the queens to team up with the contestants they just met the night before. Each pair of queens played the top or bottom half of a torso for a lip sync challenge. Adore Delano and Milk won, allowing them to pick their casts for Drag Race Me to Hell/5 movie trailers. In the least surprising decision ever, Adore and Milk chose the contestants from their original episodes as their teams.
Milk's team really rose to the occasion on set, impressing Michelle Visage and RuPaul with their memorization, acting skills, and willingness to take direction. Adore's team...didn't memorize their lines, didn't prepare, and really ticked off the judges.
I'm going to mark changes from the previous week on the list. --> means the same spot, ^ means up, v means down.
1. Bianca Del Rio (-->)
It's too early to definitely call out the top 3 on RuPaul's Drag Race. Still, I have a very strong suspicion that Bianca Del Rio is going to make the cut. It's the humor, the persona, and the execution on the runway. No one is going to match her construction skills. Plus, she did great acting opposite Courtney Act in the horror film challenge. Bonus points were awarded, naturally, for her masterful interviews and face to face reading of the other contestants.
2. BenDeLaCreme (^2)
BenDeLaCreme didn't get a lot of camera time this episode, but her performance in Drag Race Me to Hell 5 was worthy of inclusion in an actual film. The runway presentation was strong, too. If BenDeLaCreme and Bianca Del Rio ever partner up for a challenge, it's game over for the other contestants.
3. Darienne Lake (-->)
Darienne Lake took the "nothing" role of the monster and turned in one of the best performances in the trailers. It wasn't really a nothing role. People always remember the monster. It doesn't matter that Jason Vorhees only pops up in the last seconds of Friday the 13th: that scare is the moment you remember. Darienne took advantage of...let's call it the lack of horror knowledge in the workroom and hit hard.
4. Courtney Act (^1)
Courtney was really funny this episode. Her bit with Laganja Estranja over who was the top in the mini challenge was funny. Her acting opposite Bianca Del Rio was funny. Courtney didn't have a lot of time onscreen this episode, but she did well. I wasn't crazy about her Australian flag dress, but it served its purpose.
5. Joslyn Fox (bless her heart) (^5)
Maybe Joslyn Fox (bless her heart) isn't as clueless as I thought. She certainly knew how to act for film. Her survivor girl performance wouldn't have been out of place in a far better film than the 1980s-set Drag Race Me to Hell sequel was parodying. She stepped up her game big time.
6. Milk (v4)
Milk is up here because of her runway and her team management skills. She actually thought about how to cast her team in the roles. She flubbed the acting challenge a little, drawing focus away from herself with her wig, but nailed the runway. The Pinocchio look was fantastic. I also admire her commitment to the mini challenge, turning Adore Delano's torso into a contortionist act with her long legs.
7. April Carrion (-->)
April's runway look was amazing. There's no other way to describe it. I also liked her performance in the trailer far more than the judges did. The script asked for a butch lesbian and she performed as a really butch lesbian. The judges' critique was off base for saying the performance was too manly when the role was written to be manly. They didn't critique Latrice that way when she was Large Marge, the butch correctional officer, in Season 4, so why is masculinity with even more feminine clothes and hair so bad?
8. Laganja Estranja (^1)
When I was making up The List this week, I forgot Laganja existed. She had that cute bit with Courtney Act, but Courtney's the one who had the punchline and pulled focus. She didn't do anything particularly wrong or right this week; she's just there.
9. Trinity K. Bonet (v3)
Trinity was the shakiest member of Milk's team for the trailer and did an okay job. I commend her for taking direction as well as she did and for having the foresight to ask the other queens for tips. Her best drag didn't seem like her BEST drag, if you catch my drift. She can do better than this.
10. Vivacious (v2)
Oh, Vivacious. I knew she would struggle on non-fashion challenges. I didn't realize she'd tank the acting challenge. She is theater. Her runway look was amazing (forget those judges who said it wasn't feminine enough--she had gigantic pointy breasts and hip pads on) and the lip sync was spectacular. That terrible performance as the monster, though, is inexcusable.
11. Adore Delano (v1)
Adore tanked as a team leader. I hated her attitude in assigning parts and behaving on set. Sorry, but I throw high school students out of rehearsals for acting like that; Adore is a grown adult. Act your age and show some respect to your fellow competitors, judges, and the crew working on the show. The mermaid runway was great and the performance was the second best on her team.
12. Gia Gunn (-->)
Gia didn't memorize her lines for the trailer shoot. She clearly didn't choose her best drag look for the runway. She showed her ignorance of pop culture history by mangling words in the script and dropping 1980s lingo she didn't understand entirely. And she couldn't even do her makeup well for the first meeting of the two sets of queens. It was an embarrassing performance this week that should have landed her in the bottom two.
Vivacious had to lip sync against April Carrion. Both did a great job and April got to stay in the contest. I preferred Vivacious' style, but this felt like a mercy killing. Vivacious was not going to be able to adapt to the contest with her club kid style and it would only frustrate everyone if she could do nothing but stomp in that oh so NYC way.
Just a quick note: I have no insider knowledge on the show. I am, however, very studied in reality TV show editing. Who, other than Vivacious, would walk down the runway in a contraption like this? It appeared in the opening season montage and looked like a Vivacious outfit. I swore she would have to make it at least one more episode if that outfit is in the previews.
Milk seems like the only other possibility, but Milk tends to show a lot more body than shiny plastic structural costuming shells. Very curious. Just saying.
Thoughts? Share them below.