It’s over. The evil is defeated. Or was it released? I don’t even know, I’m not sure I care, and I’m—frankly—exhausted.
In the interest of keeping this short, I only have one thought to share. Of course, it is a thought but there actually isn’t too much to unpack, in my opinion. We all know what we’re thinking so let’s just get into it.
This Is Not The Finale You’re Looking For
Did anyone expect this finale? Did you? Any hands raised, in the back? No?
That’s what I thought. This wasn’t the finale any of us were looking for for multiple reasons. First, it was better than it should have been. There was finally life in this stale format, of taking a private and expert based moment for Ru and giving it to the masses via a faked “live” finale. It was never good, featured shitty lip sync songs, and was crammed into itself like a sweaty bloated sausage. The season nine finale was not that. It was sharp, light, and a bit of fun because the songs that were lip synced weren’t made up, royalty free songs that the queens had thrust on them by production/the channel.
What came with this new finale was a bit of a twist ending that probably shouldn’t have happen, one that rendered the entire season moot: everything—the double fisting of episodes we slaved to view for months and months—that came before the finale really didn’t matter because the ending was a ripoff of itself. We were treated to a Very Special Episode of Lip Sync Battle, where the “most talented” queens faced off for a sudden death elimination or win. It was brutal. Fun, yes, but not something that could really, truly, unabashedly be enjoyed given that certain people (Ahem, Sasha.) were given legs up. The circumstances of the lip syncs aren’t the same as the show’s final two showdown—and I defy you to explain that Sasha prepped such “twists” in her syncs every time she didn’t do well on a challenge. Her weeping rose and egg face hatchling reveal were “cool” but not things that could happen in the world of the show. Poor Shea was smothered under a bed of Ariel white mediocrity that she had no idea she was going to waltz into when the season began. No wonder she dropped a trilogy of music videos on the eve of the finale: she was pissed her game got rigged. Every dark horse (Valentina, Shea, Trinity, Peppermint) was shoved out of the way for a god damned bald bore.
(And one other note: the appropriation of trans persons via RuPaul was really in bad form. I get that Peppermint needed to be celebrated but an apology for his blatant transphobic behaviors would have been better. It was a hollow co-opting of queerness that was pretty gross, in my opinion.)
Like. It all makes sense that Sasha won, within the construct of the finale. It was a great finale! It just wasn’t for this season but, in many ways, it was perfectly for this season because nothing made sense. Even the incredibly problematic, “Girl, I’m trying with you.” Katy Perry was conjured into the mess. The minute she showed up, I was out. I saw the glowing death writing on the wall and I wanted out. It was like the book Annihilation and I was not gagged by the bio-alien speak and spell. (That was a very obscure reference: sorry. You’ll get it when the movie comes out.)
Here’s the other thing: we didn’t even get to see any of the other queens. Yes, yes, yes: we saw them last week. It just didn’t feel right to not see any queens from other seasons have their breakout .gif moments. Papa Velour is no Stacy Lane Matthews!! Granted, you could tell that the Alex theatre venue was quite small considering Valentina and her giant gown were forced into theatre seating: the price you pay for licensing two Whitney Houston songs. The finale did an excellent job of conjuring actual drag performances but a poor job of being a conclusion. It didn’t leave you content but hungry for answers in all directions.
Paired with Sasha’s long, sordid history of being a boring, derivative physicalized version of a freshman sociology major via reality television fan favoritism spoiler win and you see a problem. It’s fitting that the final song was “It’s Not Right But It’s Okay” because it seemed to sum up every problem well. This season was not right, very okay, and we’re going to make it anyway. True, no one who appeared in the “CLAT” video should have been allowed near the top four but—Alas.—two were thrust up for the title.
So what are we left with? A real shitter. A shitter of a season, a shitter of a winner, and a shitter of a situation. Nothing went right this season, for anyone save for Sasha and her stans. We fans will unpack and re-pack this season until we die and, as a friend said, the runoff of season seven being a disaster was a magnificent season eight and All Stars 2. Will this mean season ten and All Stars 3 will be the same? Perhaps. Whatever happens, it is very, very, very clear: take the show back to the basics, queer it up, be exciting. Sell out all the way or be true to yourself—don’t try to be a nice C.U.N.T. and an edgy C.U.N.T.: you can’t have it both ways.
Take your own fucking advice, Drag Race.