RuPaul's Drag Race Season 10 Episode 5 Review: Eureka, She's Got It!
20 April 2018, 16:16
The girls let it all hang out on The Bossy Rossy Show.
A very happy 4:20 to you all! It's episode five of RuPaul's Drag Race season 10, and this week The Vixen's shady ways come back to haunt her, Monique FINALLY gets the recognition she deserves and Eureka sets her sights on the top spot. Let's get into it.
Asia is ready to play the game
We kick off post-elimination, and Asia is pressed and starched. For some reason she's mad at the girls because she chose to help them last episode, and the girls didn't help her when she was struggling to get her outfits finished. Miz Cracker rightly gets her together (she didn't ask for help!) and Asia promises to treat the competition like a competition from here on out (it's episode five girl, it's BEEN time to treat this thing like a competition). Usually this is a point in a queen's Drag Race journey where they either rise to the occasion or slowly crumble. I'm not sure if Asia will completely fall apart, but I have a suspicion that Asia secretly feeds off other people's confidence in her, and with her reputation in the Werkroom slightly tarnished by last week's fail, I worry that her energy is going to be a little thrown moving forward.
The Mini Challenge
Armed with nothing but a government-issue bag of army swag, the girls are asked to recreate April Carrion's season six entrance look and come up with a hilariously campy backstory for their new sergeant personas. The Vixen comes out on top, despite Kameron's backstory of sacrificing his right index finger to save prostates everywhere being the obvious stand out quip of the challenge.
The Maxi Challenge
This week's main challenge is improv. Working in pairs, the queens have to create scenes based on wacky scenarios for "The Bossy Rossy Show," a Jerry Springer style chat show. As the winner of the mini challenge, The Vixen is responsible for pairing the queens off, and despite claiming she wants a fresh start this week Vixen indulges in a little attempted sabotage by pairing Aquaria and Eureka together. I've been very pro-Vixen all season, but her latest move is a little tiresome (and extremely bad karma). Unfortunately for The Vixen, Aquaria and Eureka are given the best characters for the improv challenge - adult babies. Monique and Blair, meanwhile, are tasked with fighting over their shared lover who is also a cactus; Kameron Michaels and Monét X Change can't stop huffing tucking panties and eating hip pads respectively; Miz Cracker takes on the role of a doctor who is tasked with curing Mayhem's fear of pickles; and The Vixen and Asia are drag queens at war who can't stop copying each other.
We don't see huge amounts of preparation for this task as it's all improvised, but we do discover that The Vixen wants to base her's and Asia's copycat characters on Aquaria and Miz Cracker which is, again, a little yawn. The Vixen is allowing her vendettas to get in the way of her drag, which has time and time again been proven to be a terrible strategy (hello Roxxxy Andrews). I'm a bit disappointed to see Asia following her down this path, and I hope this all-new "just here for the competition" Asia isn't going to be shady; we get enough of that from The Vixen.
Blair and Monique
First up on the Bossy Rossy Show are Blair and Monique. Blair is adorable as the good Christian wife, but Monique's loud-mouthed mistress overshadows her. Monique has the personality and the smarts to go all the way with this challenge, and as soon as Blair begins to feed off that energy the whole challenge is elevated. You can tell Monique is well-versed in trashy chat show patter, and her "he was with me last night" line is straight out of a Dr Phil episode. It's a strong start to a tough challenge, and Blair and Monique's contrasting personalities come off really well. Plus, they turn "Miss Vaaaaanjie" into some sort of rallying war cry, which I'll never not be here for. These two have a really strong "chalk'n'cheese" vibe going on and I'd absolutely go see their two woman show.
Kameron and Monét X Change
Following Monique and Blair are Kameron and Monét. Monét arrives on stage first, and the energy in the room plummets. Like Monique, there's obviously a lot of charm there, but while Monique knows how to turn personality into performance, Monét struggles to push what she has naturally to the level needed for Drag Race. Kameron, on the other hand, gives a surprisingly brilliant performance, doing everything Monét should have done, from reaching climax every time she sniffs a gaffer to reacting to every single word on stage with full drag over-the-top brilliance. If Monét had her wits about her she would have hopped on Kameron's success and played the improv so the two characters end up making out on the floor. Monét is definitely in trouble after this performance.
Mayhem and Miz Cracker
Mayhem and Miz Cracker are up next. Mayhem gets off to the right start, but much like Blair she's overpowered by her improv partner. I was disappointed that the accent Miz Cracker showed us during the prep for this challenge didn't come out on stage, but after firing off a thousand pickle puns in a row I was completely onboard. And let's not forget the magic of Miz Cracker chasing Mayhem around the stage dressed as a pickle in heels - that's drag MAGIC.
The Vixen and Asia
Oh boy. This was not excellent. The Vixen is serving a character version of Aquaria that is more concerned with shadiness than accuracy. I'm not really sure whose feathers The Vixen is trying to ruffle because not only is Aquaria not on stage to see this, but Ross Matthews almost certainly has no idea about the untucked drama that inspired this choice. I've been a big fan of The Vixen so far, but after failing to shine in acting challenges thus far it seems like a waste of an opportunity to use a main challenge to make a dig at a competitor. Focus on you, sis.
Eureka and Aquaria
Eureka and Aquaria probably had an easier challenge than their competitors, but they don't just rely on the immediate hilarity of adult babies to coast through. They have a storyline, a twist, a tantrum and a catwalk, all in the space of about four minutes. It's really impressive and you just known The Vixen is SEETHING off stage somewhere. Being chronically addicted to attention means that Eureka will do literally anything to steal focus, and in this challenge it really works for her. If her runway slays, Eureka will for sure take the win this week.
Back in the werkroom
Mayhem forces Eureka and The Vixen to talk out their issues with one another in a discussion which could have easily led to wigs flying. It was nice to see that The Vixen can be talked round, and Eureka was appropriately humble, considering she was very much the instigator. They're both huge personalities and after discovering that they've both been on journeys to find their voices through drag, it's clear why they clashed so violently - they're actually quite similar. I think The Vixen probably could have been gracious enough to accept a handshake from Eureka, but in all honestly I'm just glad nobody got their ass whooped.
Bring it to the runway
This week's category is Denim and Diamonds, a theme with heaps of camp potential but perhaps not quite enough versatility to warrant its own runway. Everyone looks more or less the same except Mayhem, who looks terrible in hot pink, and Miz Cracker who looks spectacular in a pastel pink jumpsuit and gravity-defying pigtails. The gag of the episode was RuPaul, who clearly said "f*ck denim, I'll just do the diamonds thank you" and arrived on the runway looking like a whole damn constellation. In the words of Monique, "stunning!"
After the girls have strutted their stuff, Kameron reveals that guest judge Shania Twain is basically the whole inspiration behind her drag. Shania - whether due to botox or ennui - seems like she doesn't give a shit, and it's deliciously awkward.
The highlights of this week's critique is Monique not realising she was wearing giraffe print on the runway ("I thought 'brown cow' - stunning!"), and RuPaul falling apart at the sound of Michelle Visage cooing"Miss... Vaaaaanjie, Miss VAAAAANJIE" We're at the point in the competition where people are starting to get the same note twice, which is always very bad news on Drag Race. Both Mayhem and Monique are facing repeat critiques, so it's a dead cert that they'll be lip-syncing.
Did the right girl win?
Yes. Eureka played a smart game this challenge, worked with her natural strengths and really put in the effort for this win. Between this win and sort of burying the hatch with The Vixen, it's been a really good week for Eureka, who has struggled to make the impact we all expected after returning to the competition. If I was a biased reviewer, I'd say Monique should have won because I'm completely obsessed by her, but I believe her time is coming.
Mayhem and Monét are quite rightly in the bottom, and they're given an absolute gift for a lipsync song - Shania Twain's 'Man! I Feel Like A Woman'. They have very different strengths as lipsync artists: Monét is all about nuances and quirks, while Mayhem overpowers the stage with sheer star power. But in the end, RuPaul is a sucker for a smart queen, and Monét's wit saves her once more. There weren't any particularly gag-worthy moments in this lipsync, but whenever there's a country lipsync on Drag Race it's more about transporting viewers to a back-street saloon than jumping into the splits, so I'm not mad about it.
Did the right girl go?
It's harder to say this week. Both girls really underperformed in this challenge, but with one win behind her perhaps Mayhem had been the stronger contender overall this season. Having said that, I think Monét just about out-performed Mayhem in the lipsync, so based on that it probably was her time to go. Mayhem is a definite contender for a good old-fashioned RUturn though, and I'd be excited to see her come back to the competition after a couple more challenges.
I hope this week can be a turning point in The Vixen's Drag Race experience. She's got buckets of talent, beauty and style, and she's made an important contribution to Drag Race by bringing up the racial dynamics that are all too present on the show, but it would be a shame for the race issue to be her only shining moment. Next week I pray The Vixen burns some sage, leaves the drama at the door and shows us NOTHING but fierce drag.