Six Thoughts About RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars: Season Three, Episode Five

If this season is ten episodes long, we are roughly halfway through.

As we saw at the end of this episode, next episode is the twist and, potentially, could be played out in an extended, alternate universe given a supergroup is returning. Interesting. More on this later but just setting the scene at this halfway point.

Spoilers, obviously. Proceed with caution.

6. Funny Games
Starting the episode with Shangela and Ben unpacking the win, reflecting on Chi Chi’s polite exit while consoling Trixie, was perhaps this episode’s high point since this was the first filler episode. It was like watching a visual holding pattern and this tiny moment at the top was the most “realness” we got. (That and Aja but more on that later.)

5. The Return Of Quick Drag
Andy Warhol does Drag Race: how fun is this? In theory. Not in execution. Quick Drag challenges are always fun but this one seemed both under baked in execution and under developed, conceptually. Yes, the pop art aesthetic is a choice – but it’s a safe one. Why not opt for literal Polaroids to evoke Warhol’s own? Why not tell them they have literally five shots to turn it out? The resulting Photo Booth™ Warhol vibe was subsequently bad. Cheap. Dumb. Not a challenge for all stars but for newbs. And no one looked good! Aja, yes, looked the best but even her Quick Drag wasn’t that great. Should she have won? Unsure. What I do know is that this mini challenge underwhelmed but, like the soup runway and creating Studio 54 couture, it all sounded great on paper.

4. WTF The Runway
This was the most what the fuck runway ever. Maybe this is just me – Maybe! – but the entire soup can thing was dumb. The girls had a bit of a limitlessness problem in that they threw whatever they wanted on the wall and hoped it stick. From Aja’s “Sweet Soup” to Bebe’s “Achoo” to Trixie’s “[Insert Whatever It Was She Did],” none of them were that great because, well, the challenge wasn’t great because it was a graphic design packaging project that should be left for art school and not reality shows. Moreover, the cans themselves were so fucking wonky and formless and made them all look like dumbasses. If they had to draw by hand? Great! This could have been like the Season 4 Pride Boats runway. That was so fun! Creative! Crafty! This? They literally did five minutes of work, added a voiceover, and called it a day. It was unclear if this was a branding challenge or to evoke something Warholian. It was bad. Atop of this, the design challenge saw no one make anything great. Ben did well for not knowing how to sew (HUH???) and Trixie did the most Trixie thing ever while Kennedy looked good but low budget. But Aja? The “Frances Jolie” inspiration was not great and her being shamed by Ru for not knowing her shit was another episode highlight because Ru isn’t challenging the queens anymore, at least in this fashion. Bebe’s dress was “good” but…did she make it? Or did Aja make it? That was another storyline that was introduced and eliminated, much to our chagrin. Shangela looked terrible. There was so much potential in these challenges but nothing happened. Perhaps Milk should have stayed? Or Thorgy? None of the current queens have a fashionable point of view. Trixie “does” but it’s always the same. She’s too painfully on brand for herself, as are Ben and Bebe. Little invention, little fun, little thrills are being given.

3. 2gd2b4gtn
The post-runway deliberation was decent. Aja had a welcome meltdown that was the inverse of the “You look like Linda Evangelista.” meltdown from Season 9. Shangela’s moment with Trixie was a bit heartfelt and carried over a few great storylines from last episode, that Trixie will now have to pay it forward to Shangela and that this is indeed a game of “who you like most.” Bebe’s Aja moment was ridiculous and revealed this episode that, while she is nice and safe, she doesn’t have much going on. She is very specifically 2009. I’m also not sure she is a spy anymore since they wouldn’t have let a spy win a challenge. Top two? Sure. But win? No. The most memorable – and important – moment was Ben and Kennedy’s chat. “You let this challenge work your ass,” Kennedy told a perplexed Ben. You could hear Ben’s brain somersault since Kennedy called her out for the “I’m so great!” schtick. God bless Kennedy for that. Yes, there is an emotional toll of sending people home: that is true. But if you are on top? You fuck the bottoms. That’s just gay science, Ben.

3.5. What Are The Judges Doing?
Remember last season and the start of this season’s conceit of “While you girls deliberate, we judges will do X.” followed by the judges doing cheeky things like strip poker and watching “Pork Chop” lipsync? It disappeared this episode and the last episode. It’s such a little beat and I understand needing to cut shit for time but…don’t start something and not see it through! Take your own fucking advice, Drag Race!

2. A Lackluster Win For A Lackluster Challenge
What the fuck was this lipsync? Trixie was a mess and didn’t do anything, revealing she is a better personality than drag queen. Bebe was technically great but, in her spy game, this win was crafted for her. A Diana Ross song after she played Diana a few episodes ago? I call bullshit on that. Ru just may love Bebe so much that she wants her to succeed but I ain’t buying nothing Bebe is serving me. The Aja elimination was a shock but also…not at all: Bebe not letting Aja defend herself said it all. There was no twist. Plus, Shangela wasn’t getting sent home by Trixie. Aja took the shocking fall.

1. What Will The Return Entail?
The Handmaid moment is coming, teased in the last seconds of the episode. What does it mean? The girls at play are Milk, Aja, Morgan, Thorgy, and Chi Chi, an even five out of the competition to the even five in the competition. The next episode they are competing in girl groups against each other. That is inspired! My question is what will happen if the dead girl team wins. Do the tables turn? Do the dead girls stay in play or will last season’s “Welp, only one of you gets to come back.” shit remain? My hope is that they keep all queens and run two parallel games and have the final two fight to the death. While that hope may not come to fruition, something is going to happen here and I think they’re going to be more dramatic than last season. Blessed be.

Eh. This episode was fluff for next episode’s major drama. I hope!

The ranking got all sorts of flipped.

10. Morgan McMichaels
9. Thorgy Thor
8. Milk
7. Chi Chi
6. Aja (Down three. Who saw her getting the chop? Not I. Not one bit! Aja truly did grow up and lived up to the hype. Good for her! She had to take the fall though. Somebody did!)
5. Bebe Zahara Benet (Up one – as a formality. I don’t think she’s a spy any longer but I don’t think she’s that great. If they are building her up for a pity win, to validate Ru, I will disown this show.)
4. & 3. [TIE] Kennedy Davenport & Trixie Mattel (Up one and up one. These two are so evenly fine. Kennedy mentioned something ridiculous this episode about people in the middle deserving to win. Bitch, what? That’s what I think when these two come to mind: so solidly mediocre. Fun people without lasting charisma, uniqueness, nerve, and talent.)
2. Shangela (Maintained. She’s wearing on me. Someone has to be the runner up, though!)
1. Ben De La Creme (Maintained. Formality. This was the first time she didn’t take top two and did fairly well this week. They all were losers this week but Ben was the least losery.)

Your thoughts? Your feelings? Your predictions for the upcoming heel to drop with the twist?

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