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This episode is all about bullying, and Nina gets the ball rolling straight away by calling Aja’s elimination “rough” (and you know how sensitive she is about her skin). Sasha hates to see her Brooklyn sister go, but Manhattanite Alexis doesn’t mind putting rivers between herself and the others and then burning the bridges. But she’s right: at this point in the competition, if you’re not winning (like Shea and Trinity), then you’re losing. This fact has Farrah and Peppermint on edge, because neither of them has gotten top marks on a challenge yet. Their names exemplify the very different approaches they take to their worry: one stays fresh, while the other just moans. Oh, and according to the judges, Valentina is still perfect. So I guess we know four people who have RealDolls under their beds.

s9e08 01With so much post-elimination hubbub, the girls have absolutely nothing to converse about the following morning. Neither does Ru, really: she comes in with her novelty sunglasses on, and by this point we know the drill. One by one, the ladies step up to share mildly humorous observations about each other, and they’re all… well, you know how a first-grader with a Dr. Seuss book and a Ph.D. student doing dissertation research are both technically reading? Same concept here. The important thing is that everyone put in their best effort and had fun doing it. Participation awards all around! Except for Valentina, of course, who takes the win for unclear reasons. I’m assuming witchcraft. Like, if she doesn’t receive a steady stream of effusive praise, she’ll curse Ru with a lifetime of doing her own makeup.

In light of everybody’s tepid mini-challenge performance, the mood in the room darkens significantly when the main event is announced: another roast, this time with Michelle Visage as the guest of dishonor. Valentina gets the dubious prize of assigning the evening’s running order. Like the rest of the show, it only matters if you’re first or last, but unlike the rest of the show, most people want to be somewhere in the middle. You need a whole lot of confidence to open or close a gig, and Alexis is just the showboat to volunteer. (Which is not, by the way a comment about her size, which she would consider unjustified. On the other hand, if she was hypothetically talking trash about someone’s physical appearance, for instance their teeth, just to pull an example out of thin air, then that might be a different story.)

s9e08 02So yes, offense was taken, but the discussion of how heartless everyone is diffuses into a more generalized series of grunts and whines as everyone vocalizes at the blank papers in their hands. I’m assuming that during her check-ins with the contestants, Ru reminds everyone that when you want the words to sink into the paper, you need to use a pen. She also introduces Ross to the workroom, where he will stay until he has helped everyone create at least one identifiable punchline. To say that would be like pulling teeth for him is an understatement; with some of these girls, he’d have better luck actually performing amateur dentistry on them. (Which not a comment about Shea’s teeth. Inexperienced dental work is the last thing she needs!)

s9e08 03During runway preparations the next day, Farrah apologizes to Alexis for fulfilling the requirements of yesterday’s assignment, and then Peppermint put things in perspective by talking about the physical danger she regularly encounters as a trans woman of color. (Side note: it didn’t actually go down like that; you can tell by Sasha’s make-up that this whole discussion is lifted from the day of the Snatch Game. I assume it was moved because we need to make sure we sprinkle a uniform amount of tragedy into each episode.) Besides, if Ms. Michelle wants to feel some body positivity, she can just read all the glowing reviews she’s getting on Reddit. You can dry your tears on a new twink’s ass every day of the week, mama.

Someone needs to fix the oven, because the temperature of this roast is really inconsistent. And my dreams of a runway to redeem the weaker performers are quickly dashed, because we dive directly into critiques without a single outfit change. At least that means we get to look at Trinity’s blacked-out tooth and Nina’s painted-on glasses for a little longer. The judges basically state the obvious: Shea kicked things off well and Sasha succeeded by merging her brains with some bravado. But Peppermint stayed true to her namesake by being sweet and ice cold at the same time, earning her the win she needed. Meanwhile, there’s no question that Farrah and Alexis will have to lip sync: if they had bombed any harder, they’d have left a smoking crater where the runway used to be.

s9e08 04It’s honestly a toss-up for me in terms of who performs the song better. I give Farrah a lot of credit: for the several seconds that the camera actually focuses on her, she seems to be doing a wonderfully energetic little hoe-down. The running split probably went a long way toward keeping Alexis in the running, but I’m not sure if Dolly Parton songs warrant acrobatics. Also, I personally had to dock her a couple points for pulling a tiny witch hat out of her panties. BITCH WHY DO YOU HAVE A TINY WITCH HAT IN YOUR PANTIES? Like, we just covered how painting yourself green was not a reference to The Wizard of Oz, and now suddenly it is? Besides which: I think you know that the standards for a costume reveal on this show are higher than that. These judges aren’t satisfied unless you transmogrify yourself into a different species at this point. But she survives, tacky prop and all, and the show hears its last Moan. Shine on, little highlighter addict, shine on.



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2 thoughts on ““RuPaul’s Drag Race” Recap Realness: Declining Literacy Rates

  1. Why do you take straight to negativity? You don’t need to criticize Valentina, knowing that Ru chooses whoever she wants to win the mini challenge and it has always being this away. So tired, of people being hateful towards her.


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