RuPaul’s Drag Race – Season 6 Episode 3: “Scream Queens”

All together now.

What a difference an extra six queens make: this episode saw the remaining 12 contestants finally united and competing in the same field, and it didn’t take long for the battle lines to be drawn. After the original meeting and subsequent shade-throwing (where by far the best part was all of the Group 2 queens laughing about Gia’s wonky eye behind her back), Ru attempted to promote harmony with the mini-challenge, where one of the requirements was that each queen had to pair up with someone who wasn’t in their original group. The challenge was to perform a beach-themed lip sync with one queen as the top and one as the bottom (STEADY), and despite Laganja giving LEGZ FOR DAYZ UH HUH OH YES MAMA WORK IT GIRL, the winning team ended up being Adore (the face) and Milk (the legs) for delivering a decent combination of comedy and managing to keep a straight face. Appointed as team captains for the main challenge, each of them ended up picking everyone else from their original group to be on their team, leaving us with a real Week One vs Week Two battle. I mean, I’m not necessarily saying the producers planned for this to happen all along, but I’m sure they were at least fairly aware that such an outcome was highly likely, and were rubbing their hands with glee when it all came to pass.

The main challenge for the week was to star in a B-movie, with Team Milk producing the original 60s Drag Race Me To Hell and Team Adore working on the presumed franchise-zombie 80s sequel Drag Race Me To Hell 5. Neither team captain was particularly effective when it came to assigning roles – Adore basically ippy-dippyed her way through the casting process, while Milk put slightly more thought into giving people roles that suited them but still cast Trinity K Bonet in an anchoring role when Trinity warned that she was an acting virgin. Trinity’s struggles during the read through lead to Bianca suggesting that she adopt a characterisation closer to her natural state, which Trinity correctly inferred was an instruction to play the character “ghetto”. Meanwhile, several corners of the internet seemed convinced that Bianca actually literally told Trinity to “black it up”, which is not something that I remember happening.

Either way, this set the scene for a fair scuffle between Trinity and Bianca across the episode, culminating in a workroom feud where Trinity explained that her dream was to play Beyoncé in a drag revue in Vegas and Bianca candidly pointed out that Beyoncé doesn’t really have much of a character to work around, so that sort of show only works if you really look like her, and Trinity does not so much. Trinity, naturally, was quite upset about this and then they had a fight about how sensitive Trinity is. Interestingly, both of them had valid points to make in their arguments but both of them kind of looked like assholes in the making of them, although Bianca probably fared better thanks to her natural quick wit. That said, Bianca did throw a lot of shade in this episode, and while I get that she’s an insult comic, it probably wouldn’t hurt her to remember that she doesn’t have to get involved in every argument.

While many of us were longing for the Bianca Del Rio vs Gia Gunn shade-throwing face-off that the first two episodes seemed to be hinting towards, it rapidly became clear in this episode that Gia only looked like a shade master in the first episode because she didn’t have much competition. In the real world, against the likes of Bianca (and to a lesser extent Courtney), Gia just comes across as a vapid mean girl. Still, it was fun seeing her not knowing what a DeLorean was or how to pronounce it, and the editors leaving in the part where she crowed about how the other group’s video was only in black and white and the producer having to point out that that was because it was set in the 1960s. In short: Gia Gunn isn’t nearly as clever as she thinks she is, and it’s going to be great fun watching her slowly descend into some sort of sub-Phi Phi O’Hara state where she clearly thinks she’s throwing out killer lines and acting as the voice of the audience and all the while she can’t see the tumbleweed rolling past behind her.

After watching the first two episodes, many viewers seemed to think that the queens from episode two were a stronger group on the whole, and the challenge seemed to bear that out: Courtney and Bianca in particular were spot-on in their roles, and Trinity managed to overcome her early on-set problems to deliver a passable performance. Meanwhile, Darienne Lake stole the show with a comparitively small role as the disembodied head, and oddly enough it was only really Milk herself who didn’t deliver in the performance. Compare and contrast that to Team Adore, where April Carrión (entirely miscast as a butch lesbian real estate agent) and Laganja (adopting an accent that didn’t quite work) floundered, while Adore herself was shamefully underprepared and only really skated through on her natural charm, and the less said about Vivacious’s turn as the disembodied head the better. Ben Delacreme was good in the role of the deranged mother, although I think the judges’ insistence at panel that she would’ve won if she’d been on the other team were a bit of a reach. Bitch had nothing on Darienne.

Guest judges Lena Headey (I’ve been pronouncing her name wrong for years, and I’d imagine most of you have too) and Linda Blair were fun, but were almost a little bit too honoured to be there and as a result didn’t deliver that much in the way of memorable critique, although I live for Lena being the only one clapping at the end of Team Adore’s video, especially since she seemed to be clapping in a way that suggested she’d thoroughly enjoyed how awful it was. Asked to produce their best runway, the likes of Bianca, April, Darienne (who won the challenge overall, and deservedly so) and Laganja turned it out, but there were less impressive turns from Gia (a boring jumpsuit), Adore (a ratty mermaid costume) and Vivacious (Denver The Last Dinosaur). Frankly, if this was really their best drag, they were all up shit creek. Once again, Adore saved herself by owning her okayness and admitting to her faults, though to be honest I think she deserved to be bottom two this week based on overall performance. Also, I’m still really not getting Milk, other than a generally off-putting vibe of “you don’t have to be crazy to work here, but it helps!!!!” (Still would, though.)

Ultimately April paid the price for Adore’s poor casting decision and ended up in the bottom two (and I disagree with this: she wasn’t great in the video, but she did the best she could with a role she was never going to be able to pull off, and her runway was stunning this week – Adore should’ve been B2 for putting her in that position in the first place combined with that terrible, horrible, no good very bad runway frock) against Vivacious. Now, when Vivacious arrived in her tight plastic suit covered in spikes my first thought was “wow, I hope she doesn’t have to lip-sync, because it’s going to be impossible in that outfit”. And sure enough, Vivacious didn’t really have the freedom of movement, and her best hope of survival was to accidentally poke April’s eyes out as they performed ‘Shake It Up’ by Selena Gomez (a song that was far more suited to April than Vivacious in the first place anyway). April stayed, and Vivacious went straight back to the club, presumably.

Next week: the singing challenge, which hopefully means the return of Hot Lucian. My body is ready.

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