Alllllrighty! You know what time it is? Time to go off on wild tangents with Aedan's RPDR: Season 7 RANTERAYS! Welcome to Episode 8- Conjoined Queens. In my ver humble opinion it is easily the best episode of the season (so far) and I would even say it ranks among the greatest episodes across the entirety of the series. Ru hit a goldmine with this concept, finally making the idea of bringing back a previously-eliminated queen one that the viewers can invest in and be excited about (I'll get more into that after the breakdown). NOW! In no particular order:
• Ginger Minj: Sigh. Oh Miss Minj. While I'm still very much not a fan of Miss Minj, and hope that someone manages to knock her out of the competition before the Top 3, it was definitely not her time to go yet (as was made abundantly clear in her hysterical LSFYL). I will say this, however: I don't think I've ever heard the kind of excited whooping and clapping Minj received from fellow bar patrons when she was put up for elimination- I was kind of shocked by how much the room was in my headspace. She may be destined for Top 3 (I hope not, but I'm being realistic in terms of how they are editing this season so far)- but she seems to have destroyed any goodwill the audience could muster with her absolutely terrible attitude and insecure bitchiness. As for the challenge: Minj's idea was hilarious- conjoined at the nipples is just campy enough to get a John Waters seal of approval- but the execution was just sad. The costume was boring and overtly simple and the makeup/hair was, once again, same old boring (but polished!) Minj. I do understand that being coupled with Sasha was like having a lead weight strapped to each butt-cheek and being pushed into a vat of milk, but this flop felt like it came more from Minj's overall pre-defeated attitude the minute the eliminated queens appeared and not from the less-than-ideal pairing. She seemed unable to get beyond the idea that this needed to be a project of equals and that Sahsa wasn't carrying her weight- but girl, if life gives you lemons you BETTER be able to turn it into a fantastic Lemon Wig. It just felt like she was trying to deflect all blame for the mess that was her costume onto Sasha, and while I do agree that she can share some of the blame with her teammate- the fact that Minj can't sew and has boring and basic taste in clothing made Ginger just as guilty when it came to the outcome of this challenge (and it doesn't bode well for the inevitable future sewing/fashion-based challenges). That all being said: she rocked that Lip Synch. I mean it helps that Jaidynn was hamstrung by the eight-foot tall Easter Island head in a wig strapped to her back, but Minj also proved she is a lip-synch powerhouse with her hysterical mess of a performance. And quite honestly Sasha also played a major roll in her success there: their sharing of the lines, the on-stage mastectomy and their wacky interactions all culminated in an unforgettable LSFYL. And while I'm sad to see Jaidynn go and Minj stay- she really did rock it. Also I read this on the RPDR reddit page and thought it was so funny I'm stealing it for my rant: "If you are going to rip off your boobs, you better have a pair of boobs underneath!" (in concern with Ginjer Minj's final moments on stage).
• Bonus Queen Activated: Sasha Belle: honestly I ended up enjoying her re-appearance on the show more than her original turn. It helped that Minj did her hair and makeup- but she was pleasant and sweet in her short time back. She was going to be a drag (hee hee ho ho) on whoever she was stuck with- but she wasn't as bad as I thought she'd be. That all being said: she left when she should have and I'm glad she's not returning.
• Katya: Oh my GOD YES. Leave it to Katya to throw a nail-biting wrench into my predictions of who would be the queen to make it back. I never, even for a single second, thought of Mrs. Kasha Davis as one of the queens who would be chosen to return. But these two Queens gave an unforgettable, hysterical, PERFECT portrayal of New Jersey Casino Cougar Whores out on the prowl. I mean seriously. The entire bar, Jon and co. included, were falling out of our chairs laughing and living for every moment of their presentation and runway. Davis redeemed her terrible DESPY Awards debacle and then some- and most importantly made me desperately worried that she was going to win the day when I wanted Trixie or Max so much more. They were the total package that night (though I think Katya was the star of their show) and there isn't much more I can say about it. At this point I'm at maximum Katya Love Capacity and will continue sacrificing goats dressed as Stevie Nicks to the Dark Lord Of Drag (Praise be unto Divine) in hopes that she will be guaranteed a spot in the Top 3.
• Bonus Queen Activated: Mrs. Kasha Davis: girl was hysterical here. While I'm glad she wasn't the queen who ultimately returned I was also incredibly impressed with her performance in this week and would have grit my teeth and gone with it if she had turned out to be the winner. There was just no arguing how well these two did.
• Kennedy Davenport: GO HOME. UGH. My ability to handle her baffling (and in my opinion wholly undeserved) success has reached negative numbers. The ONE THING I will say as a positive when it comes to Davenport in this episode: she didn't seem to be pairing people in a particularly cruel or calculating way- though I would argue it's because she's WAY too dumb to have the capacity to be properly calculating. Can you imagine what the outcome and teams would have been like if MINJ had "won" that mini-challenge? Yeah- scary thought. Also about that: HOW did Kennedy win that mini challenge? There were at least four other queens whose Jump-suit Realness FAR outstripped Kennedy's (especially Katya's). In fact I'd argue that Kennedy's was one of the worst ones. But oh well- once again I can't see what Ru sees here- which is a pattern I'm getting all too familiar with. Luckily, though, her lack of intelligence didn't just apply to her inability to properly manipulate the teams: her runway was also coma-inducing and without any narrative whatsoever. Sure she looked great and managed to make Jasmine look great (which is impressive, I have to admit)- but the dresses were boring and all they did was smile and wave. And when she was called on it? Her little "rant" at the beginning of Untucked just made me want to reach through the screen and slap her. I don't even want to bother thinking about her anymore, it's just frustrating me too much.
• Bonus Queen Activated: Jasmine Masters: all this horrible, busted essence of bitter did in this episode was reinforce why she deserved to be off the show and continue to be off the show. The only good part of having her back was the catharsis of watching all the other queens in various confessionals say what we were all thinking: if Jasmine returns there would be mutiny.
• Miss Fame: Ah miss Fame. Another week, another baffling decision resulting in Miss Fame JUST BARELY escaping the bottom 2. I almost felt like the only thing that saved her was that she FINALLY responded correctly to the "How's your head" question- which I'm entirely sure is because Kandy pulled her aside and told her what needed to be said. But for reals? Lets be for reals here. Seriously reals: Fame's ability to escape the bottom two feels as transparently manipulated as Kennedy's inability to escape the Top 3 (no matter how horribly she does). Do I hate having her around? Naw- she's so milquetoast I can't muster the energy to hate on her. Also her runways tend to at least be interesting. But if she goes yet another week giving a boring/bad performance and just squeezing by I may need to sigh twice as long.
• Bonus Queen Activated: Kandy Ho: zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. She returned as she lived: leaving such little impression as to make me forget she was even a part of the episode. I will say this though: It took me half the Untucked to realize that the queen both Jon and I thought was Fame was actually Ho. To Fame's credit she did such a good job with the makeup neither of us could tell them apart AT ALL.
• Pearl: YES! YES! YES! Girls, you showed up, SLAYED tonight and ended up with an entirely deserved win. Seriously. Pearl and Trixie's runway was magical, hilarious, and I would argue one of the greatest to ever fight itself down the runway in RPDR herstory. Their story was by FAR the most complete and thoroughly executed. The look was absolutely gorgeous. They shimmered and glowed like pageant fairies. Pearl's AMAZING take on the golden child coupled with Trixie's awkward, less-loved counterpart had us in tears. Pearl commanded Trixies movements, mugged for the judges, pranced as a spoiled princess would while Trixie hunched awkwardly, braces-laden, smiling shyly and every so often coughing what appeared to be blood into her hanky. I completely disagree with Visage's only criticism as well: Pearl was just as eye-catching and show-stealing as her perfect teammate Trixie. In fact without Pearl's portrayal Trixie's wouldn't have been nearly as hilarious. This was a pairing of epic proportions and honestly makes me completely thrilled that Trixie is back to rock this competition- even if it means that Max (who I still would have preferred) is off the show for good. I am Team Pearl all the way (even moreso than Katya) and will add a baby seal dressed as the singer Seal to the sacrificial pit in order to guarantee her place in the Top 3.
• Bonus Queen Activated: Trixie: WELCOME BACK GIRL! You deserved your return more than ANY returning queen of any previous season ever. You fought HARD for this and hopefully the wit, comedy and intelligence you brought to this particular challenge will carry over into the rest of your stay in this competition. And who knows- Trixie may be the first queen brought back from Elimination Purgatory to take it all the way to the top. I wouldn't doubt it after this week's win.
• Violet Chachki: I'll say it again: how did this happen? I think I can admit this in all honesty now: I genuinely like Violet. Similar to the evolution of Trinity K. Bonet: Violet started out with a terrible personality that has softened and evolved into someone I am able to root for. And now that she's getting nicer the daunting nature of her style and talent are becoming increasingly unstoppable. Does she still need to learn to act and embrace the comedy side of things? Definitely- but she's growing at a surprising rate and her runway looks continue to be among the best this show has ever seen. Take this challenge, for example: if it hadn't been for the fairytale that unfolded in Pearl/Trixie or the raunchy goodtime awesome of Katya/Davis, Violet/Max could have easily taken this. As it stands they had to, tragically (I'm being serious here), settle for nearly-best. Their look was stunning, well thought-out and fully realized. Violet even managed to make Max look EXACTLY like her (as with Fame I seriously had trouble telling the two apart). However it wasn't as narrative as Pearl/Trixie. At this point in the competition she's right next to Trixie as my third pick for Top 3. It remains to be seen which one of them will win me over completely (or if any of the four I'm rooting for will be able to oust Minj).
• Bonus Queen Activated: Max: sigh. I am still bitter about Max's completely undeserved booting from this competition. More than ANY of the other queens she deserved to come back after the idiocy of letting her go. However it appears it just wasn't in the cards. What this means, however, is that I will be canvassing HARD for her to win Miss Congeniality. She was classy and sweet to the very (very) end. We'll all miss you Max. Carry on with your greatness and if you are ever in NYC I'll do my best to make it out to see you perform.
• Jaidynn Diore Fierce: it's sad to say this as well, since I really do love this talented, lovely bitch- but it was definitely her time to go. While I definitely place a lot of the blame on the sinking titanic (height joke!) that was Tempest DuJour, there was still a lot wrong with this week's showing for Jaidynn that rested completely on her shoulders. The look was uninspired, cheap, and half-assed. The concept of being attached dick-to-butt read awkwardly on the runway- they didn't look so much like conjoined twins as two ladies fucking in a onsie. I liked their story but it din't come across at all in the execution and it all just fell apart from there. Like Minj (and Pandora Boxx during all-stars) she appeared to suffer from pre-defeat the minute she was stuck with DuJour. She let her bitterness over the mismatching pair sour her ability to push past it and eventually she just appeared to give up. Even the lipsynch felt off. She could have detached herself from Tempest (like Minj and Sasha did) and really gone to town, but she mostly just stood there and did half-hearted hairography. Jaidynn- you are a sweetheart. You are wonderful and we all love you. If you returned with more experience, confidence and polish to the next All Stars we'll all be rooting for you. As for now- carry on and ROCK IT!
•Bonus Queen Activated: Tempest Dujour: she was going to bring down anyone she got stuck with (with the exception of Pearl or Katya- I'm pretty sure they could have salvaged their pairing with Tempest to at least place safe). It makes me a little bitter to see that the girl who she brought down was one I really like, but Jaidynn had been on this trajectory for a while now so it's hard to place all the blame on her. She tried, at least. I'll give her that.
• Ru needs to make this challenge, or at least this method of bringing eliminated girls back, a permanent fixture for future seasons (ala Snatch Game being an institution at this point). It adds legitimacy to the concept of re-instating an eliminated girl and the drama that it brought with it made for some of the best television I've seen in a while. It also gave us the opportunity to get to know the queens who were eliminated a bit more before the reunion and let us catch up with one's we wish were still there. Best twist ever.
• TRIXIE IS BACK, PEOPLE! Hopefully this wave of awesome will ride through next week and we'll finally get to say adios to Kennedy (one can only hope).
• My current Top 3: Pearl, Katya, and Violet or Trixie (those two remain to be seen).