The best reality show of the year is officially over now. RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars, season two, you were not expected to be anything more than the same but—Boy.—did you beat expectations.
The final farewell reunion show was no exception. It helped to define what the Drag Race should be, what it needs to get back to instead of dreaming bigger than necessary. Let’s unpack what happened in the hopes that season nine will hear us.
And of course: spoilers ahead. Get last week’s recap here.
Throw Phi Phi From The Train.
Less from a place of surprise and more from a place of “LOL.,” Phi Phi was the whipping child for the entire episode by everyone. From the bullshit card device to blaming the edit to blatantly calling her out, to defend herself in absence, there were so many means to further crucify the mad queen, to illustrate that she is now a ghost. RuPaul led the charge too, a surprising bitch move that illustrated that Phi Phi’s door is closed and that there are now 99 queens, Phi Phi being eliminated from the canon entirely. You could say that Ru holds grudges (Which she does.) but the fact that Adore showed up, had a great time, and accepted a spot on All Stars three speaks volumes. Perhaps she was the black sheep cast grey in the shadow of Phi Phi. A lesson to all: when they go low, Phi Phi goes lower.
The Real Housewives Of Logo
The overwhelming, obvious feeling of this reunion was that Logo has found their version of Real Housewives in Drag Race. You wouldn’t get this from normal seasons because the “reunion” blowout in the end is too much of a spectacle of crowning to actually let the queens gossip and fight and unpack their communal experience. Instead the live (“live,” as in live-to-tape) finales are too packed with ideas, trying to fit too much into an already packed sausage. The All Stars reunion? It was just right. There was no racing to get to crowning nor were people distracted by potentially winning or grinding their teeth as they watch someone else win. Instead, everyone was able to chill and truly have a great conversation after the fact. The season ended, now they react to it, removed in time versus still being in it. It was very engaging in a way that recalled earlier seasons, where someone like Tammie Brown can yell at Ru for not “walking with children in nature.” When production guards are down and talent is made to feel comfortable (i.e., it’s not a performance nor is there an audience present), you get a reunion like this—and it feels as delicious as a Real Housewives reunion, Alaska’s fake leg notwithstanding.
The Tao Of Alyssa.
Alyssa had some great philosophical moments here, explaining herself, clarifying that she is no one’s competition in any All Star game—but she does have an enviable personality.
Katya, The Bridesmaid.
Like I mentioned in the last recap, Katya is great, in theory. I love her. But, as her burn victim attire proved, she’s a flash laugh: look at her, giggle, and let the effects wear off very quickly as you wish she would take it off. She recognized that this is her downfall too in the reunion, explaining at points that Alaska owned where she didn’t and that she did and didn’t deserve praise. Katya is such a great person and is the entire series’ Miss Congeniality. But Miss Congeniality should never be confused for the next drag superstar because she is the bridesmaid—not the bride.
Alaska As Perfection, Defined.
As the episode rolled in to discuss Alaska’s reasons for winning, a montage played of all her best moments and you realized that—Damn.—Alaska did sweep the competition. We know this, yes. Serpentine and crazed toward the end, of course, but Alaska deserved her win. She is in a league of her own with a storyline to back it up. No one else has that and, as said since day one of this season, the crown was waiting for her to take. All the queens agreed in the reunion too. There were no harsh words because Alaska did in fact deserve to win. No one was there to challenge that.
The Best, Biggest Shoes To Fill.
Several times on the episode, the queens and Ru claimed that this was the best season ever. From the Emmy conjuring to backhandedly toting ratings records, everyone in the room noticed that—Huh.—they did it right. They caught the lightning in a bottle again. What does that mean for the future? Season nine has to bring it. You can’t follow up this amazing All Stars season with some paltry bullshit with Pearl and Miss Fame. You need likable, talented queens who can share their point of view within the confines of the show, a show that shouldn’t aim to be bigger than it is. Will that happen? Of course not. This season will be hard to top (Ha!) and the ambitions of non-All Stars seasons are too big to question—but they should be. Getting back to basics works as we all saw. Less is more. Don’t let us down.
What did you think? Any theories on who is going to be on season nine? I’m ready to see them queens already.