It's a new day, darlings! No Rolaskatox, no names shouted into an empty workroom. Anything can happen with just seven queens left... and a couple dozen underwear models. "Whatcha Packin'" was a delightful way to start off the show, and it culminated in one of Ru's best punchlines ever: "The winner of this challenge is... every straight woman and gay man in America!" One correction, Ru: surely the charms of these man can be appreciated by the entire world. (By the way, Detox totally already knew at least one of the underwear models--did you see the little wave she gave them as they came in? Go get it, girl.)
Earlier in the year, at this season's premiere, Ru teased that two queens would develop a relationship over the course of the show, and I had assumed that couple was going to be Roxxxy and Detox, given their frequent flirting and pairing off. So I never anticipated Jinkx and Ivy as a potential match-up. My guess is that the producers didn't, either, since it came up so abruptly this episode.
I have no idea if anything developed between those two, nor what Ivy's feelings were, but who else was surprised that Jinkx chose to announce her crush to the full workroom while Ivy made her phone call? As many others have noted, Jinkx usually plays her cards close to her chest, so giving her competitors such a juicy piece of gossip seemed incredibly out of character for her. But I don't know--maybe she was overwhelmed with her feelings, and perhaps she wanted to confide in the other queens when she had the chance. But Alaska was less than encouraging, saying, "Well... that's... cute....?"
I've never really gotten all the gagging over perfume and celebrity scents. I'm not a glamour queen, girls, but I did love this challenge. (So did Ru--seeing her "sample" Alaska's perfume in the workroom was comedy gold. If I had more time this week, I totally would have animated it. Yes, seriously.)
I'm a sucker for photo shoots, especially ones that allow some room for playing around with props and the Pit Crew. Jinkx's entire shoot was hilarious, from the moment she whipped off her fur coat to reveal the lingerie underneath. She succinctly explained her vision to Shawn and Jason of the Pit Crew ("Like we just had a threeway, Eiffel Tower, all that stuff") and got ON 'em!
The editing of these sequences allowed us to see the funny moments and blunders of each shoot, but without spoiling the best punchlines. I thought Jinkx's concept behind Delusion was simple and hilarious. Some of the other queens' ads? Not so much. I had expected that Alyssa, Roxxxy, and Ivy could at least offer up some glamour and eleganza, if not serve up the laughs. I did appreciate that Coco, bolstered by her win at the Ru Roast, tried to bring some levity to her shoot... but if you're trying to be funny, you should be funny, girl.
You wanna see funny, you go to Alaska. All season, viewers have been rough on Alaska, too often comparing her to Sharon and just not getting her style of drag and humor. But her delightfully deranged Red for Filth commercial perfectly encapsulates her approach, the tongue-in-cheek caricature of class and glamour, and hopefully everyone can finally appreciate just how fierce and sharp this queen can be. It's been a rough run for Alaska this season, but her win this week was, in her words, "right on f--king time."
There's been a lot of discussion about the overall quality of this season, and comparing it to your cherished memories of past seasons is inevitable. I've noticed that the show's focus this season has been on performance and challenges, with many runway segments either skipped or served as an afterthought, which prevents some of the heart-stopping drama we've gotten from past seasons. (Remember the thrill each week as Raja came down the runway? Lordy...) But I did love some of the looks this week, particularly Jinkx's and Detox's. (and no, I'm not going to apologize for drawing them every damn week!)
I don't think anyone can doubt the quality of this season's cast of queens--as I've been pointing out from the beginning, there are almost too many queens competing for our attention. The fact that Detox, Alaska, Jinkx, Alyssa, and the others are all working at such a high level prevents any one frontrunner from stealing the spotlight, which has often characterized past seasons.
The challenges this year have been hilarious, and many of the queens have offered up stellar performances. What often sours my feelings for the show each week is the increasingly toxic tone of Untucked--I get that this kind of show is all about the drama, but it's starting to feel like bullying, which is the last thing a drag queen should have to endure from her peers. Last season, with Sharon and Phi Phi, they were both typically dishing it out, whereas Jinkx neither incites conflict, nor escalates it when it's shoved in her face. But I think that's the best way to handle that kind of harassment--don't give them the pleasure of getting you angry or breaking you down. I just hope Jinkx can stay strong this season, because each week, more and more queens seem to be coming for her. With her best friend (and crush) Ivy gone, who else is going to be on Team Jinkx? (Hint: Me!)
In any case, I have hope, and I'm eager to get into the second half of the season, which is where we really get to know each queen and see them shine.
Make sure to check out my store and buy some nice prints of all my best Drag Race work of this season! It looks like there may not be an episode of the show next week (Anyone know why?) but I'll be here whenever there are new queens to draw!