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Dark Horse And The Cherry Tree

The remaining seven queens try to make us notice them.

Wipe That Mirror

Remember last week, when only half the queens rolled up, and Kelly Mantle's nondescript ass got sent home? Well, now Vi Vacious (or is it Vivacious?) has to wipe the mirror, but not before everyone celebrates with some champagne and cupcakes. (Why is this such a popular combo? It's just sweet on sweet, and it always make me feel like I need an insulin shot.)

In the midst of celebrating, the Last Six of the First Seven are interrupted by RuPaul, who's slathered up in nighttime face cream. She tells the girls to be quiet because she has guests coming in the morning.

Psssst! She means the other seven queens.

And I'll bet you $500 that RuPaul delivered those lines to an otherwise empty room. It's possible the scene was even filmed three weeks after the end of the season.

Getting To Know Queens, Pt. 2

This is always one of my favorite moments of the season, and this year, I get to enjoy it twice! I not only love watching the queens try to make a powerful entrance -- the all-time victory still goes to Raja in that Cyclops hat -- but also love seeing them out of drag for the first time.

And let me tell you: there are some shockingly sexy men on this season. Of this week's bunch, I would make out with de-dragged Magnolia and Milk, and from last week, we can invite Ben DeLaCreme to the French lesson.

As for the entrances, Bianca del Rio is instantly insufferable with her whole "I'm an insult comic!" shtick. That's going to make her feel compelled to say something nasty to someone at all times, even when it's forced and uncalled for. Girl, that mess just woke up and it is ALREADY tired.

On the flip side, Milk gives a great first impression, stomping in with toilet paper on her shoe like a club kid who was just snorting something raspberry-colored in the bathroom.

Oh, and shall I start here with my episode-long obsession with Courtney Act? OKAY! This girl is fishy, yes, but she brightens that baseline with her effervescent confidence. I can't take my eyes off her, not simply because she's beautiful, but also because she seems convinced that she's got something I want to see.

Oooh Girl! You've Got She-Mail

Ru is wearing a sensational wig on the she-mail screen. It's like she got trapped in a wind tunnel, but every hair flew backward into just the right place. But then he comes out in a dubious pink suit and tells the queens what we already know about the 7-7 split.

Mini-Challenge

This first photo shoot is always so important, since it tells us crucial things about the girls' personalities. This time, the ever-present Mike Ruiz shoots the ladies as they get sexy with the (suddenly brand-identified) Scruff Pit Crew. (Savor that. I'm never using the brand name again.) To turn things up a notch, each queen must get in a pillow fight with all four hunks. This is not nearly as daunting as jumping in a pool of water or diving into boiling oil or whatever messy thing the first-timers usually have to do, but it's still pretty cute.

Trinity K. Bonet, who sounds exactly like Tyra Sanchez when she talks, comports herself well, and Courtney knows how to sex up a camera. Magnolia has a terrible attitude, and you should pay attention to that.

Once the girls are "de-dragging," they all check each other out, and we get a very stagey series of private interviews with Milk and Courtney where they say they want to bone each other or something. Which…no they don't. This is clearly a producer put-on. But on this show, which is so invested in celebrating its own fakeness, who cares? The tone is always my favorite thing on this series; everything is winking and campy until it isn't, and then shit gets intensely authentic. (Or "authentic," I guess.) But this romance, just to reiterate, is not an example of the latter.

So anyway, Trinity K. Bonet is the winner. The "K" stands for "Kardashian." You should pay attention to that.

RuPaul Serves Tim Gunn

This is boilerplate stuff. Last week, the girls had to create costumes from themed boxes (each one filled with stuff reminiscent of TV shows). This week, the boxes are back, but they're all themed after…popular parties? Like the hoedown? Zzzzzzzz.

We do learn, though, that Joslyn Fox is either really stupid or really smart at playing really stupid. She has this little girl giggle that makes me tired, and when she gets the quinceañera box, she doesn't know what that means. Predictably, Bianca del Rio makes some tired-ass joke about it, and here's the thing: If she were witty, then maybe I'd be on board. But she's not even rising to the level of late-era Joan Rivers.

When RuPaul comes in for his Tim Gunn Tour, the queens naturally don't know what they're doing, and Ru gets concerned. He also takes a moment to let Courtney Act, who is Australian, explain that in an Australian accent, her name sounds like "Caught in the Act." And it's kind of cute how RuPaul keeps putting on an Australian accent himself.

Queens Work Alone

Milk decides to accentuate her look with a tiny devil beard. Predictably, half the room is all, "Ewww! Squee! Gender performance can't possibly include gender fusion! You have to be all woman or all man!"

Joslyn continues to be dumb, saying she's a "black horse" candidate until an off-camera producer VOs that she probably means "dark horse." And somewhere, KT Tunstall is pissed that she can't turn this into a comeback.

Stomp the Runway

Trinity has chosen to interpret "princess party" as "space princess," wrapping herself in shiny metallic fabric and finishing it off with some kabuki-style white face paint. It's pretty cool, though the judges will correctly call her out for an unnecessary neck piece.

Miss Darienne Lake, this season's big girl AND the winner of the online fan vote, is a lot of fun, but her skirt is a mess. It's sloppily cut, weirdly ruched, and very unflattering to her legs.

Courtney, who tells us she's a "household name" back in Oz because she got a record deal after appearing on Australian Idol, has a dazzling body and personality. I don't care that the dress is mostly just a string of blue fabric. I also don't care that if you look at her pop-chart history, you realize she only had one minor hit in Australia. She's still got It.

Joslyn looks like she's wearing an explosion at the piñata factory, and Milk's bizarre beard-and-sarong look is actually amazing. She's legitimately subverting gender paradigms.

Judges' Critiques

Naturally, Trinity is thrilled that the guest judge is Khloe Kardashian. Everyone also likes her look. They also like Bianca's luau-princess realness, despite her eye makeup being too extreme. Santino launches the praise parade for Milk, though he correctly dings her for the beard, which was a bridge too far in a look that was already making a statement.

Darienne and Joslyn both get dinged, but the big disaster is Magnolia Crawford. First of all, the hooker has been complaining about her terrible "hoedown box" since the Tim Gunn Walk. NOW she's on the runway with terrible nose makeup (it looks like she smudged a piece of dark chocolate on there) and a bad dress made in cow print.

But the best/worst part is how mouthy she gets when the judges read her. Her attitude is so terrible that RuPaul has to pull out his "teach the children" voice and school her on how life is in the world of true professionals.

Oh, and Khloe Kardashian makes some weird point about understanding Darienne's terrible skirt because like Darienne, she has a large vagina. If you know what she means, then please don't explain it to me.

Just Between Us Girls and The Winnowing

Gently pleasant banter ensues as the judges discuss the queens. Magnolia is hated upon, and verily the heavens shall fall upon her head. RuPaul says "Melk," but Michelle says "Milk." Do I smell a duet of "Let's Call The Whole Thing Off"?

When the queens return, Bianca wins the challenge, Joslyn's in the bottom three, and Magnolia and Darienne must lip-synch for their lives (lives lives lives).

Lipsynch For Your Life

To the glittering disco rhythms of "Turn the Beat Around," Darienne turns it UP. She shakes. She shimmies. She acts out the drum beats with her hands. It's amazing, and I would love to see that live. (The judges are also correct that her make-up is wonderful.) Comparatively, Magnolia's just a sad little sandwich, and her ass goes home.

Awesomely, instead of ending with RuPaul's usual admonition to love thyself, the main episode closes with the two packs of queens facing off in the workroom. The eye each other warily, and the wigs get ready to be snatched.

Untucked

Confession: Untucked is mostly not my thing, since I'm not interested in reality shows where people in forced proximity just sit around staging fights. Sometimes, though, this segment delivers the healing wisdom of Chad Michaels and LaTrice Royale, so I keep hope alive.

Based on first impressions, this group is much more intelligent and interesting than last week's girls. After a stupid interlude where the queens are forced to twerk on the runway, we see Magnolia get defensive about her defensiveness, claiming she only wants to be on the show to get exposure. She doesn't care about money or prizes or booking gigs. She just wants to salve her ego by getting someone to recognize her on the street. But guess what? When you're the first one to go -- or the second, in this case -- nobody will remember you. Either way, it seems like she's just spinning this yarn to protect herself from the hurt of sucking so badly during the first challenge.

The best part is the way that Trinity and Courtney (and even Bianca) handle Magnolia's bullshit with polite, forceful honesty. Nobody's hollering like a child. They're all just telling her how it is.

Later, there's some interesting stuff where Courtney discusses how she picks up straight men while she's in drag, then takes them home to show them how close they are to being gay. That leads to some provocative comments about the fallacy of the straight-gay binary, and even though the show doesn't linger on the idea, it's out there. The conversation leading up to this revelation is obviously staged, but it brings us to a legitimately thoughtful place. And thus, it delivers one of the segments of Untucked I'm actually glad I saw.

Verdict

In six seasons, I don't recall ever seeing a skippable episode of this show. RuPaul's Drag Race is never less than an unfolding thesis on gender and performance, mixed with sickening catchphrases, funny bitches, and excellent clothes. Starting next week, let's assume my verdict is always going to be "watch," and instead, let's use this space to crown a moment of the week.

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