In the third episode of the show’s season, the queens falter promoting dating apps but their feathers fly on the runway, while the Aquaria vs. Vixen drama boils over in Untucked.
The more produced RuPaul’s Drag Race has gotten over the years, the less produced Untucked has become. In Seasons Two through Six, Untucked was a highly edited soap opera, often veering into Real Housewives territory. While it did give us Shangela’s infamous “I Don’t Have a Sugar Daddy” speech in Season Three and Laganja Estranja’s epic meltdown in Season Six, more often than not it was mostly shots of the queens sipping drinks amid a chorus of shady music cues.
The stripped down documentary style of Untucked 2.0 feels like the perfect lens to capture what went down in this week’s episode between The Vixen and Aquaria. The conversation about the racial optics and double standards created between the feuding queens took center stage, fueled in the main episode by Aquaria’s criticism of The Vixen for wearing a borrowed wig for her “best drag” runway last week. Despite getting effectively shut down by The Vixen, Aquaria brought it up a second time, only to incite an even stronger clapback.
Monique Heart’s attempt to facilitate a truce later in Untucked unraveled as Dusty, Miz Cracker and especially The Vixen shined a harsh light on Aquaria’s thorny personality. Aquaria eventually broke down into tears. But instead of backing off, The Vixens vented her frustration at the narrative this was creating, painting her as the “angry black woman” stereotype and even pointing to the cameras when explaining the optics of how this conflict will appear to viewers of the show. As Monet X Change summarized, people will forget that Aquaria started this and will only see The Vixen’s provoked response, and race is a significant factor in that perception. This was an important and relevant conversation, especially with the steady undercurrent of racism that runs through the show’s fanbase.
Meanwhile on Drag Race
The main challenge this week was a bit less compelling, though, as the queens were tasked with marketing “new dating apps.” End of Days (dating for for doomsday preppers) had the most parody potential, and Blair St. Clair shined as a virgin on the verge of Armageddon. Fibstr, the app for compulsive liars (so… all dating apps?) fell flat despite Monique’s assertive direction. The exception there was Dusty Ray Bottom’s committed turn as a mental patient looking for someone to love all of her personalities. While Madame Buttrface did feature a winning performance from Asia O’Hara — serving Cro-Magnon realness, its central joke simply wasn’t clever enough to justify how vaguely misogynistic the whole thing felt.
The feather themed runway featured a flock of breathtaking looks. Asia’s Tweety Bird, Kameron Michael’s winged Maleficent and Monique Heart’s Athenian dove queen stood out, while Yuhua Hamasaki’s raven-clad death queen required too much of an explanation, which didn’t do her any favors after a misguided turn in the main challenge. This ultimately put her in the bottom with Mayhem Miller, who got lost completely in the challenge but came to life in the lipsync to “Celebrity Skin,” by Hole (the band famously fronted by guest judge Courtney Love). Yuhua’s air guitar was no match for Mayhem, who channeled the song so intensely, she was ripping the feathers off of her dress by the end.
Next week is the perennial ball challenge, which is fairly early in the season but does mean we’re in for a jam-packed runway with three looks each from the remaining 11 queens. Monique Heart has been hungry for a win every week; will the self-described crafty queen finally pull it out this challenge? And can Aquaria and The Vixen keep their heads in the game? A challenge that keeps them busy sewing at their own stations may be just what they need to cool down, but we hope this isn’t the end of the conversation.
Want to queen out each week on Season 10 with us? Alright Mary is a weekly recap podcast and deep dive into all things RuPaul’s Drag Race. We go in on the queens, behind the scenes, the larger social themes explored on the show and as much reddit T as we can get our mitts on. Subscribe on iTunes!
Last modified: November 9, 2018