Well hasn’t this been an interesting week in the fandom of Drag Race. While we were still recovering from the glorious second episode we had someone leak the entire third episode… who Wow is probably hunting down right now with a spoon so they can extract painful vengeance upon them. It was certainly a fun thing to see people replying directly to tweets by the cast “We already saw the episode”, because I’m sure VH1 and Wow love being told directly that the episode they worked hard on got leaked and reminded of that hourly. But, since it was leaked, I can now assume everyone saw it a few dozen times and I don’t have to do this.
Wait, I do? Oh right, I decided to actually try and make this into something so I have to do it. OK, here we go.
We begin as we always must, by looking at the mirror and seeing the message that Farrah left on the mirror. Valentina is still reveling from her killer lip-sync from last week. We also learned that Monet also picked Farrah and we kind of knew that we were going to have to deal with that. The big thing from the opening is Gia reacting to Farrah’s iconic “You actually don’t love me” and… Well, she doesn’t appear to get just what it is that she did that might cause that reaction. Now, this could possibly be the edit because that edit has some shade in it (All edits have shade in them) but… I mean, can we be real and admit that what she did last week when she interrupted Farrah’s time to plead her case was fucked up. I’m not going to get over that for a little while. I get that people are saying that it’s a case of the girls trying to give us good TV but… I’m sorry, either that was a real decision she made in the moment which was upsetting, or it was an attempt to make good TV which means that we’ve decided being pointlessly petty is good TV and neither option works for me. Seriously, future queens, please do not try to make good TV, just be genuine. We love you more if you’re genuine.
Speaking of genuine, we clearly have a genuine fan boy on the judges panel because Gus Kenworthy comes out for the introduction with a big hat, lifts it up in the air and does his own version of Sasha Velour’s reveal. I lived for it. I absolutely lived for everything about it. I swear you can always tell when the show brings on real fans and this was one of those moments, and I love it.
Anyway, we then get into the workroom and there’s no mini challenge this week. I’m not enjoying this lack of mini challenge. The Maxi Challenge is Snatch Game… of love. This kind of reminds me of the Gaff In from All Stars 1, a bad idea that someone should’ve stopped right away because Snatch Game works due to its simple format that allows the performers to really show off what they can do. The setup for Snatch Game allows for simple setup/punch line jokes and what makes it special is how the queens take this setup and run with it. Also, with more queens it allows them to bounce off each other a lot better, the top row can talk to the bottom row, we can have planned out gags that change how the game is going. You can do things like Cher’s iconic wig changes or suddenly go from Uzo to Carol Channing. This changes that dynamic by halving the amount of queens on each round, means the bad performances will stand out more and the good performers have less to work with. You can even see in the big wide shot the team that isn’t on stage just watching the show, unable to really respond when on Snatch Game they could’ve been in there and bouncing off of some of the great setup. This setup does also mean that the good performances will stand out more than they did before, but the bad ones are going to be some of the worst that we’ve ever seen. So, let’s go over them and starting with Gus Kenworthy’s team
MonetXChange as Whitney Houston was fine, she had a good look and some good jokes. It’s certainly a step up from what we got the last time we saw a Whitney Houston, but it’s a step down from the glory that was Maya Angelou of last time. It’s a very safe performance. It has high points, but there are a lot of problems… especially when she start’s yelling BOBBY! for no reason
Naomi Smalls as Wendy Williams is iconic. The look is right, the jokes are on point and she reacts to everything just right. The highlight is when she walks past Gus right at the end and recreates the iconic faint while wearing the headpiece. It’s a genuinely hilarious performance that was one of the real highlights of the episode.
Trinity as Caitlyn Jenner was one of those glorious over the top performances that Snatch Game was made for. She really gave a funny performance that had her interacting with the other queens when they replied, pulling great jokes out of the bad lines that the other queens were coming up with. For the record though, it’s nothing on Sharon Needle’s iconic performance of Caitlyn when they do the Snatch Game on tour, but it’s amazing.
Valentina as Eartha Kitt has some potential, her voice was right and I did like her look, the problem is that she didn’t have any jokes. Her attempt to reference Emperor’s New Groove was painful because… I mean, goddamn, that’s not the moment to yell “Pull the Lever”. That’s a joke for regular Snatch game when you could’ve ended the show by yelling that, dropping under the stage and yelling “WRONG LEVER!” as the final joke. Instead she shot it out right up the top and it didn’t work.
Now, onto Keiynan’s team
Monique Heart as Tiffany Haddish… it’s OK, but I kind of wanted her to have better jokes. I did love her little side comments and she had enough there to keep it safe but I wanted so much more out of Tiffany Haddish. I did love her reaction to the Super Power question, it was so gloriously over the top that I wanted that to be the entire performance.
Manila Luzon as Barbra Streisand was one of the funniest things because Manila made her a pure caricature that was absolutely delightful. She was like a Muppet version of Barbra and wasn’t afraid to really mock the person she was impersonating, which is a key thing. Plus, that accent was hilarious.
Gia Gunn as Jenny Bui… congrats, we have the worst character in Snatch Game history. Queens, hear my call, DO NOT DO INSTAGRAM/YOUTUBERS/PEOPLE-WHO-HAVE-NO-PERSONALITIES FOR SNATCH GAME! There’s nothing on earth that can change my mind of this, it does not ever work for anyone. Don’t do people who are only famous because they’re related to someone with talent and please, for the love of all that is holy, do not do someone’s assistant/nail person because they aren’t famous, they’re fame-adjacent! Oh, and then once we’re done with the fact that her character is just an awful choice then we have to deal with the fact that Gia did not know when the hell to shut up and let the other queens have their moment. This wasn’t “I have a good joke that will work in this situation”, this was just painful to watch because she was stepping on punch lines, she only didn’t step on Monique’s superpower joke because Manila flat out told her to shut up. If only they had stopped her before she tried it on Latrice who was so pissed off that she broke character just to question what the hell is going on. OH and I’m genuinely tired of Gia doing this “You look like a man” thing. Genuinely, I’m tired of it. She did it in her season, she did it here, and if ANYONE should know that it’s not OK to do that kind of thing it should be Gia… I’m just… this performance is the worst in Snatch Game history. The actual worst.
Latrice as Della Reese was great, she would’ve easily been able to be one of the best and pull off a great performance if she didn’t have to deal with Gia. You could see the jokes, she had some great ones in there and was really bringing a performance that might’ve even made her a top and then she had to deal with the actual worst creation in Snatch Game history and since it was concentrated to 4 queens instead of 8, there wasn’t anything she could really pivot too and it destroyed her game. Should she have been able to stick in character? Maybe, but she also had to deal with someone stepping on every joke and saying she looked like a man so frankly, we’re lucky she didn’t just walk off.
All in all, this was the worst Snatch Game. This was the actual worst Snatch Game, it’s not even a Snatch Game and in general it just depressed me. I was sure I was done with it and then two things happened. The first thing that happened was Latrice and Gia actually addressing the situation and Gia took accountability for what she did and I do respect that. They actually called out the issue and really dealt with it enough that I’m sure t hat after the show they really got to patch things up. We do have to remember that this was filmed months ago, while these issues are things we’re seeing now, everyone involved got over it long ago. We can react to it now because it’s on TV, but these fights are old and everyone involved moved on so I’m sure we can too.
Second big issue that was brought up and will carry throughout the rest of the episode is that Manila might be planning on pulling a lipstick of the biggest competition, the same thing that Morgan said in All Stars 3 except Manila waited till she obviously would have that power so it wasn’t going to come back to bite her in the same episode. It’s an interesting idea and I’m stunned it’s not what happens more often. I’m still stunned no one tried to send Alaska home in AS2 when she was in the bottom. This is a competition, these queens want to win, and I’m stunned that isn’t a constant worry with this new setup because it should be a real potential problem that everyone has to deal with.
The runway is Boots The House Down and the only real standouts for me were Manila’s S&M Bunny outfit and Valentina who had this gorgeous nude one piece outfit that joined the boots to the body piece and everything else was good or bad, but nothing stood out other than those two outfits. What happened next was almost completely expected, the top two were Manila and Trinity while the bottom two were Gia and Valentina and there is no real other option on this one. Naomi was good, but she was not as good as the other two and Latrice had jokes and everyone could tell that her problem wasn’t anything to do with her and everything to do with the person beside her.
Back in the workroom we get so many more great moments, the best part though involves Gia opening up about how hard it is for her to be doing Drag as a Trans woman which is a fascinating conversation to have. There is one sentence that just says it all “As a Trans woman, I don’t feel good about being looked at like a man dressed up as a woman”. That is an honest powerful emotional moment because that would be such a difficult thing to deal with, but it showed us clearly that the Gia we have been seeing is not the real Gia and I’m so glad they addressed it. Because for everything I’ve said about Gia, I never liked saying it. I am here commenting on what’s being presented and trying to contextualize it, but that’s a context that I couldn’t possibly have known about because I’m not a Trans woman. I wish more than anything that Gia had come to that realization in an earlier episode because maybe then we could’ve had a nicer Gia that was really something to see. I liked this version of Gia, the Gia who was open about what was going on in her head… the season 6 Gia was fine in small doses, but this isn’t season 6 and we don’t have someone to call her out properly like we did back then and I just… I wish I’d gotten to see more of this sweet Gia that we got for a few minutes. I’m sure there was more there (We have an hour out of two days) but… I mean Roxxxy can confirm, if you don’t give them the dramatic bitch footage to work with, people will love you because they can see the real you.
Anyway, we get back to the stage and our guest judges thumb wrestle and I literally love everything about this show. I might bitch about it at times, but oh god when this show embraces the camp factor, it’s amazing to see.
Finally it’s time for the lip sync and while we know for a fact who Trinity is going to pick, the wild card here is Manila. When the number begins I won’t pretend I wasn’t rooting for Trinity… and then I see what Manila is wearing and I hear that the song is How Will I Know by Whitney Houston and it becomes clear what’s going to happen. Manila is just living in a Whitney video and not even aware of everything else that’s going on. She’ll get in front of Trinity and not even realize she’s doing it, Trinity has to work around her and there is something gloriously fun about it. The image that sticks with me is Trinity literally just grabbing onto Manila’s leg and performing around her. Both queens did something really great and fun and made one of the best lip syncs of the season. As soon as it ends though, we know that Manila is the winner and now we have the tense moment. Will Manila pull out the lipstick that she should pull out because the person did the worst, or pull out a lipstick of the person who is competition? In the end, she pulls out Gia’s lipstick and sends her home. No matter what has been said about her, even by me, no one can deny that Gia is a talent that is formidable and seeing her getting to show herself right at the end was enough to make me know that she is someone to watch. Please, go see her shows when she’s near you, buy her merch, no matter if you loved her or you were angry about how she behaved, there is no denying that she is an icon of the series and brings it. I wish her nothing but the best.
So, next week we’re going to talk about the Jersey Justice show and everything about it… I wonder if that one’ll be on YouTube by this Tuesday?
Gia: Well what you wanna do is not nesecarily what you’re gonna do
Gia: (About Trinity being a better fit to play Caitlyn Jenner) You’re caucasian, you have a fucked up nose like her.
Gus Kenworthy: I’ve been on Plenty Of Fish and I’m looking for something a little fishier.
Rupaul: While you queens deliberate in the workroom, the judges and I will watch Gus and Keiynan wrestle
Manilla: We don’t have to deliberate