Who knew reunion was going to be therapy? I did not.
After nearly a year without a reunion, we were finally treated to a little hashing and rehashing of what’s been going on in drag world. (Which, truly, we really needed for All Stars 3 but alas. It didn’t happen.) This was both cathartic and shocking while being everything and nothing that we expected.
I’m going to try (Try!) to keep things brief so let’s just get into it.
• It’s The Vixen’s world. This is the biggest takeaway, obviously. Whether you agree or disagree with how The Vixen presented herself or “played the game” during the season, it was pretty fucking obvious that she is the queen on everyone’s lips. Why? Because she has taken the time and energy and emotion to challenge the show, RuPaul, reality television, and entertainment in general for their handling of race. Yes, reality television is a produced fantasy but there are also realities that cannot be escaped in reality television – and Drag Race has repeatedly failed at presenting and preserving queens of color, specifically black queens. This wasn’t even really expressed in the show but there was this feeling after Vixen left that someone did something wrong. Not her, no, but that the way her story and her self was presented – Equivalent to fighting, to being confrontational, to yelling. – was wrong. Sure, yeah, whatever: “I came to fight.” You know what else? She did and did not do that. At some points, Vixen instigated (Aquaria versus Cracker.) while other times she was so shat upon only to be made the enemy (Eureka versus Vixen.), while others skated off as if nothing happened. This was largely the fault of…
• RuPaul sucks. This was all up to Ru to make better but he clearly failed, making it not only about himself but by only using really smoke-and-mirror-y language to get this across, pulling proverbs from his books and his catalogue instead of actually listening. Sure, yeah, whatever: Vixen was probably planning to walk out anyway. That’s something I thought about, that we’ve all thought about. In some ways, it’s a stunt. What wasn’t the stunt? Ru’s reaction. Vixen set Ru up to pass or fail a test of addressing race on the show, of actually doing some legitimate work, and he failed. Saying that you have been called too gay by the black community and too femme by the gay community is an observation, yes, but that lacked any depth, nuance, or compassion. It barely acknowledged Vixen’s struggle or hopes or self and instead copped it all up to a “Do as I say – not as I do.” sort of something. He came out of the episode looking really bad, really tired, really like a robot.
• Asia Forever. There are two things to say about Asia: she easily won the crown, being the only one in the top four to actually say or do anything during the reunion, and she also schooled Ru on how to do her fucking job. It was not shocking that Asia pulled this off but that Ru was so blind, deaf, and generally dumb to have figured out how to handle this. Very disappointing – and now Asia.
• Therapy, therapy, therapy. After Vixen’s extended moment, there was a series of segments and acts there were therapy and therapy and therapy. Dusty’s conversion therapy, Monique’s religious revelations, Blair’s rape rehashing, Yuhua’s cultural conversation: these were just some of the few instances of really heavy shit being brought up and extended from their moments in the season. It was a lot! This was such an emotional ride and, while necessary, was a lot to watch. This wasn’t the reunion any of us expected, was it? Perhaps this is the Queer Eye effect.
• Can Alex Trebek Always Be On? The best cameo or guest or whatever was easily Alex Trebek as we saw in Reunited because he offered so many ridiculous and fun takes on the catchphrases of the show. He was the secret (Or not so secret, really.) best guest on the show. He should always be on hand to give us sound bites.
• Vanjie, You Peach. She may have gone home in episode one, she may be a living meme, but she actually showed that she is quiet a competent and sharp queen by extending her breakout moment during the reunion. I was impressed! We should probably expect her to return next season or something, right?
• Kameron: Suck It. The only – The only! – moment of reality drama that was delivered (Or directed?) at Kameron. And it was some good shit because she got burned not once but twice. First, the social media accusations, which I knew nothing about. Monique lead this charge and basically pointed out how Kameron is a secret, shitty Valentina type who is a super bitch behind people’s backs (Specifically online, which I did not know.) only to play nice-ish to her face. Dusty (and Cracker and Monet and Monique) backed this up by pointing out how little the queen cares for or interacts with the other queens. This was a revelation! It also cast her “I’m a quiet loner.” schtick for a complete fake act. Second? She got zero votes from her other queens while Eureka got the most votes followed by Asia and then Aquaria. This was the shade of the season! It was so delicious and so good – and Kameron’s sour face after the fact? It was the reward we had all been waiting for all season, since this bitch coasted to the finish. I hope Ru saw this shade because her treatment of Kameron is a small dovetail into her treatment of race: something she needs to fucking see with her own eyes. This was a delicious moment of that.
There was really nothing else that happened? I mean, yes, other things happened – but this reunion was really easy to boil down to its bare bones. I’ll take it!
It also solidified my breakdown of who is ranked where. I believe this is the first time this season shit has gone unchanged too?
Vanessa Vanjie Mateo
Kalorie Karbdashian Williams
Dusty Ray Bottoms
Blair St. Clair
Monet X Change
4. Kameron Michaels (Maintained. Fuck her.)
3. Eureka O’Hara (Maintained. She’s fine. Just bored!)
2. Aquaria (Maintained. I wouldn’t hate a win for her! Just don’t really care, really.)
1. Asia O’Hara (Maintained. This is her game! I am praying so hard that she pulls off the tightest, sickest lip syncs at the finale. Please, gawd.)
I can’t wait for Thursday, so we can finally get a break from this show. Being gay is exhausting! Just like Drag Race!