Drag Race 13, Episode 4 Recap: The Stanley Kubric of Drag Race

You and me both Joey.

Finally the competition can get under way! However we should have been more specific because the first real challenge of the competition is an acting challenge. DAMMIT.

When Queens Collide

Finally, the series can actually begin as the two groups of queens finally merge and in order to scare The B Group, The Winners Circle decide to get into drag and of them all only Gottmik and Symone really bothered which is why they got to stand on the side of the table and not behind it

Everyone does at least seem to have learned the lesson from the series 12 girls to not throw away one of your best looks of the season for a 30 second bit on TV that nobody really cares about, low key this was Heidi’s best look of season 12

And it was not properly appreciated.

But in order to further draw out the elongated, three episode long twist the queens AND DEFINITELY NOT THE PRODUCERS decide that it would be fun to hide Elliott behind the screen and reveal her after they ask why they all chose to give her the chop. And because of Elliott’s frankly bizarre choice of outfit it does look a little bit like she’s about to hear someone’s sordid confession and forgive them their sins

Of course most of the queens IMMEDIATELY clock what is going on and refuse to give a reason and fall into an awkward silence – which pretty much sums Elliott up. She then walks out and Kahmora and Tamisha look delightfully shook

but it’s truly LaLa Ri relishing the mild fall out between Elliott and Tamisha that steals the whole scene

We must protect LaLa Ri at all costs.

RuPaulmark Films

We skip a mini challenge and instead launch straight into the main challenge which is for the queens to star in a series of Hallmark style films for minor holidays: Valentine’s Day, Flag Day and April Fool’s Day. Now I, like LaLa Ri don’t even know what Flag Day is and it should surprise nobody that Ross’s favourite holiday is April Fool’s Day because he’s about as funny as a thumbtack on a chair.

The reason for skipping the mini challenge is because it would likely have ended up in the queens essentially choosing people from the previously established groups so instead Ru separates them into the following teams:

Misery Love’s Company (Valentine’s Day)

  • Denali
  • Olivia Lux
  • Elliott
  • Kahmora

God Loves Flags (Flag Day)

  • LaLa Ri
  • Rosé
  • Utica
  • Symone

April Fools Rush In (April Fools Day)

  • Tina Burner
  • Tamisha Iman
  • Kandy Muse
  • Joey Jay
  • Gottmik

And of course in true Hallmark style the scripts are essentially the same with minor verbiage and scene changes.

Misery Love’s Company

Eager to prove herself as a winning queen, because apparently winning the previous episode counts for absolutely nothing, Denali immediately guns for the main role and completely overlooks the fact that she is unfamiliar with acting and now has the most lines – the majority of which are all some sort of reference to old Hollywood that Ross is going to be EXTREMELY picky about the diction of, lest we shame the memory of Bette Davis.
Also finding a very suitable role is Elliott who is given Stupid Cupid without a discussion – it was written in the stars. Unfortunately she has the second most lines and I only say “unfortunately” because Kahmora cannot stand the sound of Elliott’s nasally voice, but if it did get too much she could always have just made earplugs out of the bandages she’s wearing on her earlobes because she hung hubcaps from them on the runway last week

If you’re not bleeding profusely, you’re not doing drag.
She’s far from the only one getting irritated with Elliott as this MAGNIFICENT eyeroll from Tina Burner as Elliott starts talking indicates

This group is by far and away the biggest Struggle Bus of them all with Denali tripping over her lines left, right and centre. But it’s Kahmora who struggles most of all with her lines because she’s not saying them exactly how Ross thinks they should be said because apparently while also making fun of The Hallmark Channel we’re also refencing old Hollywood and America’s Next Top Model? Maybe pick a lane? She particularly struggles with the accentuation in the line “I WAS ROOTING FOR US!” – putting too much stress on the “US” and not saying it exactly like Tyra said it and honestly if Ross hadn’t mentioned that this was an ANTM reference I probably wouldn’t have even clocked it – the very conception of the joke didn’t work and I don’t think Kahmora’s enunciation was going to help it regardless of whether she got it right after all 78 attempts. because apparently Ross is the Stanley Kubric of Drag Race.
But say what you want about Kahmora’s utter lack of comedic timing but walking onto set in a fully padded and benippled green screen outfit is one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen on television

And the final result looked like something from a particularly cursed children’s tv gameshow in the early 2000s

Elliott is perfectly charming as the ditzy cupid and Olivia Lux is just happy to be there.

God Loves Flags

I could watch this sketch 100 times and literally the only thing I would ever remember was Symone pronouncing factory as “Feck-tree”. She really stole the whole show from everyone, much to Rosé’s annoyance because after all she’s an actor first and a drag queen second – maybe not the best thing to say on a show in which you are competing for the title of Next Drag Superstar but you do you. And in order to showcase her acting chops Rosé opted for the role of Gnomey the Gnome whose finger is stuck in a dike and the whole thing is a little Yikes

But I’m mostly just curious as to why they specifically chose a gnome which would require someone to do a whole little person act on their knees? But more than that Rosé suddenly decides that Gnomey is a nonbinary garden gnome, a plot point that is promptly dropped and cut from the film – the binary cis-tem strikes AGAIN.
Rosé did at least know how to deliver lines whereas LaLa Ri just reads hers off like an emotionless newsreader telling us about a car crash and Utica who had Ru eating out of the palm of her hand during his Werk Room Walkabout when she couldn’t quite bring herself to own up to whether or not she smoked marijuana

And then she got in front of the camera and forgot all three of her lines, none of which contain a single reference to smoking marijuana other than the fact she dressed like the interior of a hippy commune’s one and only camper van

Overall theirs is by far and away the funniest one because it makes a moderate amount of sense and had Symone mercilessly vamping to camera

Truly a star has been born.

April Fool’s Rush in

For whatever reason this one was the hardest for me wrap my head around and I think it was mostly because this group had an extra queen so had Tina Burner and Gottmik essentially playing the same character via Tony Curtis in Some Like It Hot as Faye Dunaway as Joan Crawford in Mommie Dearest and Joan Cusack in Addams Family Values respectively

Also Tamisha Iman was trapped in the basement as Zoltina who is based around Cher because the ferrets that write these sketches decided she was and because RuPaul is obviously still heavily gunning for Cher as a guest judge and I’m not sure this is really helping AT ALL. Especially as Tamisha can’t name 5 Cher songs to save her life and can do an impression that was only moderately better than Eureka trying to do Cher and sounding like Ethel Merman.

Zoltina’s big moment is her “Woah!” (which Chad Michaels will have you know is not a Cher-ism). Tamisha struggles at first but Ross eventually coaxes out a fairly funny performance in which she extends the “Woah” out for a good few seconds

Is this in the final cut? No. Actually most of Ross’s directorial choices were cut – I really miss the special guest directors, get Kathy Najimy back!

While most people had a civilised discussion about what role they would each take Kandy Muse had no time for diplomacy and immediately took the role of Whoopie Cushion without so much as a whisper of discussion – God bless a tyrant! I truly believe they would have given it to her anyway because who else is going to be the loud farting clown?

Gottmik and Tina hold their own against the onslaught of noise and chaos that is Kandy Muse’s performance but Joey Jay is completely swept out to sea as she constantly forgets to cheat to camera when delivering her lines – not that the camera set up that they’re using really aided Joey Jay at all. Why wasn’t her closeup camera doing an over-the-shoulder shot of Gottmik? Instead because of the angles they’re using the queens have to repeatedly and awkwardly turn to camera just to appease Ross

I have done student TV productions with better camera set-ups than this!

The Runway

I do love RuPaul in this orangey brown hair and it goes PERFECTLY with the glittery olive dress – it’s definitely my favourite of the season so far.

Training Day

The category this week was Trains… For Days so of course everyone had to come with a fuck off massive train, or if you’re Tina Burner you come with both a very long train and dressed up as a train conductor

I love to think that this obviously landed her in the safe category because she absolutely did better in the challenge than Kandy and Rosé. Instead they brought Rosé and Kandy into the tops, I think? Almost as a way just to tell them that they’re runway kind of missed the mark. It’s not really surprising given that Kandy was literally remaking hers that morning and ended with something that only just about qualified for the theme

It’s unfortunate that you can see her undergarments but her face is stunning – she has a severely underrated mug.
And then there’s Rosé who Frankenstein’d a tuxedo and the outfit she wore for the Sheer Runway

I think it’s striking but it does look a little bit like the final Pokémon evolution of an 80s gameshow host.
Elliott’s wasn’t too far removed from Rosé but I think the tailoring and fit of her white lacy catsuit helped make that bit more exciting and drag-y

I wish she had lined the loofa streaming behind her – if we’re going to call out Kandy’s undies we might as well play fair.

Like Rosé, Olivia Lux also chose to put a twist on menswear with a Amadeus inspired look, the only problem with that being the moment you drag up Mozart you end up with Liberace

It was definitely one of the stronger runway looks and a nice departure from Olivia’s so far very girly oeuvre.

Pants were also a bit of a theme on the runway with Tamisha pulling out another self-made pink jumpsuit that may or may not have been her Lady Look from the previous episode

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

But it was Symone’s pants and durag train that really stole the whole show

It’s such a good concept and the execution of it is top tier – she’s basically running an All Stars game on a regular season, we can only stan. It somehow manages to look like unaffordable couture but also very wearable at the same time

I could see a fashionable 20 something wearing this in an Instagram photo – maybe sans durag.

Also making quite the statement was Gottmik with her Trans Flag wisps

I could maybe have done with more fabric because as is it’s reading a little milquetoast to me and while the leaf blower was a fun idea it didn’t really tie in very naturally to the concept. But hey, I’m just glad that Drag Race is getting on board with the trans flag.

While light, frothy, diaphanous fabrics were a standard and obvious choice, Joey Jay decided to go a different route and came out in a fully leather look WITH A WIG!

At first I was confused why she had a single disco ball on the end of her train but then turned to reveal that it’s actually a giant tongue

which is both cheeky fun and kind of gross and I never want to see it again. Joey Jay is proving to be a surprising delight, who’d have thunk it?
Also opting for a left of centre material was Denali and her full on Quetzalcoatl cosplay

The bodysuit is reminiscent of that time Kim Chi dressed up as a macaw on rollerskates (with them both being Chicago queens it could even be from the same designer) but the train really makes it her own! And she makes sure to tell us that they’re ostrich feathers. Denali really is choosing to die on this here feathered hill.
She wasn’t the only one opting for ancient deity cosplay as Kahmora emerged looking like a suitably glamourous dragon goddess

It’s so good, I wish the train had gone on a little longer, it ends very soon and looks a little stubby but my God if she isn’t just the embodiment of glamour.
Her fellow reptile in crime, LaLa Ri took to the runway in a very different take on reptilia

I ADORE this look – it’s got such a dramatic shape with those mutton sleeves and the python skin fabric complete with a mask really amps up the whole Mortal Kombat vibe that she’s giving off – it feels dangerous just to look at her.

And lastly we have Utica as Carol Burnett as Scarlett O’Hara

It’s fun and really tickles my campy bone. I just can’t believe that she managed to actually pack both the fuck off massive dress, the hoop, the abundance of petticoats AND a whole bedazzled curtain rail into her Drag Race luggage.

An Arbitrary Train Runway Ranking

  1. Symone’s Durag Glamour
  2. Olivia’s Dragged Out Mozart
  3. Kahmora’s Dragon Empress
  4. LaLa Ri’s Striking Python
  5. Denali’s Roidrage Macaw
  6. Curtains for Utica
  7. Cat Got Joey Jay’s Tongue?
  8. Tamisha’s Pink Jumpsuit 2: Electric Boogaloo
  9. The Tina Burner Express
  10. Gottmik’s Trans Pride in a Windstorm
  11. Eliott’s Bridal Train
  12. Rosé’s Gameshow Host
  13. Kandy’s… Train? I guess.

100% More Energy Needed

With the runways walked and the sketches watched the judges come to the decision that the top consists of Symone, Rosé and Kandy Muse, both the latter two seemingly put in the top purely to tell them that their runway outfits were terrible. Really it should have been Symone, Tina Burner and Gottmik.
The bottom however is LaLa Ri, Denali and Kahmora. I agree with this more but I think Joey Jay should have taken LaLa’s place but I’m glad she got to experience the judges fawning over her runway.

After deliberating it’s decided that facing the lipsync are Kahmora and Denali who will battle it out to 100% Pure Love by Crystal Waters and their approaches couldn’t be more different. Kahmora for starters can barely move in this beaded gown that probably weighs more than she does so she sort of has to walk around the stage struggling to raise her arms because of the massive dragon heads she has on her shoulders

It’s very “I love her lack of energy, go girl give us nothing!” whereas Denali is zooming around the stage like with all the unmasked desperation of a Bird of Paradise in mating season

While it’s an absolute kerb stomp of a victory for Denali, I’m not sure I loved her lipsync which very often verged into a junior school talent show performance with very literal choreography

With all of energy Denali exerted and Kahmora visibly wilting on stage it was no wonder that RuPaul barely hesitates for a fraction of a second before sending Kahmora home. I don’t think she even gave enough of an impact to get given the full Fierce Broc-Ally Treatment, although I imagine we’ll be seeing Kahmora’s tree face CGI’d onto everything in the future.

And so 12 Queens remain

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