The “RuPaul’s Drag Race” Recap: Cavity Search

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So when my straight friends (ok, these two straight guys sitting next to me at a diner last week) kept talking about the Final Four, it turns out they weren’t referencing this momentous episode. Their loss. The weeks of sweat, shade, and squirping have narrowed the field to the quarrelsome quartet of Rolaskatox and Jinkx.

Roxxxy spends the first segment establishing herself as the scholar of the group. First, she lays out the cogent argument that she’s here to win, while Coco was on RuPaul’s Settle-The-Drama-With-Your-Ex-Best-Friend Race. It’s an idiotic assessment of the situation, particularly because Alyssa and Coco weren’t aware that they’d be on the show together, but whatever. For her next feat of mental prowess, she suggests that winning will be made easier if she just lights all of Jinkx’s costumes on fire. Sportsmanlike and subtle. Third, she sagely advises Jinkx and Alaska that they can’t possibly take the crown because they haven’t had to lip sync yet! So wait, the key to winning is losing? This outlook explains much of Roxxxy’s past performance.

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Suddenly, a pheromone is released into the air and the contestants are filled with bloodlust. Luckily, SheMail interrupts before the verbal attacks can turn physical. (Alaska, who proved last week that she has Slayer Strength, would probably have welcomed this gladiator-style showdown.) The mini-challenge that follows is a repeat of the season 4 puppet show: each queen is asked to mock a felt mock-up of another competitor. Roxxxy is thrilled because this is her opportunity to make fun of Jinkx (I mean, she’s really been holding back), but her inability to mask her disdain with even a thin layer of humor ends up tanking her skit. The win goes to Alaska, whose mini-Andrews is like a fabulous military drone that drops layers and catchphrases instead of bombs.

Victory earns her fifteen extra seconds of candy shopping for the week’s main event, the Sugar Ball. Ru demands three separate looks: Super Duper Sweet Sixteen, Sugar Mama Executive Realness, and Candy Couture Edible Eleganza. As a former fat kid, I had trouble watching four people fill baskets with free sweets knowing that most of it wouldn’t even get eaten. Like, sure, everyone will nibble here and there, but mostly those delicious treats are going to get crammed into sweaty armpits and plastered over tucked wangs. It makes me want to pour out a Yoo-hoo for my fallen homies.

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As construction begins, everyone immediately pounces on Jinkx’s antlers as ridiculous, because the rest of them are just regular men impersonating women by covering themselves in sugary snacks. Ru, on the other hand, is more concerned with her plan to serve a vintage look after the judges have so often asked for something contemporary. Roxxxy also gets questioned during the workroom visit and makes her first smart move of the day (of the season?) by taking the feedback and demolishing the whole look on the spot. If Ru doesn’t like it today, she’s not gonna like it tomorrow.

Since the girls are all scrambling to turn their confections into costumes, Ru thinks it’s a good moment to throw down one last, teeny little request: she’d like for them to weakly perform a crappy number that neither its participants nor its audience will enjoy. Just to make sure that coffin is good and nailed shut, she hands choreography responsibilities to Alaska, who has the innate grace of a swan duct taped to a cinder block. Are you excited yet?

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Rehearsal is, of course, a mess. Everyone’s already mad at Jinkx for having made so much noise during sewing time, but no one had the guts to say anything while she was holding a hammer. (Those arson comments might not have been jokes; she needed to arm herself.) But now that the only weapon available is a cardboard lollipop, Roxxxy is perfectly comfortable firing off a few choice barbs. There’s precious little dancing being done, and any sane or merciful person would do us all a favor and let this song die a peaceful, private death. No such person exists on the Drag Race editing staff, apparently.

Guest judge Bob Mackie deserves better than the limpid pageantry they eventually devise. (I’m less worried about subjecting Marg Helgenberger to such a display. What is she even doing here?) At least it’s over with merciful speed so that we can get to the ball already. Cinderella’s fairy godmother gave her until midnight, but Logo’s cutting us off at 10pm Eastern, so let’s move it right along, shall we?

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Despite a rail thin frame suggesting that she never eats sugar, or anything else for that matter, Alaska sets the bar impressively high. Her teenage look is simple but accurate; her stash of Party City props lends hard hat realness to her short-haired executive ensemble; and her cotton candy couture earns praise for being the only dress of the night that was obviously made from sweets. Though her creation was literally falling apart backstage, it propels her to another win.

Jinkx, unfortunately, is like a cancer-causing artificial sweetener before a panel of FDA evaluators. Her pubescent garb gets clocked as practically menopausal (though, to be fair, she was warned about that), while her McQueen aspirations are undercut by her McDonald’s budget. She’ll be joined in the bottom two by Detox, who is too consistently bitter to integrate candy into her outfits.

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Never in my wildest dreams would I have expected RuPaul to choose an Yma Sumac song for her girls to perform, but it happens and it is glorious. The lip sync is almost too close to call because both of the queens on the chopping block are known for their offbeat stylings and each commits fully to selling the space opera shenanigans. In the end, though, you just can’t out-crazy a narcoleptic, aquaphobic, Broadway-bound MILF. The show finishes Detox and begins its commitment to sobriety. One day at a time, y’all.

To celebrate this victory over addiction, let’s hand out some Award Awards!

Bob Mackie deserves top honors in all settings, but tonight he wins the Marilyn Milian Sass-Judgin’ Guff Gavel for offering up the season’s most spectacular quote: “From the crotch down, she’s a star.” Never has someone been simultaneously praised and eviscerated with such efficiency.

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To Jinkx Monsoon, I present a Lifetime Supply of Jell-O Pudding Pops, because those were some Cosby-grade facial contortions she was throwing down, ya see?

And lastly, I give Detox the Willam Memorial Maxed-Out Credit Card for her ability to buy nice clothes. Shouldn’t have wished quite so hard for that sewing challenge, huh?

ON UNTUCKED: You’re not going to believe this, but Roxxxy threw shade at Jinkx! I know, take a moment to collect yourself. Then everyone played with puppet renditions of the panel regulars. Then they all said what they value about each other (not always convincingly). The end.