Battle Of The Bitches

‘Drag Race’ Aired The Best Episode Ever. But Did It Go Too Far?

The “Snatch Game” episode of Rupaul’s Drag Race is usually the most important competition of each series. This week’s episode was arguably the best “Snatch Game” in the history of the show, perhaps the best episode ever, with snappy performances by almost everyone in the cast.

Let’s discuss the three most important issues of the hour (and obviously there are episode spoilers in this post):

1) BenDeLaCreme solidified her place in the lead. DeLa’s character: Maggie Smith. The result: inspired, sophisticated and funny, and she won thanks to a fully developed character with an extra sprinkling of quick witted humor.

dela-maggie

DeLa’s facial gymnastics alone was worth the win, contorting herself into the floppy jowls of an English matriarch who has so much loose skin on her face she almost can’t get words out of her mouth. That’s some mad acting skillz. She doesn’t have the affronting charm of Bianca Del Rio, or the marketable talent of Courtney Act, but DeLa is a rock-solid comprehensive performer and she knows how to make the best of what she’s got. That’s what makes a winner.

The editors have tried a few times to create subplots with clips of her looking nervous, as if she (gasp!) isn’t going to be able to succeed this week. Maybe this week she’ll finally encounter something she can’t do! Maybe this week she’s not going to snap out of character and show her true self! Be brave, DeLa! Be brave!

Of course it’s all fluff to create drama, and to paint her as an underdog so viewers will root for her more. It doesn’t work. DeLa is obviously intelligent, and she planned everything she needs to do for each challenge before she walked in the door the first day. Her Maggie Smith makeup was so intricate, obviously she practiced it and had it ready to go despite her on-camera claims that she was scared because doesn’t “do impersonations.” Yeah, right. Nice try, bitch. See you in the Final 3.

2) BenDeLaCreme isn’t really winning yet, because of Bianca Del Rio. Bianca’s character: Judge Judy. The result: hilarious and perfect, and she could do an entire episode on her own.

bianca-judge-judy
When Bianca is on her game, she kills it.

I’ve been waiting for this moment from Bianca. In the past few episodes, she’s tossed some tepid one-liners, and her runway looks have been good, but Bianca’s best moments come from when she’s not “trying.” Her chats with fellow cast members are her best bits, while many of her actual one-liner “insult jokes” fall flat; finally, this week her performance was effortless and full of energy, and it begged for a chance to show more. Like DeLa, Bianca also showed up prepared to fight for this competition, and her character this week was obviously meticulously planned.

On to something more serious…

3) Trinity. Besides her being far too insecure to even be interesting anymore, shall we discuss Trinity K. Bonet’s admission that she has HIV? It started out inspiring: She wants to be an example of not letting the virus hold you back from doing what you want to do. Well-said.

But then she explained—and this is paraphrasing, not her exact words—that she is healthy, and having HIV “isn’t even a disease,” and she just takes her Vitamin E, her Omega-3 oil, and her little HIV pill, and she’s fine. Life goes on. People with HIV do live normal lives now, with their life expectancy just about the equal of people without HIV.

This may be how Trinity deals with it, but it is also where Gilead, one of Logo’s sponsor, becomes a concern. We in the U.S. are bombarded relentlessly with ads about the power of HIV medications, showing how HIV is not a big deal; just take a “little pill” and everything will be fine.

Trinity neglected to mention that her “little pill” that she takes with her morning vitamin is rather expensive. This NPR story gets more specific in explaining the financial costs of the virus, including how treatment ranges from $2,000 to $5,000 per month. She most likely gets it for free—perhaps via health insurance, perhaps from the government funded AIDS Drug Assistance Program.

HIV infection rates are increasing. More people will contract HIV this year than did last year. To be fair, Logo does run condom ads, but this episode missed an opportunity to remind people about the need to play safe. The editors of this show choose what they want to put in each episode, from hours of interview footage, and they could have left that “little pill” sentence out. But they didn’t.

 P.S. Gia Gunn was sent home after lip-syncing against Laganja Estranja but nobody gives a damn.