Before we begin, let’s start with this open letter from dear Max’s dear mother, who had a word or two to say about the editing of last week’s episode:
How can you not love that! And now it’s time for another episode of “Wow! The internet rumors are right!”
Ladies and gentlemen, without further ado, it’s time to meet the returning queen…
…I’m sorry? She’s not the queen coming back to the competition?!
*sigh* Ok. But this does lead to something I touched on last week, and was the discussing with the people I saw the episode with. To quote myself…
It made me happy and sad to see the great Bianca Del Rio on our screens for only a second last night. Her appearance was controversial in that caused the people at the screening I was at to weigh the merits of the remaining queens against the legends of the game (like Bebe, Nina, Ongina, Raven, Jujubee, Pandora, Raja, Manilla, Alexis, Shangela, Sharon, Chad, Willam, Latrice, Alaska, Jinkx, and Bianca, to name a few examples). And sadly, they were found wanting in comparison. It’s interesting to see if any of these current queens could have survived past seasons.
But that’s something to be pondered later. For now, let us enjoy the prison yard fashion show.
Stunning! No really, I’m stunned. And while I was gagging over Katya’s Pussy Riot realness, Ru gave the win to Kennedy for the verisimilitude (ashy knees and flat shoes and all).
And now it’s time to meet the returning queen…
Not you, Shangela! I mean, her!
In an ingenious twist, Ru brought back every single eliminated queen at this point (Tempest DuJour, Sasha Belle, Jasmine Masters, Trixie Mattel, Mrs. Kasha Davis, Kandy Ho, and Max) for this challenge; one of the remaining queens must turn one of the eliminated queens into their twin. Their conjoined twin. For the winning queen it means a prize for them and for their partner, they get back in the competition. I was so pleased with this challenge. When Ru has brought queens back before they were either queens that weren’t fan favorites (see Season 4’s Kenya Michaels) or didn’t really excel on the challenges (see Season 3’s Carmen Carrera). By making the returning queens fight to get their spot back automatically raises the stakes not only for them but the remaining queens as their own survival is now in the hands of how they work with their teammate (which was assigned by Kennedy as part of winning the challenge).
For the runway Ru is joined by Michelle, Ross, True Blood cast member Nelsan Ellis and singer LeAnn Rimes. Let’s see how these twisted sisters did. For the most part the results actually worked, but it made for one of the most gloriously bizarre runways in the show’s history.
Miss Fame and Kandy worked surprisingly well together (and I have to give my compliments to Fame here – her makeup for Kandy was beautiful) and looked great together. Where it fell apart was on the concept. Appearing as plastic surgeon victims is fine but it wasn’t really well thought out; odd given Miss Fame’s propensity for overthinking things to the nth degree. Even the words on the outfit were an odd choice.
Jaidynn and Tempest were as mismatched on stage as they sound, and though they rallied with a disco-themed outfit, it wasn’t as inspired as some of the other queens. The thing with Jaidynn, in group challenges at least, is that she needs someone that will engage with her (see how she bloomed in the Shakesqueer challenge when she had Max to work with and off of). Unfortunately, when she’s faced with queens who go with the flow like Tempest, she crumbles, which is unfortunate as she has a lot to offer as a queen. In addition to a winning stage presence and a fierce lip sync, she has surprisingly strong makeup skills that she used to strong advantage with Tempest’s face.
Kennedy and Jasmine worked well together and actually looked like sisters (and Jasmine’s makeup has never looked better), and from the waist up the look was fine. Where it lost me was on the bottom half. In trying to look like they were joined at the leg, we could see the material they used to bind their center leg together. If they had moved the leg slit to go to their outside legs it would have been fine.
Pearl and Trixie were on fire in this challenge. Not only is there some poetic justice for Pearl being the one to bring Trixie back, but in such a fantastic way that played to both of their strengths. This whole look was a true collaboration from both of them in terms of the comedy and the makeup and they both delivered. A deserved win.
Violet and Max also came out with a very strong showing. While the showgirl aesthetic was a little played out the two of them saved it by (a) looking drop dead gorgeous, and (b) showing tons of personality between the two of them. Like Pearl and Trixie, this played to both of their strengths and allowed them to really sell the outfit.
As much of a problem as they were together, Ginger and Sasha’s concept was appropriately weird and kind of worked. Their concept as two Peg Bundy-types joined at the bosom turned out better than expected (and Sasha in particular looked great in that aesthetic). The problem was that the outfit itself was so poorly constructed that it looked tacky in the wrong ways.
Katya and Kasha surprised me by delivering an inspired look. By being two casino twins joined at the genitals, it was a trashy yet gut-bustingly funny look, made all the better by the way they sold it on the runway. In my mind, this came in a very close second.
In the end, Pearl won and there was #JusticeForTrixie. Miss Fame got very lucky and was safe while Jaidynn and Ginger were in the bottom two. Or should I say Jaidynn and Tempest and Ginger and Sasha. For the Lip Sync For Your Life, the pairs had to perform Tiffany’s “I Think We’re Alone Now,” which led to one of the most fabulous shit shows I’ve seen on the show in a long time. The sight of each pair performing was hilarious on its own (and kudos to both Tempest and Sasha for matching Jaidynn and Ginger’s energies) but then Ginger performed the first quadruple mastectomy on stage and it was hilarious. And from there it gloriously fell apart. In the end Ginger gets to live another day, while Jaidynn must Sashay Away, and I will miss her lovely energy and her genuinely sweet presence. And if her farewell on Untucked is any indication, so will all of the crew as well.
– While I loved the idea of bringing everyone back to compete for this challenge, another idea Ru could try is if she wanted to bring back a queen later in the season is to pick a challenge (say the traditional makeover challenge) and then bring back anyone who had won a main challenge, and give them the proviso that they have to win to return to the competition. This worked really well in the third season of Project Runway.
– There was some deep shit in that workroom. Tempest going to conversion therapy. Trixie taking her name from her abusive stepdad’s slur. To quote Miss Del Rio, “Clap for these hookers!”
– Does Carson even serve as a judge anymore? He hasn’t been on since episode 2.
– Miss Fame is fading fast people. Unless she pulls something out of her arse she’s going home next week. That said, she finally got the “How’s Your Head?” joke. (My response: “Well, Yelp gave me five stars, except for that guy in Tijuana and that’s only because I refused to perform in his donkey show.”)
– Since we now know that her time on the show is officially done, Max left this fabulous video:
Hold you head high darling! You have been nothing but a class act this entire time and we love you for it!
And now on to…
Here’s how it goes: 1 point for the mini challenge, 4 for the winning pair, 3 for second place (which clearly went to Katya and Kasha), 2 for third place, 1 for the safe pair, 0 for bottom three, -1 for “Shante, you stay!”, and -2 for “Sashay Away.”
Next Week: Call JOHN the Baptist to drown our sins in the WATERS of the DIVINE land known as Baltimore! And if that doesn’t explain anything to you, then read this handy dandy list found on Reddit. Speaking of reading, has anyone seen my reading glasses? I’m going to need them.
Photo and Video Credits: Logo TV / World Of Wonder, Chad Sell, The Max Collective