RuPaul’s Drag Race season 11 episode 5: We’ve got a grave problem

Charlie Jones March 29, 2019
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This season needs to pull it together. (Netflix)

This season needs to pull it together. (Netflix)

Drag Race got glammed, ghouled and gayed up for a monster ball. Who was the ghostess with the mostess, and who was just a basic witch?

Drag Race Season 11 Episode 5: Monster Ball? the verdict

How much Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve and Talent was episode five packing?

Challenge: C.U.

Finally— a ball! Two seasons after Aquaria murdered the last one, the ball life has been resurrected—and how can we not live for 33 runway moments?

No, I’m really asking. How was it this underwhelming? It was an eerily on-brand episode for a season that might be serving a lot of looks, but with hardly any shooks and a whole host of overcooks.

I miss the gh’oul times.

Drag Race season 10 winner Aquaria wins her ball challenge.
Aquaria demonstrates how to ball. (Netflix)

Lewks: C.U.

The runway was oozing with incon-cyst-ency, but there were a few treats buried amongst the tricks.

Unfortunately most of those—Cara Delevingne, RuPaul—were behind the judges’ desk.

Me to these runway looks

Treat: Nina West’s a scare is born.

Trick: A’Keria C. Davenport’s three identital lewks.

A'keria sports identical runway looks on Drag Race.
Spot the difference. (Netflix)

Troll: Shuga Cain trolling Ariel Versace by copying her look, twice.

Can the gh’oul-friends fix Drag Race’s grave problem?

Season 11 hasn’t figured out its USP yet, and that’s its grave problem.

I didn’t feel like I was watching anything new tonight. It was a cheap rerun of races past, and it’s contaminating the Drag Race brand. There’s still—probably—time to operate and remove the filler queens as quickly as possible, in the hope you’re left with a Season 9-style recovery.

Because at the moment it’s knocked out with nurses nowhere near.

Drag Race season 4 star Willam Beli.
Willam calls for medical assistance. (Netflix)

But for all its ailments—including cycts, strokes, connective tissue disorders and pop-culture amnesia—there might just be one completely contrived but cute-couture cure: Branjie.

Miss Vanjie has the confidence and Brook Lynn Heights the competence to make it to the end. A lip sync finale between these two lovers could well be the iconic tonic that turns Season 11 from sick to sickening.

You go, gh’oul friends.

Drag Race Season 11 Episode 5: Let’s get these queens in line

How did each queen fare in the Monster Ball? What will their edit be? When will they go home?

Until now, there have been way too many queens to examine them individually. One of the rules I’d love to put in place—along with more time between the seasons and a ban on multiple acting challenges—would be to cap the number of queens at 10.

But instead we get there on Week 5. I really hope they lean into double eliminations soon.

Ariel Versace: our fallen cyst-er

Ariel Versace leaves RuPaul's Drag Race.
Ariel gets the boot after serving her best look. (Netflix)

Just like her namesake it became clear she was a fish out of water, so it felt right she was mer-made to leave.

But she genuinely had a boo-tiful Trick or Treat lewk, which I guess is as good a high point to leave as ever.

Ra’Jah O’Hara

Place: 10th

Monster Ball: Those wigs. I can’t.

Edit:The struggle is real (Nina Bo’nina Brown).

Shuga Cain

Place: 9th

Monster Ball: She dressed up as Ariel in two out of the three runways? Wouldn’t have minded double elimination, tbh.

Shuga Cain on Drag Race.
Identity theft—Shuga Cain or Ariel Versace? (Netflix)

Edit: The struggle is almost as real (Farrah Moan).

Plastique Tiara

Place: 8th

Monster Ball: Did nothing to either disappoint or delight. Too cute to spook.

Edit: Shock early elimination (Valentina). I think she’s struggling in Aquaria’s shadow, and the editing is just not going her way.

A’Keria Chanel Davenport

Place: 7th

Monster Ball: Three identical runways.

Edit: Narrator-lite (Monique Heart).

Nina West

Nina West on Drag Race.
Nina West serves A scare is born. (Netflix)

Place: 6th

Monster Ball: I would love for Nina to surprise and end up in the final, but she has to class up those runways. We’ve just seen Manila Luzon prove that camp and couture can be the best of friends, so stop giving us DIY.

Edit: Beneficiary of the format (Alexis Michelle).

Scarlet Envy

Place: 5th

Monster Ball: I didn’t care about her at all at the start, but she’s been slowly climbing that ladder of good-will. One disappointing look but her witch and MILF looks were sew good.

Edit: Black Horse (Naomi Smalls).

Silky Nutmeg Ganache

Place: 4th

Monster Ball: All tea, she should have been in the bottom. But she was safe—for the drama, yes, but also because she’s been killing the competition. So I’m not mad about it.

Brook Lynn Heights

Place: 3rd

Monster Ball: The mummy look is cute but unwinds when we’ve seen that exact silhouette last week. Major props for the ballet moves, though.

Edit: Runway excellence but hard to love (Detox).

Miss Vanjie

Place: 2nd

Monster Ball: She should have been top this week, and pretty much every other week. Absolutely slaying.

Edit: Fruity fan-favourite done dirty (Alyssa, Monique).

Yvie Oddly

Place: 1st

Monster Ball: Dinosaur on a dime tickled my funny bone and proved that story is everything on the runway. This season is hers to lose.

Edit: The talented oddball (Sharon Needles, Jinx Monsoon).

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