Fans of RuPaul's Drag Race who also follow the spiritual teaching of our high goddess of drag RuPaul know that our host is constantly warning against the evils of one's own inner saboteur -- that little voice inside us all that makes us doubt ourselves and, when listened to, brings about our own downfall. Well, it seems that the inner saboteur might as well be our 15th queen this season (competing under her stage name Ms. Ina Faboteur) and she's been picking off queens left and right. She made quick work of Jaymes Mansfield, struck Charlie Hides when she convinced her to not even bother with a real lip synch performance, dug into Aja until her eventual elimination, and managed to keep Farrah from fully embracing any talents that didn't involve highlighter.
Last night, Ms. Ina struck again and gave us our most shocking and confusingly sad elimination since Max's dramatic exit in season 7. Yes, she took down the seemingly invincible Valentina in a way that even left Ru herself stunned. It was not an outcome anyone saw coming. Look, we all knew how the show works. Yes, there's rules and a format, but Ru and the producers can fudge the editing and their justifications a bit to guarantee a desired outcome. The thing is, a queen has to give them at least something to make that fudging seem believable, and Valentina's momentary lapse in confidence and awkward decision to keep the mask on during his lip sync provided the exact opposite effect. There was no way it could be spun any other way. She had to go home, even if no one there really wanted her to.
It was even more stunning considering the fact that the inner saboteur was seemingly coming for both Nina and Alexis next. Those queens have been their own worst enemies this season, and while Nina seems absolutely convinced other queens are whispering about her behind her back, we all know its really Ms. Ina. Even Nina and Alexis' biggest defenders in the workroom, Shea and Peppermint respectively, seemed to be over each this week, and its hard to imagine either lasting much longer. In fact, it seems--absent of a returning queen situation-- we all but surely have our top 4 set. Then again, who knows. Remember when most of us were convinced Valentina and Eureka were shoe-ins for the status. You just can't tell with this season or who Ms. Ina will come for next.
As for the actual challenge to film a mini-sitcom pilot, it was cute right? It's always interesting to see what happens when the queens are giving complete creative control and leeway to do what they please. And while none of the resulting clips were necessarily classic moments, all three had their moments. I mean, like Michelle Visage said, even if Nina and Tina was a garbage fire of bad planning, I, too, could still watch that garbage fire all day.
Though, maybe the real high point of this episode was the runway theme. There's been more than a handful of club kid references on the runway in the past, but its almost shocking it hadn't been a theme before. It provided younger viewers with an educational background of the scene (narrated largely by queer history nerd Sasha Velour--the executive producers of the show are the directors of Party Monster after all). Oh, and the episode of Geraldo that Alexis mentioned some club kids appeared on? Yes, Ru herself was on it (a little young and rambling, but pretty much fully formed by that point as the star she'd go on to be).
1 (tie). Shea Coulee and Sasha Velour
There's been rumors of a double crowning before. In fact, the show has filmed multiple endings to its crowning ever since it made its final episode a theatrical affair, and, as the story goes, it did film an ending in which both Bianca Del Rio and Adore Delano were awarded joint custody of the crown. The fact that Shea and Sasha have now won two challenges as a team sets up a double crowning as more-than-possible conclusion (assuming that Sasha wins a challenge of her own somewhere down the line, essentially tie-ing the two). It's an intriguing possibility to mull over, at least this week.
3. Trinity Taylor
Miss Trinity has come a long way since her days of wearing a boardwalk airbrush souvenirs on the runway, and both her performance in the challenge and that sickeningly out point runway outfit are the exact kind of left and field risks a queen has to take in order survive in this competition.
That outfit was everything. While it didn't need an explanation, and the nods to Klaus Nomi and Leigh Bowery were nice touches.
5. Nina Bo'nina Julia Louis-Dreyfus Brown
On the plus side, her paranoia and delusions make her a possible candidate for a position in the Trump administration. Unlike that administration, however, she has managed to overcome her flaws to deliver something when its required.
6. Alexis Michele
Whenever the internet turns strongly against a Drag Race contestant, my reaction is to want to protect them. It's only a show, and anyone who not only has the nerve to dress up as their fantasy for living but do it on this level deserves some respect, but, ok, I get it. Once you get one of the sweetest queens in the show's history, the appropriately named Peppermint, to get irked with you, I think we all kind of get it by now.
It may have been true that when Valentina "walk out there in a f---ing diaper and they'll be like: "Valentina! Your smile is beautiful!" As it turns out her downfall was walking out there in something covering her smile.
While the first half of the season made it seem like this competition was Valentina's to win, she'd been sort of floating by in recent weeks, and didn't deliver anything that felt like a true revelation.
Maybe this all works out best for Valentina in the end. She's almost certainly got the title (and check) of Miss Congeniality in the bag and she's more than ready to face off against Kim Chi and Stacy Layne Matthews for the inevitable All Stars 3 crown
Oh, one more thing, who, exactly, is Lisa Robertson?
Carmen Carrera: Showgirl: