RuPaul’s Drag Race season 11 episode 13: The reunion clashes back
This is it. The most exciting Drag Race episode of the lot.
Shot the day after the finale, it’s designed to eke out every ounce of bitterness the queens have tucked away. It’s a chance for the overlooked, the looked down on, and those that looked like the villains to clash back at their edit and make a final pitch for All Stars.
It’s real, raw and rich. Usually, the more mundane the season, the spicier the reunion. So, was it as eleven-gendery this year?
Drag Race season 11 episode 13: Reunited, the verdict
How much Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve and Talent was the reunion packing?
It was the best episode of the season by a cuntry mile.
That being said, most Drag Race reunions have contained moments of truly original, spontaneously iconic content: the de-crowning of Valentina, The Vixen’s departure, Ru’s Season 1 meltdown, Tatiana’s assassination of Raven’s character.
I’m not convinced we were proffered similar prizes this year.
But maybe it’s splitting synthetic hairs to endlessly demand we’ve-never-seen-this-before TV, because—unless queens start setting themselves on fire to win a lip sync—at some point we just have to be OK with them retreading the old steps in different outfits.
So many were stun, but Brooke Lynn Hytes won the day. Condrags.
Also, props to Shuga Cain for dressing as our and I oop goddess, Jasmine Masters.
Hot Topics from the Drag Race Reunion, Ranked
We’ll judge the juiciness of their jush in a sec, but first off here’s to the queens left on the cutting room floor.
While Miss Ganache had a surprisingly easy ride—what happened to all that Soju drama?—two other sweet treats were likely less ecstatic over their erasure. We were given barely a nibble of poor Shuga Cain and Honey Davenport.
Shuga at least has her fans. But thinking back to the moment just after Honey’s elimination—the scream and fall to floor—I can’t help but feel she’s had the roughest ride this season. It’s not a thought that sparks joy.
Absolutely not, no, non. Next!
9. Kahanna Montrese
What, and I cannot stress this enough, were you on about?
You had one chance to redeem your abysmal run on Drag Race and that was the incomprehensible hill you chose to die on?
I’d still like Kahanna back for All Stars, but only if a spot opens up on the Pit Crew.
8. Yvie Oddly vs. Silky Nutmeg Ganache
Anticlimactic apologies do not a good reunion make. The limited bitterness was likely down to the fact they’re both finalists. But still, the resolution felt unearned.
7. Plastique Tiara
Were her web of lies cut down to pieces for all to see? Not really. It was lightly hinted at and then they all swiftly moved on. Chickens.
6. Reading is what?
Rather painful, actually. How many more chances you going to give these girls, Ru? At least some of the clapbacks were as en pointe as Brooke’s Mummy.
Brooke: “Oh, she got you, girl.”
Soju: “You should read my article, ‘How not to fall in front of RuPaul.'”
A’keria: “Try wearing flats.”
Mercedes: “Right after Season 11, you were just a meme-“
Vanjie: “Want me to read that for you? And what the f**k are you? A meme that’s still going to last longer than you, b***h. Yo opulence, where you got the jokes from you better ask for a refund. $25 a joke, she need her money back.”
When you come for Vanessa, you better not miss Vanjie.
Plastique Tiara finally puts her finger on A’keria Chanel Davenport’s Littlefinger-esque manoeuvres. Woof.
But while fans at home might rejoice, she was hardly grilled to any meaningful degree.
4. Scarlet Envy
Who knew everyone hated Scarlet, eh?
It didn’t make Brooke look particularly loveable—though fair play to Ms Hytes for not shying away from it—but it definitely increased the already-beloved Scarlet’s currency.
Now the only people who hate her were in that room. Expect her back, soon. We stan a misunderstood queen.
3. Broken Branjie
I was truly shooketh at the break up of the most significant queer couple since the gay couple from Arthur.
I feel catfished. Call me naïve—and you really should—but the constant feed of social media posts from the pair of them had me convinced.
That was all wig-snatching enough. But when the other queens piled on to dish their own doubts as to the sincerity of the match I do not lie when I tell you I got more excited than a Change UK candidate finding a voter who knows who the hell they are. Or Sam Smith when he became ‘the first gay man to win an Oscar.’ Or all of us realising that Nina West teaches kids about drag.
In plain terms, I lost my absolute sh*t.
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2. Nina West: The pride of Season 11
Hey, not everything has to end in a fight. We need the light as well as the shade (although a whole finale of happy endings would have been a bit much—this isn’t Game of Thrones).
But Drag Race read the room and realised it needed a pure segment to match the pure heart of Nina. And it delivered: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rihanna, Nina. What more could a gal ask for?
My heart = fully warmed.
1. Ra’Jah O’Hara
Tee, shade, a redemption in the form of a flying wig and quotes that cut to the core.
Yes, this is reality TV. Yes, all the queens know what they’re signing up for. Yes, there needs to be a villain. I get it.
But Drag Race has to set itself apart from the repulsive misery porn that was Jeremy Kyle if it wants to stay relevant. It failed in its duty of care last year when Ru bullied the Vixen to the point of leaving the set. Was it iconic? Sure. And luckily the Vixen had a legion of loyal fans to support her through it.
But not every queen is made of stuff that strong. And it was a delight to see Ra’Jah deal with the (rightful) reprimands from all sides like a champ.
“I don’t want to be vulnerable, I don’t want to cry, I don’t want to show weakness…Hurt people, hurt people…Don’t just beat my walls down, use some grease, b*tch.”
Drag Race: the reunion, Awards
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Aja award for using the reunion to secure a place on All Stars: Scarlet Envy.
Valentina/Jesus Christ award for putting on a brave face during a public crucifixion: Brooke Lynn ‘I didn’t just date Vanjie to get personality points’ Hytes.
Charlie Hides award for most imaginative excuse: Joint winners, Silky ‘I had body issues while filming’ Ganache and Ra’Jah ‘I’m a Capricorn’ O’Hara.
Shea Coulee ‘Do I look upset to you?’ Award for best clapback: Scarlet ‘Well, DUH’ Envy.
RuPaul award for using reality TV to boost profits: Ariel Versace’s wig business.