Oh. The. Shade. Of. It. All!
In a switch-up from prior seasons, we start the episode with the queens still in their RuPaullywood runway outfits. If this is a permanent production change, I love it--there's no brutal honesty like that borne from fourteen hours of filming in drag--but this must have been the longest day. Serena erases Penny's moments-ago lipstick message, and she does her best to remain optimistic about her chances.
Monica, meanwhile, is unfocused and running hot. Though the queens don't know it yet, she's got some heavy choices weighing on her--to be filmed and presented as a guy, or to open up about her gender and risk running afoul of the show's eligibility requirements. She's got time to think about this, though, as it's time to de-drag, get three hours of sleep, and roll the opening credits!
As the queens arrive for the Week Two challenge, we're introduced to Rolaskatox, the new prescription for people who are gagging! (Also available: Delaskxy, a Vitamin D supplement for occurrences of too much shade, and Alrotox, for fucked-up tucks.) Detox dressed as the queen bee last week, and this week, she's named and cemented the Self-Appointed Cool Girls of the season (and she's not sorry 'bout it).
That mini-challenge! So surreal. Experiment with different intoxicants to make this infinitely rewatchable; the Peanut Butter one is especially disturbing. Try not to notice the size difference between the RuPaul noses and the queens' mouths, because you can't unsee it and it's creepy as hell.
Lineysha wanted to be sure RuPaul saw her tongue, and she pre-glittered Ivy's hole.
After three rounds, Serena, Detox, and Ivy emerged as the winners.
Serena gets first pick for teammates, and makes the bold move of snatching Roxxxy away from Detox. Detox takes Alaska, of course, and Ivy takes fellow last-week's-top-score Lineysha. Perhaps as payback for Serena picking Roxxxy first, Detox and Ivy leave Serena with Jade, a situation neither queen would have chosen.
Ru explains the assignment--lip synchs to past seasons' Untucked arguments--and the girls split into their teams:
Season Two for Ivy, Lineysha, Vivienne, and Honey;
Season Three for Serena, Roxxxy, Alyssa, Jinkx, and Jade; and
Season Four for Detox, Alaska, Monica, and Coco.
The Season Two team has some uncanny painters: of all the teams, this is the one where everybody looked right. Vivienne's Tatianna make-up is dead-on, Ivy has sculpted Morgan's distictive jawline onto her face, Lineysha is properly lost in Tyra's giant hair and sparkly eyes, and Honey, for better or worse, has painted exactly like Mystique in "Gone With the Windows."
Vivienne and Lineysha were spot-on in their mannerisms, and their Tati/Tyra scene carried the team. Ivy remains one of my favorites, but I wish she'd been more aggressive in her performance, if only because Morgan's role in the original fight was so striking: Morgan never once physically backed down or turned away from Mystique, and though everybody remembers the catchline "Bitch I am from Chicago!," fearless Morgan was the scary one that day.
Sadly, the interaction that cracked me up from that original fight wasn't given a pause to land on its comedy level, but if you watch the original Untucked, enjoy the moment of:
Morgan: "She's in my mug!"
Tati: blank, baffled look
Morgan: "...my face."
The queens of Season Three pair almost-perfectly with Serena's team--Alyssa gets to be her daughter, Jinkx takes on the campy queen, Serena gets the rail-thin-artist assignment--but it shakes out that 68-pound Jade will be playing Delta Work. She makes herself a chicken-and-lip-gloss cocktail to cope.
The filming for Alyssa, Jinkx, and Roxxxy's scene isn't without hiccups, but they get a solid end-result, featuring an uncanny Shangela and an ambitious three-wigs-and-a-lampshade-and-queen-over-the-shoulder megamix of Mimi references.
The same can't be said for Jade and Serena's scene, though. After Ru's werkroom visit, Roxxxy had said to to Serena, "Girl, just make up a character, honey. Make up a something." It's shitty, almost-shady advice. It's not "a character," it's Raja Gemini, a legend in the RuPaul's Drag Race universe. There are a lot of creative ways of fucking up a Raja impression, and none of them are cute. Serena uses her art-school creativity, and when she asks for feedback, her team keeps quiet and allows her to continue festooning the sword she'll fall on. While her look was actually pretty solid, her impression was less Raja and more Jessica-Wild-as-RuPaul-as-Raja.
Meanwhile, RuPaul himself studiously didn't mention Sharon Needles by name in the entire first episode, and rewards us for our patience by assigning Season Four to Detox's team. Alaska makes the right choice by doing Phi Phi instead of Sharon. (I love watching Ru revel in innuendo, and she's delighted by Alaska explaining, "I do Sharon all the time!")
(You knew this GIF was coming, right?)
I didn't understand the make-up for Team Season Four. Sharon never paints so pink, and I was surprised that the judges didn't read Detox (and, by proxy, Alaska) for it. Monica's eye make-up should have been completely cracked out for RuPocalypse Jiggly, and she should have cancelled her barbeque too. This team definitely focused on their humor, not their illusions--save Coco, who was hilarious and flawless on every level.
And of course, this. Smoldering. Shi Shi is my new OTP, and no matter what this team lacked in visual impersonation, they sold the house down in entertainment.
Judging time! I adore RuPaul's dress this week. Best Breasts on the Panel goes to Michelle Visage for the second week in a row.
The runway theme this week is Your Best Look, and the girls serve it up!
Lineysha starts the show, and I love that color on her--that sunset-fire-peach is a shade almost nobody can pull off, and it's stunning on her.
Honey's look was just okay for me this week. It was distracting that her corset was doing its own, separate runway strut.
Ivy on stilts! Spectacular. In this moment, she owns everything.
Vivienne is flawless in her gold feathered dress. The word "goddess" gets overused, but truly, this is a goddess look.
The breed at the end of Alyssa's leash is the Texan Synthetic Weavedog.
The judges were harder than necessary on Serena's runway look this week. Yes, the flag and the underwear were misses, but the outfit itself was lovely, and her body shape and make-up were a hundred times better this week.
Have a side-by-side: for her best look, Jade brought Britney Spears Circus realness.
Honestly? I wasn't feeling Roxxxy's look. I'm in love with her body, but this look swerved tacky for me.
Jinkx is still my favorite. The dress fit her like a glove and she was just cute as a button. I think we're going to hear her wig-line used as a read in future seasons, i.e. "That queen's hair is just pissed off."
Have another side-by-side: Monica makes the very smart choice to pull a Rihanna look. Many queens have lost LSFYLs because they didn't consider the ramifications of lip-synching when choosing their Main Stage look, and Monica is a glowing example in the other direction: this outfit worked for her tonight.
Alaska looked beautiful. I adore that chocolate-brown hair on her, and I wish she'd wear dark hair more often. While Ivy served the most head-turning look of the night, Alaska served the loveliest, in a field with many lovely girls.
"I love fetish, so I thought I'd give Santino a little something to dream about tonight when he's at home." Have I mentioned that Coco is quickly becoming another favorite of mine? Because she is.
Overall, I'm still on the fence for Detox. That said, I can't deny that she delivered on this high-drama look.
The first highlight of the judging panel: Kristen Johnston. I was LIVING for her cartoon expressions and hilarious zingers.
And the other highlight: Monica Beverly Hillz letting RuPaul know that she's a woman, and Ru not batting an eye.
It was affirming to see Detox and Alaska supporting her on the runway, and the other queens rallying to her later in Untucked. When you're a drag queen, having trans friends is part of the benefits package, and Monica had no reason to fear rejection.
Still, though, Monica needed a redemption moment to atone for her distracted, under-cooked Jiggly Caliente performance, as did Serena for her batshit Raja, and they lip-synch for their lives. As I said, Monica made a very smart choice in her Rihanna-inspired look, and it was just perfect, wasn't it?, that she got to perform "Only Girl in the World."
The difference in Monica's confidence level before and after coming out is stunning: she takes to the lip synch with the confidence and ferocity that a Lip Synch For Your Life is all about. Serena didn't stand a chance, and she sashays away.
Next week: Draggle Rock!