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Ten Thoughts About RuPaul’s Drag Race: Season Ten, Episode Five

We’re officially deep into the mid-season slump.

Five episodes in and it feels like this show has both been on forever and is never ending. We still have nine people in this competition! That seems like insanity to me, a number that feels almost impossible to comprehend.

To that, the growing pains of axing the mediocre queens is manifesting at this moment as we work through the season’s blue balls to get to the juicy finalists. We still have a ways to go and, accordingly, we shall discuss what happened this past week.

Spoilers, obviously. Proceed with caution.

10. See Something, Say Something
Who knew how prophetic Alexis Michelle’s “See Something, Say SomethingUntucked moment from last season was? It manifested this season as Asia getting mad at everyone at the start of the episode for not looking out for herself and helping other’s too much. To this, she reacted as Alexis Michelle: why didn’t anyone tell me to stop? No, that is not their job but, yes, she was helping everyone – and everyone should have helped her back. This was eventually a non-issue, as these episode teases tend to be, but did recall that of the annoyance that is Alexis Michelle.

9. A Good, Boring Design Mini-Challenge
Like this entire episode, the mini-challenge was great and boring, delightfully banal, brilliantly mediocre. It’s like shrugging and saying “Eh.” but with a lot of glitter on top. The queens had to create camo couture or some shit via military apparel handed to them. An interesting design focused mini-challenge! But it was just so whatever, as if this challenge was created by drawing words out of a hat – Military! Runway! Design! Quick drag! – without any sort of meaning (i.e., “In honor and support of our LGBTQ+ service members…”). It led to a deserved win by The Vixen and some severe ugh remarks by way of queens like Kameron Michaels who, again, I am not seeing the magic of.

8. Vixen’s Rules
Vixen’s win meant Vixen’s rules and, being the chaos queen that she is, we ended up with very interesting teams. This was bound to go one of two ways: Vixen’s plan works and she wins while everyone else sucks or Vixen inadvertently sets everyone else up for success and she fails. The latter befell her, sadly, although her team picks were only intended to fuck over Aquaria and Eureka. Boy, did that backfire.

7. LOL Ideas & Some Payoffs
The setup was looking tense, particularly for an improv challenge. Would these queens all bomb? I didn’t even think about that until we had situations like Blair and Monique’s need for their “Vanjie” safe word or Vixen and Asia’s wormhole of them playing characters playing other queens. Things like this were a bit hard to track because there was, frankly, a lot going on. It all ended up working out though! Blair and Monique were great with Monique mostly stealing attention; Mayhem needed her volume turned up to match Cracker’s wild pickle doctor; Kameron somehow bested Monet by simply being more present and playing her character traits; Vixen got too stuck on a non-script while Asia had a lot of fun in the moment (and neither were Aquaria or Cracker at all); while everyone was bested by Aquaria and Vixen, whose bossy babies were brilliant.

6. Bossy Rossy Forever
This Bossy Rossy Show? I wish it was real. I love Ross so much and this, again, illustrated that he is such a gay television gem. He’s so funny and deadpan and smart and really has a sort of critical sweetness that makes him a great judge on this show. While I want to say “Give him a show!” that already happened and it bombed. Granted, that was five years ago and Ross has developed quite a bit. Perhaps his sun is still rising!

5. A Vulnerable Vixen
In the pre-runway workroom, Vixen had a bit of redemption – or a moment to explain her backstory – by way of a semi-forced apology with Eureka via Mayhem. This moment was so great because we got to hear how Vixen became Vixen, that she stopped idling by the side of politics to become political. Thus, her drag isn’t just “I’m here to fight.” but “I am tired of being tired in this world, as a black person.” I love it. I love that she didn’t give Eureka a hug and that she, in so many words, explained to the world that she does things on her own terms. She doesn’t take shit – love or hate – quietly from anyone. That is a recipe for success if she can balance this straight shooting with the vulnerability we saw on this episode.

4. Does Anyone Know Denim?
This runway was good and bad and sad and fun. Why did everyone do chaps? Vixen’s version of chaps made Monet look like a child while Asia’s Thunderdome ruffles were quite cute. Monique’s giraffe-cow was fun but Eureka’s mall mom onesie denim wallpaper something was not great while both Kameron and Blair had a bit of whatever southern boobage. The real standouts were the real liabilities: Mayhem and Cracker, who were on a team together and whose outfits and endings went in the exact opposite directions, as Mayhem’s sweet pinky toddler Judd was questioned for being both insufficiently denim-y and diamond-y while Cracker’s Pippi long Levi’s studded stockings was plucky and country enough to shine. Perhaps it was the tone of the denim that killed Mayhem while Cracker killed it? Unsure but this seemed a little unfair (and I did love that Mayhem look but understand that it didn’t quite fit in on the runway).

3. Eureka??
Eureka dominated this episode. She very much deserved her win and seems to be rising up the ranks. I don’t think she’s going to win but her fat naked baby was just so perfect. She felt ripped from an alt reality 2018, where a John Waters film about a sexy, fat baby is actually being produced. It was the right amount of absurd paired with the backhanded “body positive” message of revealing the big body in a way that wasn’t undermining (i.e., “I’m fat! That’s the joke!”) and instead was merely an element of characterization (i.e., “I’m a literally big baby!”). This was a win all around – save for the runway look. In this regard, Monique should have won. Alas, it went to Eureka and isn’t entirely undeserved.

2. Shania? Do You Know Her?
How fucking bland was Shania? She was as bland as…Kameron Michaels, who loves her. Interesting. Also interesting: Shania’s stupid Trump support. Perfectly timed snafu, tbh.

1. It Is Not Miller Time
Mayhem Miller. Mayhem, Mayhem, Mayhem. I did not see this coming! I was rooting for her! We were all rooting for her! It makes sense that Mayhem was eliminated from a poor, low energy performance on the show but she really, truly had this game in the bag. What happened? She must have gotten into some mental funk or something because her balloon of fierceness just kind of fizzled and farted around the room until it disappeared. Mayhem is so fierce! But, alas, she brought upon her own demise by fading into the background, for whatever reason. Wah wah. I’m bummed but also not surprised. Again: mid-season blue balls. Sadly, they manifested as Mayhem.

Does anyone know what’s happening next week? The tease was remarkably coy, not showing anything of the runway or what to expect from queens outside of some drama/fight/something. We’ll see. Also: I feel like Snatch Game is nearly upon us as next week has nine queens and I feel like they are trying to be coy about the challenge.

One thing this season keeps doing? Fucking with my ranking. I guess that’s good? Unsure.

14. Vanessa Vanjie Mateo
13. Kalorie Karbdashian Williams
12. Yuhua Hamasaki
11. Dusty Ray Bottoms
10. Mayhem Miller (Down six – and out. I’m surprised and not. I’m bummed. My top pick: vanished! She’ll be a great All Star though.)
9. Kameron Micheals (Down one, as a formality. I am not seeing what the jazz is about. She is failing her way up and is so undeserving of being top ten because she is so boring, unfashionable, and “cute” as a guy which they are not milking.)
8. Monet X Change (Up one, as a formality. Monet. What the fuck is going on? Get it the fuck together!!!!)
6. & 7. Aquaria & The Vixen (Maintained and down one. These two have been neck-in-neck and, you know, they’re very much same-same. Aquaria has the literal “edge” but Vixen and her are fairly even as far as wins.)
5. Monique Heart (Up four. She’s been so consistently great! I saw someone say that Monique may be this season’s Alyssa Edwards. Not sure if I agree but she is coming out as a goofy someone who can turn out semi-fierce looks.)
4. Blair St. Clair (Down one. She’s kinda boring? But I still love her. The underdog of the season! Her and Monique, really.)
3. Eureka O’Hara (Up five. Shocker! I still do not think she is going to win but god love her for trying.)
2. Asia O’Hara (Maintained. Not a super great showing this episode but better than most. Don’t pull a Mayhem on me, Asia!)
1. Miz Cracker (Maintained. She really is the one to beat. There’s nothing to say except Cracker has consistently done well.)

Thoughts? Next episode better see the show stepping that pussy up in terms of being exciting.

Photo via.

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