Eight Thoughts On RuPaul’s Drag Race: Season Nine, Episode Seven

You know how I know an episode’s good? When I don’t have that much to say.

Like last week, I felt the same way this week: it was a good episode. My hope has been renewed again! As they say: don’t fuck it up, Ru. Don’t let that Saturday Night Live sketch go to your head and think you can sell out.

Anyway, here are eight thoughts for the eight queens still competing.

8. Finally, Some Good Drama.
Like last week, I appreciate the unabashed drama in this week’s episode. It started with Trinity’s very candid (Or cantankerous?) reclaiming the cucu for herself and talking about how she wanted people out of the fucking way. To that, Nina also said as much, that she was ready to fight for her life. Then add in lil bb Aja drama mama to the mix? Fucking hell yes. The show is about drag queens: they need to constantly be low-boil fighting. This isn’t RuPaul’s Best Friends Race!!!! And they’re finally acting like it!!!!!!

7.Peppermint Butler
Speaking of Peppermint, she stole my beating heart out of my chest when she re-cast lil bb Aja drama mama. It was a blunt, “I don’t have time for you, child.” move that only Peppermint could have pulled off. Then she followed it up with the glorious interview quip, “Now you look like a bitch playing a bitch in the last scene.” Good god: delicious. She also did cast the roles quite nicely and redeemed herself from more personality driven challenges like Snatch Game and the daytime talk show. Well done, Ms. P!

6. The first real acting challenge.
Funny enough, all the challenges this season have been some sort of acting. Kardashian The Musical, Snatch Game, daytime talk shows, princess and sidekicks, cheerleading: it’s all subtly been acting. While that makes me itchy for a design challenge, they haven’t come across as acting challenges as they did in the dreaded season seven which was weighed down by “acting.” Anyway, this was a lot of fun! Jenny Garth and Tori Spelling were fantastic directors, judges, and guests. They went so far above and beyond anything that I would have expected! To that, a few other things happened: Trinity and Valentina and Shea ruled while people like Peppermint and Farrah redeemed themselves. Aja did fall flat (We all saw that coming from the casting moment.) while Alexis was thankfully cut out of all the action despite being the annoying “expert.” Still, everyone kind of did a great job? Even semi-boring Sasha did a good job.

5. Shut Up, Alexis.
I know I just said this but I wanted to say this again: thank heavens Alexis was so mum this week. It’s not that she’s annoying but she is just so boring. Did you watch Untucked this week? It was pretty unbearable since it was Alexis and Farrah with poor Peppermint hoping to liven things up. I’m ready for Alexis (and Farrah.) to be gone already.

4. Not A Very Special Episode
For the first time this season, this was not a Very Special Episode, where the audience was treated to some history or social cause or something about LGBT life that needs amplification. Thank fucking god. Yes, there was talk of cancer and Sasha revealed (On the show.) that she’s a bald queen for cancer. Why this talk wasn’t mired by being Very Special was because it was more naturalistic and featured humor in the face of tragedy. When someone mentioned seeing the Hollywood Medium to connect with dead cancer people? Great. That was the type of conversational button we’ve been missing here.

3. The First Great Runway
The runways this season have been very, very fine. Not fine as in “She fine. but fine as in “Meh. Fine.” This week was a step above fine as everyone really brought it and looked polished, poised, and fun representing that we finally are at a point where the queens on the show are legitimate competition. Sure, Alexis annoys me and Farrah is dead weight and Trinity is boring but talented but they are all contenders. Those three won’t win for obvious reasons but they’re entertaining to watch! This runway embodied that as everyone showed off their aesthetic which only enhanced their acting performance.

2 .Topped Bottoms
Was this bottom three not somewhat shocking? I mean “shocking,” sure, but it was nice to see three good looking runway queens docked by their challenge performance. This goes to show you that no one is ever safe, which is something we have forgotten during the fluffy first half of the season. Yes, I would have loved to have seen Alexis and Farrah gone in a double elimination but Aja and Nina did earn their bottom b status. I also do think that Aja lip synched better but was beyond her half life and ready to go: Ru was onto that. Moreover, Ru certainly has a thing for Nina in the same way she had for Pearl. The two queens are bitter and flat, personality wise, and constantly in a “Wake up!!!” moment. Nina was saved by Ru not because her performance was better to the song but because her performance is better in general. It was more of a Tyra Banks move to keep the girl with more potential than the one who did a better job. Then again, you could critique Aja’s performance for being a grab-bag of drag queen lipsync clichés. She wasn’t memorable for her performance since it wasn’t exactly unique: it just was. Nina? She was unique in her own funky way—and Ru likes that. Beyond this, Aja’s Untucked interview echoed that she knew it was go time and that everyone actually loves Nina and is rooting for her: Aja left Nina two fabulous dresses since Nina only brought body suits. Nina haters, beware: she is a contender. Like Chi Chi last season, she’s rough around the edges because no one gave her the time of day back home.

1. The First Full Episode
Because we were dealing with nine queens this episode, this was the first actually full forty minutes of content this season. We got a luxurious, meandering makeup room chat. The challenge got a full act that let the talent—in the cast and judging—play. There was even some beef at the top of the episode. We got a lot more than we’re typically served because the show wasn’t jammed like a bursting sausage juggling shit, uncinched. We’re at the point where we get to see every part of the process from challenge brief to runway execution: FINALLY. Yes, we still don’t see the Pit Crew or Ru’s visit to the work room or pre-runway prep but I will take what we got this week. Sure, I’m grading on a curve but I’ll take it.

Anyway! Aja’s departure didn’t shake up my order too much since she, um, was a bottom bitch to begin with. Sorrrrrrrrrryyyyy.

14. Jaymes Mansfield
13. Kimora Blac
12. Charlie Hide
11. Eureka O’Hara
10. Cynthia Lee Fontaine
9. Aja (Down one—and out. “Shocked,” sure, but she wasn’t getting beyond number eight. Farrah should have gone home before her. Aja will kill in the next season of All Stars!)
8. Farrah Moan (Up one, accidentally. / Maintained. She is a child. She needs to go home to her mommy.)
7. Alexis Michelle (Maintained. Fine. Sure. Whatever.)
6. Peppermint (Down one. Miss Congeniality!)
5. Sasha Velour (Down one. Getting over her, especially as she relates to “the fandom.” More on this at a later date.)
4. Trinity Taylor (Up two. Miss Trinity is kind of killing it, no? No one likes her, sure, but she is pushing herself into the top.)
3. Nina Bo’Nina Brown (Maintained. I should dock her and put Trinity here but…Trinity ain’t winning. I could see her forcing herself into the top three but, based on likability and uniqueness, Nina stays. That’s the power she has over Trinity: personality over polish.)
2. / 1. Shea Coulee & Valentina (Up one. / Maintained. These two are tied now! I very much still think Valentina is going to take it but Shea has been absolutely flawless as well. These two are evenly keeled and will lovingly fight to the finish. I’m ready to watch that.)

Thoughts? Were you shocked by the elimination or what?

Photo via.

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