We open the episode with a little bit of heat between Trinity and Eureka. Sometimes it seems like the conflicts between the girls are hyped for show purposes or heightened due to the pressure they’re under. Unusually they kiss and make up after the series ends—Sharon and Phi Phi, Willam and Phi Phi, Alyssa and Coco. Yet the beefing between Eureka and Trinity is still a thing even months later. Surely watching it all anew couldn’t be helping the situation either.
The mini-challenge makes its return this week with all of the queens having to take selfies with the Pit Crew. Alexis Michelle wins but the best moment belongs to Valentina, still on a descent into madness, requesting that Ru introduce her as Miss Venezuela. As fun as Alyssa Edwards’ web series is, one can only imagine how zany Valentina would be if she got her own. Her idea to “show diversity” by asking the Pit Crew to give “cholo homeboy” is one of those things that seems innocuous until you stop to think about how bizarre it really is.
Alexis’ prize, besides a gift certificate, is to assign the roles for the maxi-challenge: a performance of Kardashian: the Musical. Sometimes it seems like being over the Kardashians is itself over, so maybe now the pendulum has gone back into the other direction? Obviously drag has a strong relationship with trashy pop culture so in that sense this is right on brand. On the other hand, lip syncing and dancing to silly songs about that family can’t allow for many queens to show their unique style.
Very often the queens of Drag Race are not too polished when it comes to television and how it works. Being upset about something in real life is fair, but on tv can be seen as whiny. We bear witness to three different iterations of Nina complaining that she got assigned Khloe—a lead role!—while Shea instead got Blac Chyna. It doesn’t seem like Alexis is trying to sabotage her, and Nina doesn’t make that claim—nor would it be wrong if Alexis were trying to kick people off. That’s the point of having a reward! The idea that you get whatever role you want is not how things always works in entertainment in general anyway. Nor is Nina’s part particularly a stretch for her anyway. The end result is that Nina comes off looking very sulky and annoying, and needlessly so.
We’re treated to the obligatory segment where the queens learn the choreography. Eureka is unfortunately on crutches due to landing poorly during the cheerleading challenge a couple of episodes prior. Nina continues to bitch to Todrick, the choreographer, as if he needs to be her therapist. Some of the girls get the moves down right away, some don’t. The fact that any do in the time frame is, as always, pretty darn impressive.
As the queens get ready for the main stage Eureka goes to apologize to Sasha and Valentina about cracking an eating disorder joke last week. As Sasha admits that she had anorexia when she was younger, Valentina confesses she probably still has food issues as well. Then Shea chimes in that she used to be bulimic. It’s raw and it’s touching to see them speak out, but the way it’s edited—each character delivering a line one after another—almost feels like an SNL skit where they’re building to some crescendo. It’s a bit of a surprise that Eureka, who is constantly cracking jokes, doesn’t make a quip about her own weight (like she did in episode one) to lighten the mood.
The performance itself is not something that will go down in Drag Race history. It tells the story of Kim and the Kardashians’ rise to fame (sans tricky questions about Bruce/Caitlyn) and is fine if that’s the sort of thing someone finds interesting or funny. Others will be waiting for it to be over with. The biggest standout is the solo by Shea as Blac Chyna, who gives us the best dance moves we’ve seen this season so far.
The shortened runway this week has a faux fur theme. Trinity’s outfit is a worse version of what Phi Phi wore in the first season four runway. Sasha’s Cossack look is pretty fun; somewhere Katya is kicking herself for not thinking of it first. Alexis is a low point, with a great fur jacket revealing…a generic blue dress? Huh? Shea’s 90s rave look is by far the best of the lot, and it’s no surprise that she’s this week’s winner.
The lip sync comes down to Cynthia and Farrah Moan, neither of whom are probably going to make it much further in the competition anyway. It’s our first chance to see Cynthia dance and her moves are (un?)surprisingly mannish. Farrah is a pretty solid performer and though it is close it looks like she’s going to be the one to send Cynthia packing (again).
But! Rather than eliminating either one, Ru decides that Eureka’s injury renders her unable to compete. This is the second time a contestant is sent home without the lip sync, after Willam’s cryptic season four elimination. Willam was not invited back (and even hinted at a lawsuit in her song “RuPaulogize”) but Eureka is given the golden ticket to return next season. Eureka had been a strong contender to be the first big girl to win the show. Now it looks like the remaining frontrunners are Shea, Valentina and dark horse Sasha.