Drag Race 13, Episode 13: Queens in Glass Houses

I am willing to bet my entire life savings that Olivia Lux is a middle child.

Oh look, I eventually got the recap up! I’m sorry, I got very ill after having a massive trash take away on Saturday night. LIVING THE GOOD LIFE.

Moo-ving On

I think it’s fair to say that none of the queens seemed overly emotional about saying goodbye to Utica, even last episode it seemed like they were pretty tired of it so the conversation quickly turns to celebrating the fact Kandy has her first win of the season! I did love that she asked “Did Aja or Dahlia win anything during their seasons?” because well, Dahlia was a completely unsurprising first boot and Aja went home 6 WHICH SHE DAMN WELL KNEW TOO because she’s been talking about the misfortunes of the former Doll Haus all season!

Pint-sized Queens

We’re skipping the mini challenge this week because apparently we mean serious business so it’s straight to the Top 5 Acting Challenge in which the queens will have to star in a weird parody of Honey, I Shrunk The Kids called Henny, I Shrunk the Drag Queens. Also all of their drag names are puns on beverages and for no particular reason other than a gut feeling I’m assuming that either the character Chardonnay or Margarita was called Rosé prior to Rosé getting cast.
Speaking of roles they of course have to divide them up and immediately they notice the characters all sound very familiar and I thought to myself “Oh cool, they’re going to be playing parodies of previous Queens! That’s fun!” turns out no, the characters are basically just them in that there’s one whose whole schtick is being an adult baby, one is a villain, one of them is a whiney LA brat, one of them tells bad jokes punctuated entirely by a look to camera and the last is an intelligent natural born leader with 4 wins under her belt. It’s almost enough to make me suspicious of some elimination choices.

The roles being so similar to the queens’ actual personalities is a double edged sword and Olivia Lux was no swordswoman and was going to get cut any which way this went. If she chose the role of permanently smiling ditz that she knows she could do well enough she was going to be criticised for not branching out and if she had taken the entirely opposite, almost line-less, role of the villain, Dominique Perignon, she would have been told she wasn’t playing to her strengths at such a crucial point in the game.
Olivia, Rosé and Gottmik all instantly gravitate to their roles while Kandy and Symone have a bit of a face-off with both of them wanting to be The Villain almost entirely because there were less lines and you had less to worry about in terms of the, as advertised, “amazing special effects” they were going to be using. Sadly before they could both try and give a Hamlet style soliloquy audition Symone relents and accepts the role she was fated to take. So the cast looks like this

Gottmik as Chardonnay
Kandy as Dominique Perignon
Olivia as Ginger Ale
Rosé as Brandy
Symone as Margarita

The big gimmick for this acting challenge was that it was going to be a special effects showcase and in order to prepare the queens for their masterpiece of cinema they’ve got Oscar nominated actress Scarlett Johannsson in to give them some tips, and Colin Jost appears to make an unfunny joke!

I wont lie, I did find it a little funny that later in the episode Gottmik had a very touching and real conversation about trans visibility and diversity on screen in the same episode which starred Scarlett Johansson who is now basically a meme for taking roles she absolutely shouldn’t take including that of a transman (which she later dropped out of because of the backlash.)

One of the biggest issues with having an acting challenge so late in the competition with such defined characters is that everyone has kind of run out of drag looks so what we end up with his kind of a hodge-podge of looks that were all meant to have walked the same runway

what was the theme? UK girl band realness?

Basically the plot of the skit is that as revenge for everyone saying that she should be eliminated, Kandy shrinks the other queens down using Toxic Overhead Lighting (the one truly funny joke in the whole thing) and then they have to somehow press the Shade Button mounted onto the wall of the Werk Room.
What I really don’t understand about how WOW makes these acting challenges is the utter lack of effort they put. They have a huge audience and if they hired some proper, really talented comedy writers from the likes of SNL and the Variety Show that Maya Rudolph keeps trying to resurrect they would genuinely have the chance of at least going semi-viral and could generate a decent amount of added revenue. not to go all Capitalism on you or anything… Because at the moment what we have is kind of a stilted undynamic series of scenes with limp, badly made Drag Race references like Olivia’s “Look over there!” line which is clearly trying to mimic the one memorable quote from Season 12

Where was the 5 minute scene during the filming session with Michelle and Carson teaching her how to enunciate it absolutely perfectly? Why wasn’t she delivering it dead to camera like literally all of Rosé’s supposedly “quippy one liners” that were mostly just her pulling a funny face and doing her Penny Marshall voice

It was hard to see any way in which anyone other than whoever played the role of wise cracking Brandy would win because she literally punctuates everything with the type of joke that the judges cackle over when they play it out on the runway.

Gottmik bore the brunt of the physical comedy during the scene in which she had to pretend to be getting clobbered by a the giant cat paw prop, which to be honest was the most impressive part of the whole piece

that and the giant plug cord that they had to climb up

What can I say, I love a big prop – it’s why I think about the giant fake roast potatoes in CATS (2019) so often. Just the scene in which Victoria has to bite into one but because it’s a giant plastic potato she can’t chew it and the camera lingers for 2 seconds too long of her just awkwardly sitting there with her biting its plasticky, glossy surface. Cinematic art.
My favourite thing about the whole cat paw scene, other than Gottmik’s adorable fake sneezing, was the very thought that in a Covid free universe Scarlett would probably have been a guest director and she, an Oscar nominated actress, would have to be giving acting advice to a drag queen being tickled by a giant cat in a definitely not sexual way…

I’m slightly worried about how much of a certain brand of fan art this season is going to spawn between this and Symone’s BEAST! runway.

As it was an acting challenge we got to see the glorious return of Symone’s Flehg Fehctreh Voice, which I personally am fully ok with because I find it to be utterly delightful but Olivia has concerns that Symone is just doing the same character again. This being The Olivia Lux who is doing the exact same annoying affectation she did in The Roast that made her sound like a toddler in desperate need of the loo and essentially doing the exact same little steppy step walk she did in her soda advert

which, admittedly I love and could watch all day but Queens in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.
Symone sadly didn’t go Full Flehg Fehctreh on us because she got a little in her own head after stumbling so badly during the roast but the performance was at least as believable as it needed to be in a Drag Race acting challenge and her physicality and delivery is always a delight

quite why she was fighting so hard for the villain role that had so little screen time and no comedic beats whatsoever is utterly baffling to me and was seemingly only because she had 1 red PVC outfit that looked kind of villainous

That’s not a good enough reason Symone!
Kandy did as well in the role as you could expect anyone to do with 4 lines of dialogue. I think the cat’s paw had more screentime than she did. Even Dela’s lipstick got more screen time

I cannot believe that during the “Does anyone clean up around here?” line during this scene that NOBODY thought to write the line “Eww, Jesus. Gross.”. And don’t even get me started on the fact that during the appearance of India Ferrah’s old breastplate nobody gave the full Manila Luzon monologue about it cost a whole $600! They’re basic Drag Race references and they still missed them!

It was still perhaps one of the better recent acting challenges, not that it’s hard to be that with competition from such classics as Breast World, Gay’s Anatomy and the really bad Black Panther parody in season 11.

Pocket Fashion Week

The runway theme this week was “Pockets” entirely because someone on the production team just really loved the Haute Pocket pun and very little regard given to quite how anyone could interpret this challenge.

The first queen to hit the runway was Symone who in her own words was “serving lead singer of Paramore teas”

Hayley Williams found DEAD.
I don’t love this look mostly because the explanation of it being a dedication to her emo high school friends doesn’t make sense with the blue denim and I get that the blue contrasts nicely with the firy hair (Tina Burner found SCALPED). I just think it would have been better if the whole scene kid vibe of the hair had been continued into the outfit, imagine it as black denim with a studded belt detail and a hand drawn picture of that very particular cute skeleton and her whimsically depressing bon mots that 14 year old girls were obsessed with in 2009. I think a couple of accessories in the pocket would have helped it read as more of a pocket and less of an unzipped fly too.

Olivia Lux was next and her approach was “if I can put my hands in it, it’s a pocket!”

She looks absolutely stunning and dare I say it, this would have been the perfect dress for the Denali crossover event episode – the diamond-y, crystalline effect that makes her look slightly like the Fortress of Solitude, gives a very ice-skatery vibe to me. Of course using it would have left her out of a pocketed dress but with the direction this runway she could have sewn a pouch to something and sold it as the runway theme.

Rosé went with a very 60s, pocket print number that started as a cute little PVC capelet come rain jacket

I really liked it in this form, it was more interestingly chic than the little mini dress that she revealed into

I get that the unfitted-ness of it is true to the 60s style but something about it doesn’t feel as purposeful as the first outfit but I liked the whole Austin Powers vibe.

Kandy was next and seemingly revived LaLa Ri’s party bag corset in its digivolved form

I excused Kandy’s Alien-Teletubby-Gromble ensemble as the one outfit she got to fudge in her rushed preparation for Drag Race and I guess Kandy had two of them. I get what she was trying to do but when it comes to going for the sort of Harajuku fashion you really have to be meticulous and overt with it or else you end up… well, looking a bit of a mess. I don’t want to rag on it too much because my Kandy’s own admission she didn’t feel particularly good wearing it and I don’t really blame her for failing this runway because POCKETS WAS A STUPID THEME.

Lastly we had Gottmik who was the only queen to do more of a pop culture reference with her take on a fake designer watch salesman

and yes, I did IMMEDIATELY get the Hercules reference and I only wish that she really did have at least 1 sundial featured in the look, just to give a proper little wink to it rather than just being the fake watch seller that Hercules was parodying.

A Pocket Runway Ranking

  1. Gott The Time?
  2. A Pocket of Rosé
  3. Olivia Lux’s Side Saddles
  4. Symone’s Undone Fly
  5. Kandy Muse’s Harajuku Nightmare

Unsurprisingly Rosé wins because her character had the most jokes and her character at least made everyone feel the least uncomfortable and even more unsurprisingly is that Kandy and Olivia are the bottom two this week.

Are You Strong Enough?

The lipsync song for the week is Strong Enough by Cher – I am honestly shocked they still haven’t managed to wrangle her in as a guest judge despite their many obvious efforts to court her. Did Joslyn Fox ruin their chances?

I really liked this lipsync, not for any particular reason beyond the fact I just liked the kind of effervescent energy the two of them brought to it – more in the second half than the first in which they both put on their very best hammy Anne Hathaway in Les Mis faces

That’s not the vibe of the song babes.

The pockets at least proved halfway useful in this routine as Kandy pulled a load of glitter out of one of hers and proceeding to twirl like there was no tomorrow in it

It did kind of make her look more like a badly decorated Christmas tree than ever before but at least her glitter stunt worked, lest we forget Cracker’s glitter tits stunt attempt

Neither of them danced particularly well, I had thought Olivia had more dance ability than this

but it’s hard for her when there’s not enough lyrics to which she can mime out the actions of like she’s playing Charades at Christmas.

Kandy meanwhile hit all of the comedic beats with the “You have to go” and “Was she worth it? Was she?” lines and fully deserved to be given the Shantay

this does of course it’s goodbye to Olivia who I am personally very sad to see go but can admit that she had kind of lost her gumption in the last few weeks and was the clear tail of the group but it’s set her up for a good Cracker-style All Stars redemption arc.

And so, 4 queens remain

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